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Review: Sunnytech® Hot Air Stirling Engine Model Educational Toy Sc02
Review of the Sunnytech® Hot Air Stirling Engine Sc02
The Sunnytech Single Flywheel Hot Air Stirling Engine is a well-crafted, fully working model which demonstrates the operational principles of Stirling engines.
What is a Stirling engine?
A Stirling engine is an external combustion engine. That is, it is an engine that gets its energy from an external heat source, in contrast to the internal combustion engine where the heat input is generated within the engine itself.
The Stirling engine was invented in 1816 by Robert Stirling, who wanted to create an alternative to existing steam engines, whose boilers could often explode because of the high steam pressures used and the strength limitations of the materials available to engineers at the time.
How does a Stirling engine work?
Like all heat engines, the Stirling turns heat energy into mechanical energy. The key feature of the Stirling engine is that it uses a fixed amount of gas – usually air – enclosed in a sealed container, with the heat consumed by the engine applied externally. This means that the engine can run on just about any heat source, including coal or gas, solar energy, chemical reaction and nuclear energy. It can also work with very low temperature differentials, which means a Stirling engine could be powered by body heat or even the steam from a cup of coffee. And because it uses heat from a constant source and does not, like an internal combustion engine, rely on a succession of explosive ignitions, the engine runs very quietly.
The heat source used in the Sunnytech Single Flywheel Hot Air Stirling Engine model is supplied by a small methylated spirit burner, which comes included, and the engine’s output is delivered – as the name suggests – by a single flywheel.
The Single Flywheel Hot Air Stirling Engine is robustly constructed from steel, copper and aluminium, and comes fully assembled, which means that you can have it up and running within minutes of taking it out of the box. Just fill the burner with meths, light the wick, let the working fluid (air) heat up for 30 seconds, give the flywheel a spin, and off it goes.
The model’s main features are:
Specification: Single Flywheel Hot Air Stirling Engine
Model No.: SC02
Size: 130mm X 80mm X 115mm
Materials: Aluminium, Copper and Steel
The Single Flywheel Hot Air Stirling Engine is an ideal collector’s item for engineering enthusiasts, as well as an engaging educational demonstration model. Most importantly, it is lots of fun. It should, however, only be used under adult supervision, and it is not suitable for children under 10 years old.
Customer reviews of the Sunnytech Hot Air Stirling Engine are consistently excellent. People who have bought it are particularly impressed by its quality and performance. In today’s world, where everything is made from plastic, the look and feel of a solid, tactile piece of high-quality workmanship is immensely satisfying. It has an elegant design, is well engineered and constructed, and runs like a dream.
Review: Wilesco D22 Steam Engine Model Kit
Review: Wilesco D22 Steam Engine Model Kit
Stationary steam engine enthusiasts are going to love the twin-cylinder Wilesco D22, a complete model that is the fastest in the entire Wilesco collection. Equipped with a base mounted countershaft and with a highly decorative finish, this is a super-efficient engine and one that the hobbyists among you will adore.
The history of steam engines is certainly fascinating and this model is an engine that an industrial Victorian factory might have used. When running you can just imagine the many workers that would have to operate this engine. The Wilesco D22 is definitely a great educational tool and a way of introducing the history of steam engineering to children.
Ideal for steam engine enthusiasts or as an educational tool for children, the Wilesco D22 is one of the most powerful stationary model steam engines around and can power almost any accessory set-up. Do be advised, however, that any children using this model should be supervised by adults and young children, in particular, should not be left alone to play with the engine.
Power and Beauty
With a silver/black finish and a brass boiler with a nickel-plated finish, the Wilesco D22 is certainly beautiful to look at. It certainly runs beautifully too, with its self-starting twin-cylinder steam engine and countershaft that is base mounted. In fact, since Wilesco discontinued the D32 more than 30 years ago, this is their only two-cylinder model.
Other features of this powerful and efficient stationary steam engine include a safety valve, water drain valve, a pressure gauge and a hand wheel shut off. Mounted on a sturdy metal base, this model is one of the larger models in the Wilesco catalogue with measurements of 35.5 x 30 x 20cm. With a weight of 2.8kg, it is also one of the heaviest in their range as well.
The Wilesco D22 is a self-starting model, so there is no need to turn over the flywheel manually. Once it starts to generate steam, you just turn the steam valve and away it goes. With a beautiful sound as the engine ticks over, there are not many other stationary engines that can offer the same satisfying hum as the D22.
Wilesco’s only two cylinder model
Weight of 2.8kg
Technically complete (not in kit form)
There are a number of accessories from Wilesco that you can connect and power from this steam engine – further adding to the educational and aesthetic nature of this highly efficient and powerful model. Compatible with Wilesco products such as street lights and drilling machines, there is no end to the fun that can be had with the twin-cylinder engine.
Without a doubt, this beautiful model is one of the best that Wilesco has produced. In fact, most avid collectors will tell you that no collection is complete without a Wilesco D22. Whether you are a hobbyist or want to educate your children on the history of engineering, the D22 is certainly an option you should consider.
