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Steam Engines? Answered

I am wanting to make a small solar steam engine and am wondering what pressures they run off of usualy? Can you power a pneumatic drill or grinder with steam and use it as a steam turbine? How do people make small boilers to power the steam engines? I was thinking a peice of copper, iron, or galvanized pipe. I would heat it with a fresnel lens from a rear projection tv. Can the spot from a fresnel lens me further focused with a normal glass magnification glass?

Question by snowluck2345    |  last reply


simple steam engined cheap steam engine?

Simple an

Question by suneelranga21    |  last reply


lego steam engine

Enginethis isnt my site but here are instructions for a lego steam engine

Topic by nick.z  


alcohol expansion engine?

While expirimenting in my back yard i came across somthing. I was working on my steam engine and was testing the boiler with methyl alcohol as the heat source( i used nitro car fuel 20%) and i wondered what would happen if i put the alcohol in the boiler. I heated the boiler at the same temperature as i normaly heat water and the alcohol seemed to produce alot more vapors at a faster rate and volume than just steam. So... I was wondering if it was possible to create an engine on the same basic design as a steam engine that ran on alcohol expansion. I do not realy plan on creating this i was just wondering if it would work as good or better than steam. If someone has already made this please tell me. Thanks

Question by myakka    |  last reply


could anyone recommend a steam engine? Answered

I saw crazybuilders instructable on making a propeller driven skateboard, and that inspired me to make a prop driven gocart. I have also recently become interested in steampunk and I thought it would be awesome to use a small steam engine to power it. This is where it gets difficult. Could anyone recommend a steam engine powerful enough to drive two propellers fast enough to move me? (I weigh about 50 kilos)

Question by scarabeetle101    |  last reply


Steam engine model made entirely with glass!

Here is a beautiful model of a steam engine made with glass.

Topic by blkhawk    |  last reply


How does heating water in a steam engine boiler create steam pressure? Answered

I am thinking of doing an instructable on Model steam engines, how they work etcetera, and I am need of a Physicist to explain how the steam in the boiler builds up pressure. I know how the rest of the engines work, but unfortunately I am a bit lost for knowledge on pressure. I could just look at wikipedia or another such website but that defeats the object of the instructable. The person who explains this best in a way a teenager could understand will get a collab on my Instructable, and subscribe.

Question by TheFoofinator    |  last reply


Mamod Steam Coal burner? Answered

Hi,  I would like to make my mamod steam engine 'sp2' burn coal rather than solid fuel or meths. can anyone advise me on what is required to do this or if it is even posable? thanks 

Question by Daniel Deacon    |  last reply


Why hasn't the steam engine been reborn for modern cars?

With present gas/pollution concerns and green tech merging with cars left and right... Why hasn't the steam engine been reborn? I mean what takes MORE power, Electricity to move a 1000lb car or heat up a heating element to heat water and make steam? With tanks strong enough to hold Hydrogen for cars why cant the same tech be used for a steam engine? All the fuel you would need would be water (solar panels/batteries to power heating) but just water for fuel. Thoughts?

Question by Green_Primus    |  last reply


i would like an idea on how to build a steam engine model for my grand son to do.?

Grandson is 7 and loves steam trains I would like to have instructions on how to build simple small one that works

