Stirling Engines and Plans
Tin can stirling engines, walking beam stirling engines, hot air engines, stirling  plans,
hot air engine plans, Stirling engine plans,
external combustion engine, Stirling plans, hot air engine plans,
Stirling Walking Beam Engine, Sterling Engine (oops!)

boyd's tin can stirling engines
Tin Can Stirling Website
Hot Air Stirling Engine Web Page
  Email Me By Clicking Here

Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Plans

It Really Works!!!!

Plans for building. no charge, no catch. Really!
This site is here to help promote the understanding of the primciples of the Stirling engine.
It is not here to "profit" from that information. So it is absulutly free!

Plans, Online, Click Below

Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Plans On Line
(New and improved images)

Plans in Word format, click below

Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Plans In DOC Format
158k file

Plans in PDF format, click below"
Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Plans In PDF Format

"How to time your engine if it is not running correctly, click below"

Timing your engine New!

Coypright Notice:
My plans are copyrighted. If you are thinking of downloading my copyrighted plans and selling them on ebay (or anywhere) keep this in mind,
I monitor ebay for such violations.  I will persue the issue with ebay and in the courts if nessesary.
I allow people to view them and use them to build a working unit only.  Not for your gain from my hard work.

Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Tips and Hints and Changes

Includes: The new Power Cylinder and Piston
The Haigh piston & "Keep that displacer on!"
Oiling Tips
How to drill that brass bolt down the middle!

Stirling Engine Forum

Click Here
This forum is for all kinds of Stirling and "Hot Air"engines,
not just the "Tin Can"engine

If you have a Stirling engine that you would like to show that you have made from scratch (any kind),
or maybe have plans to share of it let me know. I will work with you to make a webpage of your own.
Just email me! 
Email Me By Clicking Here

No copyrighted plans please (unless they are yours). I respect the rights of others.

How Does The Tin Can EngineWork?
This is an attempt to explain how this Stirling "Walking Beam" engine works.

How the tin can displacer works
If you understand the "displacers" function, the rest is easy.
What is going on in there?? Here's your answer
Also answers "how much clearance is between the displacer piston and the displacer cylinder and why"

Want the entire thing!!

Here Are Two different ways to explain how the entire engine works.

How the Tin Can Stirling "Walking Beam" engine works #1
Partially animated (you can stop it as you go)

How the Tin Can Stirling "Walking Beam" engine works #2
The old version

A lot of people have made this engine.
If you have one, please email me and I would love a photo to use on the page

Don't miss out on the

At bottom of page

It includes photo's of working "Tin Can Stirling"
Also videos
of them running!!

New Designs
Or Different

The Robertson Engine
Bernie Bowler

Horizontal Tin Can Engine
True horizontal tin can engine. Both Displacer and power piston
It's taken a long time, but here it is!
Almost blew it up!
Check it out


"How To Build A Model
Air-Cooled Hot-Air Engine"
Photos of a Stirling engine built from the April 1961 Popular Science project

19 July 2005
Computerized Stirling Engine!
Yes this engine is assisted by a computer!
The new "Computerized Stirling Walking Beam Engine"

News update: The "Computerized Stirling Engine"suffered catastrophic failure on it's second run!

Gordon Harris
His Own Design

"The Gordon Harris Stirling Engine"

Gordon Harris
New "Two Cylinder" "Tin Can Stirling" Engine!

" The Air Treatment Duplex Special "

Joseph Simone

A Take On The "Tin Can Engine"
With a new type of drive called a "Ross Yoke"
The Ross Yoke Stirling Engine
You've got to see this drive system work!

Andi from Germany
Andi's New Engine #2 (New Style) click here  New!

Don't miss out on the

At bottom of this page

It includes photo's of working "Tin Can Stirling"
Also videos
of them running!!

 Have questions? Problems? Email me...Happy to help out!!

They don't always work the first time out!! Most of the time they do!!

To email me click here

Welcome To The
stirling engine hall of flames

Stirling Hall of Flame
(oops, that's should be the Hall of Fame? or is it?)

stirling hot air walking beam engine #1
Darryl Boyd
Built 1991?


stirling hot air walking beam engine #2
Gordon McCall
Built Sep 2001


stirling hot air walking beam engine #3
Kevin Mansell
Built Nov 2002

stirling hot air walking beam engine #4
Jim Kaufman
Built Jan 2003
One uses an epoxy piston!
The other one uses a piston and cyl. from a rotohammer drill (concrete drill) like mine.


stirling hot air walking beam engine #5
Clay Pettys
Built around Mar 2003
"45 RPM's on a small candle and about 115 RPM's on an alcohol burner"


stirling hot air walking beam engine #6
John Hermsen
Built March 2003

Here is a version that used some very different materials.

