Air Engine
21 Steps
Inspire the next generation of engineers, challenge their ability and push the boundaries of what they thought a 13year old can make and challenge what you think a teacher can teach!

This is a project I run in my after school engineering club, normally air/steam engines are difficult to make and even harder to get running, I studied various plans and developed this relatively easy build..........even a poorly made example will run. It is a proud moment for both the student and the teacher when they complete and run one of these. Check the video to see one in action.

Learning Objective

Students will apply a series of fundamental engineering skills using a variety of equipment and machinery to work with precision, this includes lathes and milling machines. They have the opportunity to either work independently from a step by step guide or if unsure about a process can ask a friend or teacher for guidance enabling them to learn a new skill. Students aim to recall previously learnt skills and apply in a more challenging situation, they have to use a metal lathe to drill to a precise depth, parallel turn to a specific tolerance,  and......... they will also learn how to cast aluminium. This project is a skills challenge and a massive confidence builder.

Future learning objective

I am intending on expanding this next year to include scientific calculations.
• F=MA
• PSI Vs RPM graph
• Efficiency

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## Step 1: Students Work

Here are two typical examples of a students work.....remember these kids are only 13!
WorldOfTanks says: Aug 8, 2012. 12:37 PM
now make it street legal... and go 60mph
cj8675 says: Jun 22, 2012. 10:06 AM
you should make the kids do everything. My grandfather tought me the lathe and vertical milling machine at age six (am 14 now)
apb92 says: May 28, 2012. 1:37 AM
Can you tell me how the air supply is fitted, is it just a push fit?
Also what length, diameter and strength spring is best to use?

Regards
jonnyd55 (author) says: Jun 12, 2012. 1:53 PM
hi, good questions :) air supply is just push fit.....tube into the hole. a light spring is best, the nut allows adjustment of pressure.
connercrawford2012 says: Apr 19, 2012. 7:40 AM
could you please tell me the dimension thickness of the chassis this would be much apreciated
jonnyd55 (author) says: May 13, 2012. 6:50 AM
Hi, it doesn't really matter. I have made engines that have had 10mm chassis. However this design uses 5mm
connercrawford2012 says: Apr 19, 2012. 7:00 AM
what was the tickness of this plate as i cant seem to find it your help would be much apreciated
Archemedes54 says: Mar 11, 2012. 12:31 PM
Any ideas on what else it could be used for?
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 12, 2012. 10:48 AM
anything that uses a low torque revolving motion
tinker234 says: Mar 13, 2012. 9:43 AM
or use a car alternator and run it off of that to get elctrycyty
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 13, 2012. 12:35 PM
unfortunately the alternator would require more torque than the engine could generate + you would get less energy out the alternator than you put into the compressor! if you have any ideas on how to solve that issue you will quickly become the richest person in the world!
tinker234 says: Mar 14, 2012. 1:54 PM
maybe a series of belts and pulleys
curious youth says: Mar 10, 2012. 1:13 AM
this is amazing !
you should design an air powered car ! that thing would run itself. you would become a millionare
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 10, 2012. 11:23 AM
especially if it ran of flatulence!
curious youth says: Mar 10, 2012. 7:24 PM
not if theres a reservoir :)
Ahmed2 says: Mar 6, 2012. 12:47 AM
vedry good
steveastrouk says: Mar 4, 2012. 8:26 AM
Nice Ible, a teacher needs to run it through a spell-checker though....
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 4, 2012. 11:10 AM
Not the first time thats been said....a combo of dyslexia and monkey typing results in some dodgy spelingz
steveastrouk says: Mar 4, 2012. 11:58 AM
Where are you based ? If you're doing this in the UK, it makes great ammunition for me and the head of DT at the school I help in to go for funds. The "school lathe" is a disaster area - there's no lubricant been near it for 20 years.

Steve
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 5, 2012. 9:29 AM
Im based in south cambs / north essex is that anywhere near you? if it is im sure we could arrange a visit to our school to see the awesome stuff we do in graphics, resistive, engineering, textiles, electronics and food.
steveastrouk says: Mar 5, 2012. 9:49 AM
I'd like to really kick things up in my sons' school. DT is a dead end topic there. It sounds like you're running it the way I would ;-)

I'm up in Lancashire.

Steve
colorex says: Mar 2, 2012. 6:05 PM
Hey Jonny,

I would say that this could run as a steam engine as well, just connect it to a steam boiler instead of a compressor.
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 3, 2012. 9:00 AM
it absolutely will :) however home made pressurised steam is not allowed in a school unless the boiler pressure tested by a H&S company :( its a shame H&S is killing any fun we might like to have in life!
steveastrouk says: Mar 4, 2012. 6:34 AM
In the UK at least, model engineering clubs often have people who can pressure test small boilers with the correct hydraulic equipment.
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 4, 2012. 7:44 AM
your probably right, i would expect its excluded from all schools. I have never checked as I would not allow my students to make one......just in case they got hurt....... its a shame really :(
REA says: Mar 4, 2012. 8:29 AM
Also, most schools budget their funds in favor of sports programs, mainly football.apparently little Johny throwing a football 150+ yards is more important than Billy being able to design a high-efficiency steam engine.
colorex says: Mar 4, 2012. 8:32 AM
That's sooo sarcastically true! I wish it were the other way around!
colorex says: Mar 3, 2012. 9:14 AM
Nice! Just don't forget to post it!
bloomautomatic says: Mar 4, 2012. 6:38 AM
This excellent on many levels. First, it's a great instructable. Second, it's great that you're doing this level of work with kids of that age (or any age in school.) Third, it's a great device by itself. You should be commended. 5 stars.

Vince
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 4, 2012. 7:48 AM
Hi, thanks for the nice comment and the awesome patch :) i like your kinetic man it made me remember back to when I was 13, as i made one at school! but it was nowhere as cool as yours.... I will investigate the idea further.... watch this space :)
terrapinlogo says: Mar 2, 2012. 1:53 AM
these are better done than the work of some 18 year old students at my school
thoraxe says: Mar 2, 2012. 3:53 PM
Well he does have access to materials, mills, lathes, and casting equipment. Your average middle/high school usually doesn't have any of that.
jonnyd55 (author) says: Mar 3, 2012. 8:57 AM
Its not that a high school is missing equipment...... they are missing the right tech / shop teachers who pester local companies to buy the equip for the school..... just like we do at our school
steveastrouk says: Mar 4, 2012. 6:35 AM
More like H+S policy excludes it - it does in the school I volunteer in.