Question by handsonclub    |  last reply


Can you check this design? Answered

On Aug 26 I posted an ask about a design of a new type of motor.  I received some good advices. Redesigned 02/10/12 The previous design had a major flaw, that went unnoticed at first but it became clear as I went into the construction of the prototype: the thermal barrier would be totally useless, because the steam produced in the boiler necessarily have to go through liquid water to make its way into the compression chamber. This would have two disabling consequences: 1) the vapor would cool quickly, 2) the water would heat up quickly, too. Since any heat engine operation is based on temperature differences, this failure is vital. The new design does not have that problem. The water falls directly into the hot boiler, a small amount at a time, with the piston in the upper dead point, or below (note that my drawing is reversed with respect to what would be a conventional combustion engine). The water is kept cold by being stored in a separate reservoir, attached to the motor body only by the inlet and outlet pipes. Water injection is performed by momentarily opening a valve at the appropriate time. Since the interior of the water reservoir accumulates pressure as the engine works, this pressure would be in principle the responsible to force the output water through the tap. If that's not enough, I could add a little manual compression pump to initially load the reservoir with compressed air. So once the Primus heaters worked, which were extremely useful for decades. The exact moment, quantity and duration of water injection should be adjustable during operation of the engine, to find the optimum point for these parameters. These mechanisms have not thought of yet, but they can not be too complicated. As regards the boiler, it is likely that one heated surface be insufficient to rapidly vaporize the water, since in these conditions it usually adopt a globular shape that greatly retards heat transfer (Leidenfrost effect, http://resnickscity.wordpress .com/2011/01/page/3 /, http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efecto_Leidenfrost, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leidenfrost_effect). I think that could be solved relatively easily by a double bottom to the boiler, in order to "force" the water into laminar contact with the hot surface. If this is insufficient, it would still be possible to inject the water by pressure between two heated surfaces. I have to also investigate the possibility of to make "super hydrophilic" the surface of the boiler. Regarding the compression chamber, this design makes it much longer, thus establishing a better differentiation between the bottom hot and top cold. But the main novelty is that the displacer stops acting on a small amount of water to turn acting, as in the Stirling engine, on the entire volume of the steam in the compression chamber. By forcing the steam to move towards the cold zone it produces its condensation, thereby changing the pressure by decompression, and so completing the cycle of the engine. The condensation water adheres to the cold walls of the chamber, then it slides down by gravity, and is intercepted midway by the retaining ring, which leads it back to the water reservoir through a single action valve, spring driven. I guess that to pass the water to the reservoir will be enough the vapor pressure that occurs in each cycle. The accompanying drawings are quite precarious, but only pretend to give a general idea of the design. Please ask me if you want more details ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nuevo diseño 02/10/12 El diseño anterior tenía una falla importante, que me pasó desapercibida al principio pero se hizo evidente a medida que avanzaba en la construcción del prototipo: la barrera térmica iba a resultar totalmente inútil, dado que el vapor producido dentro de la calderita tendría que atravesar forzosamente el agua líquida para abrirse camino hacia la cámara de compresión. Esto tendría dos consecuencias inhabilitantes: 1) el vapor se enfriaría rápidamente; 2) el agua se calentaría también rápidamente. Dado que el funcionamiento de cualquier máquina térmica se basa en las diferencias de temperatura, esta falla resultaba vital. El nuevo diseño no tiene ese problema. El agua cae directamente dentro de la caldera caliente, una pequeña cantidad por vez, estando el pistón en el punto muerto superior, o sea abajo (ojo, que mi dibujo está al revés respecto de lo que sería el de un motor a explosión convencional). El agua se mantiene fría, por estar guardada en un reservorio separado del motor, unido a él solo por los caños de entrada y salida. La inyección de agua se realiza mediante la apertura momentánea de un grifo en el momento oportuno. Dado que el interior del reservorio de agua acumula presión al funcionar el motor, esta presión sería en principio la encargada de impulsar la salida del agua a través del grifo. Si esto no fuera suficiente, habría que agregar una pequeña bomba manual de compresión para cargar inicialmente de aire comprimido el reservorio. Así funcionaban antiguamente los calentadores Primus, que fueron sumamente útiles durante décadas. El momento exacto, la cantidad y la duración de la inyección de agua deben ser regulables durante el funcionamiento del motor, para hallar el punto óptimo de esos parámetros. Esos mecanismos no lo he pensado todavía, pero no pueden ser demasiado complicados. Respecto de la caldera, es muy probable que una sola superficie recalentada sea insuficiente para vaporizar rápidamente el agua, dado que en esas condiciones esta suele adoptar una forma globular que retarda mucho la transferencia de calor (efecto Leidenfrost, http://resnickscity.wordpress.com/2011/01/page/3/, http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efecto_Leidenfrost, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leidenfrost_effect). Creo que eso podría solucionarse con relativa facilidad haciendo un doble fondo a la caldera, de manera de "obligar" al agua a establecer contacto laminar con la superficie caliente. Si esto fuera insuficiente, siempre quedaría la posibilidad de inyectar el agua a presión entre ambas superficies recalentadas. Tengo que investigar también la posibilidad de hacer "súper hidrófila" la superficie de la caldera. Respecto a la cámara de compresión, este diseño la hace mucho más larga, estableciendo así una mejor diferenciación entre la zona inferior, caliente, y la superior, fría. Pero la principal novedad es que el desplazador deja de actuar sobre una pequeña cantidad de agua para pasar a hacerlo, como en el motor de Stirling, sobre el volumen completo del vapor contenido en la cámara de compresión. Al obligar a este a desplazarse hacia la zona fría produce su condensación, cambiando así la presión por descompresión, y completando así el ciclo del motor. El agua de condensación se adhiere a las paredes frías de la cámara, resbala luego por gravedad hacia abajo, y es interceptada a mitad de camino por el anillo de retención, que la conduce nuevamente hacia el reservorio de agua a través de una válvula de simple acción, a resorte. Supongo que para hacer pasar el agua al reservorio será suficiente con la presión de vapor que se produce en cada ciclo. Los dibujos adjuntos son algo precarios, pero no pretenden más que dar una idea general del diseño. Por favor, pregúntenme si quieren más detalles.

Question by rimar2000    |  last reply


Why dont they use alcohol in closed system steam engines? Other than safety?

By closed system i mean constant mass of working fluid.  i.e. no steam leaving system, like an air conditioner. My point is that alcohol has a lower boiling point that water, (some kinds can boil from the heat of your hand!). SO other than the safety problem of alcohol being flamable, alcohol could operate with a lower heat input than water.    With the addition of a cold resivoir, the closed system alcohol steam engine could work right? Or why not use a refridgerant gas in a closed system steam engine cycle,? >Which would effectively absorb the heat input any ideas? addition*  I mean for use in any steam engine with a closed loop cycle, like the Rankin cycle   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rankine_cycle

Question by MechEngineerMike    |  last reply


I'm interested in steam power, and recently got the idea to built a steam powered car.

Where can I go to either buy or build a steam engine capable of powering a very light-weight vehicle? The cheaper the better.

Question by Lord Sinroyal    |  last reply


Anyone have blueprints or designs for a practical, full-size steam engine ?

A groups of friends and I (15 years old) are looking to re-create a steam engine to power a survey (we're thinking something along the lines of a steam-punk carriage powered by this steam engine)  we are designing. It does not have to be fast or very complex, just something to propel our vehicle forward. It must, though, be large enough to push at least three hundred pounds and operate for a good amount of time without needing to be refueled or tended to. After searching Instructables, I have found a ton of good steam engines, but they're all mini or meant for demonstrations. We need plans or ideas for a real, full-scale, functioning engine. Any advice, plans, or ideas someone has would be greatly appreciated!!!! Thank you all for your help, Carlinc   

Question by carlinc    |  last reply


Steam Fair and Eden Project photos.

Right, that's it for a while - I'm away on holiday tomorrow morning, a week in Devon.Beaches, buildings four times older than America, and the Eden Project.I may even get my kites flying! (Edit: No, I didn't. The beaches were too narrow, too crowded or too non-existent to fly from. The one decent beach we found for kiting (Slapton Sands) was windless the day we went) PhotosI've uploaded selected images to my Flickr account:http://www.flickr.com/photos/76333500@N00/sets/There are two sets there, the Steam Fair and the Eden project.Sorry, no stills of the Stirling engines (what was thinking??), just this video.

