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Stirling Engines
I find the Stirling Engine a great example of something that operates on such simple principles that people think it's almost magic when they see them run. There is nothing more satisfying the building one and seeing it actually run especially if it runs well.

Some of my Stirling engines.

  • Phoenix
  • Copper Top
  • Beer Bottle
  • Christmas/Coffee Mug

Unfortunately the Stirling Engine was invented a little too late in history to make a major impact. However they are an excellent conversation piece, science fair project and they may yet find there place in energy conversion from incidental or waste heat sources.

Each time I make a new engine it is to experiment with design and construction possibilities.

Some things I think I have learned with each engine.

Christmas Mug Engine
  • Using Ceramic Mug for Displacer Cylinder
    • Pros
      • Easy to cut out bottom with masonry bit
      • Ceramic Mug is good insulator between top and bottom
    • Cons
      • Can't see the displacer go up and down
      • When I was actually looking for a mug with straight sides it was hard to find
  • Fiberglass rope stove gasket to seal the top and bottom
    • Pros
      • Can take a very high heat
    • Cons
      • Hard to get a good seal
  • Using a paper displacer (Video) (Check Out The Displacer Plan Generator)
    • Pros
      • Very light
      • Easy to make
      • Can have things printed on it
    • Cons
      • Paper is less resistant to heat then metal
Beer Bottle Engine
  • Using a Beer Bottle for Displacer Cylinder
    • Pros
      • A good conversation piece
      • You can see the displacer
      • Glass is a good insulator between top and bottom
    • Cons
      • I had a hard time cutting it
        • I am better at bottle cutting now (Video)
  • Using high temp Silicon
    • Pros
      • Easy to work with
      • Seals very well
      • Hold up to heat well
    • Cons
      • Can't take as much heat as fiberglass rope
Copper Top Engine
  • Using copper as the metal
    • Pros
      • Very good heat conductor
      • Easy to cut
    • Cons
      • Costs more

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