Bugatti W16 Pneumatic engine




-This is an expert model. Don't build this if you have no previous experience in building and timing pneumatic engines.
-You WILL have to modify parts in order for this engine run.
-Some parts WILL need to be glued for this engine to run.

Technical details:
-Little shy of 1200 parts
-Max rpm measured, currently 540 (read "final testing")
-Length: 26 studs (21cm, 8,25 inch)
-Width: 20 studs (16cm, 6,3 inch)
-Hight: 17 studs (14cm, 5,5 inch)
-Weight: 870 gram (1lb 14oz)

Story Time:

The inspiration:
After the release of the LEGO Bugatti Chiron, I felt kinda disappointed for the lack of a proper W16 engine. Witch in turn gave me the inspiration to design a new pneumatic engine. And knowing the additional design technicality's I felt challenged to actually make it work.

The beginning process:
Having challenged myself into, taking a complicated engine and making it work with the limited amount of options LEGO has to offer, I decided to tell some people about my insane idea. Since some people didn't believe I was able to do so, I had to off course prove them wrong. and here's where the prototyping starts. 

The design process:
Looking back at it now it was a lot easier than I initially expected. after less than a handful of prototypes and about 1,5 hours of work, I managed to come up with a design that is fairly similar to what you see now, however far from finished. The design pretty much went in 2 parts, first I started with the frame for the pistons. When that was done I debated on how to drive the switches, Initially I wanted to use a sliding design But due to size constraints I was forced to use a camshaft design.

The build process:
After ordering all the parts I got to work on the final design. (believe it or not I didn't have a full design before ordering parts) So I used the basis of the prototypes, improved upon them, and finally find out a way to merge the switches with the cilinders without it looking like it was just "stuck on top of there". But oh boy then came the biggest challenge.... the pneumatic hose. man that was a real mental challenge, Just try it for yourself: 16 cilinders under 4 different angles on the crankshaft, 2 rows of 4 switches, a really small space to work within, and to top it all of If you make a mistake you'll have to take half the engine apart in order to fix it.

Timing the engine:
Now if you think watching the finals of the super bowl is stressful you should imagine this: I finally finished the engine to the point of timing the switches, and with the first test the engine ran in 2 different directions.(you can actually see this test go wrong in the video) After some investigation I luckily figured out I didn't wire the pneumatic hose improperly, instead It was just a matter of having 2 switches switch on the wrong moment. so little tweaking of the camshaft did the trick.

Final testing:
Then off course there is the final test and the o so happy face I made when the engine first ran. Man what a relief, and with a bit of optimizing I managed to get a top rpm of 540 for now. (When creating the instructions I realized I made a mistake fatal for getting high rpm. I DIDN'T drill out the first pneumatic inlet, so i was still restricted to the tiny hole lego puts in their parts rather then the physical limit of the engine.

The building instructions:
Honestly the building instructions where an afterthought. When I started I had only the intention to create an amazing piece of engineering, and filming it for everyone to see online.
So how come these instructions? Well I have tried before to create instructions without any succes, so I thought lets come back to that but this time learn the software and make a successful instruction for everyone to use.
But what about the price? Lets be honest, designing a machine like this is no easy task. And on top of that I don't want everyone to just try to build this only to figure out they don't have the technical knowhow to get this engine to work. In other terms: I want to demotivate the people that are not determined.

IMG_20180820_183723 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_183800 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_183823 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_183841 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_183948 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_184329 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_203108 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_203115 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr
IMG_20180820_203234 by Marti Groenhof, on Flickr

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Name Bugatti W16 Pneumatic engine
Designer morningstrummer
Designed 2018
Inventory 1411
Theme Technic


  • 6 days, 23 hours ago CasperBricks Level 5
    OMG that very impressive. would love to build this.
  • 3 weeks, 2 days ago Antoineddp Level 14 MOC Designer
    Wow amazing design ! Congratulation for this great work !
  • 2 months ago vcxzbnm Level 3
    Hello, I really like the design of your engine. I've been trying and making it, but I haven't finished it because of the time and accessories. Can you help me make one? I will pay all the expenses, thank you!
    • 1 month, 3 weeks ago morningstrummer Level 10 Designed this MOC DESIGNER
      I'm sorry I have to disappoint you, I only provide the instructions, getting all the parts (modifying them) and assembling the model is all up to you.
  • 11 months ago DiegoCola Level 9
    Wow, this is amazing, really. As a motorsport fan it looks like an amazing project. Thank you very much!
  • 1 year ago maboutwell Level 5
    I have no experience with pneumatic engines, but I do have experience building engines of different types. I have a basic understanding and love challenges and learning. I also have experience timing other types of engines. 

