A Heinrici Engine

I had never built a "beta" type of hot air engine, before, so I was chomping at the bit to get started on the set of castings that I had bought from Myers' Model Engine Works much too long ago.

Finally, all other loose ends got tied up and I was finally able to give the project my full attention. This is what became of it all.

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It is finished!

Faintly visible, inside, is the alcohol burner and and oven that encloses the hot cap.


The drawings showed an optional shroud around the hot cap, along with an associated exhaust stack. It seemed like a good idea, so that is how I built this one. I thought that it would help keep the base cool.

As it turned out, the base pics up most of its heat from conduction from the hot cap. It got very warm to the touch, so I put a thick cork gasket between The base and hot cap. This made a big difference; the base stays relatively cool, now.


Here is a closer look at the top end.

The stripe was applied with a Beugler striping tool while the flywheel was turning in the lathe at back-gear speed. At 60 rpm the job took exactly one second per wheel.


Here is a look at the oven and alcohol burner. The enclosure was made out of the rock guard off a discarded shock absorber. Limited space inside the base required that the door swing like thus.

Because alcohol boils at such a low temperature, the fuel tank could not be inside the base. The burner was mounted on a micro-tank made of a 1-inch copper pipe cap and a very short length of pipe. It provided plenty of room for wick adjustment. The fuel was piped in through silicone tubing.

A means needed to be provided to hold the alcohol burner stationary while turning the wick adjustment. The U-shaped hold-down allows easy removal, if needed.

I wanted all the oven and burner parts to be held stationary with respect to the hot cap. For that reason, I cut the 1/8th-inch thick steel plate and mounted everything on it. The arrangement works like a champ.


Here is the naked heating system. It works well.


The fuel tank was made out of a scrap of copper pipe and cut-down pipe caps. All parts were soft-soldered together.

Previously soldered parts had to be kept cool with wet rags while subsequent parts were soldered in place. Otherwise, everything would have fallen apart, again.

The vent can be closed to prevent spillage while transporting.


The Heinrici was a very satisfying project. Had I known it would have been such a good runner, I would have built two.

I highly recommend this Myers casting set. They were of good quality and the drawings were excellent. I didn't find any errors.

Should you decide to build one of these and have any questions, feel free to get in touch.


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Revised -- 1/18/07