i want to make a double piston steam engine to drive a toy car/truck/tank. how can i do that?

Hi my name's Scott

I made steam boats with my father for the bath when i was younger(the simple syrup tin with holes, a candle and of course water.) and now since i taken time off from school i need something practical and educational to do. I wish to make a steam powered toy r/c car approx. size of xbox 360. I not going to worry about the r/c just yet. I've seen instructables on making steam powered toys but they were all ready made steam engines, i would much prefer to have satisfaction of being able to say i made most of that with the assistance of the more intelligent of my species here on instructables.


sort by: active | newest | oldest
jtobako7 years ago
Start by looking up old model steam toy instructions.  ModernMechanic had one, VintagePlans, i think, had another.  The older plans (30's-60's) tended to be for home workshops, others assume a full metal shop and the ability to use ALL the tools :  (

Biggest problem I've seen is that most of the steam plans are 'set and forget'-they don't have any mechanical speed control, you adjust the fire and hope.
Seems like you could add an adjustable bleed valve and control the speed that way, though.
Waste a lot of power trying that ; )  Most controls adjust the amount of time that steam is allowed access to the piston-giving full pressure for a limited amount of time rather than less pressure for more time.
I didn't say it was a good solution.... ;-)
Get yourself some books on model steam engines. I recommend the books by Tubal Cain www.amazon.co.uk/Building-Simple-Model-Steam-Engines/dp/1854861042/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

I don't know what kind of engine I'd recommend for a drive system. The simplest way would be to use a small fast engine to turn a generator.

rickharris7 years ago
orksecurity7 years ago
How much machine-shop experience do you have?
Scotty3000 (author)  orksecurity7 years ago
None. A friend of mine made a working metal cast of a k'nex V8 engine with old tins. Would it be possible like that? My dad is a member of the local woodturners association they have a metal shop in the some building.