Kontax Nano-Cannon Stirling Engine


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Kontax "nano cannon" high temperature stirling engine

These engines are Manufactured by Kontax Engineering in the UK. They are hard to get and (as far as I know) I'm the only retailer in the US carrying Kontax engines. Quantities are extremely limited.


The Nano Cannon requires denatured alcohol as a fuel. This is commonly available at hardware stores. The small bottle that comes with the engine contains a lubricating oil, NOT fuel! 

You can also run Naptha based fuels like Zippo/Ronsonol lighter fluid or "white gas" for a camp stove, but these create a thick black soot that can be cleaned off the glass tube with a damp cloth. Too much soot will prevent the flame from properly heating the tube. Rubbing alcohol will not sustain a flame as it also contains water. 

The Nano Cannon

A small elegant compact engine, which runs at blistering 2000 RPM from a tiny flame; you just light the burner, let the engine heat up and then give the flywheel a small flick to start the engine. The entire nano cannon engine was first designed and then simulated in CAD/CAM. Prototypes were then made and tested, parts were then redesigned and prototyped again until the engine was perfected.

The engine has special borosilicate glass which can withstand high temperatures enabling you to glimpse inside the engine. A mesmerizing Ross yoke links the power piston to the displacer piston, this mechanism is compact, reducing the overall size of the engine. We have utilized our low-friction graphite piston, this is self-lubricating and requires no maintenance. A brass heat sink disperses heat from the cold side, while the rest of the engine is made from anodized aluminium.


Stirling engines convert a small temperature difference into motion. As long as one plate is warmer (about 5°c) than the other then the engine will run. It doesn't matter which plate is warmer, as long as the other is cooler. If you reverse the temperature differential, and cool the plate that was warm, and warm the plate that was cool then the engine will run in reverse. The Stirling engine is named after its inventor, Rev. Robert Stirling, who patented his idea in 1816.


Stirling engines work by cyclically heating and cooling the air inside the main chamber. As the air heats up it expands, and as it cools down it contracts. This expansion and contraction drives a small piston which in turn drives the flywheel. The clever thing about Stirling engines is that the mechanism for cycling the heating and cooling of the air is built into the engine in the form of the displacer, which is driven by the flywheel and moves the air from the warm side to the cool side and back again over and over.


Because Stirling engines have a theoretical 40% greater efficiency than photo-voltaic (PV) panels worldwide energy companies are investigating using them as a way to provide energy in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Such companies use our full range of low temperature engines to demonstrate the principles behind generating electricity using Stirling engines.  

engine features:

  • Typical RPM: 1600 - 2000rpm
  • Type of Stirling engine: Gamma engine
  • Crank design: "Ross Yoke" mechanism
  • Working temperature: About 200C / 390F
  • Bearings: Precision miniature ball race bearings
  • Assembly: Pre-assembled. Just screw onto base
  • Required tools: Screwdriver supplied


Dimensions 3.2" x 1.9" x 4.5"
Weight 4.5oz.
Materials Stainless Steel, Borosilicate Glass, Graphite, 6061 Aluminum, C360 Brass
Runs on Denatured Alcohol
Where it's Made

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