Stirling Cycle engines like their cousins the Steam Engine and Internal Combustion Engines are heat engines in that they use heat to produce working power. They are different in that they do not directly burn fuel to produce that working power. The Stirling engine usually is a two piston arrangement, or more correctly one piston and one displacer. The engine usually consists of a pair of cylinders, one small and one large which are interconnected. The power piston is in the small cylinder and is mechanically linked to the displacer in the large cylinder. The engine works by first heating the air trapped within the power cylinder expanding it forcing the power piston out. The trapped air transfers into the displacer cylinder where it is cooled and contracts, as it contracts the displacer piston and power piston are sucked back in. The air transfers back into the heated chamber where the process starts again. Note that the key is not the heat, the key is the temperature differential between the two cylinders, you can chill the displacer side of the engine and have it work just as well as if you heated the power side. For more detail see Operation Simply Explained In the last century stirling cycle engines predominantly found fame as quiet pumping engines for houses. With a small amount of coal they could keep water pumping all day. More recently the world has been turning to stirling cycle for a more efficient way to power generators and cars. There are some engines in commercial production at present capable of doing this. Of course like the electric car, the stirling car will be a slow accelerating beast.

A low temperature Stirling Engine by Penn Clower
This article is reproduced from the July/August 1999 issue of Village Press: Home of Live Steam Magazine with the kind permission of Joe Rice of Village Press Publishing. The article is © Copyright 1999 Village Press Publishing All Rights Reserved.

By Penn Clower
Photos by Steve Finberg
Drawings by Author…

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A Novel Stirling Cycle Hot Air Engine To Build
This article has been reproduced from Melbourne Society of Model & Experimental Engineers Journal with the kind permission of the Secretary. The article is written by Ian Stewart, and the drawings by Paul Higgott. 12 July 97 - I have rescanned the drawings to provide better detail for intending builders.

07 Jan 2000 A Low Temperature Stirling Engine by Penn Clower from Live Steam Magazine is based on this article
28 Dec 1999 Dietmar did it! He built a Stirling Engine from this article!!

If constructed carefully this engine will run on the heat of your hand, cup of coffee, or fax machine. If you wish, place it on a block of ice and it will run in the opposite direction! Stirling Cycle engines, perhaps better known as Hot Air Engines were invented in 1816. They were widely used in industry and for domestic purposes before the internal combustion engine superseded them around the turn of the century. They operate from an external heat source, and are scaled.…

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Dietmar's Stirling
Finally, after several years of having the Stirling Engine Plans on Steam & Engine someone has answered my plea for some photos of a finished model and a bit of detail about how they did it.
Dietmar This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Germany has built a magnificent example of the model. Early on in the project Dietmar contacted me about some of the detail which was awry in the article and I helped him where I could. Then came 18th December 1999, when the following message and photos arrived from Dietmar...

Hi Paul, I'm sorry that you've to wait so long but I had some difficulties with the photos.I made the power piston from a carbon rod which I took from an old electric engine. This LTD engine works with a temperature difference of 20 degrees. I hope to make some improvements so that it'll work with a lower temperature difference too. If you or a other model engineer is able to give me some advice, this it would be very nice. You wrote that you want a construction diary with photos. I attached to this mail some photos showing my engine. If you want a description of the building of the engine too please don't hesitate to express your wishes.…

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Bailey Stirling Engine Model

This amazing little Stirling Engine is from Bailey Craftsman Supply. I bought it for about $A200 including shipping from the USA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. could not have been more helpful. In our initial exchange of e-mail he must have spent at least an hour replying to my endless stream of questions. Over the course of the sale, and later we have exchanged quite a few messages about this engine and Stirling engines in general.…

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Latest stirling aquisition - a Bohm HB9

My latest little Stirling model just arrived from its previous owner today. Excuse the awful photo, I used my phone since I'm at work. This is an interesting addition to my other engines.…

Read more: Latest stirling aquisition - a Bohm HB9 "Deluxe Swingarm"