1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Advice request - design a toy steam engine and do a pull event

  1. May 18, 2014 #1
    Advice request -- design a toy steam engine and do a pull event


    Please do forgive me if this is inappropriate use of this sight, I'm looking for general advice, any suggestions as to where I could get information and thoughts on the subject are welcome.

    I've taken a challenge to build and enter a competition to modify a 'Mamod toy steam engine' and enter a pull event. The engine on one fuel fill will have to pull as much load as possible over a 5' or 60 Inch flat course, with a 5 min time limit. The cylinder assembly, burner and safety vale have to remain standard. I understand that around 2000 RPM is available.

    The design apart from the above proviso's can be as outlandish / revolutionary as required. My perception of this is that this is a task around gearing. However I'm thinking in relation to other points and need answers advice and suggestions.

    1 - Would this task be better performed with small wheels, larger wheels or tracks
    2 - Should I use a small commercial gear box or use Meccano gears
    3 - Updating the Flywheel to solid, much heavier, will that give me an advantage / benefit
    4 - Should I consider using miniature bearings and lubrication on the drive train
    5 - Would there be an advantage to having variable gearing / how could this be achieved?

    At this time a competitor has a pull weight of around 30 Kg - on a trolley pulled by the engine, which I consider very interesting.

    Again sorry if this is inappropriate

    Thanks & Regards

  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Welcome to PF.

    1. What is the surface it needs to grip?
    2. Commercial box will be more efficient.
    3. Flywheel is needed if single cylinder.
    4. Commercial gearbox needs bearings but final axles can be simple shafts in bushes.
    5. No advantage in mechanical variable gearing. Maybe torque converter?

    If the rules allow, you might consider a capstan or winch to pull the engine along the course.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook