A solenoid engine?

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May 22, 2014
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Hi Guys,

I thought that you might enjoy a chuckle today so I am posting a couple of pictures of my latest project. For some time now I have wanted to build a solenoid engine. I have watch several you tube videos and have always thought "how hard can it be?". While helping a friend clean out his basement (he is moving out of state and downsizing) we found several small solenoids of unknown origin, so I thought "now is the time". Anyway, I built a simple solenoid engine. It is my own design, which probable explains why it doesn't work worth a damn.

As with any project, I began by going to my "stock room", which is a fancy name for the pile of junk in the corner of my shop. After digging through the empty beer cans, candy bar wrappers, and dead mice, I found some odds and ends that I thought might work. Yeah, I know, I need to buy some stock.

The crank case" is a scrap of hex aluminum that I bored for a brass bushing. The crank shaft is a piece of 1/4 inch drill rod. The flywheel came from a broken "reel to reel" tape recorder that someone left on the curb and somehow found its way into my shop. (No, I don't have a clue as to how that happened.)

The "beam" is a sand casting I made a couple of years ago out of scrap aluminum. In fact I think it was mostly made from squashed beer cans I picked up along the road. The machine work on the beam is awful for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is very soft aluminum and hard for me to get a good finish, but mostly it is because I am a lousy machinist. Yeah, I know, I need to practice grinding lathe bits.

I had originally thought that I would need to design a governor to prevent the engine from over speeding and self destructing. Boy was I wrong. The danged thing runs, but just barely. I would rate the power output at 1/4 flea power am not sure it is even that powerful. Of course I really do not know just how powerful a flea is.

I guess I posted this to give you experienced machinists a laugh and to encourage the rest of us beginners. I know that I always enjoyed seeing projects that were even worse than the stuff I built (although they are few indeed). Anyway, it kept me off the streets and out of the bars for many hours and I had fun. It will probably now go on the shelve with the rest of my machining disasters, where it will remain until the kids throw it out when they move me to a nursing home.

Keep smiling guys and keep those chips flying. Thanks for reading.

Sol 4.jpg
Sol 2.jpg


Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2011
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Congratulations Dave. We all need something to aspire to these days.

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