The water jacket and fire box are half of a 1 litre propane camping tank, the displacement cylinder is made of a full propane tank with the top cut off and replaced with a aluminum head with a brass rod guide. The power cylinder is made from a piece of 3/4" copper pipe with a machined aluminum power piston. The walking beam was cut out of 1/8" aluminum, all rods are 1/8" drill rod, the exhaust stack, 3/4" copper and all supports are 1/2" copper. The burner is a 3/4" cap filled with steel wool and fondue fuel controlled by a valve provides the heat. It turns at about 220 RPM.
John & Johnny Hermsen

stirling hot air walking beam engine #7
Cris LePage
Built August 2003


stirling hot air walking beam engine #8
Martin Nobre
Built Aug 2003


stirling hot air walking beam engine #9stirling hot air walking beam engine #10
Tony Gardner
Aug 03
(left photo) Tony used a "VCR Video Head as a bearing for the flywheel/crank which is nice and smooth".


stirling hot air walking beam engine #12
William Rushing
Dec 2003


stirling hot air walking beam engine #13stirling hot air walking beam engine #14
Arthur Hillier
Arthur build three different engines.
One "full sized", one "half sized", and one "one quarter sized"


stirling hot air walking beam engine #`5
Gunnar Aske
Built Nov 2003
Piston made of epoxy!


stirling hot air walking beam engine #16
David Eaton
Somerset UK
Beam is about 6 inches long, power cylinder 1/2 inch bore.
Uses a sprit lamp!


stirling hot air walking beam engine #17

Neil Brawley
Built May 2004

To see more of Neil's project
Click Here
Including a video of it running!  

Neil Brawley's
Tin Can Engine Running!
(with sound!)

For IE users
If you're using Mozilla 1.6 or older download and play off line or upgrade to Mozilla 1.7

Neil's Stirling Walking Beam Engine Movie
301k WMV file
Courtesy of Neil Brawley

Real Player Version
393k RM file

AVI  Player Version
1.8 meg AVI file

Water Pumper!!!

stirling hot air walking beam engine #18stirling hot air walking beam engine #19

Gordon Harris
Built in June 2004

Gordon is an engineer in UK.

"The top half is half an aluminium filter casting with a tin can JB welded to the bottom."

"In the UK we can get 28 mm O/D copper pipe and the piston was the plastic top of a
Pritt Stick ( it has three ridges that seem to work like piston rings) which fitted perfectly and seems to
run best without lubrication."

"The engine runs very efficiently of a single night light candle, and with two night lights does about 200 RPM."

"Because it was what they were originally used for, I fitted a simple piston pump.The piston and cylinder
from an old Mamod,and using bicycle ball bearings as inlet and outlet check valves in the fittings around
the cylinder. It pumps water fine again with only one night light candle , but it runs faster with two."

Watch Gordon's run! (video)
Click Here

Gordon's Stirling Walking Beam Engine Movie
1.2 meg AVI file

Check out Gordon's own design
The Gordon Harris Stirling


stirling hot air walking beam engine #20stirling hot air walking beam engine #21

Paul Wissgott
Built Summer of 2004
SE England

"-Added a balence weight to the walking beam (crank side), this seems to make the engine run smoother (no difference to speed).
-Added another rod to the crank area to reverse the engine rotation, it turns clockwise as most engines turn this way.
-Heat proof super glue was used to seal transfer cylinder head, and guide bush. (Thin Cyno 10 sec.)
-Walking beam & main crankshaft run in copper tube.Big end is brass on mild steel pin"

"I did not do this but it may be worth experimention/ further thought
If no lathe is avalible thick wall copper or brass tube may be the solution to the
displacer guide bush tapped on the outside and secured with two nuts seal with glue / solder"

"My engine will just about run on one 'nite-lite' candle but turns at a steady speed on two nite-lites,
solid fuel tablets or a very small butane flame."

Two Cylinger Tin Can Engine!!

stirling hot air walking beam engine #22

" The Air Treatment Duplex Special "
Gordon Harris
Built in August 2004

Gordon is at it again!!

