Can I build an Elderberry Launch Engine with just a lathe?

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IronFires

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Hi all,
I'm just getting started with hobby machining, aspiring to build model engines. I bought a 7x16 mini lathe as my first machine tool and have been using it to make small parts for repairs and such, but I'd like to take on a very simple engine build as a way to push my way up the learning curve.

I don't yet have the budget for a mill, and it seems like that's needed for at least a few of the steps in the build. I'm wondering if I could get buy with just a lathe, using a milling adapter (I've heard really mixed things about those) or some other clever lathe techniques. I'd really love to start building something that I enjoy without waiting for my hobby budget to acommodate a mill.

Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated!
 

kuhncw

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I had search Elderberry Launch engine to see what it looks like. I think you could build the engine with your lathe assuming you have a 4 jaw chuck or if not, at least a face plate. Access to a small drill press would be a great help. You'll figure it out and figuring out how to fixture and hold the pieces is half the fun. Get going and good luck.

This engine is also known as the Open Column Launch Engine and has been around for years.



Chuck
 

minh-thanh

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IronFires !

I haven't made that engine yet, so I don't know
But I made few other engines : Flame Eater, Stirling engines and IC engine with only lathe and drill - grinder hand machine .
 

Richard Hed

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Hi all,
I'm just getting started with hobby machining, aspiring to build model engines. I bought a 7x16 mini lathe as my first machine tool and have been using it to make small parts for repairs and such, but I'd like to take on a very simple engine build as a way to push my way up the learning curve.

I don't yet have the budget for a mill, and it seems like that's needed for at least a few of the steps in the build. I'm wondering if I could get buy with just a lathe, using a milling adapter (I've heard really mixed things about those) or some other clever lathe techniques. I'd really love to start building something that I enjoy without waiting for my hobby budget to acommodate a mill.

Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated!

Yes yu can build a lot with just a lathe. it helps if you have a milling attachment. If yu cannot afford a milling attachemtn, you can build one. Look up Werowance--We have been discussing how to build one with him. Other than that, there is a tremendous amount you can do by a little ingeniousness and trix. What kind of tool holder do you have? Do you have ER collets? Look up Halligan for a really good way to make ER collet holder. What kind of spindle nose do you have. If you hve a screw nose, that might be the simplest type to make. I have D-5 which once I get the back plate made with six pins I can weld a piece of steel to it and continue from there. Of course each lathe is different and you have to customize to yuou8r lathe. A lot of being able to use a small lathe is making tools to make the tools to make the parts you want.

Let us know what tools hyou have and we can advise you better.

Woops, it's not Werowance, it's the guy from Turkey--forgot his name.
 
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A 4-jaw chuck and faceplate will get you a long way, but as Richard Hed says, sooner or later you will need some means of milling. The simplest arrangement, which served me well enough for decades before I bought a mill, is a vertical slide, which fits on the lathe cross-slide. Not all lathes have T-slotted cross slides (also know as boring tables), but it is sometimes possible to adapt them anyway. A vertical slide is much less rigid than a decent milling machine, so you have to be patient and take light cuts.
 

olympic

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One of the first things I ever made was one of these. No materials kit, no mill, no milling attachment, no 4-jaw chuck. It ran immediately and still does.

Just plug away at it; you'll get there.
 

methuselah1

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Check out the books "milling in the lathe" by E T Westbury, or "milling operations in the lathe" by Tubal Cain (Tom Walshaw). They're actually two re-writes of an earlier book- Tubal Cain's is the most recent.

That will open your eyes to the possibilities.

Whereas we think of the lathe as the "vital" piece of equipment these days, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when model engineering started to become popular, people, notably George Kennion were producing entire, show winning models with nothing more than a drill press and ingenuity...

-Andrew UK
 

Danuzzo

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One of the first things I ever made was one of these. No materials kit, no mill, no milling attachment, no 4-jaw chuck. It ran immediately and still does.

Just plug away at it; you'll get there.

I am going to begin making this engine, after I figure out the grooves in the rotary valve. Just wondering how you made the grooves in the valve. I am thinking I need a rotary table or an indexer for this. Hopefully not.
 

olympic

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I am going to begin making this engine, after I figure out the grooves in the rotary valve. Just wondering how you made the grooves in the valve. I am thinking I need a rotary table or an indexer for this. Hopefully not.
I just cut them with a hacksaw and touched them up with a file. As they're only 1/16" wide (if I remember correctly) the hacksaw blade was just right.
 

chucketn

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One of the first things I ever made was one of these. No materials kit, no mill, no milling attachment, no 4-jaw chuck. It ran immediately and still does.

Can you clarify the design and function of the rotary valve? In the plan it looks like its 2 groves milled 180 deg. apart, and parallel to the diameter.
 
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