For those inclined to tinker, Morris Models offers DIY kits that save an unused blender or noisy washing machine from relentless disassembly. Part historical prototype and part kinetic sculpture, Morris Models’s six laser-cut engines range in complexity and difficulty. For example, the Single Cylinder is a 50-piece, two-hour build that’s comparable to a lawnmower motor, while the WWI Rotary Engine includes 500 parts, can take up to 30 hours to complete, and is inspired by the French Clerget aircraft series that was popular in the early 1900s.
None of the Baltic-birch models are motorized, although the Illinois-based company says most can withstand the power of at least an 18-volt drill. Morris Models recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to upgrade its CNC cut shafting and offer more accurate designs, and you can back the project before April 5. Otherwise, pick up an older kit from its online shop.
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In a series of videos posted to YouTube, engineer Aliaksei Zholner demonstrates a minuscule V8 engine he designed that is built completely from paper (with minor bits of scotch tape to prevent friction). The engine is so tiny it fits inside the plastic container found inside a Kinder egg. In the the videos Zholner demonstrates the progress of the engine coming together over several months, and the latest clip posted this weekend incorporates a paper throttle that effectively controls the speed of the little whirring device using compressed air. You can also see his wildly popular model v6 engine from last year.
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Editor's Picks: History
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