A two cylinder stirling tin can engine. It is driving a small motor that is being used as a generator.
Watch his "new" video of this machine in action. Take note of the meter the generator is hooked to!

Watch Gordon's 2nd engine running! (video)
Click Here

Gordon's Stirling Walking Beam Engine Movie
1.8 meg AVI file

stirling hot air walking beam engine #23
Ken Schmill
Built in January 2005
Has made two more since!

stirling hot air walking beam engine #24
Terry Laffey
Built in January 2005
Has also made two more since!

stirling hot air walking beam engine #25   stirling hot air walking beam engine #26
Gordon McCall
Gordon is the first one to send me a photo of his completed Stirling engine.
He has now completed a new engine with a water pump on it. It recycles the tank water. He is now
adding a cooling system to that pump.

Click on the photos above for a larger view.

Check this out!

Stirling Walking Beam Pump Plans

Newest Members of the "Hall of Flames"

stirling hot air walking beam engine #27
Donald D. Pointer
Up and running April 2005

stirling hot air walking beam engine #28
Also Built by
Donald D. Pointer
Slightly different approach to the tin can engine.

stirling hot air walking beam engine #29    stirling hot air walking beam engine #30
Horacio Licera
May 2005

You can contact Horacio by email at
With last modifications runs at 120 rpm.

stirling hot air walking beam engine #31
Joseph Simone
150 RPM on sterno and fresh ice water

Joe's Stirling Engine Movie
5 meg AVI File

stirling hot air walking beam engine #32
Darren Shabley
Completed July 2005
Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada

"It is fairly large being 27" high and 21" long.(note the size of the Zippo lighter at the base).

I am very pleased with my first attempt at a hot air engine. It runs perfectly silent and up to approximately 180 RPM with heat coming from a coal oil lamp.

Here are the particulars;
The displacer cylinder is made from a diesel engine oil filter.

The power cylinder and piston were taken from an old shock absorber.
The flywheel/ crank is from a farm tractor air cleaner
The main bearing is a valve guide from a diesel engine with an oil hole
There are ball bearings inserted into the connecting rod ends which I found at a hobby shop.
No machining was required, only a welder, grinder, drill press, and a set of tap and dies.
The engine can be completely disassembled for future modifications if required."

by Darren Shabley

stirling hot air walking beam engine #33
Terry Koller
Made in 2003

Check Out Terrys Website at

rex james stirling engine
Rex James
Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia   "Down Under")
Built 2005
"The Air Wonder"

Main points.
Displacer piston is made from Chinese Coconut Milk Tin. This is the only tin I could find in the supermarket that didn't have a ring pull.
However, being a liquid, I suspect it was easier to empty out than the tomato paste version :)
Power cylinder is 1" outside diameter copper (Aussie specs)
Power piston is 1" aluminium rod turned on a lathe.
Connecting rods are all bronze welding rod.
Connecting eyelets are all "round electrical terminals" crimped then soldered to the rods.
Main bearing is from VCR head as per Tony Gardner's idea on your web page. Simple and works a treat.

Almost runs on a single night light candle.
64 RPM on 2 night light candles
200 RPM on spirit heater. (Old kerosene lantern preheater)

Things I may do in the future.
Heavier Flywheel. I suspect the light plexiglass version I have is losing some of it's flywheel effect.
I may hook up a pump or generator etc as it looks great when these engines are actually doing something.
... and of course "Build another one"  :)))

roy shepherd stirling engine
Roy Shepherd
Built 2005/2006
United Kingdom
Main points.
Displacer piston is made from a cut down bear can; displacer cylinder a bean can; fire box an treacle can and the water tank is a sponge pudding can.

Length 48 cm; Height 36 cm.

Power cylinder is 1 cm aluminium pipe from B&Q
Power piston is made of Polyester Laminatins Resin.
Connecting rods are coat hanger wire, apart from the piston rod which is copper wire.
Connecting eyelets are all male electrical terminals crimped then soldered to the rods.
Main bearing and fly wheel is from a floppy disk drive with a CD riveted on to it.
Turns at 110 RPM on a homes made spirit heater.

How to make the Power Piston.
I got a length of the 1 cm aluminium pipe and blocked one end with a peace of wood with a tiny hole in the centre and threaded a length of copper wire through it and out the top of the pipe  this is used to connect the piston to the piston rod.

