Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A Major Milestone on my Tiny Engine

It ran for the first time today.  

The two weeks since I last wrote about trying to get the engine running haven't had any startling revelations.  Part of reason for the rearrangement of the shop two weekends ago (around the 9th and 10th) was to take a break from the engine.  I returned to it by around last Thursday and had gone through a lot of things to get the engine to turn over, including a diagnostic test of when the spark happens and a test of whether or not compression was adequate.  Nothing made a difference and let it run.  Last night, I took a used second string off a guitar because it was .013 diameter instead of the .015 I used on the one spring I've had doubts about.  Again, it wouldn't turn over and run.

Today, I remembered someone suggesting that I spin the flywheel faster while trying to get it to start.  I have a nearly 40 year old Black & Decker 3/8" VSR (Variable Speed Reversing), AC powered drill and compared it to the Ryobi drill-driver I've been using and it did seem to be faster.  So I tried the old B&D drill and the engine turned over and ran with very minimal playing. 

All in all it ran for maybe three minutes.  When it first started running I turned to grab my camera and turn it on, but it wasn't there.  I'd left it in the house.  I nearly ran into the house to grab it, came back and when I was trying to put the camera on the tripod, the engine (predictably) stopped running.  It took a while to get it to run for an extended run and not just 10 seconds now and then, but it finally ran and I hit the record button.  This one minute long video has a surprise ending.  Well, it surprised me.

I first tried to start the engine on December 8th.  I posted about the first part I made for this engine May 30th, 2019, about two weeks after deciding to make the Webster instead of the much more complicated engine I had been considering up till then.  Part of 2019 had no work done because of repairs I had to work on from our lightning hit on August 1st of '19, but I eventually got back to it.  Point is I've been working on this little engine one part at a time for over a year and a half. 

What next?  Well, as tempted as I am to say I'm done, I want to see if I can make it run a little better. It won't run for long periods because there's no radiator and cooling system - just room air.  But it would be nice to see if I can get it to run for a 2-3 minutes without fooling with things for more than 3 minutes to get it to start.  Then it will be time to mount it on a plaque and retire it.


  1. WELL DONE!!!!

    To think that you made that from scratch, starting from bars and sheets of metal, with machine tools you modified for PC control, is staggering.

    My hat is off....

    I bow to you....

    Too cool to see it finished. You should be proud.

  2. Good to see the little popper running, SiG. I'm sorry to admit, that I laughed right out loud at the end of the video. Seemed about par for the course, with all it has put you through.
    Now is it just me, or does anyone think of Speed Buggy while it is running?

    Whitehall, NY

  3. That was neat. Really quite an accomplishment.

  4. Congrats! https://pergelator.blogspot.com/2021/01/she-runs.html

  5. It's indeed alive.
    I have a big smile on my face.
    I turned the playback speed down to .25 and watched the last seconds again.
    I don't recall reading any manual that said, "To Stop Engine, Remove Carburetor."

    Very well done indeed.

  6. Congratulations on a job well done and gaining the satisfaction thereof.

  7. Congrats on success and much learned. Now all it needs is a RC buggy.

  8. Most excellent!
    Congratulations sir!

  9. Excellent! I've been waiting forever for this one!!!

  10. Hah! That thing sounds just like Mel Blanc said it would.