Steam vehicle model

Posted by jerry on August 6th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Steam, Technology

Gakken steam vehicle

A while ago I was intrigued with a short vid on YouTube showing a strange steam car model and an obscure reference to the maker – Gakken in Japan. I searched and eventually found a Japanese hobby store that noted this one as no longer in stock (produced in 2005). I wrote to them and asked to be put on the waiting list for the next one – it appeared to be a discontinued model. I got an email back telling me to order it and if they couldn’t source it in 3 months they would consider it cancelled.

I fully expected that to be the last I would hear from them. Until this morning. A package arrived from Japan 🙂

Gakken steam vehicle

And inside was what was described as a magazine, but it incorporated a box with a beautifully packaged model in its component parts. The accompanying magazine/catalogue had instructions – in Japanese – but clearly illustrated, so it was no problem to follow the directions just from the diagrams. The Japanese do graphic drawings well – although there was a certain Manga style to it, making me wonder if the vehicle belonged to the “Steam Boy” manga series.

Gakken steam vehicle

And within about half an hour I had a tiny steam vehicle. The only thing missing was the wick, but looking at the instructions it was clear that all you needed was a small square of cotton fabric – like from old jeans and then it was just a matter of ensuring the engine ran freely by blowing through a tube, and then filling the tiny boiler with the (supplied) dropper and then fill the burner with meths from the (supplied) smaller dropper, light the wick and in a few seconds it was ready to run.

The engine ran slowly and then picked up speed, but I found a small steam leak from the boiler where I had neglected to tighten one of the screws. And then success 🙂

This is a toy that should be in every science shop – it’s safe, low pressure and clean enough to run indoors on your kitchen table and could be used very effectively to show the principles of steam power. And it was only the price of about one-and-a-half newsagent magazines – about AUS$27.



Comment by Alan Sondheim

This is fascinating; there’s a place called Steamdown near my birthplace in PA – we go there. For years by the way and perhaps even now, steam engines outpowered diesels – but diesels were standardized, and each steam engine had to be built from scratch – they were all slightly different. so diesels won in the end – they were less finicky, even though they produced less power –

Posted on August 20, 2007 at 2:51 am

Comment by Steven

Hi i was wondering if there is anyway to get a copy of the manual??? please let me know. Thank you.

Posted on December 28, 2007 at 8:38 pm

Comment by Dirkus

Hey! I saw this video when I was trying to buy this kit a while back. Good stuff. Unfortunately, the supplier I went though ( couldn’t get it for me. They tried for a month straight, with no luck. Instead, I’ll be getting the Stirling cycle kit from volume 10 from them. (The one with the CD as the flywheel, not the sweet all-metal one)

I’ll post pics and video of the build on my blog as I start working on it Monday evening. It’s currently waiting for me in the mail at the office.

On a semi-related note, have you ever noticed that if you have something mailed to you at work, it’s like Fedex and the USPS go out of their way to deliver on your day off, just to mock you?

Posted on June 1, 2008 at 10:28 am

Comment by jerry

I’ll look forward to seeing the stirling engine on your blog – and yeah it’s always the way that the more impatient you are the longer things seem to take to get to you 🙂


Posted on June 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

Comment by Ahmed

that’s cool

i like it

and i’m trying to caret a car by steam engine.


Posted on June 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

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