Next mix the hardener with the resin and pore it into the pipe. When the resin as gone head, ease the piston out of the pipe and clean up the edges with glass paper. Slide the piston through the cylinder a few times and then it will be ready for assembly.

You can get the Polyester Laminatins Resin and hardener from car assessory shops

Roy Shepherd UK
More Photos
Photo1      Photo2      Photo3

Joseph_Bill_Jackson_stirling_ engine

Joseph "Bill" Jackson
Built January 2006

    I love to solder (as you can see)and I built the basic framework out of rigid copper pipe. Initially I had considered constructing the entire unit on a single stalk and foot plate - but opted for the easier 2 piece construction - one section to hold the main engine assembly and the other to hold the fly wheel and the beam pivot. This allows for minor adjustments in alignment.  
    Some aerosol cans have recessed rims (figs.1) - the bottom from a second can makes an ideal top for the displacer cylinder and was easily removed with an electric can opener. I soldered a brass tube with 1/8"ID  through this top to accept the 1/8" displacer rod (fig 2 & fig 3). After a little careful grinding of the cylinder's upper rim, this top fit beautifully and the recessed area provided a great mating surface for a tight solder joint (fig. 4).

Fig. 5 shows the completed assembly and water jacket - notice that a slightly larger piece of brass tubing was soldered on top of the bearing tubing and flared to accept oil during operation of the engine (fig. 5-a).

Figs. 6 and fig. 6-a show the front and back of the completed engine respectively. The walking beam was cut from 1/16" aluminum stock and the piston is epoxy (JB Weld). Although I tried numerous other pistons , this seemed to work best. The flywheel is a marriage of a motor flange salvaged from a defunct vacuum cleaner and the flywheel / bronze bearing combination from an ancient VCR (my wife has always wondered why I kept these items - and many others - over the years - now I know - to build a Stirling engine!)  I use an alcohol chafing dish burner as a heat source and get around 150 RPM.

My early prototypes using wooden supports and plywood flywheel did not function well - so, my hat is off to those who were able to get such an engine up and running.

Additional Photos

Fig 1       Fig 2     Fig 3      Fig 4      Fig 5      Fig 5a      Fig 6     Fig 6a      

Doug_Simpson_Stirling engine.jpg
Doug Simpson

Photo 1   Photo 2   Photo 3   Photo 4   Photo 5

Doug Simpson Movie
MOV Format and 4 Megs

Terry_Keathley stirling engine
Terry Keathley
Built Feb 2006

Jani_Pekkanen Stirling Engine
Jani Pekkanen
Built May 2006
"become one nice decoration in my desk "
"Runs on a single night light candle about 65 rpm and with three candles about 195 rpm. Now it has six flame butane burner.
Cooling is done by wet cloth.Piston is made from 20 mm plastic pipe (used for house electric wire guide and protection).
Displacer cylinder is butane lighter refill can. Displacer piston is crc lock oil can. Bearing is cd-rom motor."
Video of Jani's engine running from start up!

Supa Tony Stirling Engine
Supa Tony

"I used the Rubber ends from the drum brake cylinders and silicon'd them onto my main heater unit."
photo5     photo2     photo6

 "This way I can pull the unit apart in seconds to EXPLAIN to everyone how it works. (But they never really understand)."

"The piston I turned around and made a link arm from a coathanger."

 "I used a Video head as my main spinner."

"I have tried to use everything from my house, just to show people that a motor can be made easily at home."
"It really hauls when there is no water pump. I'm averaging 210 RPM."
photo3   photo1


Donnie Barnes

Stirling engine and JB weld power piston. I used a VCR head for the flywheel bearing, and the
walking beam and support is from some aluminum shelving I had laying around.

I plan to install the firebox tomorrow, but I just had to try it out this afternoon.   And it worked!!



JB Weld Piston!

tim oaks stirling engine

Tim Oaks
Built Dec 2006

"We first used two candles to power it but found the sterno worked better.
We have been thinking of trying a tank from a propane torch for a displacer cylinder instead of teh paint can so it could
stand more heat and hold up longer. It looks like the paint can may burn out quickly being so thin."
Tim Oaks

See Tim's engine running
Click Here

MOV File 1.2 Meg

Not a "Walking Beam" tin can, but !!!
First true Vertical Tin can engine of this style
Donnie Barnes stirling enging

Donnie Barnes
Nov 2006

"The displacer cylinder is an insect spray can, 7.5 x 2.5 inches and the displacer is a ‘Reddi Wip’ whipped
cream can 2 ¼ inches diameter, cut down to 5 inches high.  The power cylinder is ¾” id aluminum tube
with a JB Weld piston.  RPM is about 325 using Sterno fuel.  I experimented with the timing and seem to get
the best RPM with the power cylinder adjusted to about 125 degrees before top dead center of the displacer.

