Congratulations to Alexis Benaitier, the Model of the Month winner for January! Alexis used Fusion 360 to design a Stirling engine. Read on for more about Alexis and the projects he has underway.
Hello everyone. I’m very glad for the attention paid to my Stirling engine project. I’m Alexis, a nineteen-year-old French student currently learning engineering at a school called ISAT. My main point of interest is automotive design, yet I’m also curious about new technologies in general.
In the next few years, I hope to earn my master’s degree so I can start working to develop new cars. Among all the aspects of automotive engineering, I’d most like to focus on the powertrain — either gasoline or electric engines, along with transmissions.
About the Stirling Engine
Right off the bat, as an automotive addict, I knew I wanted to design a piece of automotive technology. Yet I already knew that an engine or a gearbox would take too much time to design — and be a little too ordinary. That’s why I chose a more unsung system that is more fun to design and share: a Stirling engine. I did not pattern my project on one model in particular, but rather used a mix of assorted technologies to create my own design, with the aim of modeling various technological solutions.
A Stirling engine operates by retrieving energy by moving heat from one source to another colder one. It transforms a part of the energy coming from the hotter source into mechanical motion. In my model, the heat comes from the four oil candles. I’ve also added an oil cooling system with an external gear pump and a pulley in order to connect the moving parts. In the end, I placed physical materials to make the model more realistic.
Why Fusion 360?
In order to enhance my engineering schooling, I have tried a lot of different design tools to discover new software and new ways of designing. In terms of 3D modeling, I’ve already worked with Catia, Solidworks, and Inventor. While exploring, I found the Design for Autodesk Fusion 360 challenge, which requires modeling a mechanical system with more than 15 parts in less than a month. The concept of designing both parts and assemblies at the same time seemed really promising as a modeling experience. I found that Fusion 360 is really pleasant to use thanks to an intuitive design interface. In my opinion, the best features are the cloud for rendering, the McMaster-Carr library with plenty of standard parts available for free, and also all of the ‘assemble’ functions. Finally, all the integrated possibilities such as 3D printing or simulation and CAM look promising — although I haven’t had time yet to test everything for myself.
Any plans for the future?
Currently as a student I’m working on various projects such as a manual stacker, and a supercharging system for a 3-cylinder Toyota gasoline engine. Indeed, for the next few years of schooling, I’ll work on loads of different designs. Afterwards, I hope that I’ll find a job in the automotive industry, especially in engine development as an R&D engineer.
As far as Fusion 360, I’ll try to keep in touch with new possibilities, particularly when it comes to exporting data such as position, speed, and acceleration within a mechanical system. Furthermore, it is likely that this summer I’ll create and share a new model using Fusion 360, if I have enough time.
Thanks for reading, and don’t be ashamed to share your own design online — even if you’re a novice like me. The Autodesk community is always ready to help!
Besure to to follow Alexis in the Fusion 360 gallery.