Started: the Jan Ridders Glass Cylinder 4 Stroke Engine

After a month or so of building more add-ons for the Taig lathe and going over the drawings that Jan provided, the build has begun.

Jan Ridders designs and builds fascinating engines. Stirling, gas, steam, doesn’t matter. His designs are imaginative and buildable. Drawings are free for the asking, as is advice on building and further modifying them. The specific engine I am building has glass cylinders. This provides a lovely view of the engine firing. (The whole site is available in Dutch and English so you don’t need my ‘I speak Dutch’ super power.)RiddersGlassCylinderMk2

I decided that the first thing to make was the glass cylinders. Borosilicate glass (aka Pyrex) is $10 for a 5’ length, approx. 1” diameter. A local company, Nortel Glass, has a huge selection of Simax branded glass. Very friendly service and a fascinating place to visit.

I intentionally did not take a photo of my glass cutting setup. It consisted of a plastic miter box, a strap screwed to a work bench to hold the Dremel tool, a nail to set the length of glass I was cutting and a plastic jar with an IV drip hose to supply a steady drip of water to cool the diamond cutoff blade. The drip flow was regulated by taping the jar to the wall of the workshop. Quite to my surprise, after finishing the ends the tubes were within .5mm of the desired length!

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To cut the glass I used diamond encrusted wheels. From Dremel (owned by Bosch) these would have been CA$27 or more at Home Depot. Instead I went to Princess Auto and bought 4 for CA$11. Lots of spares and they will serve as tool sharpeners etc over the years.

The glass is not exactly the diameter that Jan has on his drawings. Now I can adapt the drawing to the glass, so stay tuned for the next few parts.

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