CNCing a Stirling Engine

CNCing a Stirling Engine
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“Movement is Everything” shows the CNCing of a Boehm Stirling engine. Nicely done and totally turns the creation of these beautiful devices into an art unto itself. [via FrankieBit]

14 thoughts on “CNCing a Stirling Engine

  1. thejaydub says:

    Wow that Boehm Stirling link should come with a LOUD WEBSITE warning. Not just music. But music turned to 11.

  2. Jon says:

    Very nice video!


  3. michaeljanderson says:

    Wow those are truly beautiful. I’ve considered trying to build one myself, much less sophisticated than these obviously.

    While I see a lot of small sterling engines, some beautiful like those in the video and some decidedly low tech, I don’t recall seeing any that are large enough to perform real work. Are there any useful applications for sterling engines? Or are they merely novelties?

    1. Alan S. Blue says:

      Basically novelties.

      They can work at a quite low temperature differential. But to get “real work” out of them, either (or both) the hot or cold side need -real- energy flowing. Basically to -keep- the hot-side hot, and the cold-side cold. TANSTAAFL – there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

      To get -enough- energy flowing, you see Stirling Engines demonstrated with candles, alcohol burners, etc. Well, then a steam engine would work in the same situation – because to provide sufficient heat -flux- (the -flow- of energy), you’ve also provided a higher temperature.

      The Stirling engines rely upon the (generally mild) expansion of a gas with heat. A steam engine relies upon the phase change and expansion of water (or some other liquid) from liquid to gas – a 1-to-1000 expansion (or so).

      So, most situations with concentrated energy are better served by a steam turbine. It’s only the leftover energy that might be amenable to harvesting with a Stirling Engine – and even that ends up being much more difficult to actually do than to say.

      1. michaeljanderson says:

        Thanks for the response. I understand the thermodynamics of these types of engines, at least in general terms.

        I guess what it comes down to is what is the efficiency of a sterling engine? The ratio of thermal energy in to mechanical energy out. If the efficiency is high enough there are bound to be applications for it.

        I would assume that since there is a significant interest in sterling engines yet there are are no real world applications the efficiency must not be high enough make it preferred over other more established technologies.

        Never the less, they’re interesting to look at and fun to watch in action.

      2. michaeljanderson says:

        It’s amazing the information you can find with a quick google search. The Wikipedia article for Stirling Engines,, has a ton of the details I was wondering about.

        Specifically, the thermodynamic cycle used by stirling engines, the Carnot cycle, is more efficient than than that used by steam engines. And there are commercial applications of the Stirling engine, a few examples are shown in the article.

  4. Madhav says:


    I have coupled PMG (Axial Flux Air Cored) with the Stirling Engine

    We have uploaded videos of Stirling Engine coupled to PMG.

    Please have look at the video at

    Looking forward.

    Thanking you
    With Regards

    Madhav Chowdhary

    SWEE Technologies
    Pune (India)

    Mobile: +91-9623557207

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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