Model Hot Air Engines Of Wood

Hot Air Engines

First engine: 18' long x 18' high, with 8' flywheel.

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Sr.307 S. Clinton Avenue, Saint Johns, Michigan, 48879

My interest in hot air engines started the summer of 1986 while showing my gas engines at a show in Northern Michigan in June.

A nice old man across from me had a hot air engine made mostly of wood. I couldn't help being fascinated by it and wishing I had one too. It ran all day with very little being done to it.

In September, 1987, I met him again at another gas engine show but this time he had two of them just alike. I looked them over better while he explained how they worked. I took some pictures while he encouraged me to build one. I got some directions from him for putting one together.

It seemed difficult at first but, after considerable spare time and effort, I finished it. I was surprised how easy it was to get it started the day I first tried to run it. I was quite pleased with what I had done. I didn't use very good wood for the first one which had only one flywheel cut out of plywood.

I soon started planning another one made with two flywheels and better wood to look more like a hit and miss type.

It uses the hot air principle for power but sounds more like an old sewing machine. All the materials are easy to get and inexpensive too. I use a small alcohol lamp to supply the heat. It runs rather slow, about 120-150 RPMs. It's easy to start and operate and clean to handle. It uses the old style walking beam which goes back to the earliest of engines.

This has been the perfect winter time project for me. Now I will have something to show that is a real eye catcher and few others will have in their collection. I also have some model steam engines that I run on compressed air.

I have attended shows in three states and enjoy every minute of it!