Modelmakers Corner

Inverted engine model


Earl Rains

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We're happy to include some work from several modelmakers this month. In the following paragraphs we also include, virtually verbatim, a letter from Mr. Howard R. Schultz, 520 E. Wausau Ave., Wausau, WI 54401. In his letter Mr. Schultz is critical of some of the kits and the accompanying drawings now available. While this column is not intended as a place to vent one's spleen, we hope that aspiring kit makers will bear in mind that many of the model-makers are amateur machinists. By comparison, Mr. Schultz is a tool and die maker of fifty years standing, and has operated his own shop for 36 years. Mr Schultz writes:

I have been following the 'Model Makers Corner' in GEM. In the last three issues you wonder what has happened to the model input. Maybe my experiences will help you to understand what may contribute to the lack of [modelmaking] articles.

Some of the problems are poor castings, casting dimensions not close to the print, missing and/or wrong dimensions, mating parts that will not assemble if made to print, and prints dated twenty years ago, with dates not corrected.

Some of these models are sold as finished and running, but poorly made.

I asked one supplier if their finished items were made from the same prints they sell. When [they replied in the affirmative] they became angry when I [disagreed].

It becomes not a challenge, but disgusting when each and every hole, pin fit, bolt length, gear clearance, etc. has to be cross-checked with every other mating part before you take a cut or bore a hole. Better yet, find no dimension at all.

Maybe an article in GEM asking for other modelers' input as to their feeling on the quality of castings, prints, and design may shed some light; I doubt if I am alone. In our area, there are many kits owned by four people, plus thirty kits in boxes, seven completed engines, and one under construction.

This may be a clue to some of the lack of interest.

Earl Rains Writes See Photo MM-1 of an inverted engine model that I built in the winter of 1991-92. The basic parts were from a Model W.M.B. Briggs & Stratton engine. It is 2-inch bore and stroke. I sawed the cylinder off the Briggs engine. I used the cylinder, head, piston, timing gears, valves, and carburetor. The flywheel was made from an old flat pulley, and it is 10 inches in diameter. All the other parts were machined and fabricated from stock.

It is a hit-and-miss engine. The governor weights are located in the flat pulley. The governor detent is controlled with an electric magneto of my own design and works like a charm.

Earl Rains, 209 N. Olive St., Eldon, MO 65026.

Galloway Model See MM-2 of my 1/3 scale Galloway 5 HP engine. It has 1 x 3 inch bore and stroke with 10-inch flywheels. Made from the Dick Shelly castings. Mike Moyers, 37301 - 28th Ave So., No. 31, Federal Way, WA 98003.

Ernest T. Werner After reading your Closing Word in the March issue I have come alive! Here are my models from 1984 to 1992:

Photo MM-3 is a Stuart #7 engine purchased in 1984. It is a 1-inch bore and stroke.

Photo MM-4 is my own model of an oscillating steam engine with a 1 x 3 inch bore and stroke, using and old GM car master cylinder. The crankshaft is inch which has counterweight, 5-inch flywheel and two bearings cast out of brass. The base is made up of 3-inch aluminum H-channel pieces welded into a solid frame.

The engine is used to drive my 'Original Homemade Magic Marble Machine' (see MM-7), in which 54 marbles are loaded. The slow turning spring with one marble in every other coil elevates them to the top, where they drop out and start their journey cross-ways, downhill, back and forth, around a curve, up a slight incline, where they drop through a hole and return again to the bottom of the spring. This was my own idea, and of the many people I have asked, no one has seen anything like it.

At the Waukee Swap Meet in 1991, I purchased a box with the parts in the picture (MM-5). The quadrant, whistle, pop off, and gauge are not engine related. However, the flywheel and steam cylinder, missing one head and two packing nuts, were engine related. There are no casting marks of any kind on either part. In fact, the seller did not know whether the flywheel and the cylinder came from the same engines.

During July 1991 I made up the parts to come up with the engine shown in MM-6. The main bearings are old furnace blower bearings, supported by brass posts cast and turned. All parts of the engine, other than the flywheel and the cylinder assembly, were fabricated by me in my shop. Engine has a slip eccentric, and will run either direction, depending on the direction the flywheel is turned. This engine will run on as little as 6 psi of steam, which is far less than air pressure required. Cylinder bore and stroke is 2 x 2 inches. Many people comment on the hard maple connecting rod I made for it, which has a bronze bushing pressed in at the crank end. Crankshaft is inch diameter, as well as the crank. The flywheel is 10 inches with a face of 1 1 inches.

Photo MM-8: The only part for this engine that I had was a die cast cylinder which had a valve chamber incorporated in the casting. A wooden pattern was made for the base of the engine as well as the boiler supports. An old toy steam engine flywheel 3 inch diameter, and the wooden patterns were used to cast those parts out of brass. The bore and stroke of this engine is 11/32 x 9/16. The boiler is made up of a 9-inch length of 3-inch copper tubing and has two pipe caps silver soldered on the ends. Brass ferrules are installed the same way for all fittings. Boiler was tested at 100 psi. Whistle and pop off came from Jensen Mfg. Co. of Jeannette, Pa., who still make toy steam engines here in the good old U.S.A. The pressure gauge is off an old Presto pressure cooker. This engine was completed in 1992.

I was always a tinkerer. As a child I built a trailer wagon out of an old toy farm wagon and parts of a coaster wagon. Back in 1940 a brother and I built HO, a 15 foot runabout which was featured in Popular Mechanics Magazine. I ended up with this boat, finally donating it to an organization that used donated boats to train boys who had gotten into trouble how to work with their hands.

I received a Weeden toy steam engine as a Christmas gift at the age of 12, and a Lionel train set at age 10. These I still have.

After retiring in 1981, I became aware of a foundry class at our area college. I started the spring semester of 1983 and just cannot quit, after ten years. This accounts for the patterns and castings used to make the various engine parts, as well as many bells and a large variety of other items. At present I am 74. Ernest T. Werner, 6613 Star Route 158, Millstadt, IL 62260.

Another Model Tom Whitmire, 15 E. Lenhardt Rd., Greenville, SC 29605 sends along a picture of Viktor Vali and his model engines. Viktor is originally from Finland and is a retired machinist. He is a member of the Foot hills Antique Power Association of Spartanburg, SC, but has recently had to move west because of ill health. Viktor made these engines from scratch and they are very nicely done. He used a lot of brass and the flywheels are made from one-inch steel plate. I saw the engine in the middle of the picture run, and it ran well. It is a hit-and-miss model. See Photo MM-9.

Glenn Miller Models This gentleman from 1108 N. Monroe St., Stoughton, WI 53589 sends a photo (MM-10) of his models. Glenn relates: Thanks to my good friend and technical advisor, Bill Nicholson, I got started in the hobby in 1987. The photo pictures my engines; from left to right, they are Associated Hired Man, Witte (built from scrap), Economy, Fuller & Johnson, and in the center, a Stuart V10. All run fine. I look forward to meeting other folks in the hobby.

A Closing Word

And so our column comes to an end for this month, and a record size at that! Since there's a lot to absorb this time, we're not going to bore you with additional material . . . we'll save that for another day. We hope to see many of you this summer at the shows, at least those we're able to attend. Sometimes we get hobbled by deadlines like getting this column done for the layout people at GEM. When I'm late, it pushes the printing schedule back, and then you get the magazine late. We think it's vital that the magazine arrive on time, so we try to stay on schedule. Best of luck to everyone this summer!

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17608-0328.