Saturday, 5 November 2016


paper rotary engine
Five Ridiculously Tiny Engines That Actually Work
By David Grossman,
Popular Mechanics, 2 November 2016.

When you think engine, you probably think power. And when you think power, you probably think big.

That's fine and good for some things, but consider the tiny engine. It does all the same tricks, but with extremely limited space, which requires a whole different kind of engineering finesse. Tiny engines may not be as practical as their big brothers, but they're almost always more fun.

1. Tiny V8 Engine

Aliaksei Zholner is terrific at making model engines. Here, he illustrates a tiny paper throttle that he can use to rev his mini V8 up to a terrifically tiny purr. It runs on compressed air, as opposed to any form of combustion, but that doesn't make it any less impressive.

2. Tiny Steamboat Engines

Leslie Proper enjoys model steamboats. He has videos where he lets them set sail, cutting through the water just like the regular-sized steamboats we all know and love. Here, he shows off what makes them run: six tiny, functional engines. The single cylinder double-acting engine is especially impressive.

3. Tiny V6 Engine

Sometimes the best way to make an engine tiny is to change how the thing works. Difo Productions, an Italian YouTuber, recreated a V6 engine but decided to bypass the traditional explosions. Working with steam instead of fuel allows Difo more flexibility like using aluminum for cylinders, the crankcase, pistons and a brass tube for air pipelines. It took seven months to build, but the miniature results speak for themselves.

4. Ronald Valentine's Combustion Engines

Ronald Valentine claims to make the smallest combustion engines, and it's hard to doubt him. The closest video of his wares is of this chance encounter with the man himself showing off his wares. Valentine's website looks like it takes custom orders, so you can find your favorite car and start to recreate it.

5. Tiny Rotary Engine

What makes Aliaksei Zholner's tiny engines so special is, yes, they're made out of paper, which makes them seem both impossible to make, but also oddly attainable. After all, you have some paper lying around, don't you?

While this style of pistonless engine isn't in use much anymore, Zholner's recreation makes them  accessible. You might not have all the tools needed to make an engine of your own, but you probably have access to some paper. Get folding!

Top gif image: Tiny rotary paper engine. Credit: Image created from Aliaksei Zholner/YouTube.

[Source: Popular Mechanics. Edited. Top image added.]

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