Walking Beam Plans
It Really Works!!!!
Plans for building. no charge, no catch.
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
Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Plans In DOC Format
Plans in PDF
format, click below"
Tin Can Stirling Walking Beam Engine Plans In PDF Format
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I allow people to view them and use them to build a working unit only. Not for your gain from my hard work.
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
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Does The Tin Can EngineWork?
This is an attempt to explain how this Stirling "Walking Beam" engine works.
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
How the Tin Can Stirling "Walking Beam" engine works #2
The old version
At bottom of page
It includes photo's of working
"Tin Can Stirling"
Also videos of them running!!
At bottom of this page
It includes photo's of working
"Tin Can Stirling"
Also videos of them running!!
They don't always work the first
out!! Most of the time they do!!
To email me click here
Built Sep 2001
Built Nov 2002
Built Jan 2003
One uses an epoxy piston!
The other one uses a piston and cyl. from a rotohammer drill (concrete drill) like mine.
Built around Mar 2003
"45 RPM's on a small candle and about 115 RPM's on an alcohol burner"
Built March 2003
Here is a version that used some very different materials.
John & Johnny Hermsen
Built August 2003
Built Aug 2003
(left photo) Tony used a "VCR Video Head as a bearing for the flywheel/crank which is nice and smooth".
Arthur build three different engines.
One "full sized", one "half sized", and one "one quarter sized"
Built Nov 2003
Piston made of epoxy!
Beam is about 6 inches long, power cylinder 1/2 inch bore.
Uses a sprit lamp!
Built May 2004
To see more of Neil's project
Including a video of it running!
Tin Can Engine Running!
For IE users
If you're using Mozilla 1.6 or older download and play off line or upgrade to Mozilla 1.7
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
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
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
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)
Stirling Walking Beam Engine Movie
1.2 meg AVI file
Check out Gordon's own design
The Gordon Harris Stirling
Built Summer of 2004
"-Added a balence weight to the walking beam (crank side), this
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
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
at a steady speed on two nite-lites,
solid fuel tablets or a very small butane flame."
Two Cylinger Tin Can Engine!!
" The Air Treatment
Duplex Special "
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)
Built in January 2005
Has made two more since!
Newest Members of the "Hall
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
"The Air Wonder"
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 ShepherdMain 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
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.
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!!
displacer cylinder is an insect spray can, 7.5 x 2.5 inches and the
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."
Photo 2 Photo 3
" I volunteer at the San Diego California Poway
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."
Retired from Hewlett Packard SD
is 3/4 scale. My flywheels are
sidewalk scooter wheels duel ball bearing. I added weight to the pivot
displacer cyl. it seems to help smooth every thing out. Plus it runs a lot longer after the heat is taken away.
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.
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
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
Read story about Dominic Click Here
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.
I used a
brake piston (green
anodised!) that fitted beautifully inside the 25mm copper tube. I used
ball can for the displacer and a small baked bean can for the displacer
- it was hard to get the beans out!
I run the
engine on methylated spirits (denatured methyl
alcohol) as Sterno is not readily available here.
|Well, I just had to send you a photo.
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!
Built September 2009
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 .
pretty close to the plans but I cheated
a bit and used my metal lathe to make the piston. I also used ball
the main pivot for the walking beam, the wheel and the rod connection
wheel, the other pivots on the walking beam are brass bushed for smooth
I built this engine sticking strictly to
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.
time is restricted, confirming your design criteria. I have inserted
aluminium strips to dissipate some heat.
3. A picture is attached and any other
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 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYsOzo-VhjM
angle lying around. I love working with it... so made the structure
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!!!!!!
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...
measures 14" X 14"
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.
this is not a walking beam stirling, I could never have gotten it
without info from your site and plans.
Here's my bigger version of your tin
can engine. It still needs refinements like better cooling later on.
piston cylinder and crank was a 2hp briggs and stratton
teflon gland packing for rings and drilled out the spark plug hole and
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
My only store bought engine.
by Solar Engines
© 1999-2005 Darryl Boyd, All rights reserved
permission is not given to reproduce or sell photos or plans without written permission
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