This is how I built a little beam engine powered by a solenoid which runs on 12v DC.
Due to the harsh winter I have been stuck in the house most of the time over the last few months, before Christmas I gathered up all the old hard drives, CD ROMS, Floppy drives, a zip drive, 2 printers, a flatbed scanner and a video recorder that where no longer working or no longer any use, after a couple of days of dismantling all this i was left with several boxes of very well made components to be put to use in other projects.
I decided that if i could not venture out into the shed, then the shed must come to me. So I setup a work bench in a corner of my computer room and brought the piller drill and a selection of hand tools in out of the cold.
I bought a decent 6" combination square with scriber for this project, I have a 12" version of this already but the smaller one is much easier to work with on smaller projects.
I visited Banbridge Coach Works a month or so ago and asked if i could buy some of their cuttings of aluminium, I gathered up an armful of various pieces and was asked for £15 which I gladly payed.
Many years ago when I was an engineering student I built a model steam engine as my end of year project which earned me a distinction. Since then I have had a love for all types of steam engines. In more recent years i have become fascinated by sterling engines and more recently solenoid engines and Froment engines.
This is my first real project that has mainly used aluminium, back in the day we used very little aluminium as it was much more expensive than steel and was an absolute bugger to weld. I recently discovered Durafix Easy Weld rods which is a low temp welding rod for aluminium and non ferrous metals.
Design wise this project just sort of happened, it followed no set plan other than I wanted it to have a walking beam as part of the mechanism. because of this there are some stages that I don't have pictures of, there where a few dead ends on some of the stages but then again certain failures led to better ideas.
1" x 1" alu angle
3" x 1" alu angle
6 x 6 mm alu bar
5mm alu plate
3mm alu plate from an old Hard drive
20 x 15mm alu channel
10 x 5 x 5 roller bearings (RC car type)
12v solenoid from an ancient telephone switch board.
various nuts bolts and washers
various components salvaged from old computer and household tech goods.
Almost every thing I have, including the bathroom sink ( which required quite a bit of cleaning afterwords )
Dremil type thing
Blowtorch with propane / butane mix gas
Hand tools, including
Junior Hack saw
numerous small files
numerous needle files
6" combination square
tap wrench and taps.
2 part Epoxy
I had planed to make a governor for this engine and also to try and power it with a solar panel, for now the project is finished, I will continue tinkering with this engine and will post any modifications I make as they happen.
To save much typing there will be a brief description of each stage, the bulk of the info will be on the photos.
Thanks for looking, I hope you liked my design
Step 1: What is a solenoid engine.
The solenoid engine or electromagnetic engine also known as a pulse motor was the forerunner to the modern electric motor. the following is taken from The Old Model Company who sum it up much better than I can
When Michael Faraday in Great Britain and Joseph Henry in the United States both discovered electricity at roughly the same time no one knew what to do with it because in those days nothing worked on electricity.
In the thirty or so years that followed, between 1831 and 1861, the great experimenters of the day tried to use this new discovery by copying steam engine design and practice.
Many early electromagnetic engines were of reciprocating design and used connecting rods, beams and flywheels that had to be constantly accelerated.
These early reciprocating engines were quickly followed by revolving armature designs of which Paul Gustave Froment’s was the first in 1844. These were much more efficient and a variety of different and increasingly sophisticated designs emerged.
To fully understand the unique properties of the solenoid engine you need to track down a copy of Secrets of the Electric Motor (it out there on the interwebs if you know which stone to look under)
This video is a scientific lecture is not for the faint of heart as it kicks some major science re many of the properties of the modern electric motor that we just take for granted because we know the motor works rather than learning why and how it works.
I lost my only copy of this video so I'm a very rusty on the topic, but if you can find this video you will learn allot maybe even more that 1 brain can handle. the video explores work by Tesla plus the other great minds of that golden age and more recently John Bedini who's motor has achieved over unity (if you mind is open enough to believe such things)
I intend to explore the world of the Bedini motor as part of a future project once i get my lathe operational and my engineering tolerances back down to those i was once capable of back in the day.