Remarkable People

Spanish engineer crafts "world's smallest" V-12 engine

Spanish engineer crafts "world...
Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine
Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine
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Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo works on parts for his miniature V12 engine
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Patelo works on parts for his miniature V12 engine
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo begins to assemble his tiny V12 engine
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Patelo begins to assemble his tiny V12 engine
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine
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Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
Some of the parts for Patelo's mini-V12 engine
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Some of the parts for Patelo's mini-V12 engine
A tiny piston from Patelo's mini-V12 engine
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A tiny piston from Patelo's mini-V12 engine
Patelo's miniature V12
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Patelo's miniature V12
A tiny piston rod from Patelo's mini-V12 engine
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A tiny piston rod from Patelo's mini-V12 engine

Anyone who appreciates the precision art of engine design ought to get a kick out of this offering from a Spanish engineer named Patelo. Starting with hunks of aluminum, bronze and stainless steel, he spent over 1200 hours designing, milling, turning and drilling what he claims is "probably" the world's smallest V12 engine. Powered by compressed air injection (0.1kg/sq cm), this little marvel boasts a total displacement of 12 cubic centimeters from its twelve 11.3 mm diameter pistons and works like a charm. Best of all, you can see it come together in the detailed video that follows.

Built primarily for educational purposes, Patelo has no plans for selling the mini-motors. In fact, seemingly to prove this lengthy exercise in metallic accuracy was truly a labor of love, he dedicated the engine to his four grandchildren. He crafted all 261 pieces of the engine from scratch, but drew the line with the 222 screws, which he purchased, presumably so he'd have at least a little time to spend with the grandkids.

Here's an English translation of the terms in the video in case you don't have a Spanish dictionary handy (watching it'll be nine minutes and change well-spent):

  • Construimos el ciguenal: Building the crankshaft
  • Comenzamos el montaje: Begin the installation
  • Montamos el ciguenal en el bloque: Fit the crankshaft in the block
  • Cojinete de apoyo del ciguenal: Crankshaft bearing support
  • Taques: Tappets
  • Arbol de levas: Camshaft
  • Cojinete de apoyo del arbol de levas: Camshaft support bearing
  • Engranajes de la distribucion: Timing gear
  • Volante: Flywheel
  • Cilindros: Cylinders
  • Pistones: Pistons
  • Comprobamos con un taladro que todo esta en orden: Check with a drill that everything is in order
  • Culatas: Cylinder heads
  • Balancines: Rockers
  • Varillas de balancines: Rocker shafts
  • Colectores de admision: Intake manifolds
  • Colectores de escape: Exhaust manifolds
  • Tapa de distribucion: Distribution cover
  • Bombas de refrigeracion: Cooling pumps
  • Enfriador de agua dulce: Fresh water cooler
  • Filtro de admision: Inlet filter
  • Pruebas de funcionamiento: Function tests
  • Camara lenta: Slow motion
  • Numero de piezas/tornillos: Number of pieces/screws
  • Horas de trabajo: Hours of work

Maybe it's the music in the video but precision machining doesn't get much more exciting than this.

El motor V-12 más pequeño del mundo.(Smallest V-12 engine of the world)

19 comments
Michael Mantion
Neat. But is it an engine if it runs on compressed air? I guess so if you consider the compressed air energy. Still it would be really cool if he could make it an internal combustion engine of some kind.
Dheeraj Tummala
@ Michael Mantion Compressed air engine would be the only efficient type of engine at that small of a scale. the imperfections in designing millimeter scaled parts would not be able to withstand a true ICE. Real engines are made so precise, that none of the cylinders have any sort of gaps and whatnot, but when a piston is 11.3 mm diameter, the margin of error in them being perfect grows exponentially.
999 HOT
If you like this, you\'ll love the Model Engineer Exhibition at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, from 9th to 11th December 2011: http://www.modelengineershow.co.uk/
Ryan Gribble
This thing is amazing. I want one.
Forward Thinker
True mechanical art
Nantha
Tooling work so fine it is almost like a watchmaker\'s. And he designed the whole thing as well. Painstaking work that needs to be appreciated. End result, a fine work of art. I don\'t see why he should stop there. It is possible, once Mr. Patelo has rested and been further motivated by public (us) applause, he could set about doing the impossible, making it a true ICE (maybe compression ignition, first). Lubrication with solids coatings, cooling with air (mechanical fan), etc. To acheive machining tolerances, much polishing & watchmaker technology. In time to come (when everyone has gone electric) these could be auctioned off for huge sums. Mr. Patelo, thanks for inspiring us.. Yes, another fine work of engineering art, by Gizmag.
Gregg Eshelman
With the timing gears all the same, it\'s set up like a two stroke. It has to be like that to run on air, otherwise it wouldn\'t run due to having to try to compress air in the cylinders on what would be the compression stroke in a 4-stroke ICE. Also notice the complete lack of bearings anywhere but at the ends of the crank and camshafts. That wouldn\'t withstand running on fuel. It\'s a very nice air motor, but not an engine.
Jetwax
Here\'s a link to a pretty small V12 ICE used in model aeroplanes, it\'s a German site . . . http://www.artus-motor.com/ The air-cooled version has a total 87cc capacity Sounds great d;-)
A'Tuin
The problems of clearances and bearings in miniature engines were overcome by manufacturers of engines for model aircraft decades ago. I owned a tiny free-flight aircraft with a 0.5cc motor in 1960. That is half of the individual cylinder displacement of this V12. The main problem with making a V12 I.C.E. engine of this size would be cooling. Air would not be effective enough as heat would build up between the cylinders, and in the main part of the block, where the air could not get to. This would limit the engine to running for only very brief periods. Could an engine of this size be built with the jacketing needed to allow effective liquid cooling? I believe it could, but it would be well beyond my capabilities. :-)
Philip Gunn
he must have good eyesight ?