I also tried cooling fins this time.  They get warm but do not seem to hurt the engine speed."

 Donnie Barnes

Photo 2    Photo 3

Movie of Donnies Engine running
2.9 Meg WMV file

John_Dewez stirling engine

John Dewez

" I volunteer at the San Diego California Poway train station.
We have a Rider Stirling engine that needed to be restored so they called me to see if I could do it.
We found out that in the 1900’s they used the stirling to pump water to the water tower so when the steam engine came
around it would dump 400 gallons of water in the train. We have it working and run your tin can stirling just
feet away for better understanding of how it works. My next project is to get the water pump working on the tin can stirling.
The tin can stirling runs on propane with a 2 inch flame at the end of a ¼ inch pipe inside a reducer from a torch."

John Dewez
Tooling/Machine Designer
Retired  from Hewlett Packard SD  

wayne brown stirling engine
Wayne Brown
Feb 2007
Movie of engine running
AVI File

One is 3/4 scale. My flywheels are sidewalk scooter wheels duel ball bearing. I added weight to the pivot to balance the
displacer cyl. it seems to help smooth every thing out. Plus it runs a lot longer after the heat is taken away.
Wayne Brown

glen pfortmiller stirling engine
Glenn Pfortmiller
Jan 2007
Photo #2         Movie of engine running  (wmv file)

Completed in Jan 2007.        

The cylinder is a brass tube about 1" diameter and the piston is corian.
The rocker arm and flywheel are also corian. The hot and cold side are separated with a
corian base and has proven to be a good insulator. It will run in a 70 deg F room, unlimited time,
without any cooling other than free air cooling. It will get hot but you can still
put your hand on it without getting burned.
Glenn Pfortmiller


Andi Stirling Engine
Andi from Germany
Mar 2007
I found this one facinating enough to give Andi his own webpage. Thank you Andi!

Andi's page click here

Andi's New Engine #2 (New Style) click here  New!

Oliver Cribb Stirling Engine
Oliver Cribb
Grade 7, (13 years old)
Johannesburg, South Africa
April 2007
The bearings were taken from a computer CD drive with a an old CD as the fly wheel weighted with nuts
around the edge stuck on with prestick.. The power cylinder is a 22mm copper pipe and its piston made from epoxy.
Linkages are crimp lugs spaced with washers. The Displacer rod runs through a brass bolt with an aluminium
ferrule to give a better seal. I made it in just two days during my Easter holiday.The best speed I got from it was
about 200rpm and was very please that it ran for quite a good time even after the heat source was removed.

Oliver's Movie
Click Here
2 meg AVI File

matt engelber stirling engine
Matt Engelber
June 2007

Took the scooter wheel Idea from Wayne's project, but used an old roller blade wheel, bearing,
and axle I got from a used sporting goods store. I removed the bearing shields and flushed out the grease using WD-40,
then replaced the shields. The bearings spin very freely once the grease is out of them.

Movie of Matt's engine

Jeremy_Zimmermann stirling engine
Jeremy Zimmermann
Dec 2007
Jeremy is from Germany!

First for 2008

jeff_and_colin's stirling engine
Jeff and Colin's Project

"My 8 year old son and I were looking at your web page and were inspired to begin building an engine. We
used a 3/4" copper pipe as a cylinder, and a piece of nylon turned on a lathe as a piston. 0.032" music wire
was used as a wrist pin.
The displacer piston is made from an aluminum V8 can, which is much lighter than
the tin version.  Piston rods are made from carbon fiber rod.
The crankshaft has two 'journals' to get a
larger stroke on the displacer piston.
Flywheel is made from a 1/4 inch thick rusty steel washer mounted to a hard
drive hub which has nice bearings.
The height of the base is adjustable for different height power sources.
It has been running for several hours straight on 2 tea lite candles.  No cooling jacket yet, as we are waiting
for mom to make us pumpkin pie. The pumpkin can looks to be just the right size."
Go Mom!              Nice job guy's!