Topic by Kiteman    |  last reply


World Studies Project on Steam Power

I'm doing a project for school on Steam power... It's origins, it's applications, the reason it died out, the future...Blah blah blah. Along with that, I will be building some small working models, a hero engine, and a piutt putt boat. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for a beginner that would look nice and actually move? I have minimal building skills and funds, so i'm really looking for simple ideas. Thanks, James P.S. Any one realize the projectile potential of steam power? Real simple... Empty wine bottle, bit of water in bottle, cork it off...Need something more than tea candles i'd imagine...Could be fun! (I'm scaring my history teacher:D)

Topic by musicalbee2003    |  last reply


Any experience generating electricity with steam power for home use?

In my region, there is neither enough sunshine nor wind to be completely off the electric grid. I don't want to use a gas/diesel powered generator. However, there is plenty of timber waste to use as fuel. Has anyone used a small steam engine - such as one for a steam powered car - to generate electricity?

Question by LEOTAOFKS    |  last reply


How do you make a Sterling engine with cans? Answered

I saw a video of one before and have my doubts as to whether it was even authentic. Is it really possible?

Question    |  last reply


Could I build a giant magnifying glass? (And maybe incorporate it into a steam engine?)

Optics are fun, and so following that logic, scaled up optics should be even more fun. And so this leads us to: How do I build a giant magnifying glass?The sun has a lot of power, and I want to harness that energy, and try out a few things, including the interesting prospect of using it to power a steam engine. (Heat up something, run water over it, and run the steam through a turbine).Several methods have come to mind, including: acrylic, freezing some water in specially-shaped bowls, and sandwiching water (which has a slightly higher refractive index than ice) between two parabolic pieces of plastic. I'm personally concentrating on the last one, as it would be more permanent than the ice.Just thought this up: freezing a lens, and then coating it with something immediately so that it will stay once it melts. What do we have that is clear, dries quickly, and readily available?Does anybody else have experience with this?UPDATE: Some relevant links...An ideal result.Parabolic mirrors are another possibility, but I'm still more interested in a lens.Where a lot of this sprang from.Indices of refraction. Is it Indices or Indexes?Hmmm....

Topic by carbon    |  last reply


i want to make a double piston steam engine to drive a toy car/truck/tank. how can i do that? Answered

Hi my name's Scott I made steam boats with my father for the bath when i was younger(the simple syrup tin with holes, a candle and of course water.) and now since i taken time off from school i need something practical and educational to do. I wish to make a steam powered toy r/c car approx. size of xbox 360. I not going to worry about the r/c just yet. I've seen instructables on making steam powered toys but they were all ready made steam engines, i would much prefer to have satisfaction of being able to say i made most of that with the assistance of the more intelligent of my species here on instructables. thanks

Question by Scotty3000    |  last reply


Commercial Steam Powered iPod (USB) Charger: Poll

I am interested to see how many people would buy a steam powered iPod or USB charger. It would come with a boiler, engine and generator, as well as a USB charger with interchangeable fuses ext for different voltage. Please Reply to let me know what you think A kickstarter campaign may follow if there is enough hype. If anybody knows a website for polls or surveys, please let me know.

Topic by Mutant Tortoise    |  last reply


i would like to creat a large steam engine, big enough to power a vehicle made of bikes that seats 3.

The vehicle would be pedaled until some speed was reached, then the engine would be switched on. the bike contraption would consist of two bikes side by side, held together by lumber. two of the seats would be mounted in the bikes original seat holes, on the side, and the third would be in the middle, the driver. the front wheels of the side bikes would be removed and he front end of a third will be used in the front. the vehicle will be like a giant, steam powered tricycle. Other engine ideas, other than gas powered, would be greatly appreciated, the cheaper the better.

Question by poozipotti    |  last reply


can i use the principle of Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to create a very efficient Flywheel?

Can i use the principle of Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to create a very efficient Flywheel? By this i mean, could i use the idea of a wheel with springs and weights that changes its moment of inertia at different angular velocities, to make a flywheel that would keep my small engine turning at top effieiency? This could be used in addition to, or to replace a standard flywheel. It would be for a custom built steam engine. All dimensions, everything custom, so anything is possible here. If you think this idea would or would not work, let me know! thanks

Question by MechEngineerMike    |  last reply


i need help finding a suitable gearbox and clutch!

I am trying to make a somewhat small steam engine car or tank and i need to find a gearbox(preferably one i can fit a 5/16 shaft into) that i would like to have metal gears but it doesnt have to be. also the steam engine is low rpm(around 100 rpm) ive looked all over the internet and all i could find are ones for small electric motors with high rpm. the cluthc isnt nescesary but it would be nice. if you have any plans or anything helpfull i would greatly apreciate it.

Question by myakka    |  last reply


Kairah's Knex Train V01 [T.N.K.I.T. Entry]

Here is my entry for the T.N.K.I.T. A huge K'nex locomotive. Including whistles, seats, a passengers cabin, drivers cabin and a (moving) cloud of steam coming from the top! It uses the Trekker engine and rides on the old rollercoaster track.

Topic by Kairah    |  last reply


Is there a Maker project bigger than this?

I've just come across an incredible engineering project - workshops around the UK are working together to build a brand new Patriot Class steam loco, from scratch. They're working to keep it as close to the original design from between the Wars as modern laws and bridge-heights allow. Why is this project important?  The Patriot class was named and created in honour of the railway employees who fell in the Great War.  The class became very successful, but, unfortunately, every example was scrapped in the change from steam to diesel. This project will be an engine that will be a National Memorial, and is being backed by the Royal British Legion, and the aim is to get the loco finished and certified for main-line running by the centenary of the Armistice in 2018. To find out more, visit their website (below), and share the project with as many people as you can. http://www.lms-patriot.org.uk/

Topic by Kiteman  


KnowHow goes to Maker Faire

Tim Anderson takes us on a tour of Maker Faire 2007. See The Haul, a self-propelled victorian house with a steam engine, learn to run a gasoline engine on coffee grounds or anything that burns, see a robot pull a chariot, etc etc.Do you like it? Digg it!.

