Your average internal combustion engine — the sort crammed inside any traditional vehicle manufactured since the 19th century — uses churning fuels and pistons to generate mechanical power. Engines like these have been the standard bearer of modern transportation since their commercial emergence in the 1880s, and they’ve always been composed of hard metals like steel, cast iron, and aluminum. But why the hell would we stop there.
See below, a miniature V8 engine made entirely of paper (minus a few strips of scotch tape) that reconstructs all of a normal engine’s granular mechanisms: the crankshaft, camshafts, pistons, connecting rods, spark plugs, and valves (among others). It even roars, albeit softly, just like the monstrous engine of a hulking pick-up truck, but dainty.
You’ll see that YouTube user Aliaksei Zholner uses oxygen for the engine’s fuel, pumping air through a balloon to simulate the effects of gasoline. It creates a whirring sensation among the pistons that create a miniature “vroom” noise.
Zholner goes more in-depth in a different video that examines his paperweight V8 engine more thoroughly. The maker doesn’t say anything about his design, he just zooms a camera in on the finely-wrought details of his creation.
Behold, the camshafts made of paper that function as if they weren’t.
Zholner’s design is a feat of origami-as-science. Sadly, it’s made of paper, and won’t propel much of anything but a papier-mâché motorcycle. Still, it’s an indication of what a keen eye for detail and a penchant for design can produce: a beautiful machine that’s impervious to scandal and won’t destroy the environment.