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Dec 13, 2011, 07:50 AM
Registered User
JayJay76's Avatar

mechanical engine sound generator

I'm looking for a simple alternative to electronic sound generators, and I was wondering if anyone has ever seen/heard of/built a mechanical device to simulate a diesel engine's sound.

I have my eye on a simple electronic module that matches throttle setting for 17 euros but I think i can make something better. The electronic module just delivers a frequency to vibrate the speaker cone producing a sound that corresponds to motor speed, why shouldn't it be possible to cut out the complicated middle man and just use the motor drive to vibrate a speaker cone-like diaphragm? Maybe a push rod like a piston activating a rubber bellows to push-pull air in and out of a chamber through a hole in a sheet of thin ply or plastic, to make a chug-chug, it could even have separate inlet and outlet chambers with flap valves to create a more complex air movement.

If nobody has any ideas or experience I will just start tinkering with cans and sheet rubber to try and test the idea.
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Dec 13, 2011, 08:00 AM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Lepinske, I can't think of any attempts to duiplicate engine sounds other than the electronic simulators sold by Robbe and others.

But by all means, do tinker with whatever ideas you have, and with luck, you may come up with something new---.
Dec 13, 2011, 09:12 AM
Registered User
JayJay76's Avatar
thanks kapitan,

My tugboat is not very scale and the sound I'm trying to replicate would be like a small 2-stroke being turned over without a spark plug fitted. just a lazy chuggity-chug sound to go along with the smoker I'm working on. I'll probably need a belt reduction to slow it to less than half the shaft speed for it to sound nice.
Dec 13, 2011, 12:34 PM
Registered User
steamboatmodel's Avatar
Daryl Canada make Pop Pop boats some sound like engines,
Part 10-World's Loudest Putt Putt Boat
Part 10-World's Loudest Putt Putt Boat (1 min 58 sec)

You might try some of them.
Dec 13, 2011, 01:19 PM
Registered User
jbl302's Avatar
I use to go to this lake that had a lot of large boats.There were a few that had boat sounds. Most didnt sound too well. One guy had a large ship ( about 6" long ). He had a radio playing inside his boat. As he rode by you could hear music coming from his boat.
Dec 13, 2011, 02:09 PM
Sea Dragon-Lover
Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
Very innovative pip-pap sound

paddler in the making (1 min 17 sec)

Dec 13, 2011, 08:29 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
A thought from my distant past---.

Somehow I seem to recall the motor sounds we used to get on our bicycles, using a playing card clipped to the forks with a clothespin, and the card slapping the spokes---.

I wonder---.
Dec 14, 2011, 07:54 AM
Registered User
JayJay76's Avatar
Thanks Umi, thats exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of!

My tug has a 80mm diameter chimney so im thinking thats a great place to put the sound generator, and as luck would have it, its positioned directly above the universal joint.
So that's where I think ill start. The smoker was supposed to sit inside but I can relocate that and duct the smoke into the chimney above the sound generator.

So far I'm thinking about a cam actuator, which gives me the chance to tune the cam profile to get just what I want, or even use multiple cams inline to achieve different frequencies. I need to finish the outside of the hull so I can start mocking this up.
Last edited by JayJay76; Dec 14, 2011 at 08:06 AM.

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