Hard Drive 1 - Lamina Flow Stirling Engine Like Generator


Here is the video commentary:

I'm going to call this engine Hard Drive 1. It's very similar to the Lamina 1 and Lamina 2 design, but this one has some nice new features you might like. You don't need a lathe at all to build this engine. On previous engines I used a lathe to make the flywheels, but on this engine I'm using an old computer hard drive for the flywheel. Hard drives actually produce electricity if you spin the motor by hand. I wasn't able to get a high enough voltage from the hard drive alone so I connected the hard drive to a transformer to increase the voltage. I tried a bunch of different transformers and was able to get the most power from a radioshack 120 to 12 volt transformer. I've been using denatured alcohol for the heat source but I'll show you later that a candle will also work. I bought a gallon of alcohol from home depot. It's in the paint supplies area. To get the alcohol out of the container I use a plasic syringe. I tried using this glass syringe but the plunger has really low friction so the alcohol leaks all over the place. A plastic syringe doesn't have this problem.

I bought some alcohol burners but their large size makes them less than ideal for model engines. So I fill up a one quarter inch brass pipe cap and light the alcohol. This is a little dangerous. These objects here are multimeters I got from Radio Shack, I'm using the multimeter on the left to measure voltage and the one on the right is measuring milliamps. This device here is a tachometer for measuring the RPMs of the flywheel. I'm using some rubber bands and a nickle to hold down the button. These red LEDs allow electricity to flow through them once the voltage reaches about 1.1 volts. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is a one way valve for electricity. So these LEDs will only allow electrons to pass in one direction. This video was recorded at 29.9 frames per second, which causes these lights to appear to blink in strange ways. Using a hard drive like this produces 3 phase alternating current, I am only connected to one of those 3 phases. Alternating current means the electricity flows in one direction, stops, then flows in the opposite direction. This happens many times per second.

I can't see much blinking above 600 RPMs in the real world, but it's not until after we reach 800 rpms that the blinking in this video stops. Yellow, blue, and green LEDs require higher voltages before they light up. So they would not shine as brightly as these RED ones will with the same voltage applied to them. There it is topping out at 873 rpms. That produces 4.69 milliamps at 1.77 volts which is roughly .008 watts or 8 milliwatts. I should be able to get more power out of this engine with some more experimenting. The alcohol is completely burned up in about 20 seconds and then the engine continues to run for another minute or so. Here's the same engine running off of the flame of a candle. It made it to over 500 RPMs during this run. I'm going to make another video with all the details of how to make this engine. It's going to include all the dimentions of all the individual parts and how to make those parts. So stay tuned for that.