The Stirling engine in this instructable is the simplest, safest engine I've found. It's a nice size, very sturdy, fairly cheap (if you have access to the tools) and makes a good project for learning to use tools and how physical concepts can be put to everyday uses. 

The text of these instructions are also available on Google Drive at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_yXLsNjezyeXzVmSGc0QVZ6LVE/edit?usp=sharing

Below is a very brief introductory video. A more detailed overview of this engine is available here

This model is based on a design by Darryl Boyd (http://boydhouse.com/stirling/) with a few changes inspired by Junkie (http://sites.google.com/site/reukpower/can-stirling/stirling-generator-2) as well as several others. 

You'll need the following:

Electric drill and metal bit set
Screw drivers
Vise grips
Socket wrench set
Hack saw
Pipe cutter
Awl (or long nail)
Rat-tail file
Metal snippers
Carpenter's square
Wire cutting pliers
Boxcutter knife 
Table saw or hand saw
Jig saw
Can opener from Boy Scout or Swiss army knife

For the Frame
-3/4 plywood (a 2ft x 2ft piece)
-2 pipe straps (for 1in pipe)
-about a dozen 1-1/2in drywall screws (or similar)
-oak or hard pine strip (1/4in x 3/4in x 2ft)

For the Displacer cylinder
-1 or 2 empty aerosol can 2.5in diameter x 8in tall (hairspray, bug spray, spray paint, etc)
-4 or 5 12oz soda cans
-2 coffee cans
-old bicycle wheel- from at least 26in bike (ask local bike repair shop)
-Steel wool - medium
-Terminal blocks (regular and mini - from Radioshack)
-High temperature RTV silicone gasket maker (from auto parts store)

For the Power cylinder
-3/4in copper pipe (1 or 2ft piece from hardware store or ask plumber)
-Repair pipe for 3/4 pipe - comes in 2ft pieces
-3/4x1/2 Female adapter 
-1/2x1/8 Pipe bushing (1/8FIPx 1/2MIP)
-3/8in Threaded lamp repair pipe (plus hex nuts)
-1/4in T-nut (Aluminum binding post w/ screw)
-5in clothesline pulley 
-long rubber bands (about 5in dia. to fit pulley)
-JB Weld high temp epoxy (from auto parts store)
-Valve grinding compound- water based (from auto parts store)

Other hardware
for connecting rods:
-3 or 4 clothes hangers (in good shape - not bent up)

for pulley axle:
- #8x 2-1/2in bolt with nut and 4 washers
- 2 nylon T-flanges
- Threaded #8 aluminum spacers - one 1/4in, one 3/4in

for pulley arm:
- #6x 1-1/2in bolt two 2 nuts and 4 washers
- Threaded #6 aluminum spacers - three 1/4in

For beam:
-#8x 2-1/2in bolt with nut and 4 washers
- 2 nylon T-flanges
- 1/2in T-nut (aluminum binding posts)
- 1 washer to fit over T-nut 
- Threaded #8 aluminum spacers - one 3/4in
- #8x 1in bolt and nut
- 4 fender washers to fit

For generator:
-small DC electric motor 
-small plastic pulley or screen door roller (screen patio door repair parts)
-tubing that tightly fits the motor's axle to act as a bushing
-nylon spacer that will receive the axle bushing AND fit the small pulley
-extra large rubber band (about 4-1/2in diameter)

Step 1: Build the Frame

NOTE: The frame made in STEP 1 was made after I built this engine, so the frame you see here will look different than in later steps. The measurements are all the same, however. I thought I should show a more straightforward way of making the frame than I did before. The main difference is the placement of the 3 x 4.25in power cylinder mount. 

Cut out plywood and mark as shown (Photo1). If you don't have a table saw, try to find a 2x2 piece with straight (factory cut) edges at a hardware store or cabinet shop, and then cut out your pieces with a hand saw, being sure to use the factory edges for any edges that will be screwed together. This will help keep your frame rigid.  

Screw the pieces together thru the bottom of the 8x12 base (2). It's really not important that the pieces be straight on the line as shown, but the front edges do need to be flush or lined up together. 

Center the long edge of the 4x12 back brace on the 2in mark (3). Screw thru the face of the 6x9 main engine mount, then up thru the bottom of the base as well.

Screw the 2x9 beam support to the brace, lining up the beam support's centerline with the 2in line on the engine mount.

