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A Working, Old-Timey Stirling Engine - Hand tools only!

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Picture of A Working, Old-Timey Stirling Engine - Hand tools only!
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:

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

Materials:
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)
 

 
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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.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.

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.
airlift in bucket2.jpg
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.
erniestools11 months ago
Wow! This is so cool! You can get any kind of tools from here www.erniestools.com
TheWilks11 year ago
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.
dwzavaleta (author)  TheWilks11 year ago
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!
bike_gye1 year ago
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
dwzavaleta (author)  bike_gye1 year ago
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
Awesome! Great detail!
bike_gye1 year ago
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
mreamer1 year ago
EXCELLENT detail! I wish all inst'bles were this detailed.
vatech901 year ago
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.
lectroluke1 year ago
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 & delicate, the scale & construction of yours is robust & appears capable of generating enough power to be of practical use. Nice!
Very nice instructable. Impressive use of available materials, well thought out and impeccable implementation