Let's Make Robots!

Steam Punk Robots

I was visiting my sister this past weekend. I showed her son Alec some of the great bots here on LMR. Alec has a couple of interesting model engines, and has been trying to generate electricity with them. His dad actually does this on a bigger scale with diesel engine running biodiesel and a generator.

Anyway, one of Alec's engine models is a Stirling engine. He has this model.


Alec had previously dis-assembled it, and now it is not working so well. He's very patiently tweaking the position of the flywheels to fix it.

Alec's model steam engine looks a lot like this one.


He is using a small DC motor that came with a little solar panel to try to couple to the steam engine and generate enough voltage to drive an LED.  He was only getting about 1 volt, so I helped him understand gear ratios a bit, and that he needed the motor to turn faster to get above 1.5 volts so he could easily run the LED. I also left him with some notes on using capacitors to clean up the power, if he gets past the raw voltage issue.

Anyway, it made me think about one day using a little engine as an alternative to battery power for electrical supply.  Plenty of people have made battery and even solar powered bots.  I don't see too many steam or gas engine bots out there.  It would be cool

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Yep, these are just steam engines. However, if I'm going to go through the trouble of making a steam powered robot, you can bet I'm going to make it look good. Polished brass and stained wood all the way. ; j