For my surreal stirling engine, the main parts that I got made are the displacer and power piston connecting rods, and the pin connectors that link the connecting rods to their respective pistons (the glass syringe plungers). Designing these connectors was difficult because the plungers need to press-fit into the units in order to avoid using harsh adhesives. Fortunately, I was able to get the printed connectors to “snap” in very nicely. It turned out better than I had hoped, which rarely happens in engineering design.
I still have quite a few parts to 3D print, but they are simpler geometries that should print fairly quickly. I plan on getting all of the critical parts printed by the end of this weekend so that I can finally test the engine.
One problem that I’ve noticed is that one of the plungers is not moving as smoothly in the syringe cylinder as the other anymore. It probably just needs to be cleaned, which might be a little tough, especially for the cylinder. The tolerances are quite tight between the plunger and the cylinder, so I need to be careful not to pull the plunger out too much.
I also have a block of foam, so now I can start planning out the shape the whale head.
Obviously, the design is inspired by the surrealist movement, which began around 1920. However, of the major design movements of the 20th century, the one that this fits the best under is probably the aesthetic movement. I say this simply because one of the mantras of the movement is “art for art’s sake”, which is basically what my project is. It’s not meant to serve a purpose or complete a task. It’s just meant to be something interesting to look at.