The Amazing Pringles Stirling Engine





Introduction: The Amazing Pringles Stirling Engine

About: Scrap To Power - check out my website for more projects
The amazing pringles Stirling engine, made from cardboard Pringles tube. When I saw this video by MarekSHayward I just had to have my own! It impressed me seeing a Stirling engine made mostly out of cardboard, something which wouldn't normally be workable in an external combustion engine.  This is a really easy to build Stirling that should be accessible to almost anyone.

How does it work ?

This engine uses air which is repeated heated and cooled. To allow the air to be heated and cooled the pringles tube contains a displacer which is like a loose piston that can move up and down forcing the air around the engine. When the air is heated it expands pushing the diaphragm (balloon) outward which turns the cranks. When the cranks turn they move the displacer down so that the air is near the top where it is cooled causing it to shrink and pull the cranks back, which of course moves the displacer upwards allowing the air to be heated at the bottom, this repeats over and over!

Materials :

  • 4 x Pringles tubes, clean and dry
  • 1 x Balloon
  • 1 x Air freshener lid/ small aerosol lid
  • Cardboard from an old shipping box
  • Several plastic straws
  • General purpose adhesive
  • Hot melt glue
  • Fishing line (the creator of the original engine used cotton thread instead)
  • Cotton wool

Tools :

  • Scissors
  • Compass
  • Drill (with 2mm and 5mm drill bits)
  • Mark pen
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Pliers
  • Box cutter
  • Hot melt glue gun

2 People Made This Project!


  • Planter Challenge

    Planter Challenge
  • Casting Contest

    Casting Contest
  • Make it Move Contest

    Make it Move Contest

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Please be positive and constructive.




is the only way to get the directions through the download that costs money?

2 replies

No, go on my website They are all free on there.

the website doesn't work for me

one of the coolest things Ive seen on instructables.The instructions are very clear and easy to understand.

Hey great tutorial. I got mine working after trying it with two tea candles. The video of the engine in working order can be found here.

1 reply

Superb! It looks a lot neater than mine, well made. Thanks for posting!

AWW Man!! This is just too sweet! I'm definitely makin one of these!

Hello scraptopower!
I tried searching for the steel wire wool for the stirling engine fan but it wasn't available anywhere around. Could you suggest any alternatives which would work without fail?
Waiting for your reply,
Thank You

In material list u right cotton Wool there is no description about this and the fishing thread which is connected to the crank rod And its other end connected to the displacer how .....

2 replies

i don't understand...
firstly we made a tube with the piston and cotton wool. but where did that tube

i don't understand...
firstly we made a tube with the piston and cotton wool. but where did that tube

where is the piston that we put the pringles

Great job, i'm using this for a project in my school, i was wondering how long fishing line should be??

Thats extremely cool. 2 questions:
1. does the stirling engine keep working infinitely until there is no more heat?
2.would hot water be a safer alternative to fire? to use the steam as heat.

- thanks

1 reply

It will work as long as there is heat.
Hot water wouldn't be hot enough to run this engine, unfortunately.

Quick question... what did you use for the engine in order to make everything function?

2 replies

Sorry I don't understand your question, could you be more specific ?

It says above the candle there is a engine, what does that engine consist of