    I am going to do this. Just one question. Do you know the approximate torque output? I ask because I am considering using this on another build to power the drive functions. The vehicle is quite large and wondering if there is enough power to move it.

    • 1 year ago morningstrummer Level 10 Designed this MOC DESIGNER
      I am going to do this
      At least you have the same mindset as me when I started on this. So that's a good start...

      About the torque, I honestly don't know. I'm unable to measure it neither do I know how to calculate it.
      What I do know is that "nicjasno" and "Green Gecko" have had successful experiences with implementing pneumatic engines into vehicles,

      Both of these designers also have video's explaining how to modify the pneumatic switches and pumps in order to make the engine run smoother and faster. (as this is not explained in the instructions)

      Also since you're new to pneumatic engines, I would recommend to first make sure the engine runs before you glue on the gears to the camshafts and crankshaft and the bush in the middle of the crankshafts, as you might need to take apart the engine slightly in order to get it to run.

      If you have other questions feel free to ask them
  • 1 year, 3 months ago retyf Level 3
    I have no words to describe this. this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.
  • 1 year, 4 months ago LegoGlen Level 13 MOC Designer
    Impressive engine, what a beast!
  • 1 year, 4 months ago Haestaa Level 6
    Hello, I’m planning on building this, in your video at 1:06 you use a pneumatic tool to make the engine run, what is that called?
    • 1 year, 4 months ago morningstrummer Level 10 Designed this MOC DESIGNER
      For timing I recommend you using 3-4 lego pumps, then for initial rpm testing a bicycle pump will give you decent rpm, then for final high rpm running a compressor is what you need.
      In my case the bicycle pump (around 6 bar) gave me peeks of 460 rm and the compressor (10 bar) gave me a constant 540 rpm.
      • 1 year, 4 months ago Haestaa Level 6
        Ok thanks, and which parts do you have to modify and glue? Since when I’m on the parts list all the LEGO stores have around 86% of the parts
        • 1 year, 4 months ago morningstrummer Level 10 Designed this MOC DESIGNER
          It is all written in the instructions, but here's a short summary.
          - All the pneumatic parts need to be modified to work in pneumatic engines. (drill out, smoothen, lubricate, etc.)
          - Gear 16 Tooth with Clutch need to be glued to liftarm 1x2 thin under a 11,25 degree angle. (when engaged with normal 16 tooth gear both axles should point in the same direction, eg. ++ and not +x)
          - In the crankshaft you need to make 1 long axles and partially glue it together.
          - The piston links will need to be glued together and then sanded down on the side so they don't rub against each other in the finished engine.
          - near the end you'll need to glue the camshaft on a bush (but after it is assembled)
          - also near the end you'll need to glue the 24 tooth gears to the camshaft and crankshaft.

          Also the pneumatic hos that is in the part list doesn't exist, for me on rebrickable it also shows I only have 85% of the parts in my collection because of that.
          Also make sure you get some high quality pneumatic hose and not the original lego ones. (I got mine from blokbricks custom on bricklink)

          Example of what is in the instruction:

  • 1 year, 5 months ago 1165228605 Level 4
    I would like to reproduce such an engine, but I am a Chinese and the purchase price is very expensive. Could you please send me this installation drawing for free? If possible, I will be very grateful.
    • 1 year, 5 months ago morningstrummer Level 10 Designed this MOC DESIGNER
      I'm sorry to disappoint you but I will not send out the instructions for free. They are to be a part of the investment when you want to build this engine. You could off course try to recreate the engine with your own design.

      I hope you do have previous experience building pneumatic engines, as a W16 is a highly complicated design. If not, before you start, work your way from a single cilinder engine up to a v8 (Having them all running smoothly) then decide if you are willing to go even more complicated.
  • 1 year, 5 months ago 1165228605 Level 4
    Hello, I like your engine very much, but I'm a Chinese and I don't know much about purchasing assembly drawings. Could you please tell me how to get assembly drawings? Thank you very much.
  • 1 year, 5 months ago TimM75 Level 15 PRO
    This is one of those kinds of sets that falls into the category of "league of its own". Very well done, and I (and others) appreciate you taking up the challenge. 

  • 1 year, 5 months ago psmyth Level 15
    wow this is an amazing engine...what a lot of work to put this together...awesome man!!
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