Master (Cylinder)Engine Builder

Scale Engines from Old Brake Hardware

| September 2005


Donald Achen took a Dodge truck master cylinder and turned it into the beautiful Sandwich model shown. He says he uses kitty litter or oil dry in the cement mixer at shows.

Once in a while, I can't find a model casting set I want to build. So instead, I'll freelance one.

My Sandwich model started as a master cylinder from an old Dodge truck. With a 1-1/2-inch bore, I sleeved it down to 1-1/8-inch, fabricated a new aluminum piston and made a base from 1/4-inch flat stock. The flywheels were left over from a Chanticleer (Jacob Haish Co.) model. I take it to the shows belted to a model cement mixer made out of an old hand drill. The tin cup had a glass bottom to it that I broke out, and the inside has a nice taper to it, just like a drum on an actual cement mixer. The legs are old typewriter keys, and I also fabricated a little wheelbarrow to complement the whole setup.

The Witte drag saw engine idea came from a photo I saw in Gas Engine Magazine awhile back when I remembered a master cylinder from about a 1949 Chevrolet car I had saved. The bronze flywheels were old stock on hand and turned out about the right size. I fabricated a crankcase from 1/4-inch flat stock, and the gears came from a 1/3-scale model engine. These are made ahead about six sets at a time on the milling machine and dividing head. When belted to an electric motor, it makes enough electricity to light small bulbs in the light poles.The bore and stroke on this engine is 1-by-1-1/2 inches.

The Caloric hot air engine came from Brad Smith (Franklin, Wis.) castings and runs quite well off of propane and pumps a lot of water. With a small diameter piston, long stroke and a well designed burner, it puts out a lot of heat.

Contact gas engine enthusiast Donald Achen at: 28223 Highway 52, Bellevue, IA 52031; (563) 872-4249;