Save Our Model Engine Casting Heritage Project ("SOMECH")

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Jul 2, 2021
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MidSouth, USA
The Frisco Standard marine engine is on my list of iconic engines that must be documented, saved, and reproduced in castings, for posterity.

I have made quite a bit of progress on the 3D design for a single-cylinder Frisco Standard, and have been keeping an eye on potentially modifying the single cylinder design into a twin design, since the designs seem very similar.

I ran across this video today, and surprisingly there was some significant changes to the Frisco Standard twin design, and I am not sure if this was a later evolved design, or an earlier model.

Today's high res cameras are fantastic.

This is the Friso Standard twin that I am somewhat familiar with, and I think the twin kits that were offered at one time were based on this format.

And then there is this twin design, with the cams mounted low on the sideshaft.

I think I have all the critical dimensions worked out for a 4hp Frisco Standard.

Just need to 3D print some patterns.

In the grander scheme of things, I am working to save some of what I consider the more striking and iconic old engine designs.

For the "Save Our Model Engine Casting Heritage" project ("SOMECH"), I am quite far along with the following engines, with the intent of making patterns, and then castings.

1. 7 hp Galloway.
2. 4 hp Frisco Standard.
3. 4 hp Ball Hopper Monitor.
4. Soule Speedy Twin.
5. Olds.
6. Bottle steam engine.
7. Dake steam engine.

I have not started the 3D model for the OS Horizontal, but I am going to make patterns for that engine too.

At least a few of the iconic old engine designs will be documented in 3D, and hopfully some patterns and castings will be created for all of these engines (that is the game plan anyway).







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I have documented a Cretors No.06, and have played around with some patterns for an enlarged version of this engine.

I am working on the 3D model for a No.02, and hope one day to 3D model the No.01.

First one is closer to the shelf Pet engine but is spark ignition not ignitor which simplifies things. Second is even simpler as well as being spark ignition it it also has atmospheric inlet valves.

You may have the technology but need to be able to use it then you could model your gears and logos. And maybe progress the 3D models some more as some of those must be the same ones you have been posting for 10yrs or so. :) maybe just concentrate on one engine at a time.

Also keeps things simpler if you just post about the engine in the title, there is more here about other engines than the Frisco and you have only just started posting.
It looks like I can change the title of the thread, and so I will do that.
Some forums don't allow thread title changes.

This started out as a Frisco thread, and then morphed/mushroomed.

My strategy is to work out the kinematics of the engines I want to cast/build as I come across the data for them.
The risk in not working out the moving part geometry of these engines now is that I may forget most of what I learned about them if I wait.
So some of the 3D models are not complete, but far enough along for proof-of-concept, ie: I know enough about the design to be able to make patterns and castings, and make a functional engine.

I am basically setting the stage for that day when retirement comes, and I will have the 3D models and information far enough along to proceed with the models above, and make some castings, and potentially farm out some casting kits to a casting buddy of mine.

I have a much grander vision (the "SOMECH" poject) than just building one engine at a time like many/most hobby folks do.
My motivations are much bigger than that; it is no longer just about building models for me.
Its about saving some iconic casting kits from going like the dodo bird.
We are not teetering on the brink of not having casting kits for the above engines, we have gone over the edge I think for all of the engines (maybe there is still a casting kit for the Galloway? but is it actually available? or the dreaded "out-of-stock" message).
We have gone over the edge of the cliff as far as I am concerned with model engine casting kits such as the ones above.
Who will bring these back?

Its not really about me at this point, but about the greater hobby, and how to keep it going in the future; keeping some iconic casting kits available one way or another.

If I waited until retirement, the foundry would not be built, the foundry techniques not mastered, 3D modeling and 3D printed pattern work not mastered, and there would not be sufficient time to develop the engines above.

There is a method to the madness, even if it is not readily apparent.
It has taken 10 years (+) to set the stage for what is to come.

I need to set up a non-profit historical/foundry association when I retire.

Joke for the day:
What sort of company did the group of atheists set up ?
A non-prophet company.

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As per the previous threads you are not really keeping the casting kits going as most of these engines were not available as kits and thos ethat were you are not building like the kits be it scale or altered details
I have not ruled out farming out castings to make kits.

The Galloway, Cretors No.6, Olds, Frisco Standard Twin, Bottle Steam engine, were all offered as kits at one time.

