How to Build Your Own Solenoid-Powered V4 Engine

With our handy guide, you can get working on your miniature V4 engine using solenoids.
Christopher McFadden

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Who doesn't love miniature working engines? What if we told you that you could actually make a working V4 engine using solenoids?

Follow this guide to find out how you too could make this amazing model. 

diy solenoid motor complete
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Like any project of this nature, you are going to need a few bits and bobs. For this build, you will need:

With all the materials needed in hand, it is time to get on with the build. 

The first step is to cut out the shapes you need from the acrylic sheet. You can use a power tool, like a jigsaw, or cut by hand -- completely up to you. 

No dimensions are provided, so watch the video for more details. 

diy solenoid v4 acrylic
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, place the cut acrylic pieces onto your CNC milling machine, and cut out the main V4 pieces. Alternatively, you could 3D print these pieces if you are not worried about them being transparent. 

Again, no dimensions are provided by the creator, so this will take some trial and error.

diy solenoid v4 acrylic pieces
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Drill holes and assemble the main solenoid V4 frame as shown in the video. 

diy solenoid v4 assemble
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, mark out and cut out a suitably sized piece of wood to form the base of the solenoid V4. Again, sadly, no dimensions are provided, so ensure it is big enough to mount the entire final V4 model onto. 

Once cut to size, CNC mill the wood to form a shallow recess on one face of it, as shown below. 

solenoid v4 base
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Sand it down, as required.

Next, mark out and drill sufficient numbers and size holes to mount the acrylic frame to the base. 

solenoid v4 base and frame
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Now, it is time to make the crankshaft discs for the V4 engine. Grab a brass rod, and cut off a small length --  as shown in the video.

Then place the rod piece into a mini lathe and machine the discs, also as shown in the video. The discs made in this guide are 20mm in diameter by 5mm thick. 

You'll need 5 of them in total. 

diy v4 solenoid discs
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Buff and polish, as required. 

Next, cut out a piece of the aluminum sheet, place it on your CNC milling machine, and create the piston rods required. You'll need four of these -- once for each cylinder. 

solenoid piston shafts v4
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Buff and polish these pieces too. 

Next to make the crank disc and rod connecting rods. Grab your steel rods and cut them into sections, and machine as required. 

You will also need to make the solenoid "pistonhead" pieces too. 

Again, no dimensions are provided so please watch the video for more details on this section. 

With that complete, the next phase is to make the solenoid "cylinders". Take some more brass rod, and cut off 4 equally sized sections. 

Machine these brass rod pieces into cylindrical I-shaped pieces "bobbin", as shown in the video and the image below. 

solenoid v4 engine brass rods
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

These pieces will also need a suitably sized hole through the center to enable a snug fit for the piston rods you made earlier. 

With those complete, now coil copper wire around each one. You can now connect each one up to a battery, place the steel rod piston heads inside them, and test whether the heads move inside the cylinders, or not. 

solenoid v4 copper wire
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, grab the brass discs, rods, and piston heads, and assemble the crank shaft as shown in the video and image below. 

solenoid v4 crankshaft
The assembled crankshaft. Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Now, partially dismantle the acrylic V4 frame, you made earlier and insert the two ball bearings into each endplate, as shown. 

solenoid v4 ball bearings
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

With those in place, insert the completed crankshaft to the V4 frame as shown below. 

solenoid v4 crankshaft and frame
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, attached the piston heads to the piston rods. Now, attach the solenoid cylinders to the acrylic top plates, as shown below, and in the video. 

solenoid v4 attach
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

With that stage complete, insert the piston heads inside each solenoid, and screw the top plates into place as shown below. 

solenoid v4 final assembly
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, feed the copper wires through the wooden base. The next step is to make the solenoid V4's basic wiring.

Take your TIP122 transistors, 100ohm resistors, LEDs (to light the acrylic frame), and 7805 voltage regulator, and copper safety pins. Now create the circuitry as detailed in the diagram below and the video. 

diy solenoid v4 wiring
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube
diy solenoid motor wiring
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

Next, we need to make a way to fire the solenoids in sequence to simulate a running engine. This will be done by using rotary circuit breakers. 

To make these grab some more steel rods, and machine them down, as shown in the video. Once complete, add to the end of the crankshaft and align them with the safety pins. 

solenoid v4 engine circuit breakers
Source: Mr. Innovative/YouTube

With that, the solenoid V4 is basically complete. Now just add some form of a flywheel to the crankshaft, add some power, and let the solenoid engine roar!

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