Open Source Piston Engine
Jeff Hidgon Au 20, 2020
I found out the same (difficulty to import Changfa diesels) in my research. Very difficult to import, and if you do use it, it’s illegal unless it’s an antique or manufactured before the date the epa laws were enacted. Diesel engines that are epa compliant are very expensive to purchase new. Even used they are $2000 for something in the 30-40 HP range. The idea of building from scratch is possible. My former boss at Aerocet, Tom Hamilton, designed and built a race car engine from scratch for his open wheel race car. Unfortunately he’s not available to consult with as he is super busy designing both his own aircraft that he’s bringing to production as well as several aircraft for other people that he’s a consultant on and running several businesses. Building from available parts is a good idea. Tom machined his own crank then sent it out for hardening, and machined the block and head from blocks of billet aluminum, which is very expensive.
MJ sez: Maybe we stick with old gasoline power cubes and start developing a hydrogen version - something serious and a few years down the road. But for now: How about a hydrogen-fueled, from scratch designed? Linear engine, so that we are driving a linear hydraulic pump or linear generator? Possibly two-stroke, but definitely electronic valve and fuel delivery. Thus completely modular in units of 2 opposing cylinders. Similar to the one on Hackaday. But requires self-starting operation. I envision these being independent modules - so you run one or all, depending on how many you need from idling to full power.
JH: He used purchased injectors and a generic computer module that controlled everything in the engine. Arduino with open source injectors would be good, and we can start from industry standards to build upon. Surely there is someone out there that has done this and would have time to consult on it so we’re not starting from scratch.
MJ: Definitely, keep your eyes out. I'm keeping notes here. Let's define a good piston option to go with. But for simplicity, maybe linear, no crankshaft? Easiest may be a piston hydraulic pump feeding from the back-and-forth motion.
Do you think we can make the block from machined slabs of 1-2" thick steel? Just cut with torch, finish grind, and insert sleeves? It would be good to start from stock steel sections and no foundry, just cut, precision machine and grind.
Do you think that water-lubricated, air-bearing quality stainless (via air bearing lathe) is feasible at this point? See https://wiki.opensourceecology.org/wiki/Dan_Gelbart if you haven't