Line up the centerline on the 3x4.25 power cylinder mount with the horizontal and vertical lines on the engine mount (5). You may want to put a small block on the backside, too, in case the screws stick out in the back. 

Attach two pipe straps to the power cylinder mount so they are centered over the centerline (6). 

Drill two holes to fit a #8 T-flange at the distances shown (6):
13-1/2in up from the base and on centerline of the beam support;
6-1/4in over from that same centerline on the main engine mount
TIP: To help get these holes more perpendicular without a drill press, place a 1-1/2in block with a square edge next to your drill bit and use the edge as a guide to keep the drill at 90 degrees from the piece being drilled (7). 

Finally, If you wish to mount a motor as a generator later, center a hole for your motor at 3-1/4in from the center of the hole you just drilled on the main engine mount.
<p>Good instructable!!<br><br>Why do you place the power piston in the middle?<br>Most g type place it in the cold side.</p>
<p>I love Stirling engines, they are so much more elegant and efficient than internal combustion engines. It is such a shame they aren't used more in everyday applications.</p>
<p>Nice, yes. Elegant, yes.</p><p>Efficient, nope. Today many electric motors, small to over 5,000 HP run at 95% efficiency.</p><p>These engines run on ultra low power sources. Things like temperature differences of 5 to 20 degrees. The power in your home town runs on much larger available power resources.</p><p>But they are most fun to watch working..</p><p>244 Jake</p>
Cool little motor. Lot of steps to biuld but I think I will give it a try. <br><br>
Great instructions! What size fire is needed? In your video you seem to be using a gas hob. Would it still run with candle flames (maybe 1or 2 tea lights?)
<p>that's awesome, i've got to try it some day. pity you didn't attach a cross section type diagram, it would make the design clearer.</p><p>p.s. your rubber band on pliers trick is very good, i used to use it all the time on tweezers when i used to need to clamp very small stuff.</p>
Hi, I have never made a Stirling engine, but I do have a use for one. I made low pressure airlift pumps (currently in use by windowfarmers around the world) that only need 1 psi air to run. Each airlift pump (just a paint bucket with tubes in it) needs 20 litres per hour of the 1 psi air. ( less than 1 psi actually). I psi air is pretty easy to make and I use aquarium bubble pumps to give me the air. But you COULD use a solar heat powered stirling engine. This could extend hydroponic gardening into areas without electricity in poor countries.
Why not just use a Ram Pump like they do in poor countries. No power needed.
I cannot afford a ram pump, Tromps are simpler and I am only pumping water 3 or 4 ft high . I need 1 psi air to move water in a cycle. Ram pumps pump water from the stream not air. Lots of times pumping water from the stream is illegal.
Wow! This is so cool! You can get any kind of tools from here www.erniestools.com
This is by far one of the best instructable I've seen so far! There is one problem though I may have misread the parts list but I couldn't seem to find the type of wheel you used or the dimensions of the wheel. Please respond back I want to make this but with a few of my own modifications.
Hi.The wheel is a 5inch clothesline pulley. I found mine at Lowe's. I think I may have run into the extra large rubber bands at a Dollar Store - can't remember.
Thank you for replying this was very helpful and keep up the good work!
You third power and old gameboy color they use to AA batteries or a small federal prison radio they use one AA battery for you clult power a clock we did that in high school for science project we stuck it over the coal burning furnace
When you say you stuck it over the coal burning furnace, are you talking about a Stirling engine you made? If so, what kind? Made from a kit or soda cans?
Very Great instruct able! I remember having to make one of these for school but yours looks alot better <br>
Awesome! Great detail!
Yes you could build it out of metal so what not catch on fire may be out of diamond plate as you could fold it in the right shapes it might cost a little extra but it will last longer especially by open flames
EXCELLENT detail! I wish all inst'bles were this detailed.
Great instructable! Extremely well laid out, easy to understand and follow and best of all, made with items and tools most everyone has access to. Thanks for not only an interesting and informative project, but one that has a practical use as well.
I like this design! If I make one, I will try a fine copper wool in the displacer. This is used to finish teak wood surfaces that will be exposed to weather-no rust. I think a shorter displacer would result in a more compact engine because of the higher heat capacity of copper over that of steel.
Excellent first 'Ible! The annotated photo's are are great touch. Most Stirling engine projects I've seen are small &amp; delicate, the scale &amp; construction of yours is robust &amp; appears capable of generating enough power to be of practical use. Nice!
Very nice instructable.&nbsp;Impressive use of available materials, well thought out and impeccable implementation

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