in your opinon, what is the youngest age for someone to use a mamod or similar steam toy?

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delalio

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Just my 2c.

I am one of the younger members of our steam club, in my late 30s. I got into steam at a very young age thanks to my dad. He got me a mamod traction engine / steam roller for like my 6th birthday. He also taught us (me and my siblings) how to use electric drills and saws, and hand tools, from a young age too. I remember at a very young age (~6) making locos and wagons for my brio train set from bits of wood dowel rod and rectangular section, painting them and gluing magnets for couplings.

My dad was very involved and gave us enough freedom to make mistakes and injure ourselves in a controlled and limited way that we could learn from. We had access to bb guns from a young age (pre-teens) and played in the woods with saws, hammers and nails to build treehouses, etc.
We did have very clear rules, and if we abused them we definitely knew it.

That said, many of my friends had a much more sheltered upbringing. And many of my friends who are now parents wouldn't dream of letting their kids do what me and my siblings did.

In a nutshel, as others have said, gauge the intelligence of the kid, and their ability to think things logically. Show them the risk areas (Steam outlets, water level, firebox / fuel, steam pipes etc.
Let them make mistakes of spilling (a small amount of) fuel on the gravel outside, etc. If they do touch the boiler after being told not to, they'll only do it the once, and they'll trust/believe you more next time you give them a warning too.

I probably wouldnt let them play with superheated high pressure steam, but Mamod temps and pressures are fine to a certain extent. Also, manage the levels of fuels they have access to.

Lastly, if they abuse the freedom, make sure you're clear and firm with any consequences too.

Be the cool uncle too. They'll probably appreciate that more than being wrapped in cotton wool.

Cheers,

Del



Anyway, in answer to your question.
 

ajoeiam

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In this vein I recommend that y'all watch a movie called "Babies" .
The movie follows the first year of life of 4 babies - - - two rural and two urban.
The differences in their capabilities is astounding - - - imo even disturbing.
The wife found a series on Netflix (a generally useless organization imo) where very young children are given complicated tasks to perform.
The commentary in the short videos is occasionally asinine but the capabilities - - - interesting (3 to 6 year olds so far).
 

KennyMcCormick315

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Just my 2c.

I am one of the younger members of our steam club, in my late 30s. I got into steam at a very young age thanks to my dad. He got me a mamod traction engine / steam roller for like my 6th birthday. He also taught us (me and my siblings) how to use electric drills and saws, and hand tools, from a young age too. I remember at a very young age (~6) making locos and wagons for my brio train set from bits of wood dowel rod and rectangular section, painting them and gluing magnets for couplings.

My dad was very involved and gave us enough freedom to make mistakes and injure ourselves in a controlled and limited way that we could learn from. We had access to bb guns from a young age (pre-teens) and played in the woods with saws, hammers and nails to build treehouses, etc.
We did have very clear rules, and if we abused them we definitely knew it.

That said, many of my friends had a much more sheltered upbringing. And many of my friends who are now parents wouldn't dream of letting their kids do what me and my siblings did.

In a nutshel, as others have said, gauge the intelligence of the kid, and their ability to think things logically. Show them the risk areas (Steam outlets, water level, firebox / fuel, steam pipes etc.
Let them make mistakes of spilling (a small amount of) fuel on the gravel outside, etc. If they do touch the boiler after being told not to, they'll only do it the once, and they'll trust/believe you more next time you give them a warning too.

I probably wouldnt let them play with superheated high pressure steam, but Mamod temps and pressures are fine to a certain extent. Also, manage the levels of fuels they have access to.

Lastly, if they abuse the freedom, make sure you're clear and firm with any consequences too.

Be the cool uncle too. They'll probably appreciate that more than being wrapped in cotton wool.

Cheers,

Del



Anyway, in answer to your question.
Likewise, I grew up with a wrench in one hand and a hammer in the other. One of my baby pictures from when I was barely old enough to walk and I was already climbing around on the front end of a 70's era barge while h was working on it. And he very much taught me how to turn wrenches, even entrusted me with PM services on the family cars starting around age 10-11 when I was physically strong and big enough to do the task.

Now, I never had any small desktop steam engines growing up...that's a recent thing that I've gotten into once I've gotten my own income...but I think the background I got working on engines large and small as a child set me up quite well for it. I have no problem whatsoever getting a Stuart 5H or one of the Microcosm 1.6cc gassers to run right because I know how to make a 4.9L I6 run right. The latter's far more complicated than the former, after all.

