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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: Mamod SW1 Blue Working Live Steam Wagon with Barrels
Review: Mamod SW1 Blue Working Live Steam Wagon with Barrels
Mamod’s world renowned model making company have once again managed to create a beautifully elegant model. This time in the form of a steam wagon modelled from versions that would have been used in the 1900’s. Wagons were traditionally used for carrying heavy goods, animals and people and the Mamod SW1 embodies the fragment of history it has been taken from wonderfully. The truck the SW1 draws inspiration from in particular is the Foden steam truck, a popular truck from years gone by.
The model has been finished with a striking blue colour, along with six miniature (yet realistic looking) wooden barrels and a steering rod and handle. The parts of the wagon are fully functional, making this model not only great for display purposes, but for active entertainment too! Many models by Mamod are to be put together by the buyer, but luckily for those of you who just want to play without the kerfuffle and argument of fixing something together yourself, this model is ready to go. Simply grab the solid fuel tablets, filler funnel and lubrication oil (all of which are included with your purchase), add water and the steam wagon will work its wonders.
Mamod have thought about every detail when constructing the SW1 and have made it so that the wagon can move both forwards and backwards, just as a real wagon would. A list of the specifications of this product are as follows, to give you a better idea of what kind of size and weight you’ll be looking at upon buying the SW1 steam wagon:
approximately 16 inches/41cm in length
pressure safety valve (maintains the pressure of the working parts)
dimensions of 405 x 181 x 145 mm
3.8kg in weight
As you can see, this model is reasonably heavy for a model of this size. However, this is due to the exceptionally high quality of the gauge steel and brass metals the wagon is made up of. This metal is made to last and with good care and cleaning, will be a proud part of your family’s toy and model collection for many years to come.
As a result of the SW1 steam wagon’s parts and the fact that the model needs fuel and heat for it to work, it is not a suitable product for children under 14 years of age. However, kids of all ages will absolutely love this wagon, they’ll just need some supervision from an adult. The face of any child will light up when you show them this live steam wagon – it’s almost like a mini fairytale land has come to life right before their eyes! How marvellous! Toys are without a doubt not just for kids and the SW1 is no exception. This model would be a great buy for any hobbyist with a passion for scaled down models, history and simply for those who have some spare time on their hands and enjoy spending it actively.
The SW1 steam wagon will look great amongst any set, no matter what kind of models the collection is primarily made up of.
Model Steam Engines: Explaining Scales
Model steam engines are manufactured according to a variety of scales and gauges. The choice of scale and gauge is crucial as they are the major differentiating factors between the model steam engines. What makes things more confusing is that many model steam engine enthusiasts, and even seasoned fans, often use the two words ‘scale’ and ‘gauge’ interchangeably. However, they are two distinct attributes.
For starters, scale establishes the size relationship between the model engine and the real one. It is often represented as a ratio, such as 2mm:ft or 1:148 scale. This means that every part of the model engine is one-one forty eighth the size of the original steam engine. On the other hand, gauge is an attribute of the railway track. It is the distance between the inner edges of the track rails. Gauge is a more important attribute to consider, when purchasing a model steam engine. Let us understand why by looking at the main gauge types.
O Gauge model engines were produced from the beginning of the 20th century, and were among the most popular models for a long time, until the 1960s. Since then, they have lost their popularity and are difficult to find. They were manufactured in multiple scales from 1:1.48 to 1:43.5. But, they eventually lost their fame to smaller scale models. O Gauge model steam engines are not known for their finer details and accuracy. In fact, they were designed for pre-adults and therefore, cost-effectiveness, and durability were given more importance. Although they are valued by some collectors because of their rarity, most of the collectors and enthusiasts, with an attention to detail, do not prefer these models.
OO Gauge or Double-O Gauge model steam engines belong to a family of model railway systems, which follow the standard gauge model. The OO Gauge has a railway track that is 16.5mm wide, and is built at a scale of 1:76.2 or 4mm:ft. A highlight of OO Gauge models is that they rank very high in terms of realistic appearance and finer details. For this reason, they are of great value to serious collectors. Moreover, many of the manufacturers also place a lot of emphasis on durability and affordability. Naturally, they are among the most popular model steam engine categories today.
G Gauge models are big in size. They are manufactured on a scale range of 1:22.5. Because of their relatively huge size and highly durable construction, they make the best garden railway models. Their extensive use as garden models have led to modern train enthusiasts to believe that the G in G Gauge stands for Garden. The truth is that the G comes from groß, which means “big” in German. Oh yes, the G Gauge models were born in Germany, just like many others. A large scale means that the parts are not as intricate as the other models, say O Gauge for instance. Therefore, they are easy to produce and are readily available.
As you can see, the choice of gauge will be quite obvious to you based on the purpose of your purchase of a model steam engine. If you want a garden mode, then G Gauge is what you need. If you are a collector who enjoys the finer details, then OO Gauge is what does the job for you. However, if you are buying a model engine for your kid, then O gauge is just the thing.
Review: Wilesco D16 Steam Engine
Review: Wilesco D16 Steam Engine
Wilesco is renowned for their high-quality steam engines and they have not let us down once again with the gorgeous Wilesco D16 stationary steam engine. A fully working steam engine that has been modelled on the original engine from the industrial era, this is a beautiful piece of machinery that would not look out of place in any hobbyist’s collection.
Perfect for budding enthusiasts or for use as an educational tool, the D16 can be used to drive many other accessories and be modified by those that know how. With a fast-moving engine that will run for a good 20 minutes per use, this stationary engine will provide a sound that can only be described as sublime.
Not be used by children under the age of 14 without adult supervision, the Wilesco D16 steam engine has some parts that can move quite fast while anything that involves fire and heat should obviously be used with care.
The Wilesco D16 has nickel polished finished brass boiler that has a capacity of 250ml and a glass sight indicator. Complete with a cream coloured brick embossed finish, the boilers housing contains two foot-bridges.
Containing a reversible twin-acting brass piston cylinder and a flywheel with a grooved pulley and die-cast railings, this stationary engine has the power to drive a selection of other Wilesco models such as two-wheel grinders and drilling machines.
Operating the Wilesco D16 is done via the steam whistle with pullable chain, steam regulator valve and spring loaded safety valve. Mounted on a sturdy painted metal base, the D16 generates realistic looking smoke by using condensed water that is fed to a hidden tank at the rear of the boiler housing.
With dimensions of 31 x 25 x 28cm this is a good sized engine and with a weight of 1.8kg, it is one of the heavier in the Wilesco stationary engine range. Equally good in operation or as a decorative piece, this steam engine is certainly one that will improve anyone’s collection.
As with any steam engine, maintenance is extremely important and in some cases quite a timely expense. However, many will tell you that this just adds to the fun of this hobby as there is nothing quite like a steam engine in tip-top condition.
Functioning steam whistle
Realistic looking smoke
Avid collectors and hobbyists alike will not be disappointed with this beautifully crafted and well-built steam engine by Wilesco. These steam engines when well-looked after and rarely used can become a good investment as well as a great display piece. Even when used regularly but well-maintained, model steam engines are something that can stay in the family for many decades.
Ideal for those looking to get into this fantastic hobby or those that want another to add to their collection will not go wrong with the Wilesco D12 stationary steam engine. Certainly a good looking and powerful engine, the D12 is well worth checking out.