Car manufacturers are always looking for alternative fuel sources. Not because they love the environment, but because they know you don’t like paying for expensive gasoline. Many manufacturers, including India’s Tata Motors, France’s Peugeot/Citroën, and Australia’s Engineair have even proposed cars powered by compressed air. If that can be accomplished on the scale of a real car, it can certainly be done with an RC car as proven by YouTuber Tom Stanton.
Stanton first posted a video about his air-powered RC car back in June. The car was made almost completely with 3D-printed parts, and utilized a novel 3D-printed air engine of his own design. Unfortunately that design runs at a high RPM and has to be geared down to work with a car. Gearing it down increased the torque, but also burns through the compressed air too quickly. That limits the drive time to just a few seconds, and Stanton thought he could improve that with a new design.
The new engine design was also very clever, and used three medical irrigation-style syringes. Two of those acted as piston/cylinder combos for driving the wheels, and the third served as a valve to divert air in and out of the first two. In theory, it was a good idea, but the plastic syringes just couldn’t handle the high pressure without bulging. So, Stanton broke down and bought a commercial air-powered car. He modified that slightly to expand the air capacity and to add a standard RC steering setup, and the car finally performed well!