Hit-and-Miss Engine

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Judging by the response to the introduction of Rusty Hopper's Modeler's Corner to these pages, we've hit a chord that resonates within the old-iron community. I'd always known that models, scales and home-built engines were popular, but I'd clearly failed to appreciate the pent-up interest in the subject and the need for a spot in GEM to discuss and display the fruits of builders' projects from around the country.

The positive response flowing in from all of you in the form of e-mails, picture files, letters and photos of your projects - not to mention a few stories, to boot - is good news. The whole point of this hobby is to have fun, and those of you building engines are clearly having a lot of funĀ  and you want the rest of the old-iron community to know about it.

Robert Best obviously feels that way. What else explains his taking the time to spell out his experiences convertingĀ  an old Au-To air compressor to a four cycle, gas-powered engine? It's an amazing piece of work, as I'm sure you'll all agree, and Robert's inspired approach to building his own engine should light more than a few fires of imagination out there. You can read about Robert's engine.

The individual - and collective - imagination and talent in the old-engine crowd is enormous, and projects such as Robert's serve to underscore this fact. Surrounded as we are by machinists, carpenters, doctors, lawyers, laborers, teachers (and even the occasional nuclear engineer), we constitute an unbelievable pool of talent and resources.

That's a fact we often fail to recognize, and one we should feel proud of. The love of machinery, particularly antique, character-laden old iron that huffs and chuffs, is what brings us together. But the process of sharing information and knowledge gives us so much more, and we're all wealthier for it.