Gorgeous machined Stirling engine kits

Hermann Böhm's metal Stirling engine kits are some of the most beautiful machines I've ever seen, real triumphs. They run about as much as one of them fancy toothpaste squeezers, but they're about ten thousand times cooler, and somehow don't have the same oligarch factor.

(Thanks, Chris!)


    1. Unless they mean the engines are made of sterling silver…but yes. The maker has the spelling right in the video.

  1. Do they produce enough torque to actually drive something? Can they be converted to solar, with maybe electrical coils for heat source?

    1. “Do they produce enough torque to actually drive something? Can they be
      converted to solar, with maybe electrical coils for heat source?”

      According to these folks, yes.

    2. The obvious application is to make a steampunk vibrating toothbrush out of one. 
      Anything else is going to look mundane alongside your $300 toothpaste squeezer.

  2. Instead of converting solar energy to electricity, then heat, then torque, why not just use mirrors and lenses (and fiber optics?) to redirect sunlight to the terminals.  That should be much more efficient.

    1. Why not just use a pre-existing electric motor instead? Then you wouldn’t need to expend the energy  to manufacture the sterling engine.


  3. My brother got a badass facial scar building one of these things for an engineering class once. (Not from the power of the Stirling engine, but from a projectile flying off one of the machines in the shop he was using to fabricate the parts.)

    1. I have to agree, these machines are beautiful to look at, but are not pleasant to listen to.

  4. My gawd those are beautiful.  Building my own Stirling engine has been on my “science project to-do” list for years now, but after watching these babies hum I realize that building my own Lexus might be more practical.

    As to alternative designs – I’ve always wanted to see a rotary Stirling engine, and (especially) a solar rotary Stirling engine.

    This is going on next years orders for my science classroom.  Thank you Cory – this is the best thing you’ve ever posted.

    1. Haha – great.  I thought I would comment these awesome makers about the feasibility of a rotary Stirling engine.  Clicking on their “Contact Us” link produces a 404 error with the helpful tip – “The link you used to get here is faulty. (It’s an excellent idea to let the link owner know.)”

      Umm… but the link to contact… uh…  Aw hell I’ll just patent it myself.

  5. I’ve been fascinated by Stirling engines since I first read about them years ago, especially since if you crank them with an external force they work as a chiller. I just wish they weren’t such “fringe” devices and had even a fraction of the R&D and manufacturing capacity that has been devoted to the various internal combustion engines… the power density may suck but you can’t beat a stirling for multifuel capability… solar, open flame, compost pile waste heat, sweaty mammals, ocean thermal differential, nuclear decay… you name it and odds are you can rig a stirling to run off it!

    1. Infinia has put a lot of effort into commercializing Stirling for solar electric generation, but it still doesn’t seem to be taking off.

  6. Part of me suspects this is the future.  With the Makerspaces accelerating the refinement of tooling capabilities, I can’t wait for the day 10, 20 years on where every bike shop could fabricate a replacement component for your little engine you use to drive your bike up hills.  Plus considering the core of this engine relies on you being able to “Apply heat here”, the variability of it is resounding.  Sunny day?  Fold out the panels and focus sunlight on a heat sink.  Cloudy?  Lite up the candles…  I want one of these so bad, lol.

  7. Böhm’s video at the top of this page http://www.en.boehm-stirling.com/about-us.html is gorgeous. Metalworking glamour.

  8. These are beautifully engineered Stirling engines, but I’d have thought he’d have wanted to cant the engine so the cold sinks aren’t in the convection path.

    UK viewers keen to get their hands on a (more simple but nonetheless wonderfully engineered) Stirling engine could do worse than to visit Kontax at http://www.stirlingengine.co.uk.  I have the basic KS80 on my classroom desk at work and it sits there all day every day converting the excess heat from my laptop power supply into motion.  It’s fascinating.

  9. Those a very noisy for stirling engines. (Since they don’t involve a controlled  explosions like an internal combusion engine, stirling engines can be very quiet). 

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