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Perpetual Motion: The_Rocketeer's Stephenson's Rocket

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(@GregroxMun@Overland I wouldn't want you guys to miss this)

I present the answer to the question why our Kerbal friends don't have reciprocating engine technology:

They have already perfected the perpetual motion engine, and yes, it is powered by the Kraken.

The_Rocketeer's Stephenson's Rocket (100% stock, 100% fuel-less locomotion):



For this craft (which was designed for looks, not performance) best speed is a mere 4m/s. However this piston-drive technology is capable of very high speeds, and can be used to build very lightweight, high-torque and 100% fuel-less power systems. Aircraft are a distinct possibility, but for such applications this technology has so far proven to be rife with gremlins...

Craft can be downloaded HERE


Notes for driving Rocket:

  • obviously the real Rocket ran on rails, so I have added reaction wheels and an RTG to provide directional control - use A/D to steer
  • stopping means stowing the gears - there are no brakes, but the locomotive will coast to a stop very soon
  • starting again is sometimes tricky, but I've never not got going again
    • if you're stuck, try stowing and redeploying the gears and use steering to wiggle the drivewheels left and right
Edited by The_Rocketeer
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Ooo!! Do want! I like :)

And the beautiful irony that you chose to model the rocket..in a space rocket simulator we drive trains in..is a circle of badass

As luck would have it.. The planet is also such a locomotive suitably named :)


I love it! 

And this is kerbin... Trains run on the green line..



Very kerbal :)


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6 hours ago, Majorjim! said:

This is a very interesting design man and a new type of 'kraken' propulsion is always exciting, I look forward to seeing what you or others come up with this new tech!

Thanks dude! I'm still hoping to perfect aircraft, but paddleboats and water propellors are also on the cards. So far I have one other working proof-of-concept vehicle (a single-strut traction engine) and a variety of (to a greater or lesser extend) failed experiments.


6 hours ago, Majorjim! said:

What did you use for the trailer hinge?

By 'trailer' I think you mean tender? :sticktongue: It's actually pretty uninspired - there's a decoupler ring under the engineer's footplate that's captured by cubic octagonal struts so it can turn but can't fall out. I'm pretty sure it would fail if it was hitched to a heavy train - like I said, just for show. :wink:


5 hours ago, Overland said:

And the beautiful irony that you chose to model the rocket..in a space rocket simulator we drive trains in..is a circle of badass

I'm glad someone else thinks this. :D

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1 hour ago, Bubbadevlin said:

Nice! I am glad you found a use for the leg propulsion, even if it does not work with planes yet :(

I decided to explore alternative uses in the hopes of innovation through experimentation. I have learned from this applicataion that the big struts have some advantages going for them. Considering the weight of a Juno-based turboprop, they could still be of use on aircraft.

Edited by The_Rocketeer
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On 12/12/2016 at 9:27 PM, Hast5250 said:

this is awesome!

it could be used in planes!

Planes have been a real PITA to get working. The struts tend to explode easily, and based on my experience there doesn't seem to be any one single cause, although bearing wobble is definitely a contributing factor.

I did build one aircraft that was a reaction wheel/landing strut hybrid design, but it could never have taken off without the assistance of the reaction wheels. It is possible to get the required amount of force to fly from just landing struts, but building a robust engine assembly is an epic undertaking on its own and I have yet to succeed.

One source of frustration is that testing a strut engine using Launch Stability Enhancers (i.e. the obvious test-bed that would normally tell us if a stock propellor engine was smooth enough to be viable) doesn't highlight the strut destruction problems. They then become obvious and catastrophic as soon as the thing is attached to an airplane.

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