Topic by TimAnderson    |  last reply


3X Gasoline Engines Sniff Vapors and Burn Water

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? How can water possibly be turned into a useful fuel by just burning it? Sure we can use hydrolysis to separate water into its hydrogen and oxygen gases, and then burn the hydrogen gas as fuel, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Believe it or not, jet engines do it, they have used water to enhance engine thrust, so why not have IC-engines do the same thing? There’s a catch here, since only vapo-engines (  http://goo.gl/QQ42k ) are capable of performing this trick successfully, they must first be introduced into the design mix. Since IC-vapo-engines burn very effectively they run hot, and water would be used as a better alternative than injecting extra wasteful fuel to cool down the engine as is done in today’s engine to prevent knocking. Why don’t we just inject water in today’s engines you ask?  Because they run so poorly already, that the water would extinguish the IC-combustion process. In technical jargon this is known as the ability for an engine to burn lean with an air-to-fuel ratio greater than ~15. Today’s engines can’t sustain a leaner combustion than ~22  without extinguishing themselves. By adding water droplets we further increase this ratio to unsustainable conditions. Unfortunately, this wasteful, richer burning keeps the engine running better by keeping the fuel cooler. In contrast, our vapo-engine is capable of burning unbelievably lean ratios of ~30+. Lean combustion means almost no pollutants and virtually green combustion exhaust products of only CO2 and water. No catalytic converters necessary here, as opposed to running today’s rich engines with their unavoidable polluting exhaust emissions and heavy reliance on catalytic converters. So the irony here is that since IC-engines already run ratty, let’s waste a little more fuel and run richer just to cool down the engine. This prevents engine knocking (the dieseling of an engine due to unwanted, poorly timed, premature combustion) which occurs from the pitiful amount of fuel that does vaporize and burn correctly. Sadly, engineers have cleverly learned to waste fuel for the sole purpose of keeping our IC-engines cool, above and beyond the engine’s normal water cooling system. It gets even better, as the richer the engine runs the more we need to rely on expensive catalytic converters to keep exhaust emissions in check!  Vapo-engines also require cooling, even more than today’s engines, but their advantage is the capability to burn very lean. So instead of ridiculously injecting extra fuel to cool them, like today’s engines, we inject water droplets mixed in with the injected fuel vapor. The water droplets perform three functions; 1) they reduce excess fuel consumption, 2) they cool the engine walls to prevent pre-ignition and knocking which provides better combustion, and 3) they enhance the fuel-vapor detonation force created on the piston from the expanding superheated steam which further helps engine performance. So in a way we are burning the water to generate steam power like a locomotive.   

Topic by RT-101    |  last reply


How simple would it be to generate electricity on my model steam vehicle? Answered

I'm in the process of designing a steam powered vehicle could be tank or truck depending on how it performs with tracks. I aim to have a fully remote control tank with active flame throwers and spotlights, other additions may came later. To power the RC gear I'm happy to use battery but i would like to be able to power the spotlight which will just be LED via the engine which is going to be 4 single action pistons though i could get more (i lack the materials and tools to make a tidy double acting cylinder.) they opposed and in V formation. The size of the vehicle is gonna be roughly a foot wide, 0.5 feet tall and 2-2.5feet long. I want to know how i could do it if its possible so i know how much more i need to add to produce the electricity. thank you.

Question by Scotty3000    |  last reply


Steampunk motorcycles

From The Kneeslider:Steampunk is all about the design and very little concerned with added (or lost) function but some of it would be neat if it worked half as well as you wish it would.That's about my take on it; my aesthetic sense says "ooh, shiny" and "mmm, leather" and "lovely scrollwork there, that would be fun to make" and my engineer side says "but...but...shouldn't those gears be doing something?" In any case, The Kneeslider has a piece on steampunk motorcycles, including the Hubbard Steamcycle, which may eventually actually run on steam, and a German bike that's a one-cylinder, 1440 cc machine with a shovel for a seat. Several other steampunk (or even steam-engine) bikes are mentioned in the comment section, as well. The 1908 Field Steam Bike includes "To progress gently move cut off lever and PRAY" as step 10 of the startup procedure, and this sleek little machine would be perfect for any aspiring steampunk supervillain. And from the nigh-venerable Steampunk Workshop, a piece on Tom Sepe's Whirlygig Emoto, a beautifully-crafted "electric-steam hybrid motorcycle."

Topic by reno_dakota    |  last reply


Instructables Podcast 002: A Lot of Pressure, and a Sharp Tug

Welcome to our second episode! Would you like some advice on a project your working on? Perhaps you'd like a few ideas from a new source? You can comment here or email us at howdoi@instructables.com In this episode we discuss some of the projects we're working on, take care of some more housekeeping, and do a bit of brainstorming! Enjoy the episode and enjoy the resources! You can listen to or download the episode below, listen over at archive.org or check it out at our homepage: download Resources: From our Builds: -Learning Electronics: littleBits, Snap Circuits and LogicBlocks. -How to build a food dehydrator 3D Modeling: -Jake's instructable on building his action figure -Find 3D models: 123D, Thingiverse, Blender -Create 3D models: 123D, SketchUp Books and such: -Awesome Prop Building Forum -David J. Gingery: Build your own Metal Working Shop from Scratch -O'Reilly and Make -Kenn Amdahl: There Are No Electrons: Electronics For Earthlings Other: -Chainsaw bike Sharp Tugs: -Hammer on a revolver: From How Stuff Works, scroll down to "How Revolves Work" and click on the flash animation -Bass drum pedal -Rubber band gun -Mini Crossbow (thank you again How Stuff Works) Steam Power: -Steampunk Motorcycle -Very basic guide to steam engines -Tesla Turbine -Tea Pot Steam Engine (click on "How Steam Engines Work" for pdf) -Pop Pop Boat (also, I know what I'm getting Jake for his next birthday) If you'd like us to discuss one of your questions, please email us at howdoi@instructables.com or comment below.

