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This tiny engine is a thousand-hour work of art

by Antony Ingram
22 November 2021 2 min read
This tiny engine is a thousand-hour work of art
Photo: Maker B via YouTube

Harnessing the power of electricity is remarkable in its own way, but as road transportation moves towards an electric future, it’s hard not to feel like cars are becoming less fascinating as objects of mechanical intrigue.

By the same token, it would be fun watching someone build a tiny electric motor from scratch, but not half as interesting as seeing YouTube channel Maker B condense a thousand hours and seven months of work on a tiny four-stroke petrol engine into fifteen minutes of video.

You can watch the whole process on each component in previous videos on the channel, but there’s still plenty of detail in the quarter-hour showcase on this 2.41cc marvel. The entire thing was created in a CAD program before being carefully milled, drilled and assembled by hand.

The detail really is impressive, too. No doubt some corners could have been cut given the tiny capacity, but each component has clearly been thought through, from the Borrowers-scale conrod, to the cooling fins on the cylinder head and the beautiful gear-driven camshaft.

Maker B even machines the carburettor from scratch; in fact, the only parts that don’t appear to have been made by hand are the spark plug, valve springs, and the tiny bolts holding everything together. Being a four-stroke, they even had to take time to adjust the valve and ignition timing to get it to run.

It’d make a wonderful desk toy, but for it being… err, rather loud, with no tiny silencer to muffle its tiny exhaust. But it’s a perfect, miniaturised demonstration of why we are so fascinated with the internal combustion engine.

Read more

Your slow-motion video guide to how a carburettor works
Coefficient of drag has nothing to do with size | Know it All with Jason Cammisa
Hard Craft: Ramón Cubiró’s marvellous miniature slot cars

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