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Beth Stackpole
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Engine a piece of art
Beth Stackpole   2/7/2012 7:04:12 AM
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Cool looking engine and the creator seems to have done a solid job engineering a solution that can work around temperature swings. What exactly did this stirling engine do in terms of running a scupture? It wasn't evident from the video.

naperlou
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Re: Engine a piece of art
naperlou   2/7/2012 8:44:40 AM
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Beth, that's a great question.  I guess to the engineer it doesn't really matter.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Engine a piece of art
Rob Spiegel   2/7/2012 10:06:45 AM
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I would think  the ultimate need does matter to the engineer, Naperlou. The design solution should have the that need in mind, since there could be a varity of solutions based on that need.

At any rate, Doug Conner will weigh in on this question soon.

naperlou
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Re: Engine a piece of art
naperlou   2/7/2012 10:43:14 AM
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Actually, Rob, considering some of what passes for art these days, the engine might be the most aesthetically appealing part of the display. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Engine a piece of art
Rob Spiegel   2/7/2012 10:44:58 AM
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Good point, Naperlou. That's funny, and in many cases true. 

dconner
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Iron
Re: Engine a piece of art
dconner   2/7/2012 11:40:27 AM
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This is a case where I agreed to design and build a functioning prototype engine and the artist could modify it artistically to do whatever he wanted. I explained that it wouldn't generate enough power to really do anything except run. The artist can do more interesting things with the colors, finishes, and some of the shapes, particularly the flywheel and displacer. I get a kick out of watching the utilitarian prototype quietly running. I'm curious to see what the artist comes up with for the finished sculpture too.

williamlweaver
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Platinum
Re: Engine a piece of art
williamlweaver   2/7/2012 12:03:44 PM
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Thanks, Doug. Fantastic answer. I was musing about what the artist could do with all of the extra power generated by the Sterling engine and then I recalled the efficiency of the Sterling is barely enough to keep itself in motion. I'm not sure what the artist will augment, but your creation is a fine piece of performance art as it is...  =]

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Engine a piece of art
Charles Murray   2/7/2012 6:50:21 PM
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I second what you've said here, William. I, too, wondered what the artist is doing with the engine. For virtually every Design News reader, however, the real beauty lies in Doug Conner's design. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Engine a piece of art
Rob Spiegel   2/7/2012 12:58:20 PM
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We have a similar installation here in Albuquerque, just before I-40 comes into the city. Up on the canyon hills there's a sculpture that looks like a large steel flower. Next to it is a solar-powered light that shines the colors of the rainbow one by one. So the metal flower turns blue, then green, etc. Needless to say, when the sky has been overcast for a few days, the motor and light don't work. But it's rarely overcast for long here, so most of the time it works. There must be a light sensor connected to the motor, since it is idle during sunlight.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Engine a piece of art
Ann R. Thryft   2/7/2012 1:36:57 PM

What a cool idea. That looks like something that could power up all the weird SF Bay iron sculpture and make it move, if the artists so desired. The last time I saw them they were all static.


Tool_maker
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Platinum
Re: Engine a piece of art
Tool_maker   2/8/2012 6:39:08 AM
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Some of the questions here remind me of English Lit classes I had as a young college student. We would spend 3 hours reading a book and then 3 weeks beating up the book to try and wring out what the author was saying. Then I found a quote from Edgar Allen Poe where he states that sometimes the author writes purely for the sake of art. When I presented this quote to an Eng Lit professor, he told me I was misinterpreting what Poe said.

To Mr Conner, you were given an assignment/challenge and created an innovative solution. Congratulations and who cares what it really does. All of us have probably successfully designed something for someone in which the end use is of little matter. But beating the challenge is the reward. Well done.

