Retired Machinist Designs By Computer

By Staff
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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

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!

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