A quick release engine cylinder allows optical access to an essentially unaltered combustion chamber, is suitable for use with actual combustion processes, and is amenable to rapid and repeated disassembly and cleaning. A cylinder member, adapted to constrain a piston to a defined path through the cylinder member, sealingly engages a cylinder head to provide a production-like combustion chamber. A support member mounts with the cylinder member. The support-to-cylinder mounting allows two relationships therebetween. In the first mounting relationship, the support engages the cylinder member and restrains the cylinder against the head. In the second mounting relationship, the cylinder member can pass through the support member, moving away from the head and providing access to the piston-top and head.