Eight Mery engines line up for running at Roland Morrison's shop in Benton City, Wash. Ten Merys were on hand, but two were still in process and didn't run.
On May 15-18, 2003, a group of model engine builders flocked to Benton City, Wash., to the home of Morrison & Martin Engine Works, originators of castings for the quarter-scale 1895 Mery Explosive model engine. With 10 Merys on display (eight running and two under construction), the meet represented the largest number ever of Mery models gathered for display at one time in one place. The 18 model enthusiasts brought other engines as well, for a grand total of 50 model engines on hand.
Roland Morrison, the driving force behind the creation of the scale Mery, arranged a tour of Western Sintering, a powdered metal stamping facility in Richland, Wash., on Friday morning. Unfortunately, only eight of the 18 model builders arrived in time to make the tour, and those who didn't get there in time missed a great opportunity to learn about current metal stamping technology.
Western Sintering starts the process with a very fine powder of sharp-edged particles, produced by spraying molten metal into a water bath. This can be steel, stainless steel, brass or aluminum. It is then mixed to product specifications with different alloying agents and compressed in a steel die with up to 60 tons of pressure to form completely finished parts.
Jeff Wood, vice president of Western Sintering, took the eight model builders on a four-hour, detailed tour of the stamping, heat treating and machining facilities while in full production. The tour also included a viewing of full-size steam engines owned by company president Mike Rector.
A dramatic demonstration of the process came when Jeff picked up a freshly pressed part that looked like polished steel - and broke it with his hands. It was a fascinating demonstration, and certainly got everyone to listen attentively to the discussion of the heat treatment used to bond the metal powder together after the initial pressing.
The sintering furnace is in continuous operation, and the operation is precisely controlled to bond the metal and fill with a copper alloy if desired. It is all done under a cover of hydrogen gas so the parts come out sparkling clean.
All sorts of high quality parts are made at this plant, from bevel gears for weed eater heads to locking hubs used on four-wheel-drive trucks. While small production runs can be done, the quantity of pressings made needs to be great enough to amortize the cost of the die or dies used for the process.
Following the tour of the stamping facility, the group went to the Port of Hanford to view the Lamson 600-ton Ringer crane. This is the largest crane in the Northwest and is used to unload heavy reactor components from barges. They also viewed some of the heavy trucks used to move the offloaded components. One trailer had 44 axles with eight wheels on each axle.
The model builders then went to Dale Petty's shop near Pasco, Wash., to see the 1916 Galloway tractor Dale has almost completely restored. Dale started the Galloway, and the big inline four-cylinder engine sounded great. Everyone ended up back at Morrison Engine Shop, and that evening we went to Sean McKenna's blacksmith shop to watch a real demonstration of metal spinning.
On Saturday, Orrin Iseminger gave an impressive demonstration of rust removal using DC current, Marvin Hedberg gave a demonstration on preparing 'lost wax' patterns (and another on proper use of a Deckel 'SO' single-lip cutter/grinder) and Roland displayed his 1913 Model T roadster and his 1915 Big Bull tractor. Marvin and Roland are currently engaged in producing castings for a quarter-scale Kansas City Hay Press Lightning engine model.
This was a private, by invitation only event to which a few lucky people interested in engines and model making were invited. It was a great treat, and a wonderful weekend for those lucky enough to attend.
Contact engine enthusiast Carl Carlsen at: email@example.com
More on Mery model engines can be found at: www.morrisonandmartin.com
Mery engines in Australia: It took Reg Ingold nine weeks to build the two engines shown here, a testimony either to his complete dedication or maybe just to having too much time on his hands!
At least two scale Mery engines have gone international. Aussie Reg Ingold has a particular fancy for scale engines, and he recently completed two of the scale Mery engines, one of which will make the trip back to the U.S. for delivery to its new owner when Reg comes for this year's Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show in Portland, lnd. Reg built the second engine as a favor for a friend in the U.S.
Reg says it took him about nine weeks from the time the castings arrived to produce what you see here. 'It's a good thing I'm on a seven day weekend,' Reg says of the project.
Anyone interested in scale engines would do well to check out Reg's Web site www.oldengine.org/members/randmingold and take a look at some of the other excellent engines he's built over the last few years.
Contact engine enthusiast Reg Ingold at: 37 Seaham St., Holmesville 2286, NSW Australia, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org