Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Build a Simple Can Stirling Engine in a Few Steps

The present Can Stirling Engine is a real simple and useful device. At the table of needed things we only have to list some easy to get components for this device. First of all you will need an empty can, a wood board and a balloon.

This engine was proposed by Mr. Saburo Tsucchida, teacher at the Kasukabe technical high school.

Step 1 is about gathering the needed things and building the structure for the device. To build up your engine you will need a 10 mm thick wood board, some 10 mm thick balsa wood, wire that has the diameter of 1,5 mm, a balloon, a fishing thread, 5 mm square lumber, a paper clip, two pieces of thumbtacks, some clay, an empty steel can of 200 ml, a candle, a cardboard, some nails or wood screws. In the end you might also need some rubber bands for sticking things together.
You will also have to use some cutting pliers, a pair of scissors, glue that sticks on wood surfaces and dries quickly, a saw, an also some machine oil.

On this picture you can see the easy structure of the engine, which should be no problem for you to build. The framing of the engine is made out of wood panels, a can cylinder, a wire crank shaft, and at last a rubber balloon used as a diaphragm. You can easily find these materials lying around your house or you can purchase them from your local hardware store. Also notice on the picture that the we use fishing thread to connect the crankshaft to the piston made out of wood.

Step 2 tells us how should we set up the wood board and what shapes should we cut. Counting them all together you need 5 boards. First of all you need two boards to make the sides, the can will be fixed on another two boards, and you need one board to manufacture the bottom of the device. All of these boards should have a thickness of 10 mms. The holes that you are drilling for the crank to fit in will have to be bigger so friction between the parts will be reduced to the minimum.

Step 3 is all about building the piston out of wood. Cut out the needed pieces out of the balsa wood and position them so they are fitting together nicely. Here you have to use glue that sticks wooden surfaces together. By using glue that dries quickly put a piece of fishing line into the middle of the piston.

Be careful with the steel can you are using, based on its measurements, you should be using pieces of wood that will be surrounding the can nicely. The above presented measurements are good, if you are using a can with a diameter of 50 mms, and the height of the can at around 100 mms. Also count some space for the clearance as well which has to be another 2 or 3 mms.

Step 4 tells us how to set up the balloon diaphragm. This is real simple, you just need a rubber balloon for this and some pieces of cardboard. In the beginning you have to cut the balloon and reinforce some parts of it by using pieces of cardboard. Than make a hole in the exact middle of the diaphragm, and be careful to make this a tight one, because we do not need a large hole here. After the whole is made take the fishing thread and pass it through the hole.

Step 5 tells us how to manufacture the connecting rods and the shaft for the crank. The connecting rods should be made out of lumber. This has to be of a square of 5mms. The crank shaft needs some wider holes so it can fit through, without friction that may come from parts or the sides of the device. Take a wire that has a diameter of 1,5 mms and bend it. Before you should be bending the wire put on the connecting rods.

Step 6 is manufacturing the Crank Mechanism and placing it over the diaphragm. With the help of two thumbtacks attach the connecting rods to the surface of the diaphragm.

Step 7 is about building the wooden frame for this device. Be extra careful when you are building the wooden frame to leave enough room to the crank shaft so it can rotate freely in its place. In this case friction has to be minimal, else ways you will be loosing a lot of useful energy.

Step 8 is about putting together the crank mechanism and the wood piston. First of all attach a paper clip on the shaft of the crank and you must tie this to the head of the fishing tread you have fitted through the whole in the diaphragm.

Step 9 tells us how to fit the can into the whole mechanism. Cut off the top face of the can first of all and put the steel can into the frame and beware to make it fit into the frame in a secure way. The most important fact is that the piston has to move freely, without touching the can. For this you have to make the length of the fishing tread as long as the piston can move freely. After doing all of this, remember to put a drop of machine oil into the hole made on the diaphragm. When you are done with this, you have just got yourself a Can Stirling Engine that hopefully will work.

Step 10, the final step of this article is about testing the built device, and checking if it works properly.  Now that the Engine is complete, take a candle and begin heating the bottom of the can. After you can see that the bottom of the can is fully heated rotate the crank shaft by using your hand. If the engine begins moving than you have done everything right, in case not do not despair. In this case check for the air to be tightly sealed in the engine. Leaks will not let the engine function properly. Then as we said it before, be careful with the friction of the components of this engine. Check again, is everything moving freely in its place, or you should work a bit more on the smoothness of this components. Other problems can occur in case the air is leaking through the hole of the diaphragm, or the cylinder is touching the wood piston in your engine. In both cases you should work this problems out.


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