Ralph Lemnah’s Alpha Stirling

Ralph Lemnah and I worked on some Gamma Stirling engines a while back.  They would run on my wood stove, on a gas kitchen stove, or on an alcohol burner.  We used a Coleman “globe” for the displacer chamber, so that one can watch the displacer motion.  I used foam core for the propeller blades, making them much safer than engines with metal blades.  This is what they looked like:

Gamma One From Angle

Gamma One From Left

We also built a few Ringboms:

Coleman One From Back

Coleman Two From Angle

Tuning the Ringboms for performance required attention to the spring that keeps the displacer piston hanging in a neutral position.

We put all of the design information onto a CD, which is available at a nominal cost for people who wish to expand on our designs.

My interests turned to other things (3D printing) but Ralph has now come up with an Alpha Stirling that works quite well:




Features include adjustable displacer and piston throws and an optional gravity fed water cooling system for the cold end.  Ralph hopes to display this at the Champlain Maker Fair in October of 2014

One Response to “Ralph Lemnah’s Alpha Stirling”

  1. Austin Says:


    I just discovered your website as I was searching the web for information on Stirling engines. I read through your Stirling Engine page and also downloaded the Stirling engine program that you wrote. I recently became interested in Stirling engines and have been designing a gamma type engine using SolidWorks.

    If possible I would like to know more about the engine that you built from scratch that never ran. I’m sure you learned a lot from that experience and I was hoping you could share some of that knowledge with me. Did you ever finish making that first engine? If so do you know what you did wrong that caused it to not work? From the pictures on your site it looked like you had a nice design. I would love to see more photos of that engine if at all possible.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.



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