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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: Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
Review of the Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
When is a toy not actually a toy? When it is an actual steam engine in full working order, powered by its own boiler. This is the 1313 Steam traction engine from Mamod (model number TE1a Green), a replica model of a Victorian era English tractor engine that comes in black, with a British racing green boiler, and cheerful red wheels. There is also a version in brass with black wheels. This engine is modelled on the traction engines made by the iconic Doncaster Works, which also produced the famous Mallard and Flying Scotsman steam engines.
Traction engines powered their way along the roads, such as they were in the late 1800s, earning them the name of road locomotives, to differentiate them from railway locomotives. They pulled heavy loads and were a crucial cog in the industrialisation of nations. Their demise came in the early 20th century as the internal combustion engine replaced steam.
The 1313 is Mamod’s standard model traction engine in its range. It’s hugely popular and for good reason – this working model is affordable and perfect for beginner collectors, or as a gift to a youngster keen on Victorian engineering. It’s been made by Mamod in England for 50 years now, using the exact same design, although early models used methylated spirits for fuel. It isn’t unusual for owners to still have, and use, engines that had been brought 30, 40 or 50 years ago. These have become almost heirloom toys, with parents handing them down to their children, who also pass them on.
The Steam traction engine comes fully assembled and ready to go. Because it gets very hot, and has lots of sharp bits, not to mention the potential dangers of the steam and boiler, this toy is recommended for children aged 14 years and upwards.
The boiler is stoked through the solid fuel blocks provided with the engine, and once it gets sufficiently hot, the little engine will power along quite quickly. It also comes with Mamod oil for lubrication. You only need to add water to the boiler. However, you really need to put water in that is already boiling. Otherwise, you’re in for a bit of a wait for the steam to get up.
The engine is really robust, being made of heavy gauge steel and brass and a reasonable size at 10 inches long. For the metric minded, its full dimensions are 178mm x 137mm x 270mm. It’s also reasonably hefty at four pounds, or 200 grammes, but not as weighty as you might expect from such a little powerhouse.
This is simply a fun toy to play with. There is a sense of excitement from the steam coupled with the smell of the fuel burning, and the power of the traction engine as it moves along. It is also educational, helping youngsters understand the power and engineering of the great steam engines of our past.
Exact replica of a Victorian road locomotive
Steel and brass
Working steam engine with boiler
Moves at speed along the ground
1 x packet of solid fuel tablets
1 x bottle of lubrication oil
Weighs 200 grammes
Measures 178mm x 137mm x 270mm
For ages 14 up
Review: Mamod SR1A Steam Roller
Review: Mamod SR1A Working Live Steam Roller
Young boys and older men who are interested in vehicles of all types are going to love the Mamod SR1A Working Live Steam Roller. This delightfully coloured model is a perfect replica of a 19th Century British Road roller and will provide males from every generation a chance to let their imagination run free. This is the perfect model for creating fun stories, characters, ideas and scenarios. Also, even though this is a boy’s toy, mums, sisters and daughters can still have fun playing and creating these wonderful stories and worlds as a family.
The Mamod SR1A steam roller comes fully assembled, so for those of you out there who love the finished model product, but aren’t really too keen on the building process, this is the perfect model for you. Father and son duos looking to either build up an existing collection, or start a new hobby together can jump right into the fun. Due to this model not needing any assembly, it’s perfect for boys who are just starting out their model collecting hobby and because it’s suitable for ages 14+ for non supervised use, the worries of mum and dad concerned about what to buy their teenage son are no more! (Also suitable for dads needing an excuse to add to their collection!)
As the pictures show, this model is exceedingly beautiful. The steam roller is simply designed using the most durable metal materials, giving the model a realistic overall look. A more modern and pristine look is given to the steam roller by it being finished with top quality colourful paint. (Get your hands on the model to help give it a more used authentic look! Real life steam rollers wouldn’t look this luxurious afterall. Of course, hardcore collectors wouldn’t dare ruin the exterior appearance of this fine piece, but that’s the beauty of the SR1A – it’s suitable for all!). The model’s dimensions are 255 x 177 x 144 mm, making it a perfect size to handle and not so big that it takes up too much room in a collector’s room.
The Mamod SR1A live steam roller is exactly that – live! The model is fully functioning as if it were an actual steam roller used on the street. The model uses solid fuel tablets (which are much safer than the fuel used for models similar to these in the past) and water. Water is poured in, the burner is lit and the steam roller is set to go. Once the model is fired up, it can easily be controlled by using the steering rod to control the front chassis. The flywheel controlling the belt to the rear wheel is powered by a brass piston and cylinder, just like a vehicle in the real world. Steam rollers in real life obviously have the ability to move forwards and backwards; Mamod have put thought into this too, giving their product the ability to travel in reverse, as well as forward. What really gives this model a special touch is the sound it makes; because of the real life components making up the steam roller, the sound made mimics that of a steam roller of its time. This is made possible by the chimney billowing steam from the model’s exhaust unit.
There isn’t a live steam roller quite like the SR1A on the market and the high quality materials making up this model ensure a longlasting product you’re going to enjoy today and for many years to come.