Heron of Alexandria Steam Engine

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glue-itcom

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Not sure that this is really an engine when it does no useful work, except that it does make me smile



I now need to make a stand, I'm thinking of a birdcage frame made from brass - thoughts?

The forming of the dome did take some time, I made a jig to hold the copper disc and ended up annealing it lots of times: Heron of Alexandria Steam Engine - glue-it.com
 

vederstein

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The original Heron engine was a toy as well.

The story goes that when Heron was explaining all the possibilities of the power of steam the response was muted. Not that they didn't believe them, but what would they do with all their slaves?

...Ved.
 

glue-itcom

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I just made up a frame for this engine, perhaps a bit of a "War of the Worlds" vibe???

heron-06.jpg

heron-07.jpg


what do you think? OK or too theatrical?
 

HMEL

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Nice work on this ancient concept. You could make it do a little work by placing magnets on the outer rim and have them pass the field through a coil. Not saying you would get a lot of power but you would get enough to light a small led. Need a bit more torque make the arms longer and put a nozzle on the end to increase the steam velocity. Looks like fun.
 

smittman

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Your wrong about doing no useful work I just got power back on yesterday after taking a bit hit on my home with the hurricane. This made me smile so it did something useful. My house is trashed but maybe livable but the important part my shed workshop only lost part of it's roof and nothing is ruined. So thanks for the smile. We had 140 mph winds close to our house in puntq Gorda. So thanks again for the smile
 

glue-itcom

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Finally some close up images of this engine.

The steam jets are just 1/16″ copper tube, annealed and bent by hand to shape. The open ends are slightly compressed with a pair of side-cutters to give more of a jet. I tried just one jet and it works, but with three jets it runs very fast. The green is enamel as I wanted then to look like tentacles emerging from the creature.

Aeolipile or Hero's Engine-heron-10.jpg
The base was machined on the rotary table and has hints of crop circles. This was then burnt using a blow torch before the polish was applied. My thought was the base should look scorched.
Aeolipile or Hero's Engine-heron-09.jpg

Lots more on my page about this Heron meets War of the Worlds and some notes about my inspiration for certain parts of the design. I hope you enjoy.
 
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Vederstein, actually it was a close call that steam did not get useful in Antiquity. Their society ran on slaves like ours on oil. When slaves became too expensive to run (pump dry) the silver mines of Athens the Greek invented the windmill. Their 2500 old windmill design can still be seen working on Mykonos and much later at the other end of the Mediterranean Don Quichotte fought a close copy of that same original design. Heron's timing was just a tiny little bit off. And today it seems that wind energy will once again get the upper hand.
 

glue-itcom

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Vederstein, actually it was a close call that steam did not get useful in Antiquity. Their society ran on slaves like ours on oil. When slaves became too expensive to run (pump dry) the silver mines of Athens the Greek invented the windmill. Their 2500 old windmill design can still be seen working on Mykonos and much later at the other end of the Mediterranean Don Quichotte fought a close copy of that same original design. Heron's timing was just a tiny little bit off. And today it seems that wind energy will once again get the upper hand.
It's interesting to look at the events in history that trigger some of the major events, as you say this might have been close. However, I imagine the poor efficiency and very high gearing would have required more people keeping the fire going than just doing the work.

It would be interesting though to reimagine some designs from then.
 
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