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Online Catalogue last updated 30th of July 2013


Building the Atkinson Differential Engine by Vincent R. Gingery

After a year of constant work, the differential engine book is finally ready. You learn not only how to build the particular engine, but you learn the general skills that can be applied to all engines: pattern making, moulding, casting, boring, lapping and all the rest.

Contents include: building a wooden mock-up, casting pattern making, side panel pattern, side panel moulding procedure, front & rear panels, oscillating arm patterns, piston rod pattern, preparing the base, assembling the main frame, boring crankshaft bearings and arm pivots, the ignition plate, the water jacket assembly, making a copper lap, milling the cylinder ends, mounting valves on the cylinder, the electrical system, and much more.

This 1886 engine predated the Atkinson Cycle engine. The front panel is about 8" tall. A pair of 1 1/8" diameter x 1 3/8" pistons drive a 8 3/4" flywheel. The arms of this engine move the two pistons toward one another in such a way as to take in fuel, compress and ignite the fuel charge and exhaust the spent mixture so that all four strokes are completed in one revolution of the fly-wheel.

The back cover says ... Even before James Atkinson developed his unorthodox "cycle" engine, he developed this totally unconventional "differential" engine in an attempt to circumvent Nicolaus Otto's patents on the four-stroke engine, and to allow Atkinson to compete with Otto headon in the new gas engine market.

Here, you get detailed plans based on Atkinson's original patent that will allow you to create a working version of this most unusual engine. Numerous prototypes were built in the process of developing this book. The secrets learned will allow you to sidestep potential bottle-necks, and to learn the hidden details Atkinson chose not to reveal in his patent.

Even if you are not likely to build this engine any time soon, by studying the construction secrets revealed here, you can journey back in time and taste the state of the IC engine art as it was in the 1880's. Discover how this amazing engine was able to compete all four strokes in a single revolution of the crank without the aid of timing gears or separate cam shaft.

If your have built, or at the very least, have studied our earlier book on the Atkinson "Cycle" engine, then you already know what an amazing engineer (in the truest sense of the word) Atkinson was. Here, you'll find the linkage action and peculiar differential motion of the two pistons working together in the same cylinder to be hypnotic.

You get step-by-step instructions from Vince and Dave Gingery showing how the Atkinson "Differential" engine is built from original patent drawings. A lathe, a milling machine or milling attachment, and other common tools are required. Castings are suggested for the main frame, oscillating arms and flywheel, but none of these parts are so complex that they could not be made from stock material. Other parts such as piston rings are readily available from the suppliers listed. But if you want to make your own piston rings, we'll show you how to do that too.

An Atkinson "Differential" engine is a machine you'll be proud to have built. And we think you'll find as we have, that this engine is an essential component in understanding the genius that was James Atkinson.

Few people have seen the differential. When you start it up, and tell them that you built it, your friends will be amazed

Code No. 009324, 112 pages, ISBN 1878087231, $38.00

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