Review: Nanoblock NAN-NBM001 Steam Locomotive
Review of the Nanoblock NAN-NBM001 Steam Locomotive
Although less well known than their competitors in the children’s building block market, Nanoblock manufacture traditional children’s model making kits using the ‘raised dot’ blocks which any child or parent will know well.
This kit allows children to create a model of a tank locomotive – a steam engine without a tender, to you and me – and includes over 800 individual building blocks for just this purpose. Don’t worry though, it comes with instructions and a picture to follow too.
Just as with all building block toys, this kit isn’t suitable for children aged under 3 years as they may choke on the pieces. The manufacturer recommended age group is from 12 years and older, with adult supervision. With that aside, however, it is sure to be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Once built, the model depicts a black steam locomotive, pausing at a signal as it journeys along a railway line through pleasant green countryside. Youngsters will be enthralled by the romance and magic of steam, while the older generation will become equally fascinated by the details contained in the model and in reminiscing of times past.
The 800 blocks included in this model kit are manufactured from the highest quality materials and are compatible with other kits in the Advanced Hobbies Collection from Nanoblock. You may also find that they fit with building blocks from a certain other well-known company.
Playing with Nanoblock helps children develop their planning and organisational skills as well as encouraging creative play and building imagination. Children can use the included blocks to build anything that their imagination can create, and by extending the kit with other Nanoblocks, can stretch the limits even further.
Unlike some cheaper makes and models of building block, Nanoblocks are carefully designed, precision manufactured and constructed from high-quality materials to ensure that you never experience the frustration of blocks sticking or not fitting. All Nanoblock products work together seamlessly and fit each other with perfection and precision to give the best possible experience when building.
The steam locomotive model is easy to build following the included instructions and the picture on the box. You will be fascinated to see it develop, layer by layer, as you construct it and will end up with a model reminiscent of something from a Ghibli movie. The locomotive itself is in the Japanese style, with plenty of extra ‘knobbly bits’ and details such as coal in the bunker.
Once the Nanoblock Steam Locomotive is completed, the finished item will look fantastic adorning any child’s bedroom (or an older child’s den) or can be taken apart and the blocks used to construct anything else that your heart desires.
Over 800 building blocks included
Full building instructions included in four languages
Minimal and easy use packaging
Manufactured from high-quality, long-lasting materials
Combines with other kits from the Nanoblock Advanced Hobbies Collection
Develops children’s imagination, creativity, organisation, and planning skills.
Review: Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
Review of the Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
The Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409 is a fully working scale model of a steam-driven farm engine, the likes of which would have been used to power agricultural machinery such as threshers and ploughs before the modern tractor.
You can still see a small number of engines of this type in the UK today, powering old-fashioned fairground carousels and other rides, as well as at shows and fayres around the country, where they often draw a large crowd of fascinated onlookers.
This technically perfect scale replica is painted in traditional colours and carries traditional writing on the side of the canopy indicating its origin in Middlesex, England. It is delivered ready-made, with no assembly needed, and will look stunning either as a static model or a working demonstration of times gone by.
On the model itself, the boiler measures 7.3” by 1.8” and has a water volume of 14in. A water gauge glass is included, and the boiler vessel itself is chemically painted black, giving a durable protective finish.
A powerful, double action cylinder powers the engine alongside the red-painted, 3.2” flywheel. Depending on the direction of rotation of the flywheel, the engine can be run in forward or reverse.
Traditional chain steering as would be seen on a full-size engine of this type is included along with a spring loaded safety valve, steam regulator, steam jet oiler, footbridge, and steam whistle. A clutch engaged gear wheel allows the engine, and dynamo, to be used while stationary as well as when moving.
A dynamo lights the eight LEDs mounted on the canopy of the engine. Water is condensed and reused from the engine, just below the chimney.
Users will be able to run the engine for up to 15 minutes on each charge of fuel.
Each individual part of the engine is carefully constructed from finely painted, high quality, metal. The model is a total of 13” long, almost 6” wide, 8” high and weighs 4lbs.
Fuel, in the form of dry spirit tablets, as well as other consumables, are available from specialist retailers as well as online.
As a working steam engine, this item is not a toy and is not recommended for anyone aged under 18. Where the engine is being used in the presence of children, close supervision by a responsible adult it required. Steam engines can be dangerous, and if not properly maintained there is a very real risk of explosion. Users should be certain to follow all operating and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.
High-quality, steam traction and show engine
Manufactured from high-quality metal parts
Technically perfect, fully working engine
Clutch gear enables stationary as well as mobile use
Dynamo powers LED lighting around the engine canopy
Delivered ready-made, no assembly needed
A stunning static model, or fascinating demonstration of technology from times gone by
Variants of the Wilesco Showman’s Engine D409
Many Wilesco products are available in different variants – the D409 reviewed here is a working steam model that can be upgraded with a radio remote control.
The model also comes in two other variants:
Wilesco Showman’s Engine D499 – which is the same fully-built model, with remote control.
Wilesco Showman’s Engine D419 – which is a kit for the model (which requires assembly).