Here's how to make your own steam engine generator at home

Using common scrap materials only!
Christopher McFadden

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Fancy making your own low-tech reciprocating steam turbine? Then follow this simple guide to make one, more-or-less, completely out of scrap. 

diy generator complete
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build. 

Step 1: Prepare the generator

The first step is to take your old motor and completely dismantle it. With that done, take your angle grinder and cut down the rotor as shown in the video. 

Then, take an old bolt and weld it to the exposed end of the rotor. Cut off the head of the bolt once complete. Next, add a nut to the bolt, and then cut a small length of square-profile steel rod to the bolt and nut as shown. 

diy generator motor
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Next, mix up some two-part adhesive, and glue some small magnets to the square-profile length of metal as shown. Test the rotation of the motor rod, it should freely rotate. If not, adjust accordingly. 

With that done, drill two holes through the motor endplate, and rig up a reciprocating arm to the main motor as shown. 

Step 2: Make the piston

Next, take your old syringe and drill a series of holes through the plunger. Connect the reciprocating arm to the plunger as shown in the instruction video. Glue into place as needed. 

With that done, take your can of beer or soda, and drill a hole, carefully, through the top. Drain the liquid and ensure you leave the ring pull intact. Glue a short length of narrow bore metal pipe into the hole in the can. 

diy home generator mount motor
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Next, take your wood and cut it down into two small plates of wood to mount the generator. Cut two cuboids of wood to mount the main motor too. Do so using the two holes your drilled earlier. 

Make another mounting point to secure the syringe too and affix it to the mounting as needed. Test the action of the reciprocating arm by extending and depressing the plunger in the syringe. 

This should turn the motor. 

Step 3: Make the dynamo

Next, take our old electrical device that contains an induction coil, and liberate the coil from the device. Mount this around the exposed rotor of the old motor. 

diy generator coil
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

Next, take your length of surgical tubing, and connect it to the nozzle of the syringe. Glue the other end of the tubing to the metal spout you added to the soda pop can previously. 

Next, drill a small hole in the top of the syringe to allow the steam to purge from the system. 

diy generator soda pop can
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, connect up the wiring of the induction coil as shown in the video. Extend the wiring, where needed, to harvest the electricity generated later. 

Step 4: Add the heat source

Next, take your old tin can, cut a mounting groove in the top to mount the soda pop can, and a grill to one side to administer the heat source. 

Mount the tin can in place on the main base of the generator, and then affix the soda pop can in place as needed. 

diy generator heat source
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, rig up an electrical plug and ACDC converter to the generator so that you can tap off the power and have it converted for powering electrical devices, etc.

diy generator converter
Source: Great Inventions/YouTube

With that done, add some fuel into the main heating tin. Anything that burns will do, but firelighters or Esbit tablets work well. 

With that done, fill the soda pop can with water, and ignite the fuel as needed. This will turn the liquid in the soda pop can into steam, activating the syringe piston, and drive the generator. 

Hey presto, you magically get some power!

If you enjoyed this project, you might enjoy some other low-tech gizmos. How about, for example, making your own outdoor hydro generator?

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