3D printing has been used on numerous occasions to test new engine concept designs across the transportation industry – from steam engines to rocket engines. Now, it would appear that Greg Zumwalt, a 3D technology enthusiast, has created the first ever engine powered by a balloon, dubbed the “Single Cylinder Air Engine,” and he made it all with 3D printed parts. He drafted the design himself, developed it, and now has made it available online to the public.
After retiring from the video game design and software industry, Zumwalt has become infatuated with 3D printing technology. The Single Cylinder Air Engine is just the most recent of his 3D printing projects. Zumwalt’s design was developed using a 3D software, such as SpaceClaim. After finalizing the 3D model, he then printed it with PLA filament on a 3D printer, much like an Objet Desktop.
The engine is able to run off of any source of air power with a simultaneous and equal pressure being applied. To achieve this, Zumwalt’s design contains two different ports, one up top and the other down low. Whenever one of the ports is used, the other counteracts the pressure my intaking or exhausting, accordingly. He used a balloon to fuel his engine, but the engine is equipped with multiple adapters which make it capable of running off of any change in air pressure. According to Zumwalt, he has released in for free download with hopes of getting feedback which he can advance his design further upon.