Today's society favors a learned helplessness in everyone these days. Nobody knows how to do anything for themselves.
 

ajoeiam

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snip

Today's society favors a learned helplessness in everyone these days. Nobody knows how to do anything for themselves.
I think this 'helplessness' is encouraged as it enables the mega-corps to make even more money.
See the present right-to-repair issues if you think I'm out to lunch.

Even more interesting is finding that enough 'experts' in an a lot of areas don't know very much.
Many years ago I heard this "daffynition' (sic) a Ph.D - - - that's when you learn more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing.

Sadly - - - - seems to be all too often true.
 

KennyMcCormick315

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I think this 'helplessness' is encouraged as it enables the mega-corps to make even more money.
See the present right-to-repair issues if you think I'm out to lunch.
Oh definitely. It's affecting the quality of what we have to buy, too. Everything we touch today is a disposable 'non-user-serviceable' consumer good. Even our cars have fallen into this trap; the megacorps make more money if shadetrees can't work on these things and if their expected useful life is only a decade or so.

It's beyond frustrating.
 

franscubitt

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I am do glad i grew up in a houshold without a TV. Had to use my imagination and was working with tools from a very young age. My Dad and Mum also encouraged me and brought me a manmod from the UK when i was about 7. Definitely kids on the whole nowadays aren't encouraged to take it to pieces to figure out how it works. I personally think a steam engine is one of the best learning devices and i fully intend to guide my Grandson and Granddaughters to lean and play with them.
 
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Back then, already 35 years ago, I was 6 years old when I ran the first model steam engine on the dining table under the supervision of my mother.
 
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In my family of sofar 5 generarations of mechanical engineers we have the custom that each newborn gets a steam engine at birth. For girls we tried once an Esbit-driven furnace, but as soon as she could express herself she demanded a steam engine too. This happened at one of our family-mini-steam-rallies.
 
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In my family of sofar 5 generarations of mechanical engineers we have the custom that each newborn gets a steam engine at birth. For girls we tried once an Esbit-driven furnace, but as soon as she could express herself she demanded a steam engine too. This happened at one of our family-mini-steam-rallies.
In my experience the kids start to appreciate the steaming at about 2 years old. There is a short dip around 4 when they burn themselves the first time. After that it is free sailing.
 

somniosus

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Just my 2c.

I am one of the younger members of our steam club, in my late 30s. I got into steam at a very young age thanks to my dad. He got me a mamod traction engine / steam roller for like my 6th birthday. He also taught us (me and my siblings) how to use electric drills and saws, and hand tools, from a young age too. I remember at a very young age (~6) making locos and wagons for my brio train set from bits of wood dowel rod and rectangular section, painting them and gluing magnets for couplings.

My dad was very involved and gave us enough freedom to make mistakes and injure ourselves in a controlled and limited way that we could learn from. We had access to bb guns from a young age (pre-teens) and played in the woods with saws, hammers and nails to build treehouses, etc.
We did have very clear rules, and if we abused them we definitely knew it.

That said, many of my friends had a much more sheltered upbringing. And many of my friends who are now parents wouldn't dream of letting their kids do what me and my siblings did.

In a nutshel, as others have said, gauge the intelligence of the kid, and their ability to think things logically. Show them the risk areas (Steam outlets, water level, firebox / fuel, steam pipes etc.
Let them make mistakes of spilling (a small amount of) fuel on the gravel outside, etc. If they do touch the boiler after being told not to, they'll only do it the once, and they'll trust/believe you more next time you give them a warning too.

I probably wouldnt let them play with superheated high pressure steam, but Mamod temps and pressures are fine to a certain extent. Also, manage the levels of fuels they have access to.

Lastly, if they abuse the freedom, make sure you're clear and firm with any consequences too.

Be the cool uncle too. They'll probably appreciate that more than being wrapped in cotton wool.

Cheers,

Del



Anyway, in answer to your question.
thanks Del, All great thoughts . There is definitely a learning curve when you hit about 8-10 years old and want to start carving wood, machining things and with that comes risk, especially now when the schools have largely eliminated what used to be called "industrial arts". I was lucky to start small with my dads Unimat lathe and other tools that did not maim you if you made an error. But still I think on the course of working with metal, welding and sharp things there will always be a price paid in blood at the early stages, no matter how much training. The main thing is to keep the wounds few and far between ,use all the PPE and understand the risks.
best regards Chris
 

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