AVI Movie of Jeff and Colin's Engine Running
Click Here
1.7 Meg

Tom Burns stirling engine
Tom Burns
built March 2008

After visiting your tin can stirling Engine web-site , I just had to get out into the workshop and have a go.
I used a bean tin and a small tomato tin for the displacer, the information on your [ site]  was very helpfull, the engine runs well on two candles.
I was a Engineer [retired] and will pass many a happy hour making tin can Engines. - Tom Burns.
Tom's Movie
Click Here

15 Meg MOV

Doug_Mahaney stirling engine
built in April of 2008

See Doug's website on this engine at

with movies, and he generates some electricity with it!

No name was sent in with this one...Sorry
Built in April or May of 2008

"She started with some plans from another site and modified based on some of
what we saw on your site.  She won several science fair awards.   Here is a
link to the youtube video if you might want to link it into your site.

The piston is your design, the displacer cylinder is a design mix and we used coat hangers for the connecting rods and old CD's for the flywheel.
We found that at first it would not turn until we added at counter weight to the displacer on the beam.  "Fat kid on the see-saw hypothesis".  We got about 67 RPM on the stove.  It would turn a couple times when hit with the solar beam.  The angle of the heat beam from the solar collector did not strike the bottom of the can squarely enough to get the engine going enough.
I think we might need to try a horizontal version or a rotary version in order to get the solar power to really give some RPM."

UTube Video

Dinesh Anvekar Stirling Engine
by Dr. Dinesh Anvekar, Bangalore India
Built June 2008

Innvative features:-

* Cardboard fly wheel
* Epoxy (M-seal) power piston
* Displacer cylinder made with two copper cups joined at open ends
* Gasket material and silicone sealent used for all joints
* Epoxy (M-seal) used for water-proofing and other joints
* Coke can displacer
* Bicycle spokes and flexible wire used for linkages
* Aluminium tube power cylinder
* Cycle tube brass neck and valve pin used for displacer cylinder opening
* PC disk drive motor used for flywheel bearing
* All wooden parts are 1.5 " or 1 " teak wood battens
* Heat source is laboratory spirit lamp

Running speed: 120 rpm

Movie of above engine

Tim Shirah stirling engine
Tim Shirah
built July, 2008

I used a can of carpet cleaner for the displacer cylinder. I had to use a Dremel tool to remove the top since a can opener would not fit the curved shape – it seems a spray paint can would have the same problem. The small condensed milk can I used as a displacer piston is really a little too tight. It sometimes touches the inside of the cylinder as it moves up and down. The door bearing I used to mount my saw blade flywheel has too much play, causing a slight wobble. I have not done enough to keep the heat insulated from the drive cylinder. Even when the engine runs at its best (around 115 rpm), it stops after 2 to 3 minutes and the epoxy piston binds in the copper cylinder. I found that JB Weld epoxy is easier to use to mount the cooling can (I used a can of yams) than solder, as this section never exceeds 600 deg F, the working limit of the epoxy. The copper coupling pipe I used for my drive cylinder is used to connect 3/4” copper pipe and is therefore bigger in diameter. It also has a slightly thicker wall than the pipe it joins (for strength of the coupling). I bought a 12” length to cut down for the cylinder. A shorter coupling was used to cast the epoxy piston.

Additional photos (please click on the photos for a larger view of the photo)


Video Of Engine (youtube)

Dominic Eppolite
Dominic is possibly the oldest person to build one of these engines.

A note from Guy Borghi, one of Dominic's friends,

   "I thought that you would be interested in knowing that there are enthusiasts of all ages that have built and ran the Boyd Tin Can Stirling Hot Air Engine.  My friend Dominic Eppolite built 3 or 4 of these engines.  I have two of them which you can see photos of in the attachments. The unique thing about these engines is that Dominic built them at the age of 92.  I don't think there are too many guys out there that have the ability to put together and operate one of these machines at that age.  Dominic "went to be with the Lord" in May of this year, shortly after he was diagnosed with Leukemia.  He was a resident of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community which is located in
Quarryville, PA.  Dominic loved to build things and many of them were his own inventions. Just this past March 2nd, 2009, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal published an article about Dominic's life.  I also included a photo of the article clipping in one of the attachments, where he is shown standing by a lighthouse he built.  The article makes reference to several of the projects Dominic constructed and/or invented.

Read story about Dominic Click Here

These are works of art!


A 92 year old man who shared in the enthusiasm created from building the Tin Can Engine.
Dominic Eppolite (at the age of 92)  Built February 2009.   