Topic by StumpChunkman    |  last reply


DIY Edge-Lit Display, Lynne Bruning, Digital Holga Lens

DIY Edge-Lit Display Featured Author: Lynne Bruning Digital Holga Lens Filtered Pet Water Bowl A Simple Steam Engine USB Dongle Waveguide Unique String Art Paracord Earbud Sleave Father's Day Make a Cross from a Coin Wind Turbine from Scrap Wireless Hexapod Robot USB Tester Arduino 3-Axis CNC Wiring Building a Better Stirling Engine

Topic by randofo  


can someone look at this (simple) electricicity generation proposal and give me some tips. (with pictures)?

I want to use the wallpaper stripper for the prototype and if it works replace it with a combined heat, cooking, hot water system. Will adding the hydro have an advantage. the main reasoning behind this is using steam but not in a closed system as I dont have the engineering skills to mess about with high pressure steam. Any input is really appriciated. i have wasted enough time making things that will never be effective before finding instructables.

Question by mrgre99    |  last reply


Some cool, creative and simple idea's needed!

Hey people, i want to do some expiriments for school with a other dude, we want to do some simple things with, steam, max 12v electro and some more creative things! do you guys have some ideas that we can do?! we alredy want to make a hero engine and maybe the minifrig (USB) bb

Topic by mingus15    |  last reply


Team Fortress 2 anyone?

 Hello! there is a FREE copy of team fortress 2 up for grabs! just leave a comment. I will not ask you for any personal details (if you have a steam account) if you don't have a steam account, then I'll only need your email. if you are one of my subscribers, then you get priority over the non subscribers. (of course click subscribe and you are the first person, then you get priority! then it boils down to who will offer me more stuff such as 5star rating, other subscriptions from you own subscribers, patches, etc.)  now you may want to know why I am doing this. for my birthday present, a user on this site sent me a gift copy of TF2 on steam. he had bought the game a few months before, and it had came with a gift pass. (a full version of the game sent for free due to masses of sales. ) then, as it was still selling so well, I managed to obtain a gift pass for it. but I have noone to give it to. well thats that, and I do not own any of the stuff here, (except for the gift pass) I did not create TF2, I only play it. and to all of you geeks, then this is not an illegal copy, its fully licensed. Thanks for reading, and LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU ARE INTERESTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Topic by ~Aeronous~    |  last reply


PDF files often corrupted

Many times the PDF files that come from instructables will not open. I kept some of these to try and repair with various PDF fixer programs. They all fail, with one program reporting that there is an error reading the “XREF Table” of these files. Some of the files that fail are: A-Simple-Steam-Engine-Anyone-Can-Build.pdf Build-a-Better-Stirling-Engine.pdf Rechargeable-flashlight-without-batteries.pdf Wood-stove-made-from-scrap.pdf I don’t need a response... just thought you may want to know. ~Bob~

Topic by ShutterBugger    |  last reply


Lute making problems?

In my engineering class in high school I am being tasked to create a lute as a final senior project. I have done some research in to making a lute and have found a lute CAD generator which has helped me so much I'll be using a CNC to create most of the parts. The issues I'm running into currently are: what thickness and type of wood should i use for the body creation, and how should is keep the wood i place after its steamed and formed?  thank you 

Question by Travpena    |  last reply


Has anyone used Rustguy or zero-rust converter products?

I am looking for a fast and easy product for my volunteers to use on a steam engine that is being restored and wondered if these products are any good and worth the $$$ they charge? These products seem to be an improvement over the gloping on of the Naval Jelly and hundreds of man hours of wire brushing and sanding, priming and painting... Just wanted to know from an outside source if these are good and effective so I can recommend them to the Board of Directors and not end up looking like a jerk... They already think I don't know much because I'm younger and a girl! For example, I am still trying to convince them that the engines on static display would look nicer for longer if they used an epoxy based paint instead of exterior house paint! I appreciate any thoughts you have on the two products listed, if you know anything about them! Thanks!

Question by ALMOSTATILLSON    |  last reply


Solar incineration of biomass for increased energy?

Hi. I'm prototyping a solar energy system which basically collects, concentrates, and transports raw solar energy, and I'm thinking of various applications for it. My main interest is in water purification, but electricity is an obvious one as well, which means steam or, preferably, stirling engine generation. So say I had six square meters of sunlight concetrated into a light pipe and filling an insulated chamber. WIth losses that's going to be at least 5 kiloWatts of power, which is quite a bit and would run an engine pretty well. But what if you had some kind of combustable material in the chamber, like waste organic matter? It would burn, obviously, and release extra energy. And with the chamber full of extra heat largely in the form of light, I'm thinking you'd get a very efficient combustion of the matter and some ammount of the smoke. So, does anyone know if this would be worthwhile? Would the extra energy gained make it worth it? What would the emissions be, compared with just setting fire to it all? What happens to carbon at these kinds of temperatures? etc. Cheers!

Topic by SolarFlower_org    |  last reply


Which Projects should I instructablize?

