Top 5 Constraints: Sterling Engine

While there will be many challenges with this project here are my considered top 5 constraints for the sterling engine project.

  1. Mechanical Precision. For this project functionality is everything. This is a very dynamic product and if it does not work it will be a total failure. The hardest part in getting a sterling engine to function as intended is making the parts precise enough and with as little frictional loss as possible in order for the motor to be able to run.
  2. Design Layout. There are many ways to skin a cat when it comes to building a sterling engine, and there are a lot of different designs out there already. It will be a sure challenge to try and figure out which design to go with and which one will work the most efficiently.
  3. Piston. From my conversations with Professor Knusten about these awesome machines, getting the piston inside of the cylinder to the right dimensions and that there is little interference with the cylinder walls will be large hurdle. If there this not done correctly the entire system will not function.

Image result for piston cylinder device stirling engine

  1. Aesthetic. I think this will be a challenge as the largest portion of this project is mechanical functionality. My main concern is to get the engine running, however I also want it to be aesthetically pleasing incorporating the themes mentioned in the last blog post being “industrial” and “mechanical.”
  2. Useful Application. Like any motor these sterling engines are creating some level useful work. It is my high hope to actually use this shaft work to create a useful service. The challenge will be due to the fact that these engines produce very low levels of torque, however can spin at relatively high rpms. As stated before my initial idea is to possibly try and create a fishing reel line spooler that is harnessed to the output shaft of the sterling motor.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Zach Aldrich
    March 9, 2020 10:18 am


    Great progress so far! I agree that your main challenge will be the mechanics of the engine. I think if you seek help from some of the professors in the department you can really nail this project in the vision you have for it. Keep up the solid work.

  • Hailee Pritchard
    March 8, 2020 9:03 pm

    Hey Nate! This is such a cool project, and it seams like you’ve really thought through the designing process. What will your main purpose be for the machine after this class? I think if you used a dark grey color scheme with stainless steel, or just a very simple but bold materials, you would have a really sleek aesthetic. Good luck, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • Abdulrahman Nashawi
    March 8, 2020 7:35 pm

    Hello Nate! I truly like your idea a lot, and I think the way you plan to use it makes it very interesting. In my opinion about the aesthetic, you can always go after you build it and add beautification factors such as paint, lights, 3D printed parts that can attach almost anywhere depending on your design. Good luck with making it and looking forward to see it!


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