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.

stirling engine, surrealism
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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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