Heron meets War of the Worlds

Moving forward to completion with my Heron of Alexandria engine and it has turned into Heron meets War of the Worlds.

pressing the dome with a 0.5 ton press

Pressing the form for the “sphere” and the initial runs were covered in my original post Heron of Alexandria Steam Engine.

Since then I spent some time playing with ideas for the stand and burner, finally going for a look that I think reminds me of the craft that the aliens arrive in the film War of the Worlds.

The final stand for the engine was made from brass.

A single large open ball bearing with all of the grease washed out with ethanol allows the engine to accelerate fast.

The legs of the stand are U-section brass bent around a piece of 4″ round steel bar.

Hero Engine

The feet are brass plate with the shape coming from a 50p. the fixing holes are quite random and allow for an easy alignment in the base.

Hero Engine Legs

The base was machined on the rotary table and has hints of crop circles. This was then burnt using a blow torch before the polish was applied. My thought was the base should look scorched.

Hero Engine Burner

Hints of red enamel around the boiler. The triangular form holds cotton wool and has fine gauze on top. I fill this with ethanol (methylated spirit is ok, but smells quite bad). If some meths drips into the bowl it’s not a problem as it burns off quite fast.

Heron of Alexandria meets War of the Worlds

The steam jets are just 1/16″ copper tube, annealed and bent by hand to shape. The open ends are slightly compressed with a pair of side-cutters to give more of a jet. I tried just one jet and it works, but with three jets it runs very fast. The green is enamel as I wanted then to look like tentacles emerging from the creature.

Heron of Alexandria

The final model is gradually getting a patina. The firing with ethanol is quite fierce and you do need to ensure the dome has water inside, otherwise it is best to blow the fire out rapidly.

Hero Engine

Finally a video of me talking through the design and running it.

Leave a comment