Gas Engine Magazine

Model Hot Air Engines Of Wood

By Staff

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

  • Published on Aug 1, 1988
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