Engine Design

& Model Engine Manufacture – Formula, calculations, good practice and general know-how. This is a bit of a mix of steam engine and internal combustion engine design. Information and pages will get gradually added, but if there is something you would like to know or contribute please do drop us a line. Lots of the pages are based on my knowledge gained from making model engines for the last 40 years…

There are some simple rules for the spacing of Cooling Fins for the air cooled engine, this is one area of the engine design you want to get right to avoid overheating issues. I’ve started to list out the fundamentals and linked to some of the fundamental references for further reading.


Machining a Crankshaft is a daunting task and so I decided to describe my approach in a step-by-step manner. This is quite a large crankshaft for an open crank engine with a 40mm stroke. The crankshaft started life as a piece of flat 12.7mm thick flat mild steel.


Exhaust Silencer – the expansion chamber of the exhaust silencer gives a broadband attenuation, with null points related to the overall length of the chamber itself. The maximum attenuation is governed by the ratio of the cross-sectional areas of the connecting pipes to that of the expansion chamber.

Gas Turbines – are very quiet when compared with the conventional glow plug two and four stroke engines as used by the majority of model aircraft fliers. These engines are, however, inefficient in the terms of fuel consumption, but the fuels they do use such as petrol-diesel mixtures or propane are a lot cheaper and more readily available compared to the methanol, castor oil and nitro-methane mixes used by glow-plug engines.


Pistons and Liners – there are a number of different combinations of materials that are used in model engines, some work better than others. Where we’ve used the combination I’ve included images of the parts and comments.