Charles Murray
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Re: Engine a piece of art
Charles Murray   2/8/2012 7:57:30 PM
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Well said, Tool_Maker. I wholeheartedly agree.

jackiecox
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Platinum
Re: Engine a piece of art
jackiecox   2/12/2012 9:19:17 PM
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discovery is its own reward

 

Justajo
User Rank
Gold
Re: Engine a piece of art
Justajo   2/7/2012 4:10:14 PM
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It is quite nice, but like you, Beth, I too wonder what the sculpure it is intended to move looks like. Guess I missed the video you mentioned. I only saw a slideshow. (Speaking of slideshows, it would be nice if some gadget freak here at Design News or elsewhere could figure out a way to have an imbedded show instead of having to reload the whole page with each image.) Still, nice work. 

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Very Good Engineering
Jon Titus   2/7/2012 12:44:49 PM
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Very nice, Doug.  I heard you had designed and built several Sterling engines.  You must have a nice machine shop.  How about a few photos?  Cheers. --Jon

dconner
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Iron
Re: Very Good Engineering
dconner   2/7/2012 5:08:48 PM
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Thanks Jon,

I have a 7x10 lathe and two drill presses. Everything else is done with hand tools. A milling machine would be nice, but you can do a lot with a hack saw and files. If i had a milling machine I would design my engines with fewer parts, but the parts would be more complex.  I keep thinking I'll have emachineshop or someone else build the parts for my next engine instead of buying a milling machine. I've been thinking that for the last 3 eingines.

 

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Re: Very Good Engineering
Jon Titus   2/7/2012 5:31:23 PM
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I've seen some nice milling machines on ebay, but it might take a rigging company to get one in your shop or garage.  Micro-Mark sells a nice small milling machine for $750 and then of course you'd need collets and cutters, too.  Maybe an e-machine shop would be a better choice.  You do nice work with a small lathe, hand tools, and drill presses.

jackiecox
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Very Good Engineering
jackiecox   2/12/2012 9:22:23 PM
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to discover the part materaial is necessary, then you can google material suppliers, same goes for contract milling machines, 

wankap
User Rank
Iron
New technology vs Stirling
wankap   2/8/2012 10:51:03 AM
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The FCHTMC engine recently patented is smaller than the stirling, has no exposed mechanics, confines all energy within while only exporting what it uses in the reaction. Combined with a 6 inch dome black-body reactor, this device shall actully deliver work from normal sunlight shining on the reactor. The reactor does two things it heats oil which is imported into the engine to create power, the engine exports what heat it uses through its heat exchanger. The reactor also creates a little steam which then drives a small turbine to create electricity to trigger the FCHTMC. FCHTMC requires no started motor or starting push as the timing funtions are entirely electronic it detects the just after tdc piston, it then applies force to that piston to start itself. In the smaller version a 1/4-20 output shaft connection may be applied to a fan or small dynamo type generator or other application.

FCHTMC is the acronym for (Fluid Connected Heat to Motion Converter patent 7980080) 

dconner
User Rank
Iron
Re: New technology vs Stirling
dconner   2/8/2012 11:54:43 AM
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Your description of the FCHTMC engine sounds interesting. Do you have a link to a video of one running?

wankap
User Rank
Iron
Re: New technology vs Stirling
wankap   2/8/2012 2:16:52 PM
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The physical engine was simulated in Solid Works, a plastic printer was utilized to create most of the machine parts, although it could not handle some of the smaller parts and the central shaft has to be drilled out and replaced with a firmer rod. I'm still searching for a plastic printer or machinest that can do the hot-spot stuff out of delrin or teflon like material. The prototype may be running by late April if I can get the hot spot stuff done soon.

FCHTMC utilizes a refigerant to create internal steam, then it recycles that refrigerant. The oil is used to heat the hot spots. Energy is also stored in the CEM which plugs into the bottom of the FCHTMC and provides the engine hotspots and other features. I tried to just upload a picture but this webpage wants video's I have some stuff on the engine on utube, set up prior to receiving the patent.

The production parts are to be constructed in ceramic, SC30 for hot spots, heat exchangers, and Z500 for body.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Self starting solar stirling engine.
William K.   2/10/2012 9:01:45 PM
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I tried to watch the video and it was so very jerky that it was not possible to understand what was actually happening, which way it was turning. Was the cameraman bouncing on a pogo stick?

