Video: Fascinating Diminutive Engines Crackle For Your Enjoyment

Here at EngineLabs, it’s obvious that we’re captivated by engines of all types. From 1,000 cubic-inch rowdy V8s making quad-figure horsepower to the tiny engines put together by meticulous builders for display purposes only, we love ’em all. In this video, assembled by the fine folks at DIY Garage, we get to watch 13 different miniature engines as they pop and snort and crack off single-digit horsepower figures.

But it’s not about the power for these examples. For us it’s about appreciating the time and care and effort and exemplary mechanical ability that goes into the entire process of assembling and running one of these pint-sized powerhouses.

We’ve covered these types of tiny performers before here on EngineLabs (here, here, and here to name a few) and they never fail to impress, as the thousands of man-hours to machine and assemble one of these engines—sometimes one-off examples—is not lost upon us.

The V12 Flammenfresser engine.

Especially impressive to us from this video is the v12 Flammenfresser (Flame-Eater), which operates on the principles of a vacuum engine. The synchronicity of the center-mounted crankshaft spinning ’round while the valvess pop off—in order—on each bank brings a sense of balance to the eye as we watch. The Flammenfresser uses air pressure to operate; there is a partial vacuum on the underside of the piston, which helps to draw in the intake charge (which is already lit) as the valve opens and the outstroke begins. The valve closes, the charge expands and forces the piston down, then comes into contact with a cooler part of the cylinder. This chills the charge, which causes a drop in pressure that pulls the piston back on the return stroke. The valve opens again, and the burnt charge is exhausted as the process begins anew. Multiply this by 12 cylinders, and you’ve got a cacophony of mechanical noise to go with the visuals. Neat stuff, indeed!

There’s also a four-cylinder vacuum engine, which is similar to the above, runs on alcohol and gives a better view of the valve action at the top of the cylinder.

Additionally, footage of Patelo’s W32 masterpiece is included. The entire collection of videos gives a glimpse into the operating cycles of these captivating engines. It’s well worth the watch!

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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