Retired Machinist Designs By Computer

Hit'N'Miss single cylinder engine

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Pres. Aero Club of the Landings 15310 Take Off Place Wellington, Florida 33414

The photos are of 'made' engines I have built. The Hit'N'Miss single cylinder engine is of my own design, and runs good. The other is a scale Rider-Ericsson hot-air pumping engine made from a raw casting kit.

I have been a machinist all my life, starting out in my dad's farm repair shop on a wheat farm in Kansas. I followed the trade through many phases of apprenticeship in the GI Bill of Rights on the job training program. Then on to developing various farm tillage tools, excavators and harvesting machines. My most interesting time was spent in an experimental machine shop for the aviation and aerospace industry, building tooling and methods for making prototype first parts for many military airplanes and then into the space programs, including the Apollo shots to the moon.

I have always remembered the engines that we used on the farm to pump water for the livestock, bale hay, shell corn, cut wood and fence posts and to run any other labor saving contraption we could think of to harness an engine to.

These memories that have prompted me to take up model engine building in my retirement years. Fortunately, just a few years prior to my retirement as an engineer for a large pleasure yacht firm, they had me study the Computer Numerical Control technology for incorporating the use in boat production. I was immediately fascinated by the ability to program all the hand operations that I had spent my lifetime doing by hand. I couldn't wait for the firm to justify and approve their purchase of systems and machines to do their work. I purchased a vertical machining center, computer and software, and began learning as fast as I could. My initiative put me in the position of having all the practical shop experience and also marrying with the new computer knowledge. I was soon doing their work and was able to pay for all of my system before they acquired their own.

So, when I retired, I had some very expensive 'toys' to keep my hand in my trade, and to start my life's dream of making model engines and other machines in my home shop. I have completed several model engines in steam and gasoline powered units. I do many authentic replicas of components for 'Giant Scale' radio controlled aircraft articulated retract landing gears and tail wheels which I market through several hobby firms in the USA.

I enjoy GEM, Modeltec and Home Shop Machinist publications immensely. The ideas just flow continuously from others' efforts and ideas. I belong to the Florida Flywheelers and have several friends who are forever wanting parts duplicated for old tractors and engines that are not available today.

Looking back through time and some of the techniques that old machinists conceived is very impressive to me and I can so much appreciate how they ever made some of the very complicated machines in that era!