How to Start?

Discussion in 'General Engine Discussion' started by ACHiPo, Dec 6, 2017.

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  1. Dec 6, 2017 #1

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    I'm acquiring a few machine tools (and skills) and am toying with dipping my toe in the model engine pool to learn how to use what I've acquired. I've got a 10" x 31" Logan lathe, drill press, and assorted hand tools and measuring devices. I don't have a mill (yet).

    What kits or plans would you recommend as good introductions to the hobby?

    Thanks,
    Evan
     
  2. Dec 6, 2017 #2

    mcostello

    mcostello

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    Try getting a \n engine using bar stock components before spending cash on parts that might be too expensive to replace.
     
  3. Dec 6, 2017 #3

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    What's a "\n" engine?
     
  4. Dec 6, 2017 #4

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    I just ordered a couple of Tubal Cain's books on building steam engines, as well as Making Simple Model Steam Engines
    By Stan Bray. Seems like a decent way to start?
     
  5. Dec 6, 2017 #5

    bouch

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    First, fundamental question:

    Steam engine or gas engine? (or do you care, you just want to build something)

    If steam, Look for plans for a simple oscillating engine made without castings.

    this one is by Elmer Verburg. He has a LOT of plans for relatively simple engines, this one is one of the easiest. I've built it, nice little engine.

    http://www.john-tom.com/ElmersEngines/25_26_WobblerBoiler.pdf

    Here's a few others I found via google for "oscillating steam engine plans"
    http://www.steves-workshop.co.uk/steammodels/simpleoscil/simpleoscil.htm

    http://npmccabe.tripod.com/index-4.html

    And this is from this forum (link is to a pdf, it may download automatically)

    http://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=35650&d=1342622275

    Good luck. If you're looking for gas engines, I'll let other's answer, I got no clue there. ;)
     
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  6. Dec 6, 2017 #6

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    I'm just looking to build something, ideally something that looks good as a conversation piece in my office and offers an opportunity to practice CAD and machining skills. Doesn't even have to be an engine--something with a crank, pistons, flywheel that could be moved by hand and built of brass and painted steel would be great. I've read here and elsewhere that steam engines are a good way to start, so that's what I was thinking initially, but if someone has plans for an executive desk toy that would be great.

    I've checked out your links and they look very approachable. Thanks!
     
  7. Dec 6, 2017 #7

    ACHiPo

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    Is the main reason for avoiding castings cost?
     
  8. Dec 6, 2017 #8

    Brian Rupnow

    Brian Rupnow

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    For a first "Getting your feet wet" experience, build one of the "wobblers" (oscillating) steam engines by Elmer Verbourg. Steam engines are simpler to build than internal combustion engines and can be ran on compressed air, so you don't have to mess around with boilers and steam. If you are successful with a "wobbler", then move up to a single cylinder single acting steam engine, either vertical or horizontal. If that works, then build a single cylinder double acting steam engine. You can then build a "walking beam steam engine". Acquaint yourself with the terminology and the technology of these engines. After your first half dozen steam engines, you will be ready to play with internal combustion engines. Build a Webster single cylinder horizontal engine. After that, you will be ready for anything. I have built a total of 24 engines in the last seven years, and have built all of the above mentioned engines.---Brian
     
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  9. Dec 7, 2017 #9

    ACHiPo

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    Thanks for the ideas. I may start on a wobbler.

    This finger engine looks like a decent starting place as well as a fun thing to display. I'll start noodling on it and dump it into Fusion 360. Should be fun and a chance to practice.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2017 #10

    mcostello

    mcostello

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    An /n engine is what You get when You don't type an "e".:D
     
  11. Dec 8, 2017 #11

    deverett

    deverett

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    Finger engines are indeed a bit of fun - simple to make and also as an 'executive's desk toy!
    If making one, you need to make sure you get the correct ratios of the cranks. I've tried to upload a couple of sketches showing the proportions that work, but for some reason I can't get the pics to upload. Send me a PM with email address and I'll get them to you that way.
    The sketches are thanks to John Bogstandard.

    Dave
    The Emerald Isle
     
  12. Dec 8, 2017 #12

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    Dave,
    I sent a PM with my email.

    Thanks!
    Evan
     
  13. Dec 10, 2017 #13

    Wizard69

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    You haven't mentioned your metal working back ground, but if starting from scratch do realize it takes a bit of time for the skills to come together. It is common in the trades to build these skills by making tools that you will use the rest of your career.

    Now for model engineering you might not want to make some of the tools a student machinist might make. However there will be a need to make tools at some point and such tools are often low cost practice compared to an engine. There are many books, web sites and other sources of information on shop build up. An example here is THE MODEL ENGINEERS WORKSHOP MANUAL by Geo. H. Thomas. I give this as an example though many other possibilities exist.