How exactly do we keep the hobby alive without these models?
Build them one-off as you do? That works for you.

I am not asking anyone to buy into my concept, I am just saying what I am doing, and sharing the knowlege.

If this method is not your cup of tea, then don't read the thread.

Pat, it is my cup of tea. I have made patterns for several engines to replace ones that were missing, damaged or not upto scratch and those casting kits are therefore still available or have been brought back from what have not been available for about 12 year. I've also made patterns for new designs which are available.

I do like to fabricate my own but also enjoy building from castings.

However I'm more practical and have different views after having built over 50 model engines. Plus having got round to making a lot more patterns and had them cast and machined a lot of them.

-Many kits include castings that are little more than a plain bar or block, why charge several times as much for a casting with it's possible problems when a piece of solid material or making a simple fabrication will do the same job at a fraction of the price. I feel kits should only contain castings of the complex parts.

-Kits, need to be practical to build so the idealogy of making them exact scale replicas does not really apply. For example you have said you don't want anyone to be able to tell a part of the Monitor is a model or the real thing yet you are altering things because you don't like the look, or having to take the practical route of thickening up castings to make them possible to pour which is not making exact replicas.

-Costs, need to be kept reasonable if kits are to be made available or even if just patterns made available they need to be cost effective to have cast. Complex cores for water jackets etc will add to foundry costs both in time and the foundry covering the cost of failed castings a smost people will need to farm out the casting. A reasonable size will keep costs reasonable. An example is a new model shown at the recent Midlands exhibition which is basically a scaled up version of one already in their range cost likely to be £1000-1500GBP for a simple engine that offers no more to the builder than making the original one costing £150 as at 2.5 times the original size there is 16 times as much iron in it alone.

-Size, again if offered as kits they need to be of a size that most can handle. That bottle engine started life so much bigger and you have reduced that several times over the years, same with the Cretors. Also many builders cannot manage very large engiens as they get older, many of the ones I have built for customers have now been sold on as they can't safely lift them.

- Casting, although there are a few who can cast their own in iron most will have to find a foundry which is the biggest problem. Most kits that have been lost seem to be due to the difficulty of the supplier getting them cast so what hope for the individual. There was talk of a library of pattern boards but what size the board, currently having delays with an engine as the pattern board that was previously used does not suit the flasks that the current foundry uses others deteriorated due to not being stored in ideal conditions.
All valid points for sure.

I started out just designing models for fun, such as the green twin, and making castings.

With the sudden avent of most casting kit companies vanishing, or showing "out of stock" on all their casting kit products, it has become painfully apparent that most casting kit companies have left the building, like Elvis.

So my focus has changed a bit given that there are no casting kits available for the engines I have long dreamed of building.

It was a bad sign when Coles went under.
When my dad was building engines, I recall looking at his Coles catalog, and there were a huge number of casting kit offerings.

I know Little Locos is working diligently, and hats off to them, but until they start making the kits above, then they are not offering what is interesting to me.

I have toyed with many ideas in the past, and none of those ideas are set in stone.
Many of my ideas in the past are no longer relevant with the vanishing of so many kits and kit companies.

Regardless of what is to come, if these engines are not worked out in 3D models, then I would say there is no hope of ever seeing them in castings of any kind again.

My dad built 38 bar stock engines.
I admire them all.
I tried to build one barstock engine, and I don't ever want to do that again.
If others like barstock builds, more power to them, but that is not for me.

If an engine is put in to a 3D model, then there is really no reason that it should not be modeled as accurately as possible.
If the 3D printed patterns have to be simplified a bit, then so be it, but don't compromise the 3D model accuracy (that is the philosophy I follow).
If I add 0.125" to the thickness of a flywheel rim, and someone says that is not accurate, then let them chop that off in the 3D model and make castings like they want.

We have seriously run off the proverbial cliff as far as casting kit offerings in 2023, in my opinion.

I can't standby and watch while patterns get sold off and then shelved somewhere permanently, or offered for sale for absurd amounts of money.
Its time to act to try and save some of these designs.

I feel like the entire model engine casting kit paradigm has seismically shifted in a bad direction this year, and I find this most distressing.

We have seriously run off the proverbial cliff as far as casting kit offerings in 2023, in my opinion.