Read story about Dominic Click Here

Rob Kay Stirling Engine
Rob Kay
built Aug 2009
New Zealand

I used a brake piston (green anodised!) that fitted beautifully inside the 25mm copper tube. I used a tennis ball can for the displacer and a small baked bean can for the displacer piston - it was hard to get the beans out! After the first few runs I used a small bearing race for the flywheel and the improvement was great. As you can see I used penny washers for the pivots of the rods as I found it quite difficult to form the end of the rods to a good shape. I did just flatten and drill a couple. I initially soldered legs on to the firebox but the solder melted so I riveted some on. I run the engine on methylated spirits (denatured methyl alcohol) as Sterno is not readily available here.

Rob Kay
Nelson, New Zealand

Rob Kay Walking Beam Stirling Engine
Rob Kay
built Aug 2009
New Zealand

I used a brake piston (green anodised!) that fitted beautifully inside the 25mm copper tube. I used a tennis ball can for the displacer and a small baked bean can for the displacer piston - it was hard to get the beans out!

After the first few runs I used a small bearing race for the flywheel and the improvement was great. As you can see I used penny washers for the pivots of the rods as I found it quite difficult to form the end of the rods to a good shape. I did just flatten and drill a couple. I initially soldered legs on to the firebox but the solder melted so I riveted some on.

I run the engine on methylated spirits (denatured methyl alcohol) as Sterno is not readily available here.

Rob Kay

Dale Hoerner Walking Beam Stirling Engine
Dale Hoerner
Built Dec 2009

Well, I just had to send you a photo.  The darn thing runs. 

The power piston is epoxy. The fire box is a spaghetti sauce can.  All the con rods are 3/32 brass rod.  The main bearing is a sleeve and rod from an old DVD drive (not the motor). 

With one tea candle it runs at about 60 - 75 RPM depending on how well adjusted everything is.  I have a little too much friction in the power piston and in the displacer sleeve.  But it sure was exciting when it ran the first time!

Dale Hoerner


Morteza & Mohamad Salimi
Built September 2009

Jan From Denmark
A few Links (Movies and Photos)

Keithe Campbell Stirling Engine
Keithe Campbell
built 2010

cylinder- copper, honed

 power piston -made on lathe,.002 under cylinder

bearings - from old VHS player

push rods- bicycle spokes

wrist pin- from VHS player

heat source- can of sterno at bottom

water in top can,

displacer piston - made from balsa .

timing adjustments - servo arms from RC equipment

Mike Mathrole Stirling Engine
Mike Mathrole
Built 2008

I stayed pretty close to the plans but I cheated a bit and used my metal lathe to make the piston. I also used ball bearings on the main pivot for the walking beam, the wheel and the rod connection on the wheel, the other pivots on the walking beam are brass bushed for smooth operation.

Our "Newest" Additions!

Tony Cunningham Stirling Engine
Tony Cunningham

I built this engine sticking strictly to your design criteria except for the following points:-

1. The top of the displacer cylinder is not soldered on. I have used a rubber seal instead. This allows access to the displacer.

2. I have also used a rubber "O" ring seal between the water jacket container and the displacer cylinder.

The water jacket container is smaller than your original design, only because a larger paint can was not at hand at the time. Running time is restricted, confirming your design criteria. I have inserted folded aluminium strips to dissipate some heat.

3. A picture is attached and any other differences are purely aesthetic.

It runs very well, easily achieving 100-150 rpm with a small spirit burner. I lack movie making skills but I have managed to put a short video on youtube, should you be interested in seeing one example of your work. This can be found here :

John Gardiner's Stirling Engine
John Gardiner
built early 2011

Had scrap aluminum angle lying around. I love working with it... so made the structure from it.

Made all the linkages to your exact dimensions from 1/8 welding rod, except for the small 1 1/2 inch link (joining the walking beam to the displacer rod). This, I made from some scrap aluminum I had on hand. I   drilled several adjustment holes in it, then used a small bolt to connect to the beam.

However I added a REGENERATOR which improved performance significantly. Here is what I did.
The displacer was made from a a PVC metal dope can...easy to find in Home Depot. I cut the protruding top off and soldered on a new tin can top.