    The point here is that some tools you can buy others you have to make. So not only is tool making good practice, at some point you will have to make a tool, a jig or fixture to make an engine. It kinda goes with the territory, so starting out it makes sense to spend time skills building with tool construction.
    Exactly!

    Making something that is both fun and quick gets the desire to advance going.


    Practice is the key. You don't want to be machining an expensive casting you first day behind a lathe. That is why making tools is so useful and why bar stock engines are good place to build skills.
     
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  14. Dec 10, 2017 #14

    ACHiPo

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    Wizard,
    I’ve got quite a bit of peripheral knowledge and experience, but limited machining experience. It may be more than you wanted to know, but here goes...

    I “owned” a bike shop from the ages of 9 to 18 (took over my parent’s garage)—buying junk bikes, stripping them down, repainting them with rattle cans, putting them back together and selling them. I also repaired bikes. When I was 15 I built a frame from Reynolds 531 tubing. I taught myself to file lugs, notch tubing, and silver braze. A neighbor across the street was a tool maker for GM which is where I was introduced to heli-arc welding for aluminum. He had a complete shop in a garage behind his house, but I was only able to glimpse in there a couple times. Another neighbor owned a tool and die shop that I visited a few times. I remember being fascinated thinking about tools that make measurement tools to make tools (kinda like standing between two mirrors and seein multiple shrinking perspectives).

    I got a degree in materials science, but focused on semiconductor processing rather than “heat it and beat it” metallurgy (but had all the basic coursework). One of my professors specialized in tribology—I didn’t take any classes on the subject, but went to a couple seminars and was intrigued with what happened between two metals—cutting, welding, rubbing—and how lubricants work at a molecular level. I never acted on the intrigue, just filed it away for later.

    Fast forward to present day, and I have the space and means to have a shop. I first outfitted it with woodworking tools, as for many years I was frustrated to not have the space or money to have equipment to do precise machining of wood, instead teaching myself to use hand tools to build and create wood furniture.

    I pulled the trigger on a bucket list item—building an ERA 427 AC Cobra. While that’s in progress, I bought a used Superformance to relearn how to work on cars. I started adding to my tool collection as I figured out how to repair things that vibrated off or broke. I realized that while I’d read a lot of Hot Rod magazines when I was a kid, I didn’t know much about working on high performance cars and didn’t have the right tools. I also realized that it would be nice to know how to machine stuff for the cars—an excuse to get more into machining.

    I’d always wanted to learn more about metalworking, however, but don’t have the time to take classes. I went back to my roots and just dove in, picking up a 10x31 Logan lathe, a 4x6 HF bandsaw, a Miller MIG welder, and a collection of layout and measuring tools. I want a mill, but haven’t decided what’s best for my needs.

    That’s pretty much my background and where I’m going. I do want to make a few tools—lathe cutter height gauge, die holder, convex/concave cutting tool, etc., but I thought an executive toy might be a good learning exercise as well.

    AC
     
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  15. Dec 11, 2017 #15

    minh-thanh

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  16. Dec 11, 2017 #16

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    Minh Thanh,
    Thanks! These help me visualize what's going on.

    I did make it out to the shop yesterday, but focused on machining an 8" x 1/2" copper disk for a display I'm making. It machined like taffy! Got it round and faced off, but will need to finish it with sand paper--I don't have the tools or skill to machine pure copper at this point. I was pretty pleased with myself that I was even able to figure out how to mount the disk to my faceplate and get a tool to reach (had to rotate my compound to be 90° to my cross slide to be able to reach). Need to center drill it and polish it up and I'll be good to go.

    IMG_0773.jpg

    IMG_0774.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  17. Dec 12, 2017 #17

    ACHiPo

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    I've started designing a wobbler, and am wondering about a self-contained power source. How much air do they consume? Would it be practical to build a hand pump to pressurize a tank? Would a small tank pressurized to maybe 60 psi let the wobbler run for 20-30 sec? Are there any designs of miniature hand pumps and tanks?
     
  18. Dec 12, 2017 #18

    Brian Rupnow

    Brian Rupnow

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    A properly made wobbler will run off a manual automobile or bicycle tire pump.
     
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  19. Dec 13, 2017 #19

    Cogsy

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    For an incredibly simple compressed air tank, a PET drink bottle hidden inside a 'pretty' container would probably do. I know from personal experience that the 2 litre varieties can (usually) withstand over 130 PSI before spectacularly rupturing so 50 or 60 PSI should be well within safe working range. If you were to have a rupture the bottle does not fragment and there is simply not enough energy released to do any damage, unless you are actually holding on to the bottle when it blows...
     
  20. Dec 13, 2017 #20

    ACHiPo

    ACHiPo

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    If a wobbler doesn't take much air volume, a small pump and brass reservoir on the same base as the wobbler might make a nice display piece/toy. Can ya smell the wood burnin'?woohoo1
     

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