Nick’s Main Project Inspirations

For my main project, I have decided to make a stirling engine. I’ve wanted to make my own for a while now, but never got around to doing it. I’m not sure if I want to try a single cylinder version or to just do a low-temperature difference one like in Greg Potts office.



Example of a Stirling Engine

I’m a fan of surrealism (especially Dali), and I might try to incorporate that aesthetic to my engine. There are a lot of nice desktop sterling engines that look antique, industrial, or even somewhat googie. But I have yet to see a surreal stirling engine. It doesn’t really make sense to apply such an aesthetic to an object that is so mechanical. But that’s why I want to pursue the idea.


Temptation of St Anthony by Salvador Dali

At the moment, I don’t really know how I will accomplish this.  One idea that I have is to include the engine into a larger structure that is inspired by surrealism. This will be quite a challenge, since the surreal engine still needs to work. It would be really cool if I could make a functioning engine that looks like it should not work. Maybe I could encase the cylinder in a plastic apple, so it looks like the fly wheel turns by heating up a piece of fruit.

I’ve only just begun the brainstorming process, but I’m really hoping I can make my very own surreal stirling engine.

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4 Comments. Leave new

Anfal Abdulrahman
February 28, 2016 10:18 pm

the object and aesthetic you chose are rather interesting, looking forward to your project!


We should definitely keep in touch on this project. I’m trying to make a CO2 powered radial engine. I think we will be having some similar challenges, so sharing our experiences will be helpful. Excited to see your project!


I also really enjoy the surrealist aesthetic (especially Dali!) I think your approach could yield some interesting results. If you were to build a sterling engine to do work, your design would be constrained by the practicality of developing a thermodynamically efficient machine. However, you can expend some efficiency for the sake of aesthetics. Any work you get out of the engine will be in the service of a dynamic and visually appealing design. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your preliminary design review this Wednesday.


Good luck on the surrealism aesthetic! If you can make some sort of mechanical face that would be quite surreal, but it would involve a lot of work. Are you making a sterling engine from scratch? That sounds like a ton of work but kudos if you can pull it off.


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