Exibit question

Hey, I was asked about a steam engine or hit and miss engine for display at events.

I think the steam idea is a hard one because of the liability for boilers, and compressed air is often loud. Too loud for conveying information verbally close by. Hit and miss engines are available, there is a fellow with a yard full of them 15 mins away from me, and a yearly show within 5 miles. One of my neighbors has started collecting them too. It might not be unlikely you could get somebody to show their collection, with out too much bribery because they would enjoy the event. The older engines have lots of open moving parts, and drop a lot of fluid on the ground. It could be done, a cordoned off area, catch pan, etc. I even see a one of them sitting in a barn in town, the family exibits the tractors… not the engines :slight_smile:

They are also available in scale kits to machine from scratch. Size and weight wise, this is almost the same bang for the buck, but much more easily portable. Same for the steam engines… a table top boiler may well be exempted from many regulations. Or not require too much compressed air to move slowly.

I do have a steam winch, circa 1900’s. I got it to work a project with my Dad, who said that looks too much like work. If I loose that project, I could have another. I think the base with the two cylinder sets weighs at least 1k. The geared drum for the cables another 1k. One set of the pistons is near complete. I could be talked out of it :slight_smile: Where’d you say that steam interest group was again? I have a new idea for yard art :slight_smile:


What about a sterling engine? I made one in middle school that didn’t work, but didn’t have a lathe.Or the internet for help. Given resources today it would have worked.

A Sterling engine is low pressure and safe. It runs with an alcohol lamp for power. There are lots of reasons why sterling, hit or miss or steam engines aren’t widely used. None of these reasons keep any of them from being COOL.


I can imagine a HIVE13 project with table top engine powering a generator and hence an Arduino then doing something totally random. Picture, 21st Century Rube Goldberg in reality on YouTube. How cool could that collaboration be? Each project could add to the whole. How cool to take that demo on the road along with learn to solder.

Minds explode. 501 C (3) Outreach with a fascination.

There are many things I’m thankful for. I’ve just spent two days in touch with bright young minds under 9 years old. These girls need to see crazy neat stuff and to be challenged to go further.
60 years ago sputnik scared the US into inventing micro circuits, the internet… give a kid a chance.

Then look out.

I lived through it and want more. You too could help inspire the next evolution. What an amazing ride I’ve seen. This is a chance to pay it forward,


I used to do live steam.

Here’s one I did that made music:


I still have this one around, since it’s small enough to move with me. I could bring it down sometime. I did lots of performances with that one, and much more dangerous “instruments” back before I became boring.

As long as you hydro-statically test the boiler and use proper relief valves you should be safe. Most problems happen when boilers run dry, which is easy enough to avoid.

Sterling engines look cool, but most cannot do work. As soon as you belt one up to a dynamo or something, it won’t budge. Lots of RPM, no torque to moveanything except itself.

I’d totally be down to get back into this…

Also, I hate running steam engines on compressed air. The effect / point is completely lost.

Lorin - If you really have a steam engine you have to bring it down!! and let me know when you do - Oliver would love to see it!

I also have a theremin, or would that be too much for one day?

Here’s one… looks like a kit. https://www.facebook.com/AmSciPlus/videos/10155327637087872/?hc_ref=ARRuX0VHcGKmeNWlYIjhm-lVejZZCtw3LIUEchTeFy0kCjVPLWbaY3QyRcglefyqYTY&fref=nf&ft[tn]=kC-R-R&ft[qid]=6496010234823670840&ft[mf_story_key]=3821079012070926677&ft[is_sponsored]=1&ft[ei]=AI%407acc5d46175edd4ca3ea26a8d2996d89&ft[top_level_post_id]=10155332099927872&ft[call_to_action_type]=SHOP_NOW&ft[page_id]=181014177871&ft[page_insights][181014177871][role]=1&ft[page_insights][181014177871][page_id]=181014177871&ft[page_insights][181014177871][post_context][story_fbid]=10155332099927872&ft[page_insights][181014177871][post_context][publish_time]=1511555211&ft[page_insights][181014177871][post_context][story_name]=EntStatusCreationStory&ft[page_insights][181014177871][post_context][object_fbtype]=266&ft[page_insights][181014177871][actor_id]=181014177871&ft[page_insights][181014177871][parent_story_name]=EntStatusCreationStory&ft[page_insights][181014177871][sl]=5&ft[page_insights][181014177871][targets][0][page_id]=181014177871&ft[page_insights][181014177871][targets][0][actor_id]=181014177871&ft[page_insights][181014177871][targets][0][role]=1&ft[page_insights][181014177871][targets][0][post_id]=10155332099927872&ft[page_insights][181014177871][targets][0][share_id]=0&ft[fbfeed_location]=1&ft[insertion_position]=13&ft[ordinal_position]=14%3A2&md=1

american scientific surplus… winhurst generator. pretty compact as far as displays go.