Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stirling's First

Having built a number of Hot Air Engines over the years, both scale and generic, I decided it would be interesting to build a scale model patterened after Robert Stirling's first engine patented in 1816 and built in 1818. It was used to pump water out of a rock quarry. There are no pictures of the actual engine and the illustrations found in a number of books were drawn from the patent drawings. Models have been built of this engine, but I have never seen any plans of such, so I proceeded to draw up my own.
In addition to working up the linkage mechanism, I had to accommodate the materials that were on hand. Simply something that most model makers do anyway.
There were concerns if it would even run because the timing was somewhat different that most hot air engines and not not too much could be done to change it and still look like the illustration.

When it was to a point where the engine part was complete, heat was applied to the hot end with a small Butane torch, and as soon as it was heated sufficiently it ran beautifully.
Being satisfied with the initial test, construction proceeded until it was finished and placed on display, as seen in the first two pictures.