Moving away from Electronics into the discipline of mechanical engineering, I have held a strong interest in model engines and pretty much anything mechanical that holds some interest due to its design or functionality from a mechanical point of view.

Many aspects of gaining skills in mechanical engineering is also learning how mechanical devices work and also for ideas how to implement a solution into a project.

Model Engines

My entry into mechanics and engines started as a teenager, working on lawn mower engines, pulling them apart, cleaning and or replacing parts and then reassembling them to get them going.

I also got into the small Nitro powered engines for model aircraft and cars, which I would say got my interests going in small model engines and steam engines.

in 2008, I had purchased a kit by PM Research, Model #3, a small single cylinder stationary steam mill engine. Such engines had been used to provide line shaft power to factories and mills in the 1800s. The line shafts conveyed the power to machinery via pulleys and flat leather belts.

This engine is made from Bronze and iron, with overall length of 154.4mm, 12.7mm bore and 19.05mm stroke. The diameter of the flywheel is 57.15mm.

The model came as a kit of pre-machined components, however a great deal of additional work needed to finish the parts, polishing of the brass compoments and finally the meticulous task of paining.

Additional Features (not included as part of the kit), the cylinder lubrication reservoir, brass pipework and tap.

I also have a kit for the twin-cylinder Model #7 with additions of governor day, another project to complete.

Flavio's Model Steam Engine

Flavio's Model DC Generator

In addition to the steam engine, PM Research also have a Dynamo Generator kit which can be assembled and paired up with the steam engine. The idea is to complete a fully working steam-generation model as a demonstration tool in the production of electrical energy.


  • Speed: 5600 RPM
  • Voltage: 10 VDC @ 10 Watts / 12 VDC no-load
  • Maximum Current: 2.4 Amps

Miniature Steam Engine

In 2009, I found an Australian Engineer, Ben Peake, whom built a very small number of limited edition miniture steam engines. These particular engines are very small and was fortunate enough to be able to purchase one of these model engines, the Peake "Minor".

Unfortunately, these engines are no longer been made or are available, as would have loved to own some of his other small engines in the series.

The Peake Minor was one of the smallest working engines in the series that Ben Peake had made, however it was surpassed by the 'Micro' and 'Nano' which were smaller again.

The engine is a single acting, oscillating type, made of Stainless Steel, Brass and Copper then mounted onto a small wooden plinth.


  • Stroke: 7mm
  • Bore Dia.: 4mm
  • Flywheel Dia.: 17.5mm

Ben Peak Minor Steam Engine
Ben Peak Minor Steam Engine

Ben Peak Minor Steam Engine

Ben Peak Minor Steam Engine
Ben Peak Minor Steam Engine

Stirling Engines

Kontax KS90 LTD_Stirling Engine

Kontax KS90 LTD Engine

Wiggers Stirling Engine

Following on from my steam engine collection, I also have a small collection of Stirling engines, which are a beautiful example of engineering. A Stirling Engine is a differential heat engine. The critical aspects of a Stirling engine and to the Low Temperature Differential types is the minimisation of frictional losses through careful design and selection of components and materials.

I have the following Stirling engins in my collection:

Kontax Tensegrity Table

In late 2020, Kontax Stirling Engines in the UK released a series of their engineered Tensegrity tables (tensional integrity, floating compression structure). Naturally, knowing Kontax for their beautifully engineered products, I had to add this to the collection.

The table comes as a kit, and it was a joy to put together. One feature of this kit is the special alignment and holding piece that is used in the process of assembly and then is removed.

Kontax Tensegrity Table

I highly recommend the products from Kontax Stirling Engines.

For more details, head over to the Kontax Stirling Engines website.

Flavio's KS90 & Tensegrity Table

- Flavio Spedalieri -
Written: 14 November 2020
Updated: 14 August 2021

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