Some of the Most Impressive Backyard Engineering We’ve Seen Goes Down on This Obscure YouTube Channel

Jet engines, turbochargers, eight-cylinder Briggs & Stratton engines, and more.

There are plenty of YouTube channels where people with engineering degrees get busy on impressive projects, utilizing CNC routers and 3D printers. It’s always a lot of fun, and the results are usually polished and well-presented. But not everybody has the time or money to learn how to edit videos like a pro, or get a bunch of rapid-prototyping tech up and running. Some people, like Youtuber ChargerMiles007, just have a pocketful of dreams and hundreds of single-cylinder Briggs & Stratton engines laying around. And yet, the results are infinitely more fascinating than any sponsored build.

If I’m being honest, I’ve been holding out on you guys. I’ve been watching this channel for years. It never really occurred to me that other people would be interested in the unusual engineering experiments of Mr. ChargerMiles. However, with the rise of other engineering-related channels like Project Farm and Engineering Explained, I suppose it’s time I share this obscure treasure trove of content. Here’s a little taste of what he does:

If you look carefully—or watch the walkaround also posted to his channel—you’ll realize that “twin turbine jet engine” he has working in his video is nothing more than two modified automotive turbochargers forced to function together as a jet engine. This is, of course, thanks to a smattering of other auto parts, such as a 12-volt motor I suspect used to power windshield wipers, an oil pump from the sump of an engine, and a few spark plugs. Add a bit of fabrication to the mix, some propane, and voila, you have an unorthodox home-built jet.

But jet propulsion is really only a side project for ChargerMiles. His primary method of engineering madness is Briggs & Stratton’s tried-and-true five horsepower engine. With just one cylinder, a single camshaft operating a flathead-style valvetrain, and no complex water-cooling system, these engines are perfect for the sort of experiments ChargerMiles likes to do. Such as coupling eight of them together to make one monstrous engine that sounds—to put it lightly—absolutely biblical.

Eight is as many Briggs that he’s coupled together so far, but he is currently working on an H-12, a layout that is very uncommon and was mostly utilized on fighter aircraft during World War II. He’s made pretty much every combination fewer than eight as well, including four, five, six, and seven-cylinder engines.

Odd layouts and combinations aren’t the only things he’s into, however. He’s also interested in unusual methods of adding power to engines, such as successfully adapting the cylinder head from a Honda Accord onto a single-cylinder Briggs, or attempting an obscure method of turbo-supercharging called turbo-compounding.

If you’re unfamiliar with turbo-compounding, that’s because it’s a bit complicated. You could watch the video ChargerMiles filmed to explain how it works, but in essence, it’s a method of gathering energy from cars exhaust mechanically instead of utilizing an air compressor as a turbocharger does. The most notable example of this sort of system was utilized in the inconceivably complex and experimental Napier Nomad series of engines. Modern Formula 1 cars also use turbo compounding, albeit using electric motors.

But if that’s all a bit boring, don’t worry. ChargerMiles also tests which wood survives the longest as a piston crown, the durability of various engine components when constructed from plastic or pure JB Weld and what happens if you could run an engine with an ice cylinder-head. 

Needless to say, he’s full of ideas, and his channel doesn’t get nearly the love that it deserves. He’s very receptive in the comments, likes receiving feedback, and he even made an exhaust manifold for his seven-cylinder Briggs engine (I had never heard what a seven-cylinder engine sounded like) after other viewers and I suggested he try it in the comments section.

So if you like engines—or unorthodox engine experiments—ChargerMiles is a great channel to subscribe to. Just as long as you don’t mind the occasional foray into monologues from a toy alien known as a Zontaar or the current state of his garden.

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