Next I got aluminum window screening 3' x 7' roll. I did not remove it from its plastic packaging film.... but rolled the film back only about 4" from one end.... measured the displacer length...taped the screen either side of my intended cut and cut it (with a cut off wheel in a 4" Makita grinder). Then I wound it round the periphery (outside surface) of the displacer...had to cut maybe 2 turns off to allow it to go through lip...sealed the free edge with JB, taped it til it set, then secured it with wire, top and bottom, to displacer rod and away it went.

Improved performance immensely!!!!!!

Rob Johnson Stirling Engine.jpg
Rob Johnson
built Summer 2011

Continues to run sweetly...and have turned on a few friends who are also "building"....

    What I've done that works incredibly well is to use what's called piano wire (very very small diameter steel rods available at hobby shops for about 25 cents for a three foot length) instead of the 1/8 inch stuff. 

     Then instead of the bolt, I've drilled a 3/8 inch hole in my top and shoved a black rubber stopper (available at the hardware store for about forty cents) up from the inside.  Once in, it forms a perfect seal and is almost unremovable.  a tiny hole drilled in it for the piano wire and a touch of 3 in one oil and it's virtually frictionless and completely air tight. 

     My JB weld piston is a great fit (after quite a while of very careful gentle sanding).  Next time I would prefer the aluminum rod thing though...

Way cool looking Walking Beam Stirling Engine!

Bob Hammell stirling engine
Bob Hammell
Built in Summer of 2011

Dan Pickard stirling engine
Dan Pickard
Built in Summer of 2011

Vikram Vicky stirling engine
Vikram Vicky
From India
Built in Summer of 2011

A lot of people have made this engine.
If you have one, please email me and I would love a photo to use on the page

Variation on a theme!
Not "Tin Can Walking Beam" Engines
But still "Master Pieces"

built Aug 2009

-Base measures 14" X 14"
-Engine stands 24" high
-This engine runs off of Chafing Fuel.
-All joints are silver brazed
-There is a regenerator in this engine.
-The crank eccentric has a hole in it to accept a drive shaft and will have a small fan blade fitted to it.
-The piston is machined and measures 1 1/16" in diameter.
-Stroke is 2 3/8"
-Displacement cylinder is a Lysol can with standard tomato paste can inside.
-Air-cooling provided by aluminum mat slats secured by hose clamps. Cooling capacity far exceeds needs.
-Running RPMs: 140 - 160

This engine will run for approx. 3 hours from one chafing fuel container.  Build time is about 55 hours.  The tolerances are close and this engine is extremely quiet.  I lube it with sewing machine oil.

 John Schedler

Additional Photos
Photo #1     Photo #2

Richard Dales Tin Can Stirling Engine
Richard Dales
Built Jan 2008

Power cylinder is 15mm copper water pipe.

Power piston is JB Weld epoxy (tolerates c.350 deg C?) Crank is coat hanger wire Flywheel is a CD, centred onto the crank using screw top from toothpaste tube. A small coin balances the flywheel against the weight of the displacement cylinder.

Expansion and displacement cylinders are aluminium Guinness cans. 

Small bits of steel from top of a baked been tin were used for the three points where wires pass through holes.

The three Aluminium cans are cut with ruler and Stanley knife, or scissors where appropriate.

By rubbing the inside edge of the cut cans hard against my vegetable chopping board with a teaspoon I found the each can could be easily pushed inside the next. A tiny bit of JB Weld ensured a good seal.

Lubrication used was olive oil, but sowing machine or hair trimmer oil would have worked better.

Richard Dales

Matthew Shippee Stirling Engine
Matthew Shippee
Built 2009

While this is not a walking beam stirling, I could never have gotten it working without info from your site and plans.
There are also several videos on youtube (mrweaseluv) that you might like to link to (3rd and best video will be up tommorow with a little luck)
And a word of advice to new modelers, a ball bearing in matching bearing tube makes a great airtight power piston :D (attaching the bearing to the rod is the fun part hehe)
Matthew Shippee

Paul Maciulaitis
New Zealand

Here's my bigger version of your tin can engine. It still needs refinements like better cooling later on. The power piston cylinder and crank was a 2hp briggs and stratton i fitted teflon gland packing for rings and drilled out the spark plug hole and fitted a 1" pipe fitting. The displacer is an old air tank and the firebox is a peice of stainles chimney almost all bearings are roller it goes about 50/60 rpm.

Heres a link of it running on kindling wood anyway thanks the small one is still going good

 Paul Maciulaitis


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  Magnificent Works of Art!!!

My only store bought engine.
by Solar Engines
Phoenix, Arizona

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