Quantcast

Beginner here, is this a good way to proceed

Help Support HMEM:

notharget

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Planet Earth
Good evening to all, i found this beautiful website recently so i thought i should ask for some guidance here. I'm a first year mechanical engineering student and i'm thinking to build a copy of DLA56 since i have one already at home. While building this engine i'm hoping to learn about engines, IC, manufacturing processes so it'll be good for me. I have no tools like cnc mills or such but i think i can find somewhere to use these tools around here. I thought maybe i can cast all engine parts using a homemade foundry and sand molds. I'll be checking posts aimed at beginners but for now i wanted to learn what you think should i do with this particular case of mine.
 

stevehuckss396

Model Engineer
Project of the Month Winner
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2008
Messages
4,351
Reaction score
1,154
Location
Sterling Heights, MI
Going to be tough without your own machines but can be done. You might want to start out with something a little more forgiving like a steam/air engine or a simple IC engine like the Webster. Simple 2 stroke engines are not as simple as they look. Fitting a piston properly can sometimes be a little tough. Cylinders need to be honed with a taper so the piston "Sticks" at the top. Your engine may not require that, I'm not familiar with the engine mentioned above. If I were you I would learn how to operate the machines. Then learn how to cast parts. When you finally cast a good part you don't want to "learn" to machine on the castings. If you start out too aggressive you can get overwhelmed and just give up. Start out simple and learn as you go and you might have found a life long hobby.
 

Henry K

Active Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
28
Reaction score
12
Location
New Jersey
I teach (Adjunct Professor) the Mechanical Engineering machine shop lab at a nearby University. COVID-19 is really messing things up. When we get back to normal, I am going to try to talk the
department head to allow me to start a machine shop club. Maybe your university already has one.

There are casting kits for engines and the simple ones are not to expensive. If you mess it up, it was not to expensive and you will have spare parts for your next attempt.
A University lab will have to be supervised and that could be a big help.

In my country (USA) a Mechanical Engineering student is a person learning how to be an USA type Engineer. They study lots of Calculus, Differential Equations, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Calculus based Physics, Electronics, Statics, Structures, and so on.
It is my impression that European Mechanical Engineering students are more "hands on". Our mutual friends here could be of more help if we know what kind of Mechanical Engineer you are going to be.
 

clockworkcheval

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
37
Location
Netherlands
In our horological society a retired teacher in machine shop practices conducted many years our in-house yearlong course in machining and clock making. Based on 50 plus years experience he starts everybody up with very basic turning and milling skills. Think about milling a cube with good parallel and square sides all around, with a bore and a circular hole pattern, and turning a step cilinder to fit in a step bore. Start with the easy materials aluminium and brass. Repeat with steel. Strive to the highest precision every time as you have to gain experience in this. Then proceed with a simple engine.
 

notharget

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Planet Earth
Our mutual friends here could be of more help if we know what kind of Mechanical Engineer you are going to be.
I'm trying to go on a path that gives me a balanced understanding of theory and practice. My univesity covers the theory aspect and i'm myself trying to cover practice aspect.

When we get back to normal, I am going to try to talk the
department head to allow me to start a machine shop club. Maybe your university already has one.
Unfortunately my university doesn't have a machine shop club. Though probably i can find somewhere to practice mills etc. Alternatively i'm thinking buying mini lathe and mill for home, i would like to know what you think about this.
 

MRA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
213
Reaction score
47
I teach (Adjunct Professor) the Mechanical Engineering machine shop lab at a nearby University. COVID-19 is really messing things up. When we get back to normal, I am going to try to talk the
department head to allow me to start a machine shop club. Maybe your university already has one.

There are casting kits for engines and the simple ones are not to expensive. If you mess it up, it was not to expensive and you will have spare parts for your next attempt.
A University lab will have to be supervised and that could be a big help.

In my country (USA) a Mechanical Engineering student is a person learning how to be an USA type Engineer. They study lots of Calculus, Differential Equations, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Calculus based Physics, Electronics, Statics, Structures, and so on.
It is my impression that European Mechanical Engineering students are more "hands on". Our mutual friends here could be of more help if we know what kind of Mechanical Engineer you are going to be.
That’s no longer the case here (UK). I used to lecture in engineering in a lower-ranking university, and I still have a PT job in the workshop making experimental fixtures - and sweeping up! - as a kind of retirement project. The lab time on courses and has been cut and cut (it’s expensive and now we run for profit...) and as for students actually using machine tools - the insurers would ‘go up and never come down’. It‘s a shame - there are one or two motivated ones each year who would get a lot out of it, but the majority would just hurt themselves, each other, and break things in the process. Ho hum.
 

ShopShoe

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
1,044
Reaction score
210
notharget,

I'd say if you can justify the expenses and have the time and space start building your own shop. I put off getting a lathe for years and years because I had my goals set on large machines and large projects. I eventually decided to get realistic and bought a 7x mini lathe and really started learning and practicing. A mill and more things for the shop followed and I have learned a lot and made good progress toward a place where I may be able to get and use those large machines. Get out and have fun making things of all kinds.

For blending theory and practice, follow a wide variety of posters on this and other forums, as well as YouTube. I'm not suggesting any names now because that would infer that the ones I like are the only experts and you might overlook some excellent sources that I don't follow for one reason or another.

The path to what I think I hear you saying seems to be someting you need to develop along with your specific skills. And nothing says you have to plan it all in advance and stay with the same thing forever.

--ShopShoe
 

notharget

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Planet Earth
I'd say if you can justify the expenses and have the time and space start building your own shop.
I'm hoping once i have space i'll be building my own shop.

For blending theory and practice, follow a wide variety of posters on this and other forums, as well as YouTube. I'm not suggesting any names now because that would infer that the ones I like are the only experts and you might overlook some excellent sources that I don't follow for one reason or another.
Honestly i'm suprised there is so much forums and youtube channels about lots of technical stuff and it is free.
 

HMEL

Active Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
7
Good evening to all, i found this beautiful website recently so i thought i should ask for some guidance here. I'm a first year mechanical engineering student and i'm thinking to build a copy of DLA56 since i have one already at home. While building this engine i'm hoping to learn about engines, IC, manufacturing processes so it'll be good for me. I have no tools like cnc mills or such but i think i can find somewhere to use these tools around here. I thought maybe i can cast all engine parts using a homemade foundry and sand molds. I'll be checking posts aimed at beginners but for now i wanted to learn what you think should i do with this particular case of mine.
I am a retired mechanical engineer and offer a few comments rather then advice. Your next few years at the University will be more demanding. So you might want to think about concentrating on your grades. I doubt you will have much spare time. You will be learning theory. Practice depends upon the work place. Metal parts can now be 3d printed and cnc machines have changed how industry does everything. Practice you will learn after the theory and in the work place. But its good to have a hobby it s a good stress reliever and its enjoyable. And if you are lucky you may have time to indulge in a hobby while in school. Good luck.
 

Anatol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
56
Location
Los Angeles
Notharget - and all,
I encourage you, as shopshoe and others have, to learn to make stuff. I regularly work with mechanical engineering students who have never hit a nail with a hammer. Their lack of manual 'literacy' is appalling. I'm not being sentimental and old fashioned, I have a good grounding in cognitive science and pedagogy, and I know that what you learn about the behavior of materials in hands-on making creates a kind of common sense that informs good engineering. So do it, its fun, its frustrating, you fail and you learn a lot.
 

clockworkcheval

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
37
Location
Netherlands
Buying your own small lathe and mill is one of the best things you can do. Machining is much about learning to work around the limitations and quirks of the equipment. So it is much more effective to work on your own machines than on many other different ones. And it is amazing how much can be done on really small machinetools. And last but not least the small machines have often much higher revs than the bigger ones, thus allowing a much better adherence to effective cutting speeds on the small components typical for model engines.
 

notharget

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Planet Earth
Buying your own small lathe and mill is one of the best things you can do. Machining is much about learning to work around the limitations and quirks of the equipment. So it is much more effective to work on your own machines than on many other different ones. And it is amazing how much can be done on really small machinetools. And last but not least the small machines have often much higher revs than the bigger ones, thus allowing a much better adherence to effective cutting speeds on the small components typical for model engines.
Is there a cost/effective mini lathe and mill you would recommend ?
 

cl350rr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
195
Reaction score
5
You may want to mention, where you are, there may be members in your area who can help you get started. I have never purchased a new lathe, always used. It may not be the right path for you but my first lathe was a small AAA brand junker off of Craigslist. I spent a good bit of time working on it and getting it to be accurate as I could then built tools to fit it so I could turn what I wanted. I even worked up a crude tool post grinder out of a dremel with a flex shaft, which I used to grind the valves for my Motorcycle. I have bought and sold dozens of small lathes and mills since then. I will also mention that community colleges usually offer machining courses where you can get some hands on with the machines.
 

clockworkcheval

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
37
Location
Netherlands
With hobby's it is difficult for me to define cost/effective, but I found the Taig Lathe very usefull and precise. Outside the USA the price can more than double with the cost of shipping, insurance, import-duties and value added tax. The only option is for you or a willing friend to take it along as personal luggage - at least in my country the dollarcost of the Taig is so low that at the airport no taxes are due. You have to re-motorize at 230 Volts AC.
 

terryd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
192
Reaction score
114
Good evening to all, i found this beautiful website recently so i thought i should ask for some guidance here. I'm a first year mechanical engineering student and i'm thinking to build a copy of DLA56 since i have one already at home. While building this engine i'm hoping to learn about engines, IC, manufacturing processes so it'll be good for me. I have no tools like cnc mills or such but i think i can find somewhere to use these tools around here. I thought maybe i can cast all engine parts using a homemade foundry and sand molds. I'll be checking posts aimed at beginners but for now i wanted to learn what you think should i do with this particular case of mine.
Hi,

As a veteran machinist in my 70s I envy you the opportunities that are available nowadays as well as the journey you have before you in this great hobby. As others have said be patient in learning the necessary skills and the time spent will repay you many times over in future. There is a lot af skill and knowledge needed in undertaking complex projects and without those skills it can cause great disappointment and even destroy your confidence, be patient it will happen. Start small and simple, perhaps a wobbler or two to gain confidence and some skills and then something like a Stuart 10 which is a very satisfying small engine or look on John Tom's site for the many free plans that are there - from simple to complex.

The basics necessary to begin are a few hand tools for measuring, cutting and filing etc, again start simple with justt a few and build up as needed. As for a machine I would look for a small lathe - the king of machines - there are many available such as the Seig 'Baby' which I have used in the past and can be carried around easily and installed on a small table and hidden away in a cupboard but if you have a bit of space a machine such as the Seig SC2 for example which is a 7 x 12 mini lathe and at 44kg can be just about be lifted and carried comfortably by one fit person. While a milling machine is desireable it is not, unlike the lathe, essential. Much milling work on small engines can be carried out on the lathe without much additional equipment, I would not recommend a 'combination lathe/mill'. A late departed friend of mine built an award winning vee 8 aero engine using his Myford lathe as a milling machine as well as it's normal mode.

I would do some basic reading first before starting, there are also some very good books about the using the lathe intended for beginners which develop the skills needed through projects rather than exercises. Try 'Milling Operations in the Lathe' and one of the many basic books on lathework such as the old but good 'The Amateurs lathe', although there are many similar alternatives as a browse on Amazon or ABE books will show but I can only recommend what I know.

There is also good old YouTube where there are an almost limitless range of useful videos, (but look out as there are 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly'), as well as very many excellent forums like this one. I should also add that youi need to understand safety rulles, it's surprising the very serious injuries that can be caused by these machines. Enjoy your journey.

TerryD
 
Last edited:

kuhncw

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Messages
769
Reaction score
113
Location
USA ILLINOIS
notharget,

You asked about a cost effective lathe and mill for starting out. You can't go wrong with Sherline and Taig machines, in my opinion. The Taig mill is a bit larger than the Sherline. With these machines, you can put a lot of capability into a small space and tooling is available and reasonable. In the future, even if you move on to larger machines, the smaller machines will still be useful for the work you will encounter in model building.

To get an idea of what you can accomplish on Taig and Sherline size machines, take a look at the work Crueby turns out on his Sherline machines.


Good luck with your engineering studies. It's a good field.

Also, you might let the forum know where you are located. Planet earth is a bit broad. This will help members give better suggestions.

Regards,

Chuck
 

SmithDoor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
809
Reaction score
109
Location
Clovis Ca
Most of work is not hard
Even foundry is fun I have had foundry in past now working on small bar stock engines 0.02³inch size.
I would not try building a P & W R-4360 for first engine, just keep simple.

Do have photos of shop?

Dave

Good evening to all, i found this beautiful website recently so i thought i should ask for some guidance here. I'm a first year mechanical engineering student and i'm thinking to build a copy of DLA56 since i have one already at home. While building this engine i'm hoping to learn about engines, IC, manufacturing processes so it'll be good for me. I have no tools like cnc mills or such but i think i can find somewhere to use these tools around here. I thought maybe i can cast all engine parts using a homemade foundry and sand molds. I'll be checking posts aimed at beginners but for now i wanted to learn what you think should i do with this particular case of mine.
 

SmithDoor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
809
Reaction score
109
Location
Clovis Ca
I don't have currently have a shop but when i can have a dedicated space i'll send them here :)


Is that a monster or what
They call the R-4360 is a corn cob engine. They built over 18,000 and over 4,000 HP.
A Liberty ship only had 2,500 HP

Dave
 

Latest posts

Top