On the other hand, a self starting stirling engine that will run on that small a temperature difference is quite an acomplishment. It would have been very nice to have watched it with the camera held still for perhaps ten seconds. A few more details would have added a lot to the explanation, since I don't see where a lot of electronics enters into the stirling cycle.

dconner
User Rank
Iron
Re: Self starting solar stirling engine.
dconner   2/12/2012 10:30:24 PM
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William,

I'm sorry to hear you found the video confusing. I try to keep my videos moving along so as not to bore viewers, especially those that have seen hundreds of Stirling engines before. I suppose the video might cover things too fast for the unfamiliar. If you download the build instructions (available on the Design News website) you will find still photos of the engine and starter operation, a discussion of the electronics, and the schematic. That would perhaps help you understand the engine and starter a little better.

I accidentally left out the program listing for the arduino microcontroller. You can see that on my website:

http://www.solarheatengines.com/solar-powered-stirling-engine-prototype-part-4/engine-controller/solar-engine-controller-code-listing/

A detailed description of the engine with photos of all parts starts at:

http://www.solarheatengines.com/solar-powered-stirling-engine-prototype-part-1/

If you examine this material and still have questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you for your interest.

 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Self starting solar stirling engine.
Rob Spiegel   2/13/2012 2:34:51 PM
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Thanks for the links, Doug. That helps a great deal.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Self starting stirling engine
William K.   2/13/2012 8:07:33 PM
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dconner, I can't imagine being bored, at least not with something as interesting as a functioning engine, one that is self starting. Of course, it helps that I have a long attention span and posess an ability to concentrate that is probably far beyond a large portion of society, or at least, far beyond that of the MTV generation.

I am more than a bit puzzeled as to what part an Ardunio system has in a Stirling cycle engine. That is what I was hoping to see.

I come across all manner of projects that include an Ardunio board and program when the required functionality could be created with 3 or 4 CMOS or analog chips, much more reliably and much less expense, and quite a bit less work involved. 

So the reale question is what does the ardunio controller package do for the stirling cycle engine?

I will try to visit the project posting and see the pictures there. I have not had a whole lot of success with "Gadget Freak" in the past, so I seldom go vary far in looking at the projects. But I will give this one a try.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Self starting stirling engine
Rob Spiegel   2/16/2012 3:40:40 PM
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Glad to hear you're going to give this Gadget Freak a try, William. Please check back and let us know how it went. We have a number of very good gadgets coming up. Let us know what you think as they arrive. There a nice automatic bike-shifting gadget on the site now.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Self starting Stirling Thing, Self shifting bike.
William K.   2/16/2012 8:21:30 PM
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Rob, I did look at the instructions and the pictures there and they were a lot easier to read and understand. But I was disappointed that it was an Ardunio thing that did the self starting. So it really is not a self starting engine, it is an engine with a computerized starter. I had been anticipating something like a 3-phase engine where one section is always at the start of a power stroke. An engine with a micro controller to kick start it is quite something, but that function is not really a self starting engine.

I have ridden a bike with a centrifical gear shifter and it was an interesting experience. But that shifter was all mechanical and was part of the rear wheel assembly. The shifter with the servo motors was an interesting project but it is the very opposite of what riding a bike is all about.  My guess is that the system in the article is intended for a much gentler type of riding, and only for nice weather.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Self starting Stirling Thing, Self shifting bike.
William K.   2/16/2012 8:21:48 PM
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Rob, I did look at the instructions and the pictures there and they were a lot easier to read and understand. But I was disappointed that it was an Ardunio thing that did the self starting. So it really is not a self starting engine, it is an engine with a computerized starter. I had been anticipating something like a 3-phase engine where one section is always at the start of a power stroke. An engine with a micro controller to kick start it is quite something, but that function is not really a self starting engine.

I have ridden a bike with a centrifical gear shifter and it was an interesting experience. But that shifter was all mechanical and was part of the rear wheel assembly. The shifter with the servo motors was an interesting project but it is the very opposite of what riding a bike is all about.  My guess is that the system in the article is intended for a much gentler type of riding, and only for nice weather.



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