Let's Build a Can Stirling Engine

 The Can Stirling engine can rotate using a candle as the heat source. This engine is constructed with very simple materials. There are a can, a balloon, a wood board and others.


A Can Stirling Engine

 (This engine was proposed by Mr.Saburo Tsucchida.
He is teacher of Kasukabe technical high scool.)


Step 1 - Material Preparation and Structure

 To make the Can Stirling engine you require these materials: wood board 10mm thick; balsa wood 10mm thick; wire 1.5mm diameter; fishing thread; a balloon; square lumber 5mm square; two thumbtacks; a paper clip; clay; a 200ml steel can; cardboard; a candle; nails (or wood screws); and rubber bands.
These tools are required: cutting pliers; scissors: a saw: wood glue: some quick-drying glue: and machine oil.
This engine has a very simple structure as illustrated. It makes use of wood frames, a wire crank shaft, a can cylinder, a rubber balloon diaphragm. You can get these materials easily. The wood piston is connected to the crankshaft with fishing thread.


View of a Can Stirling Engine


Step 2 - Cut a Wood Board

 As illustrated in the following figure, you must make two side boards, two boards to fix to the can, and a bottom board, all of 10mm thickness.
You must make the holes for the crank somewhat bigger to reduce friction.


Cut a Wood Board


Step 3 - Make a Wood Piston

 Fit the pieces of cut balsa together with wood glue. Attach a length of fishing line to the center of the piston with quick-drying glue.

CAUTION: The diameter of the can which I used is about 50mm. The height of the can is about 100mm. If you use an other-sized can the diameter and the height of the wood piston must be fitted to the can. Clearance should be 2 or 3mm.


Make a Wood Piston


Step 4 - Make a Diaphragm

 You will make a diaphragm using a rubber balloon. As shown in the following figure, cut the balloon and reinforce it by pasting the cardboards. Make a hole in the center of the diaphgram and pass through a fishing thread. Be careful to make a close-fitting hole - not a big hole.


Make a Diaphgram


Step 5 - Make Connecting Rods and a Crank Shaft

 As illustrated in the following figure, make two connecting rods using lumber that is 5 mm square. Make the holes for the crank shaft somewhat bigger to reduce friction. Bend a wire of1.5 mm. diameter. Put on the connecting rods before bending the wire.


Connecting Rods and Crank Shaft


Step 6 - Construct a Diaphragm and Crank Mechanism

 As illustrated in the following figure, attach the diaphgram and the connecting rods with two thumbtacks.


Construct a Diaphgram and Crank Mechanism


Step 7 - Construct the Frame

 You will construct the wood frame (See the Step 2). When you construct the frame, you must make sure that the crank shaft can rotate with a very small friction loss.


Construct the Frame


Step 8 - Construct a Wood Piston and Crank Mechanism

 After you pass the fishing thread through the hole in the diaphragm, You must tie the thread to a paper clip attached to the crankshaft.


Construct a Wood Piston and Crank Mechanism


Step 9 - Fit Up a Can

 Cut off the top face of a can and fix the can to the frame securely. Place the diaphragm over the can with some rubber bands. Adjust a length of the fishing thread so the piston moves without touching the can. And for the final measure, put on a drop of machine oil in the hole of the diaphragm. The Can Stirling Engine is completed.


Fit Up a Can


Step 10 - Let's Try to Move

 When the engine is completed, Please heat a bottom face of the can cylinder with a candol. When the face is fully heated, rotate the crank shaft with your hand. Does the engine start to move?
There are two important points to move model Stirling engines. One is a perfect seal of the air in the engine. Another is low friction of the mechanical parts. If your engine does not move, check these points. Does the air leak from the hole of the diaphragm ? Does the wood piston touch the cylinder?



 Koichi Hirata


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