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Online Catalogue last updated 25th of June 2012


Building the Atkinson Cycle Engine by Vincent Gingery

Build the rare and unusual Atkinson Engine from the 1880's. It had to be an unusual engine. After all, Atkinson was competing in the expanding small engine market against Nicholaus Otto's newly developed fourstroke engine. Otto held numerous patents that virtually eliminated all competition. To avoid infringement, Atkinson was forced to create a completely new approach to internal combustion. When you build his engine, you'll quickly appreciate how creative Atkinson was. There are no timing gears, no separate cam shaft, it completes four cycles in a single revolution of the crankshaft. The unusual design of the crank linkages allows the exhaust, intake, compression and power strokes to be completed in one revolution of the crankshaft. Cams are located on the crankshaft, removing the need for timing gears and a cam shaft.

In this book you get step-by-step instructions showing how to build an Atkinson "Cycle" engine. Castings are suggested for the base, flywheel, cylinder head and crank linkage, but none of these parts are so complex that they could not be made from stock material. Other parts are readily available. A lathe, milling machine or milling attachment and other tools one would expect to need in a project like this are required.

TECHNICAL DETAILS. The flywheel is an aluminium casting and weighs about 3 pounds. Its finished diameter is 8.75". The 7/16" crankshaft is held in place by two aluminium cast support pillars. The ignition points and condenser are from a late 1970's Ford V-8 engine. An ignition cam mounted on the crankshaft opens and closes the points. The intake and exhaust cams are also mounted on the crankshaft. The crankshaft bushings are lubricated by grease cups.

The drive linkage consists of the crank throw, the connecting rod, the piston rod, the pivot post and the pivot arms. The crank throw is made from 3/8" H.R.S. and is brazed to the end of the crankshaft. The connecting rod is an aluminium casting and it pivots from the end of the crank. The pivot arms are made from aluminium bar stock. The pivot bushing is lubricated with a grease cup and the piston rod is lubricated with oil by means of oil holes at the piston connection and the crank connection. The piston measures 1.25" in diameter and is made from 1 3/8" aluminium round stock. The piston rings are made from cast iron. The cylinder is made from 1.5" cast iron round stock.

A water jacket is built around the cylinder and is constructed of 1/8" sheet steel. The water jacket is filled with antifreeze and helps keep the engine cool.

The cylinder head is an aluminium casting and is bolted to the end of the water jacket. It is drilled and tapped for a spark plug, valves, carburetor and exhaust.

The carburetor design is similar to those used on model airplanes and boats. The fuel flow is controlled independently by an adjustable needle valve. The air intake is controlled by an adjustable throttle barrel. The two are tied together so that when the throttle is opened the needle valve also opens slightly letting in more fuel for increased speed. The idle air mixture is also adjustable.

The fuel tank is made from a short length of 2" diameter exhaust pipe. The same type of fuel is used to power the engine as is used in lanterns and camp stoves. All the components of the engine are mounted on a cast aluminium base measuring 10 5/8" x 7 1/8".

Code No. 007620, 94 pages, ISBN 1878087185, $35.00

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