Hero's Engine

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Sure enough, three candles worked a little better. The can began to turn, and I could begin to see steam shooting out of the holes.

Still, it needed improvements. The turning was slow, and I could see that the holes I had poked were mainly forcing steam straight out, perpendicular to the surface of the can wall.

Perhaps a square can would have worked better. The round can was built for spinning, but it was difficult to poke holes in it that could were at an angle. It was like trying to poke a hole through a sheet of paper at an angle.

At any rate, I upped the candle count to four. This is the same number of tea lights I use when I'm barbecuing.

It worked! Four candles got the water boiling hot, and the new, aggresively-angled jet-holes pushed the can into a rapid spin!

Here is a photo from above. You may be able to discern a misty white halo of steam around the can. It was really moving.

Experience has taught me that cheap parlor tricks don't last for long, so I kept watching for a few minutes and tried to think of improvements.

The Hero's engine did not disappoint. Those tealight candles last for five hours, and those few ounces of water lasted more than 30 minutes.

Now, if I can get this contraption to smell a little less like burning cherries, and a little more like Calypso Breeze, I'll be on my way to replacing those outlet-hogging air-fresheners!

Craig built Hero's Fountain.

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