Engines: How to make them without using wheels

By Bohman
How To Make Space Engines Without Using Wheels
by Paul Baulch. Originally posted on Lugnet.

A lot of spaceships made out of Lego use wheels as engine nozzles. This is all fine and well, but often the end result is that you have what looks like a bunch of wheels on the back of your spaceship! In any case, it’s a design that’s somewhat overused and has become something of a cliché.

Depending on what parts are at your disposal, you might like to consider an alternative design for your engines that doesn’t use wheels. The following designs are some examples of spaceship engines that utilise a variety of alternative design techniques.

Utility: Round Bricks and Cones
Round bricks and cones are fairly common, and although they may not be as versatile as some other solutions, they are a good base for bundling other elements together to create a more interesting engine design. More often than not, it’s the context the engine elements are placed into that makes them look good.

(Second from the right: Jon Palmer’s Bison. Rightmost: Soren Roberts’ YF-18.)

Versatility: Slopes, Wedges and bricks with studs on sides

If you are making your engines bigger than about six studs in diameter, or if you are making sleek retro-styled engines, then slopes are a good way to make an interesting curved shape. Using bricks with studs on sides is a great way to do this. The sheer variety of slope and wedge elements available makes for a great multitude of designs.

(Second from the right: Rick Hallman’s KA-95 dropship. Rightmost: Kyle Keppler’s KSS Cruiser.)

Possibility: Hinge Elements
Cylindrical and radial arrangements of hinges can be difficult to keep stable, but if you do, you can do some cool and interesting things with it. There are a lot of unexplored possibilities with this particular design.

(Rightmost: Allister McLaren’s Stinger.)

Specialty: Octagonal Plates and other unusual parts
The octagonal rod-frame plate, although uncommon, makes for cool engine designs when used with the various plates with clips on them. There are some even stranger parts that can often work as engines!

(Rightmost: Adrian Drake’s Chaos Nova.)

Finally, just to show that I don’t actually have anything personally against using wheels in engines, here’s one I made using wheels:

Some day I might actually put it in a spaceship!