       Complete, yet undocumented: 1 Hero Steam Engine 2 Ice Bullet 3 Heated side mirrors (truck) 4 Camera launched from cannon 5 Easy ways to connect batteries without the "proper" battery case. 6 Disconnect anti-lock brake circuit when they start acting like it's icy even on dry pavement. 7 Bicycle turns a car alternator, generates power. 8 Firestarting reflector from space-blanket. 9 Modify an off-the-shelf night light which is designed to light when A) smoke alarm beeps  B) It's dark. I only wanted light when smoke alarm goes off. 10 Home-made rocket engine. 11 Augment gasoline with propane when auto fuel pump is crapping out. 12 Adapt lawnmower to cut very tall grass 13 Non slip surface for ramp. 14 Apple picker.                     Some of these I still have around. Some, not.  Yet I might be able to dig up pics, or do line drawings + writeup.  I numbered em to make it easy to reference items.

Topic by Toga_Dan    |  last reply


Help! Thermo Electric Generator

Just wondering if any of you knowledgable folk can help me out. Of late I have experimenting with solar cells and energy production. I have been calculating some interesting results, many of which due to the use of lenses, magnification and mirrors etc. Alas this has led to more that on fried solar cell due to the temperatures im dealing with. Is there any practical way to obtain/construct a Thermo electric generator as pictured? I have spent some time with my friend Google, leaving me with little more than the notion that perhaps this technology is out of reach of the home experimentor. Think giant light cannon that can melt pennies. How can I harness this heat directly as apposed to, going the boiler/steam powered engine method?

Topic by Lftndbt    |  last reply


Light controlled wildlife feeder

I want to create a box where the lid opens up based on ambient light. Basically the lid closes at night and is open during the day. It will be a wildlife feeder that deters (nocturnal) raccoons from eating all of the feed but allows daytime wildlife to feast heartily. Is arduino the correct setup. My basic design is to have a linear actuator opening the lid but was also considering a crank type system (similar to a steam engine drive wheel). I need to either be able to control how long the actuator extends when enough light is present and reverse the action when not enough light is present or turn a servo motor with a crank a certain distance. Id prefer to use the actuator since the lid will be about 10Lbs and will need to extend about 10”. Is this possible? if so, how hard would it be for a newbe be to program? Thanks in advance for the advice!!! Ive attached a crude drawing.

Topic by tincupchalice    |  last reply


Project VR6

Hello all, thought id share my progress of my 97' VW Golf mk3 VR6 2.8 to create some discussion and VAG banter. I brought her completly standard and wanted to build a real sleeper for road use and track use that is fast, practical for everyday use and safe for the family. When I got her back in 2009 she was a standard vr6 nothing really special just a well looked after example Firstly I gave her a good clean inside and out along with a service.......and by clean i mean really cleaning, shampoo the carpet, treat the leather, clean out the heater units, remove and shampoo the roof lining, polish and resin the paint, de greese and steam clean the engine bay to name some of the bits ive done. The result was a very clean base "template" Once all was clean and I could see areas for imporvement I began the work, replacing all the bushes, front and rear lower arms, brake lines, discs, calipers, exhaust were the easy steps When it came to the engine itself I did not want to mess about with it too much just improve the BHP and general running of the car as 174bhp from a 2.8 VR6 is shocking. So removed the engine and re conditioned the gearbox and clutch. While this was out I thought it best to also do the pull chain not a big job but much easier with everything out, once back in I still was not finished.... After giving the engine a full service with new plugs, leads, coil pack, oil change, rocker cover, inlet manifold, seals, upgraded air filter I decided to get the car chipped to see what BHP could be pulled out of her. Happy to say with all that work she was running on the first dyno 192bhp a massive improvement from standard 174bhp and all that from just replacing and upgrading some standard old parts with more expensive performance parts. Once the Chip was installed and the guys at the tuning store had done their works she was happily chucking out 216.4BHP With that I was more than happy and the work put in over the 6month period really showed. I then decided to have all but bumpers colour coded and did a few minor tweeks to the exterious to make her a clean standard example... I will add a full list of specs and work done soon, enjoy the pics feedback welcome

Topic by Jedi_zombie85    |  last reply


Fuel economy of the world's longest in-service ship

The Emma Maersk is the second longest ship in the world, and the longest currently in service. It's so large, it looks photoshopped into any picture it appears. Driving such a large ship requires a lot of power. From Wikipedia:The Emma Maersk is powered by a Wartsila-Sulzer 14RTFLEX96-C engine, currently the world's largest single diesel unit, weighing 2,300 tons and capable of 109,000 horsepower (82 MW). The ship has several features to protect the environment. This includes recycling the exhaust, mixed with fresh air, back into the engine for reuse. This not only increases efficiency by as much as 12% but also reduces engine emissions. Instead of biocides, used by much of the industry to keep barnacles off of the hull, a special silicone-based paint is used. This increases the ship's efficiency by reducing drag while also protecting the ocean from biocides that may leak. The silicone paint covering the part of the hull below the waterline is credited for lowering the water drag enough to save 1200 tons of fuel per year.We started talking about energy consumption after watching a practice version of Saul's upcoming E-Tech Keynote, Energy Literacy, and Dave Culp of Kiteship and Speed Sailing did a back-of-the-envelope MPG calculation for this ship:A few more facts about Emma Maersk:Running at her rated 80 Mw, her main engines burn 14 tons of residual fuel each hour. Annually, that's 97,400 tons of fuel. Her auxiliaries, delivering their full 30 Mw, burn an additional 6.6 tons/hour, for a total fuel burn of 20.6 tons/hour. Given 290 steaming days/year (80% capacity factor, which is conservative), this yields a total annual usage of 143,400 tons or about $64.5 million in annual fuel costs.Burning 20.6 tons/hour = 6724 gals/hour. At 31 kts/hour, this equals .0046 nautical miles/gallon. At 6076 ft/nautical mile, that's 28 feet/gallon of fuel burned.The 1200 tons saved by her "revolutionary" bottom paint represents a bit less than 1% of this cost, so increases her fuel mileage to 28.2 feet/gallon.Dave concludes:You gotta haul a lot of containers full of $7 tee shirts to make this profitable.28 feet/gallon!Images from jtashipphoto.dk and Wikipedia.

