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Infinite regress of smaller radial engines
 (+2, -6) [vote for, against]

Get a series of smaller radial engines, modified to have an extra, nonfiring cylinder. The piston in this cylinder moves in a linear in-out motion when the engine is run.

Attach one nonfiring piston to each piston in the conventional radial engine. Now each piston in the conventional radial engine is driven only by the nonfiring piston in the smaller engine mounted to it. Gas goes only to the smaller engines, not the central one. Now there is a total of 5 smaller engines (assuming a 5-cylinder rotary), each driving one piston of the large, central engine.

Now repeat this process for each of the cylinders in the smaller engines, so you have 25 extra-small engines, which drive 5 small engines, which drive 1 normal engine.

Repeat again. And again...

Why? It is awesome. Or, if you need to build a big engine, but laws prohibit use of gears, pulleys, or cylinders over over .01cc displacement, this is one way to do it.

 — sninctown, Dec 10 2007

to better appreciate the awesome [sninctown, Dec 10 2007]

Inspired by this [sninctown, Dec 10 2007]

I saw something (vaguely) like this many years ago (did a few quick searches, with no success). I can't remember the exact details, but it was a radial-type engine with a large number of small pistons, in small groups that could be active or not depending on power requirements. It was (supposedly) very efficient, but I think it was more like a planetary gear set-up, rather than your multiple linkages.

As your own drawing indicates , might be hard to do in 3D space .
 — wjt, Dec 11 2007

 Wait, you made my brain hurt and now I know why..the engines can't get smaller, they all have to be the same stroke unless the other engine subsystems displace to make up the difference, which would suck.

 Am I missing something? If we just ignore the engine parts of this and just look at the "non-firing pistons", you have a rod from a larger crank connecting to the rod of a smaller crank...

You can make the bores smaller, but not the stroke because you connect the rods directly. The only way you could do this is to connect the larger crank to two smaller cranks thru some kind of Y linkage. Owww, now my head hurts more...
 — MisterQED, Dec 11 2007

 Okay, you're messing with [acura] AND using his art - you might want to check if that latter is okay with him.

 But aside from that, it got a chuckle out of me, so I'm bunning it for that alone.

"Why? It is awesome." Hahaha.
 — elhigh, Dec 11 2007

 Well the art doesn't bother me all that much because, although I edited it and it's obvious he used mine, I got it the original from a google image search.

 As to the idea, it's kind of amusing I suppose, but needless to say it's impractical if it would even function. I mean I'm starting to have second thoughts if mine would even run.

[neutral]
 — acurafan07, Dec 11 2007

 //they all have to be the same stroke unless the other engine subsystems displace to make up the difference// YEAH!

I love the bakery and all the smart people here. I was thinking in parallel to mr.QED, but he said it first. I have to bone this idea, simply because it's flawed in its basic design.
 — evilpenguin, Dec 11 2007

 Oh, my! You have made some brains here squeezed out to cause headaches out of their own misconception. Notice how someone here attempted a remedy by placing a more complicated “Y linkage” when the simplest solution is to equalize the offset of the opposing cranks of each of the particular linking cylinder by pivoting them to the eccentrics which are separate from the hubs of the grouped connecting rods.

 My friendly advice for you is clear out your crappy drawings for others to understand—or perhaps you are just waiting for another mechanical engineer to iron out the glitches of your design too… Hmmmm…

Anyway, your engine is totally a child’s play and cannot ever be taken seriously. Well, this might enhances creativity but horribly degrades your sense of practicality. This is obviously not a good practice of enhancing your engineering profession, dear, and totally a waste of time and effort, unless you condition yourself for its creative part only and remind yourself that this is practically useless.
 — rotary, May 19 2008

Well done [rotary], you've just broken my irony-o-meter. The needle is impact-welded to the end-stop.
 — coprocephalous, May 19 2008

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