Casting Kits I would like to see For Sale Again

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Jul 2, 2021
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MidSouth, USA
I have a list of engines I would like to see casting kits (in gray iron) available for again.

I have thought a lot about what a good scale for a typical engine is.

I have to strike a balance between being small enough to be machinable on the lathe and mill that I own, and large enough that a semi-skilled machinist like myself would not have much trouble machining accurately.

I have purchases a few engines, and I can say from experience that an engine with a 12" flywheel gets to be a very heavy thing to have to transport.
I like to take model engines to shows when I have time.

About the maximum weight I can carry these days is 70 lbs, and that is on the heavy side for me.

As far as flywheel size, a 10" diameter flywheel seems to be a pretty good balance between the model size I like, without getting so large that it is difficult to machine, and without making the model so heavy that I can't easily carry it.

So these days I generally design around a 10" diameter flywheel, and I try to hold with a 2" bore minimum, because I find that larger gray iron piston rings are easier to make and handle than the smaller ones.

I envision one or more hobby individuals creating 3D models for these engines, and someone making permanent aluminum matchplates to be used for making castings.

If someone wants a casting kit, they select from the available match plates, and have that kit cast either by themselves or by someone else.

Perhaps a pie-in-the-sky vision, but how do we preserve our gray iron casting kits in a world where gray iron kits seem to be going the way of the Dodo.

Here is a list of the casting kits I would like to see readily available in gray iron.

I like both steam and IC engine types, and I prefer an engine of moderate complexity, with a minimum of parts, and iconic classic late 1800's (or perhaps early 1900's for IC engines) styling.

The parts count needs to be low, and the patterns need to be relatively simple and practial to make and mold with.

I also like highly functional, hard working, reliable engines, and not intricate museum pieces.
I admire intricate museum-grade engines, but the reality is that I need somewhat simple casting kit designs to build myself.

1. Ball Hopper Monitor, 10" diameter flywheels (hit and miss IC engine).

2. "VJ" Monitor (with flower-vase-shaped water hopper), 10" diameter flywheel (hit and miss IC engine).

3. Olds Type "R", 10" diameter flywheels (hit and miss IC engine).

4. Galloway horizontal engine, 5hp replica, 10" diameter flywheels (hit and miss IC engine).

5. Crossley horizontal single 10" diameter flywheel with curved spokes, no water hopper (hit and miss IC engine).

6. Cretors No.01, 02 and 06, original sizes (steam engines).

7. Bottle engine, classic vertical bottle shaped frame, 10" diameter flywheel (steam engine with reversing gear).

8. Dake, about an 8" wide crankcase (steam engine).

9. O&S horizontal with 10" diameter flywheel (the engine Dave Richards has) (steam engine).

Here are some photos.
Not all of these photos are mine.

Ball Hopper Monitor build by JasonB.


"VJ" Monitor, owner unknown.

s-l1600 (100).jpg

Olds Type "R", built by William Zakocs, Bethlehem, Pa.


Galloway 1/3 scale, built by William Zakocs, Bethlehem, Pa.


Crossley, I am not sure who's engines or photos these are:



Cretors No.01, 02 and 06:


Bottle engine.




So that is my list of what I consider iconic old engine styles, and engines that are simple enough to perhaps be cast in a backyard setting in gray iron.

I consider these "must have" engines in my collection, and engines that I would like to see casting kits for (in gray iron).

I forgot one engine which I would very much like to have and build, which is the Frisco Standard marine IC engine.

I don't know who's photo or engine this is.

02-belt-pulley jpg.jpg
I have to strike a balance between being small enough to be machinable on the lathe and mill that I own, and large enough that a semi-skilled machinist like myself would not have much trouble machining accurately.
If only one part is too big for you to machine an alternative way is to go to a local machine shop and get them to do it.
Hi @GreenTwin !
Dimensions Flywheel :
Just a personal opinion , I usually design and build engines according to the ID cylinder I can do , so .... maybe design from cylinder ??
It doesn't matter to me a little bit big or small, but small - not necessarily too small or smallest - seems more challenging, and most of us like to conquer the challenge right !? ;)
The way I rate my engines is :
A bit big but too rough and ugly : 4 points
A bit small but the details are not beautiful : 4 points
The size is just right, but every detail is "perfect": 10 points .
Small size and every detail is "perfect" : 10 + ( + conquer the challenge )
Again, it's just personal opinion and I'm also trying to get a 7 or 8
Green, I have had a related thought, that when folks get out of the casting business they put their patterns into a national repository so they don't get lost to history, and so folks can make duplicates if they want to try casting, probably by having the patterns scanned and then they can 3-D print their own new patterns.

a couple casting kits no longer available that I'd like to see the patterns preserved for are
Paul Breisch "Duplex Pump", "Cretors Steam", "Little Brother H&M",

I'm sure other folks have other lost kits in mind.

Pat you have had some of these engines drawn up for what must be 10years and nothing done yet, you just keep posting the same things and don't get anything cast, people would want to see a finished model before they commit to having a set cast. I've had several engines cast with my patterns though the casting is done at a foundry as very few people have the facility to do iron in their backyard.

The cores and loose pieces that some of those engines will require does not really put them into the "simple to mould with" catagery to me

One other thing you don't mention in your wish list is cost, these big engines will be costly to put out the casting to a foundry and who will pay for the first few where the match boards may need altering to get a good pour. For an idea of cost one of the marine compounds that Historic Models and Reproductions cam up for sale on another forum for $2500 and it would cost more than that to have cast now so those who an afford this sort of money are very few. If they then need to be collected form you, taken to a foundry, collected from the foundry and returned to you then that would also add a considerable amount to the cost.

