When I want hard boiled eggs, I boil them in a pressure cooker. If you haven't tried cooking eggs this way, you're missing out. The other morning, to help cool the eggs faster and to speed up releasing the pressure from the cooker, I removed the little pressure regulator on top of the cooker so I could safely open it to remove the eggs. Watching the steam and hot air shoot toward the ceiling, it also reminded me of seeing a Hero's Engine design once when I was interested in Stirling Engines. For about 2 or 3 years now, I've wanted to build a Hero's Engine.
I also wanted to build one of these in order to show it off to my kids. So I decided to build my first Hero's Engine last weekend. (Hero's Engine is also known as an Aeolipile. It's a very cool piece of machinery...even if Hero never really built one!)
So last Sat morning, I got busy and started. Having just experienced an unpleasant week at work, it was also a perfect way to get my mind off my job and on something else. I built this in about 2.5 hours - now if I include the amount of time drove to and I stood around in Home Depot looking at all the plumbing parts, TOTAL build time is more like 4 hours.
If you use my design, some of the odd parts you're going to need are:
Other than these parts, the rest of the build is done with 1/2 inch copper pipe and fittings. Total cost of parts, not including the copper pipe (that I already had laying around), about 10 bucks.