Stuart 10H build

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Jul 3, 2010
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Hi guys!

It has been a while since I have been here, sorry for that. I started flying RC helicopters and it took most of my time lately. More complicated than expected and also I am not 18 anymore. Its all about programming the remote control operation in your brain. As soon as you have the helicopter in the air and you need to think about the stick movement you are too late, it should be a second nature.

I started to miss my machining and also the weather is too cold to fly. I thought about to pick up my Stanley steamer car but I never have build a steam engine in my live. To start a 2 cylinder feels a bit risky to me, so I purchased a Stuart 10H kit. This is proven design, affordable and will have all the aspects I want to learn about a steam engine. This will be not a quick story, the goal is not to set a new machining record, but to learn, share and have fun in the shop! I will put more photos than text, normally a photo explains more then 1000 words. Everybody please feel free to ask and comment (positively as well as critically!)

Here we go. Started with the base, quite simple, just face mill the top and bottom sides.




Last operation on this part is to drill the 2 holes (3mm). I used the center holes available in the casting, they were quite in the middle.


Next casting to attack is the sole plate. I put it straight in the vise (leveled it visually) to face the bottom.




Now the bottom is flat I can use this side a reference for all the other operations on this part. Time to drill some holes (2.5 mm)


With the shown hole I noticed a very hard part in the casting. I was able to get a 2mm hole, the 2.5mm drill would not go through, casting skin is too hard! I ended up drilling it increments of 0.1mm and that worked. Hope this is the only hard spot in the casting......

To copy the holes into the machined base I clamped the soleplate to the based and center drilled with 2.5mm drill.


Used the center drill marks in the base to drill through with 2.1mm drill, tapped all the 4 holes 7BA and mounted the tread bars.


Luckily the soleplate fitted well on the base....


Next will be the bearings.

Thanks for watching and have fun in the shop!


Looks like this is going to be a good build!!! ;D
I like lots of pictures, as you say they explain a lot more than words sometimes.

Also flying heli's is a hard job!
I tried for a while and had moderate success...
Too many crashes and too much time and money spent on repairs!

Looking forward to your nest instalment! :)

Hi Jeroen. That looks to be a solid bit of casting. Looking forward to your progress
I used to try to fly them too but when a crash costs $90 it becomes an expensive hobby.
With your experience building the lathe from castings this engine shouldn't pose much of a problem. The only part that most people have some trouble with is the crankshaft but it's a straight forward crank turning job. It looks like you're off to a good start.
Jeroen,what is it about rc helicopters,I bought one a year ago,tried and tried ,spent a fortune on bits ,recked the vertical blinds,nearly ended in divorce and still couldn't fly it so on ebay it went,but thats not the end of the story,a guy kindly :p gave me one the other day,and so I thought i won't be beaten and spent an age setting it up,but still no flying so my son has it now,lets see how smart he is ;D
Best of luck with the H10,more down to earth.
Thank you for your comments Andrew, Herbiev, nsfr1206, George and Don. I immediately feel at home again!

George, the set does not look too complicated, think the lathe was a bigger challenge then this little engine. But I should be careful to not take it too light, I am sure there will be many things to discover and learn. And that's what I like best in the end, face a problem, think and discuss and find the solution. Then you really have a feeling of victory when the engine finally is running. I am not sure about the crank yet, for my Lister 4-stroke engine I used a silver soldered one, I am really thinking of making one from bar stock and turn between the centers. I always wanted to do that. Maybe I get lazy and make some kind of hybrid solution, take a piece of silver steel and silver solder a rectangle block on it. This would still give me the same trouble as making a complete one from bar material and the advantage that the outsides of the crank are already finished and have the correct dimensions. Lets see what time will bring.

Well, indeed, what is it with those RC helicopters. For sure they have a big attraction too me, and as I see to many others. It looks really easy if you see other people flying them, but in fact for most its not. The issue is that an RC helicopter is unstable from nature, where an airplane is stable. So with an RC helicopter you are continuously correcting the helicopter, in fact you should almost be able to predict what movement it will make due to the wind, etc and be ready to compensate the movement before it even made the movement! So besides have the control stick movement programmed in your brain in the same way that you automatically breath, you should have a 6th sense and be able to respond very quickly. If your response is quick enough but wrong direction you crash. If you do not pay attention for a few seconds you crash. If you are too slow with your response you crash. If you have a good day you don't crash ;D . I still fly tail in, if you start to move the tail in different directions you are lost again and need to practice hover in every direction until you can do it without thinking. I use to practice on a flight simulator with a USB RC controller. That really works well, and the big advantage is that after a crash within 3 seconds your heli is repaired and ready for you to make another failure. In the 3 months that I am doing it I did not have a crash yet, just some almost crashes. But I am sure they will come, if you do not crash you are too careful and will not learn new things. The same with machining, if you never have broken a tool you have never been on and over the limit....
Another problem with starting to fly the heli is that you need to start when you are maximum 8 years old to become really good. I became 40 this year so I guess I am a little late. A well as long as I am having fun I will keep trying, if it will not work in the end there is always eBay ;D

Regards Jeroen
Great to see you getting back into things Jeroen


Great start on your engine. My first "built from castings" was a Stuart 10V. I started it in 1979 and completed it in 2007. My kit came with a stamped crankshaft but I understand that at some point after that they quit putting the crankshaft forging in the kit. I love the looks of the 10H and have that one on my bucket list.