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply


Two Hands Project First Flight

And we're off!At 3:30 this morning I began making the WOD's [waffles of departure] and gathered my friends. This was it, I was having my goodbye breakfast. We sat around a giant LED display that was playing tetris on autopilot like we were at a sports bar and called the AI engine out on it's bad plays. Choice is the name of the game in AI, how do you make the optimal choices with limited knowledge about the present and doubt about the future?I drank my cocoa considering the choices I've made to hit the skies and shoot a documentary on hackerspaces, and it filled me with exhilaration. What could be more critical than doing something that gives you the energy to do the thing you want to be doing? There has to be this ignition point to push the chooser into action, creating this snowball of awesome gathering steam as it goes downhill. Rather than chilling with Sysiphus on his uphill downhill journey. Feeling energized, feeling pumped, I called my friends around me and we ate to good health and poured generous libations of yogurt smoothie [Spilled the contents of the blender on the floor].

Topic by lamedust  


Awesome, fun ideas to use my brass tubing? Answered

Hi I was going to make a steam engine so i brought some brass tube and tried to join the local metalworking club so i would have access to their knowledge and tools as i have none myself. The committee of this club are having issues and not accepting new members for 12months which disappointed so i have brass tube 1/2in 0.14mm it says on the sticker and I'm kinda impatient so i wondered if you guys had ideas of what i could do. 2 tubes about 25cm long. I've been thinking about what to do when my town is invaded (the street lights are off every other week and reports of shady characters near power station lately) A self defense tool, survival tool? Usually I'm creative but people having holidays at work mean i work 10hours a day 6 in morning 5 in evening. It drains you split shifts as you see in my maths fail. Anyway, i appreciate your ideas. Thank you

Question by Scotty3000    |  last reply


Solar Power Towers Efficiently Using Brayton Cycle

I want to point out a solar to electric generation concept that has yet to be seen anywhere, even though it originated back during the Carter Administration's ERDA programs of the late 70's. I’m talking about solar power towers that convert solar energy into electricity at the hundreds of mega-watt level. While power towers do exist today, and the world currently does have a handful of them as shown in Fig-1, none use the Brayton Cycle nor can they boast an energy conversion efficiency at the mid to upper thirty percent level.  A group of engineers got together at a think tank organization called Sanders Associates in Nashua, N.H., several decades ago, and designed a unique Brayton Cycle, 100 MW solar Power Tower concept for generating electricity. This was accomplished under ERDA (Energy Research Development Administration) who gave us a phase-2 follow-up contract that took our phase-1 design and built a working scale model at the 10 KW level. This model was tested at the Georgia Tech Solar Research Facility and "registered" ~37% electric solar conversion efficiency. The system used ambient air as its working fluid, and was to be located in open-spaced desert regions. Phase-2 was lost to competition using a closed-loop liquid sodium system that boiled water into superheated steam at 900F to run a turbine that generated ~21% overall electric conversion efficiency.  Apparently, at that time ERDA would rather haul water out to the desert than use ambient air to generate electricity? The politics of their decision is beyond reason and clashes with improving the world’s development of green technology energy.  ERDA shut out our better technological performer and safely locked it away for another day! ERDA's official reason for turning us down: "this technology uses excessively high temperatures (2500F versus 900F) that are dangerous to workman maintaining the equipment". But that was back in the 70’s, maybe we’ve learned to deal with high-temp heat by now?   Solar Energy Concept Using Low Pressure Storage Our solar power tower would collect the sun’s energy by locating its ceramic heat exchanger on top of a tall tower as shown in Fig-1. The tower was located in the center of a field of active sun-searching mirrors (heliostats, Figure-2). These mirrors reflected sunlight onto our ceramic honeycomb heat exchanger, producing a concentrated flux intensity level that heated it to around 2500F. At the same time, low pressure fans generating only a few psi pressure would suck the ambient air through the honeycomb, heating it to just under the 2500F and then passing it through energy storage silos which stored the heat down to ~150F. We purposely designed the energy storage charging phase of our hot air system to work at only a few psi above ambient as a safety feature. The sun effectively acts as the combustor of our jet engine or Brayton cycle engine. Once the sun heats the air, it passes through heat exchangers consisting of a labyrinth of underground silos that are temperature segregated. These silos receive our 2300F airflow and cool it down to about 150F, transferring this heat into solid salt containers which turn to liquid once they have absorbed sufficient heat. Figure-3 is a schematic of this underground energy storage facility and shows the airflow being heated by a fully charged set of silos containing liquid salt-bricks. This airflow direction is reversed when we charge the silo’s salt-bricks. The bricks are kept in specially insulated, high pressure silos (located underground for added insulation) that store the heat energy at one atmosphere for later use. These underground silos act as our energy storage batteries, and when needed would discharge their heat energy accordingly into the moving airflow. This energy storage concept permitted the generation of electricity at night and during overcast days. Two sets of storage systems are required for continuous operation. One would be charging at low pressure while the other is discharging at high pressure through the Brayton engine to generate electricity.   Electric Energy Generation at High Pressure Electricity would be created by turning an electric generator at high speed. The generator was turned by running a jet engine connected to it.  The engine’s combustor for heating the air is effectively the sun, hence the name Brayton cycle for generating our solar electricity (Figure-4). The heat from the molten salt containers would increase the energy of the high pressure air coming from the compressor, and would then force it through a typical turbine that turns this energy into high rotational speed to run the generator and make electricity. Our solar jet engine sucks in ambient air using its compressor, as all jet engines do, and blows it through a series of silos at high pressure whose stacked bricks are held at different temperature levels. We start our airflow through a silo held as low as 150F and work our way up to ~2300F as we pass through our last, hottest silo which acts to complete the effective solar combustion process. This air preheating technique dramatically improves our energy turnover capability and allowed us to convert solar energy into electricity at near 37% efficiency. During our electric energy generation phase, the silos of our Brayton system requires operating at many atmospheres of pressure just as in any jet engine combustor using petroleum-based JP-fuel.      

