The steam engine began its expansion at the beginning of the 19th century. And already at that time not only large units for industrial purposes were being built, but also decorative ones. For the most part, their buyers were wealthy nobles who wanted to amuse themselves and their children. After steam units tightly entered the life of society, decorative engines began to be used in universities and schools as educational samples.
Modern Steam Engines
At the beginning of the 20th century, the relevance of steam engines began to decline. One of the few companies that continued to produce decorative mini-engines was the British company Mamod, which allows you to purchase a sample of such equipment even today. But the cost of such steam engines easily exceeds two hundred pounds, which is not so little for a trinket for a couple of evenings. Especially for those who like to assemble all kinds of mechanisms on their own, it is much more interesting to create a simple steam engine with their own hands.
The engine is very simple. Fire heats the boiler with water. Under the influence of temperature, water turns into steam, which pushes the piston. As long as there is water in the tank, the flywheel connected to the piston will rotate. This is the standard structure for a steam engine. But you can assemble a model and a completely different configuration.
Well, let's move from the theoretical part to more exciting things. If you are interested in doing something with your own hands, and you are surprised by such exotic cars, then this article is for you, in it we will gladly talk about various ways of how to assemble a steam engine with your own hands. At the same time, the process of creating the mechanism itself gives joy no less than its launch.
Method 1: DIY Mini Steam Engine
So, let's begin. Let's assemble the simplest steam engine with our own hands. Drawings, complex tools and special knowledge are not needed.
To get started, take an aluminum can from under any drink. Cut off the lower third from it. Since the result is sharp edges, they must be bent inward with pliers. We do this carefully so as not to cut ourselves. Since most aluminum cans have a concave bottom, it is necessary to level it. It is enough to press it firmly with your finger to some hard surface.
At a distance of 1.5 cm from the upper edge of the resulting "glass" it is necessary to make two holes opposite each other. It is advisable to use a hole punch for this, since it is necessary that they result in a diameter of at least 3 mm. At the bottom of the jar we put a decorative candle. Now we take the usual table foil, wrinkle it, and then wrap our mini-burner on all sides.
Next, you need to take a piece of a copper tube 15-20 cm long. It is important that it is hollow inside, as this will be our main mechanism for bringing the structure into motion. The central part of the tube is wrapped around the pencil 2 or 3 times, so that a small spiral is obtained.
Now you need to place this element so that the curved place is placed directly above the candle wick. To do this, give the tube the shape of the letter "M". In this case, we deduce sections that fall down through the holes made in the bank. Thus, the copper tube is rigidly fixed above the wick, and its edges are a kind of nozzle. In order for the structure to rotate, it is necessary to bend the opposite ends of the "M-element" 90 degrees in different directions. The design of the steam engine is ready.
The jar is placed in a container of water. In this case, it is necessary that the edges of the tube are below its surface. If the nozzles are not long enough, you can add a small weight to the bottom of the can. But be careful - do not sink the entire engine.
Now you need to fill the tube with water. To do this, you can lower one edge into the water, and the second to draw in air through a tube. Lower the can into the water. Set fire to the wick of the candle. After some time, the water in a spiral will turn into steam, which under pressure will fly out from the opposite ends of the nozzles. The jar will begin to rotate in the tank quickly enough. Here we have such a steam engine with our own hands. As you can see, everything is simple.
Adult Steam Engine Model
Now let's complicate the task. Let's assemble a more serious steam engine with our own hands. First you need to take a can of paint. You should make sure that it is absolutely clean. On the wall 2-3 cm from the bottom, cut a rectangle with dimensions of 15 x 5 cm. The long side is parallel to the bottom of the can. We cut a piece of 12 x 24 cm from a metal mesh. We measure 6 cm from both ends of the long side. We bend these sections at an angle of 90 degrees. We get a small "little table-platform" with an area of 12 x 12 cm with legs of 6 cm. We install the resulting design on the bottom of the can.
Around the perimeter of the lid, you need to make several holes and place them in the form of a semicircle along one half of the lid. It is desirable that the holes have a diameter of about 1 cm. This is necessary in order to ensure proper ventilation of the internal space. A steam engine will not be able to work well if a sufficient amount of air does not reach the source of fire.
From a copper tube we make a spiral. It is necessary to take about 6 meters of a soft copper tube with a diameter of 1/4-inch (0.64 cm). From one end we measure 30 cm. Starting from this point, it is necessary to make five turns of a spiral with a diameter of 12 cm each. The rest of the pipe is bent into 15 rings with a diameter of 8 cm. Thus, 20 cm of free tube should remain at the other end.
Both pins are passed through the vents in the can lid. If it turns out that the length of the straight section is not enough for this, then you can unbend one turn of the spiral. Coal is laid on a pre-installed platform. In this case, the spiral should be placed just above this platform. Coal is neatly laid out between its turns. Now the bank can be closed. As a result, we got a firebox that will power the engine. Do-it-yourself steam engine is almost done. Left a little.
Now you need to take another can of paint, but already smaller. A hole with a diameter of 1 cm is drilled in the center of its lid. Two more holes are made on the side of the can - one is almost at the bottom, the second is higher, at the lid itself.
Take two crusts, in the center of which a hole is made from the diameters of the copper tube. 25 cm of plastic pipe is inserted into one crust, 10 cm into the other, so that their edge barely peeks out from the corks. In the lower hole of the small cans, crusts with a long tube are inserted, in the upper - a shorter tube. We place a smaller can on a large can of paint so that the hole on the bottom is on the opposite side from the ventilation passages of the large can.
As a result, the following construction should be obtained. Water is poured into a small jar, which flows through a hole in the bottom into a copper pipe. A fire is ignited under the spiral, which heats the copper tank. Hot steam rises up the tube.
In order for the mechanism to be completed, it is necessary to attach a piston and a flywheel to the upper end of the copper tube. As a result, the thermal energy of combustion will be converted into mechanical forces of rotation of the wheel. There are a huge number of different schemes for creating such an external combustion engine, but in all of them two elements are always involved - fire and water.
In addition to this design, you can assemble a Stirling steam engine with your own hands, but this is material for a completely separate article.