Looking forward to following your post.

Hi Steve, nice too see that you are still "hanging around" here! Do you have any project on hand at the moment?

Harold, good work takes time (altough I hope to finish the 10H a little bit quicker :D ). Nowdays the plans state a crank by either glued with locktide or with silver solder. So I like the old style kit more, turning one between the centers would give me a much greater satisfaction then putting one togher with glue (eventhough that works perfect!). I am pretty sure that I will try to make on the "old style" way, if I am not able to get it off I can always make the silver soldered version.
Just out curiosity, could you post some pictures of your 10V?

Have a good weekend Jeroen
Hi Jeroen, Looks like you're off to a good start. I'll be watching as you progress and I'm sure I will enjoy. Dave
Hi Jeroen,
I don't know what Stuart includes in the casting kit these day. Like was stated they used to include a forged steel crank. If they don't then if would probably be easier to create a fabricated crank.
Making a one piece crank seems intimidating to a lot of people. If one goes step by step with the machining process it's not really all that hard. The only thing is a 2 piece fixture is needed to offset the crank to turn the crankpin.
Thank you Dave, you are doing a very nice job on your engine!

George, below whats in the box these days:


There is nothing wrong with this construction, and its a lot faster then making one out of one piece material, but I will give the last method a shot. As mentioned before I always wanted to try this operation, this seems the perfect moment and opportunity to give it a try. I guess with a slow feed and a sharp tool (with a small radius on both sides?) it should not be a big problem.

I managed to get the bearings machined and finished.

Started with a cleanup up cut in the mill


Marked the center point


And moved it to my new (at least for me its new ;D) Harrison trainer lathe. I removed all the original electronics and made a new cabinet myself. On the front panel you see from left to right, the DRO, operator panel and a 12" TFT Touch screen for Mach3. I can operate all machine functions manually as well as CNC. Its a nice machine, and even though its from 1992 its brand new! Never has been used, came from a technical school. The paint inside (behind the chuck) is not even scratched!



Found the center by using a wiggler? (thank you guys for showing this method on this forum, it works great!) and filler plates between the jaws and the work piece



Center drill, 4mm drill, 6.8mm drill and reamed to 7mm


Then took the part back to the mill to make the side lengths to dimension


Back to the lathe again (pfff I am glad my shop is small, my lathe and mill are just less then 1 meter away from each other) and turned the outer diameters


And we have 2 bearings finished (ok almost finished, each of them need to have the 2 holes drilled to mount them one the soleplate)


In the next days I will machine the sole plate and in the meantime I can prepare myself mentally to make my first crankshaft by turning between the centers.

Enjoy the weekend, regards Jeroen

Nice job so far !! I have either the 10V or 10H to build. Don't know what's in my closet anymore :D

coopertje said:
Harold, good work takes time (altough I hope to finish the 10H a little bit quicker :D ). Nowdays the plans state a crank by either glued with locktide or with silver solder. So I like the old style kit more, turning one between the centers would give me a much greater satisfaction then putting one togher with glue (eventhough that works perfect!). I am pretty sure that I will try to make on the "old style" way, if I am not able to get it off I can always make the silver soldered version.
Just out curiosity, could you post some pictures of your 10V?

Have a good weekend Jeroen


I am really enjoying your build... Keep the pictures coming please. As you requested here are some pictures I posted a few years back on this forum... I also added a few pictures and a couple of movies of it running.

Hope you have a good weekend too.


Hi Jeroen

I'm following in Harold's footsteps and building a Topsy Turvy engine. Just managed to get the cylinder sleeve in after heating the main body up in the kitchen oven. The body is nicely blue now.

I'm enjoying following your build.

I have made a few crankshafts by the locktite and pinning method and am pleased with the results,it may not please the pureists but it is certainly good enough for me.
,much cleaner and easier than silver soldering.
Thank you Mike, you must have a big closed with a lot of to do projects in it! Consider yourself lucky...

Harold, your 10V is beautiful :bow: :bow: Very nice finished and runs perfect. Love the sound of it. Thank you for taking the time and effort to post the material, its appreciated. If my 10H becomes half a beautiful as yours I will be happy.

Good to see that you are busy in the shop Steve, it will be a beauty as we are used from you. I did a little (and very quick) search, but could not find a build log, do have one over here?

Don, I totally agree with you. Its a very good, quick and clean method. I made a 6-cilinder line crank using this method:




For the Lister engine I have build I used silver solder method, also interesting:



So for the stuart 10H I would like to try the method of turning between the centers, just out of curiosity and to have tried it.

Went flying yesterday, was cold but fun. Unfortunately no progress on the 10H, think this week in the evening I can make some more progress.

Regards Jeroen
Hi Jeroen
I have built the 10H recently and found it very interesting and still quite a challenge, i did glue & pin the crankshaft and prefured that to soldering. if i can make a sugestion for the cylinder covers i would make 6 bolts not 5 and for the end that clamps to the body i added two extra screws to keep the cover in place before it is bolted to the body as everything has to be keeped aligned and you have to assemble this many times while you are working. I foolowed plans in Model Engineering last year and Harold Hall showed making a template for the cylinder & cover bolt holes and this was very helpfull.
Hope this helps