Topic by RT-101    |  last reply


I need a circuit to run a tiny motor from a USB port? Answered

I made a leather "Steam Punk" case for a portable hard drive. It has several gears that show under a glass porthole and I need a way to move the gears powered from a second USB cable. I'll use a separate USB cable then the Hard drive as I don't want to compromise the original device. I have a very small motor from some Radio Shack ZipZap RC cars. Tried to design a simple circuit myself but can't get the motor to spin. I suspect it doesn't have enough current. The motor does spin if hooked directly to a AA batery. The ZipZaps work with 2 AAA bateries in the charger/controller. The car hooks on top of the controller charges up and then can run for a short time. Opening the car up it has a 1.2 V 100mAh NI-MH battery inside it. Tried looking at a couple of BEAM robot solar engine designs used to run small motors from solar cells but just coudn't figure out how to convert them. I'm looking for a small circuit (in size) that could drive this motor, with a backwards current spike protector so the USB or computer doesn't get fried. I have limited EE experience but can through hole solder but not surface mount. -Steve

Question by nevets_mcd    |  last reply


Escape from Berkeley

DARPA had a Grand Challenge. . . the rednecks a Cannonball Run. . . and the hippies a bunch of WVO buses broken down on the side of the road. Now, NASA scientists and junkyard fabricators go head-to-head in a no holds barred battle of engineering prowess and creative excess. Hanging somewhat in the balance, are bragging rights for saving the world. That, and a grand prize of $5,000.Escape From Berkeley is a road rally taking place this October, from Berkeley CA to Las Vegas NV, which is open only to alternatively fueled vehicles. It's being put on by The Shipyard, "A collaborative build space for Art and Energy". There are eight vehicles already registered, most of which are using some variation of gasification of scrap biomass as their fuel. It is open to any vehicle meeting the alt fuel requirement that can get to Berkeley by October.This weekend they are having an Open Shop Weekend wherein registrants can work on their vehicles, also potential registrants with potential vehicles, also various interested parties and hangers-on. If the idea of getting a car to go from Berkeley to Vegas using nothing but coffee grounds appeals to you, this is your kind of road rally!Images are of "Kristie's Flyer", a steam-powered runabout associated with the Neverwas Haul, and "Hooker Cooker" which I know nothing about but had an interesting picture. More info is available at the Escape From Berkeley site on the Vehicles page.

Topic by rachel  


"Ride" by Michael Cooper - My Favorite Thing From the Maker Faire

This was, by far, my favorite thing at the 2008 Maker Faire. From Make's Description:Ride is a custom single rider helicopter with eight engines conceived & created by sculptor, Michael Cooper. It looks like more like a time machine invented by Dr. Seuss for George Jetson than anything you've seen in the air (or on land) recently.Michael Cooper is a sculptor who combines wood, metal, kinetics and mechanics with a twisted imagination resulting in beautiful, unique works of art that roll, spin, hop, contort and make people laugh while simultaneously scratching their heads. After 34 years as an art instructor at Foothill and DeAnza Colleges, he has now "retired" to his studio in Sebastopol where he spends his days devoted to sculpting, inventing and pushing the boundaries of form and function with a heavy does of humor.I know the pictures don't do it justice, and it's really hard to see everything, but take a long look and answer this question before you continue: Do you think it does/could fly? (Scroll down below the line and look at the pictures.)... did you look at the pictures first?There are so many reasons why it can't fly that I won't bother to discuss them here. However, the truly fascinating thing I liked so much was standing around Ride and listening to the conversations, and particularly watching its creator stage-manage the discussion. Lots of people wanted to discuss why they thought it could or couldn't fly - remember that this was the Maker Faire, so lots people here were builders or tinkerers (or at least thought of themselves as such). There were half-hour long heated debates about the tiniest of minutiae -- fuel line diameters and spiral exhaust ports, for example.Periodically, someone would gain the courage to think about the system as a whole and would approach the creator to ask, "So it flies, right?" He'd answer truthfully enough by saying, "Well, it's not done yet," and then launch into a detail, like the difficulty in synchronizing 8 engines; this would get the whole group rolling again. Later Saturday evening, when most of the kids had gone home and everyone else was outside listening to a band, a group of particularly crotchety old tinkerer-types were showing off their smarts and trying to outwit each other. After one onlooker had finished with his unnecessarily loud pronouncement of "based on my extensive experience building 1/6th-scale steam locomotive engines, I absolutely sure it can fly," another of the group tentatively approached the creator, and asked the inevitable question.Michael Cooper took his cue, dodged, and redirected into a discussion of how the transmission linking the 8 engines to the propellor was open, and the first time he ran it, he was probably going to get covered in grease. I burst out laughing.After they were all rolling again on how many cubic feet of compressed air the vehicle should optimally carry for its four pneumatic lifter feet, I quietly asked Michael how many people "got it" and how many people asked if it could fly. He confided that I was very much in the minority. Further, he got a big kick out of removing his name tag, and listening in to the can-it-fly conversations, too.I really hope I get a change one day to work with Michael Cooper to design and build a gorgeous Ride-like vehicle for me, so I get the chance to answer the question, "So, does it really fly?"

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply