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Beginner here, is this a good way to proceed

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oldengineguy

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I echo Terry d"s post . I started with an old Logan 7 inch lathe and a drill press a vice and a bunch of hand tools. The Amatures Lathe handbook is a most helpful read and I still refer to it often some 20 years into this hobby. My first engine was a copy of Philip Duclos Odds & Ends and by the time it ran the scrap box was overflowing. Do not be afraid to throw out parts that are not up to par. That's how you learn. I now have a Craftex 3500 mill a South Bend Heavy 10 a small round coloumn mill a Myford 7 and a 7inch Atlas shaper, a whole lot more hand tools and I still have a large scrap box. Many engines later I still thoroughly enjoy the pleasure I get when playing in my shop. Don't rush it. Experience only comes through doing it over and over. I wish you many years of enjoyment. P.S. Start with a barstock engine. Mistakes are cheaper. Colin
 

Aerostar55

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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.
You have already taken the first step by selecting a project. The best next step would be to purchase a quality lathe to handle the job. Something like a 10 inch lathe should do the trick. You can use a lathe to make patterns too. As you make parts you learn what you need to complete the task and purchase tools accordingly. By the time your engine is complete you will have accumulated the tools and the knowlege you desire. My first engine was a two stroke also!
 

Aerostar55

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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
I really like my little Sherline Lathe, but probably a little small for a DLA 56 engine.
 

sniffipn

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Hi,

As a verean 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
link didnt work for me. was it this one, Terry?
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minh-thanh

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notharget !
There are lots of helpful advice !
One more personal opinion : make an engine that can run, make it run better (if it runs at 5 bar, make it run 2 bar , 1 bar or less ), make it look nicer, more effective ... you will learn a lot .
 

Peter Murphy

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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 something 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
I agree, buy a 7x or similar & start upgrading it by making your own upgrades for your lathe & mill (to a lesser extent) and you will learn a lot as well as improve your mini lathe. This will lead to making better products for your Uni course. Remember you never stop learning in this field, so keep trying to improve your skills
 

goldstar31

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If you can afford it, buy a 7 x 14 lathe but I would regard the Self centring chuck as secondary to a faceplate and then a 4 jaw independent chuck-- and then the 3 jaw.
The above is the classical way and this is despite the greater difficulty in setting up work on a faceplate or a 4 jaw independent, the acquiring knowledge of lathe work will pay dividends.
One excellent source of how to get the best out of a little lathe is to read up John Moran's Gadgetbuilder.com. In deed, I have a copy of 'The Amateur's Lathe by Lawrence Sparey and I would mention that my copy was bought in 1948/49 when I was in battledress:) when Pontius was a Pilot and Jesus was his Observer and I had seagulls on my shoulders:mad:

The above may evoke howls of derision and certainly comment and -with tongue in cheek have an almost new -- and damnably expensive Myford Super 7 lathe with a gear box and power cross feed and almost every damned 'goodie' that most here have never seen let alone be able afford.
As a spare, I'm running the bigger brother of the 7 x 14 with few complaints. Admittedly, it is a bit crude and lacks elegance but it is generally accurate enough to avoid the possible restoration of a lathe that was once BETTER-- but like me has siffered the ranages of old age.

My thoughts as a culmination of 80 years experience from when I built my first models at the age of 10.

Good Luck, enjoy

Norman
 

terryd

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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.
Hi,

Much the same in the UK as far as Uni Engineering courses go. I know of engineers who know little about production techniques or operational manufacturing sequences. There was one particular instance I know of where a 'Qualified Engineer', with a good degree designed an elaborate system while working for a small company, which could not be made due to a conflict of manufacturing procedures. The company went bankrupt due to the high investments he made using outside research 'consultants' to aid his work to produce his designs.

I recently saw a short film made by a large German concern on apprentice engineer training to degree level. The student apprentices had to design products int he design office but then had to make their products in the, very well equipped, company apprentice workshops with no cnc in sight - that came later once they had honed their manual skills.. A practice similar to the one I followed in the UK many decades ago spending 2 years working in the machine shop, toolroom and with fitters and electricians etc before i was allowed anywhere near a drawing board, a system long since abandoned by British industry following political decisions made 30 years ago.

Perhaps it helps to explain why Germany still has a thriving manufacturing industry compared to the US and the UK?

Stay safe in these dark times, at least we are past Blue Monday,

TerryD
 

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