Really, I see new kits from the german suppliers, I see old names like Alyn Foundry making several of there kits available once again, I see Stuart adding new kits, Blackgates making more of the old Clarkson designs available again, I see more kits listed on Meyes's site
As far as the old kits I use to see, and the kits I would have purchased, we have had what I would call a Chernobyl event in the last few years.

Not to say there are no casting kits out there, but the traditional engines I remember being readily available just a few years ago are gone.

Tried to buy a Ball Hopper Monitor kit lately?, or a Galloway, Olds, Cretors, Frisco twin, or a long laundry list of kits that use to be available ? All gone.

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I feel the need to thank you and encourage you in this endeavor. I think what you are trying to do is worthwhile, but I also know that the ever-increasing rate of change will make it difficult.

My shop progress is glacial, and my budget is limited. I started this hobby with the goal of "working up" to castings, but whether I will get there before my age and health causes me to seek other hobbies is a concern.

Some would say I should purchase a hoard of casting kits now, but I can't tie up too much money in "someday" dreams that might get discarded in a rush to "clean up" after I leave the shop for the last time. I would rather leave the available kits on the market for those who can deal with them now.

I can't resist adding to your workload. I am also concerned that some devices and accessories be added to your possible inventory so that things that can be driven by your engines can also be made in the future.

the traditional engines I remember being readily available just a few years ago are gone.

What about this list, all what I would call traditional engines that have not been available for 12-15 years back on the market now. At least 5 of those using some of my patterns to get them viable again and a couple of new ones to be added.


I also forgot that Engineers Emporium have added some new stuff too, the Taylor Brickworks Engine might interest you as it's 12" flywheel stuff. Maybe its a US thing and you are loosing them faster than in the UK and Europe.
It is most definitely a US thing.

The last time I purchases something from the UK, I got hit with a really large VAT tax thing, and so I will not be purchasing anything from the UK in the future.

Hats off to Alyn foundry, and LittleLoco, and god speed to both companies.

I think we still have a big casting kit problem, compared to what was availble just a few years ago.

There was a barn-find sort of a thing posted by someone not too long ago here, where they were selling their stash of casting kits.
Those finds are going to become rare I think, and are already rare.

And as ShoeShop said, they would not go cheap if you did find them available.

All I can do is try.
The alternative is kiss most casting kits goodby forever.
I am not quite ready to conceed defeat on the castin kit front.

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You mean people with a stash like this, once you need a forklift it's time to start making them or moving some on!


Buying from overseas is never cheap where ever you are. The last couple of casting sets I bought from the US ended up costing me about double the actual purchase cost with shipping being the largest addition then tax, inport duty, etc on top of the total inc the shipping.
LOL Jason, is there any wonder that we have a shortage of casting kits these days? That explains a lot.

I will take that big box on the lower right.

And not only did I get hit with a VAT tax, then my own state made up some stupid tax thing for stuff from overseas, and send me another large tax bill.
I got it in both ends on that deal.

GreenTwin, you have my total support and encouragement, preserving old casting kits as 3D models so they can be re-created has been a long time objective, some great kits no longer available include Shelfpet and Paul Breisch, there are many others as you are finding, keep up the great work :) !!!
Good morning. I would like to thank Jason for his time and expertise of recent years with quite a few new and old kits coming back to the market. I passed on the business to my sons and daughter in law earlier this year.

When I started Alyn Foundry over 40 years ago we did all the castings ourselves. But as the demand increased we quickly discovered that we couldn’t cope. Luckily we had two great Iron foundries fairly locally and the rest is history. Initially our products were of our own design and sales were very slow until I designed the R.L.E. which after a bumpy start took off to be our best seller. Having listened to the customer base I moved into the “ true scale “ arena with the first engine being the Robinson X type “ chippie “ engine closely followed by the Gardner type 0. Both these models were pioneering engines in their own right.
Green Twin, you mention your own preferences and yes I get where you’re coming from. I too scaled and built what I liked. However it would appear that the majority still favour the “ steamy side “ if the audience over at MEM is anything to go by.
Thanks to a traditional foundry coming to my attention we are now able to re introduce the range of both internal and external combustion engines with at least 3 new ones too.
As a side note, you should not have been charged VAT by the UK company you dealt with. This is strictly an internal tax and overseas buyers are exempt. I will close with a short video of a Jason B and Graham C collaboration from last year.

Cheers Graham.

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