As Peter says it is not always the size of the flywheel that you need to be able to accommodate, some of those bottle engines and the Monitor will push many peoples machines.

Although I could have CNC machined it from solid for less I drew this replacement for a missing Redwing Pulley up a couple of weeks ago and it was cast a week after

redwing pulley.jpeg

Oh and if you want a flywheel for that National Gas Engine, had several of these cast from an aluminium pattern though at a more managible 4.5" dia

To JasonB-

Wishing and reality may be very different things, but I can still wish and dream.

One certainly does not get things done unless they start dreaming of the posibilities.

"You keep posting the same thing and don't get anything cast....",
yes and I still like posting it, even if it is a pipe dream.

Why have I not cast anything in the last few years?
I really just got the iron thing sorted out really well a few years ago, and got the green twin article finished because COVID shut down, which gave me a short break from work.

I have been swamped with work since just before COVID, and I have yet to get caught up.
I am a working stiff, and run my own business, and so I have to wear many hats, and basically do the work of about 5 people.
I will probably be 2 more years before I get all my work projects out the door.
I am a victim of my own success.
The harder I work, the more projects I get, but I am not complaining other than it is really hampering my hobby work.

One thought is to take patterns to Lancaster's, and tell to to cast X number of castings, with the X I guess depending on potential interest by other hobbyists.
I would rather stay on the pattern making side of it, and let someone else deal with mass producing castings in iron.

I would probably have to take the patterns to Lancasters, and walk them through what I want.

"Simple to mold" to me means not having to have a bunch of retracts and such.
Cores are a piece of cake with sodium silicate, resin bound, or linseed oil bound cores.
Intricate coreboxes are a piece of cake with 3D modeling and 3D printing.

Cost would definitely be an issue with many folks, but others do have the disposable income, and so cost would lean towards limited runs.

One thing is for certain, there would be no money to be made making these castings, unless there was a limited run of numbered casting sets with very high prices, which is not my intent.

The alternative is to let all of the old casting kits that we are familiar with go away, and that is a very real posibility if nobody takes action (it has pretty much already happened; tried to buy any of these casting kits lately?).

I guess I will see what I can do when I get caught up in 2 years.
I would like to retire one day too, and then I would have a lot more time for engine work.

In the interim, I would encourage everyone to keep on dreaming and scheming, because hobby folks in general may be able to make their own castings if they put their mind to it.
I see more and more folks casting engine parts every day.

That Redwind pulley sure turned out nice ! and is a good example of what hobby folks can do these days.

The 4.5" diameter flywheel patterns are elegant, but too small for me.
My eyesight is not what it use to be, so I am pretty much standardizing on 9" diameter flywheels, and bores between 1.5" and 2".
One has to be able to see the part in order to machine it.
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I like the idea of the pattern repository, but people tend to come and go in this business, and as Jason mentioned, the patterns can get into the hands of some folks who eventually want a lot of money for them.

I think a better idea is to publish 3D models and perhaps 3D patterns on the net.
That way they would be around for a long time I would think.
People could download the 3D model files and print their own patterns.

The 3D files would be a way to go, I actually drew that pulley for someone else, sent them a STEP file of the half pattern, they printed off two halves and then got the casting done. Would also suit those who want to burn out the 3D print and tat would reduce the need for loose pieces and cores too. They would also reduce the risk of patterns going walk about, not being returned, need for a deposit etc.

Not quite casting but I sent another STEP file of a Stuart Victoria to someone earlier this month and they mirrored it to make a twin. It's actually for a model railway layout so they scaled it down and the resin printer did a very good job, those are mm not inches on the rule. There would be a lot les scleanup of the print required before it was smooth enough to cast compared with the usual hobby machines.

twin vic.JPG

Also found the picture of those curved spoke flywheels castings

nattie flywheels.JPG
My eyesight is not what it use to be, so I am pretty much standardizing on 9" diameter flywheels, and bores between 1.5" and 2".
One has to be able to see the part in order to machine it.

Just to add a personal opinion,
It is quite big . the cost to cast it... is quite a lot, and I think the selling price and shipping fee will be quite high
In the meantime.....i think you should find a way to make the cylinder smaller, around 22-25mm in diameter (the smaller the better), I don't think it's difficult, find a small piece of iron in the yours shop and test, practice...
You can use O-rings for your engine, and when you sell the casting the buyer can choose whether to use O-rings or CI rings according to their preference, and I don't think it makes any difference.
Of depends on your eyes, but maybe my opinion gives you a different perspective...
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I am somewhat of a purist I guess.
I like to build replicas of old engines as they were built originally.

So that means everything is like the original, ie: gray iron castings, cast iron piston rings, poured babbitt bearings, custom fasteners that look like the original items, etc.

I am still working towards making a model that meets all these criteria, but that is the goal, and I am close to achieving all of those.

Everyone has to decide what they want to make of this hobby, and what materials and methods they want to use.

I can't speak for other, but can only offer my personal preferences.

I agree with JasonB, sharing STEP files for engines is the only long term solution for keeping the casting side of this hobby alive.

I intend to post all of my 3D model files open-source on the net one day, so they will always be free and available to everyone.

I did a quick search for "engine casting kits" on the internet a minute ago, and I must say it is alarming how bottlenecked the offerings have become.

If you would have told me 20 years ago that most casting kit offerings would vanish in the near future, I would never have believed it.

The hobby can always continue with bar stock builds, but casting kits have been the staple of the hobby for as long as I remember.

I saw a comic strip one time, where a guy in a suit and tie was doing a door-to-door survey, and the guy who answered the door was the quintessential "hippy" with long hair and a beard.

The guy in the suit and tie asks the question "What exactly do you mean when you say 'The times.......they are a changin ?' ".

The times are changing, and relatively rapidly it would seem.