This is a milestone issue of Model Engine News, marking the beginning of our sixth year of the monthly web-zine format. All released on the first of the month, or before (with only one exception that was not my fault, Your Honor). To mark the occasion, we have a lot of new stuff, plus all the regular features.
This month, I will pull the pin on DSTC and all it's hardware. The equipment racks, nine of them as seen here, will move to a new location and become a new domain. The DSTC web servers will be turned off, so if you are still reading these pages through the old URL, expect an unpleasant surprise later this month. I know that we receive a lot of hits from the redirect in the DSTC server, so it will be interesting to see if the visitor stats drop significantly after the change-over. All the racks and inter-rack cabling will have to be rewired, and "horizontal" data cabling from rooms and cubicles connected to the patch panel; a total of 196 cat 5e cables to be terminated and tested, by me, alone... And I don't have a raised floor in the new location to make things easy, either. *Sigh*. The planning is complete; now to see if the plan works. Which is another way to say, expect no shop output next month. Again. Either. .
Mia Culpa, All Over Again
It's been a while since I've needed to come clean over major bloopers, bungles, and porkies perpetrated by these pages, but I've been alerted to a few in the past month that demand attention.
First, a builder has reported an inconsistency between plan and text of my Mills 1.3 replica that appeared in the inaugural issue of Model Engine Builder. The plans show the exhaust port cut-outs in the crankcase as being 0.160" high, while the text calls for them to be cut 0.180" deep. Trust the plans, Luke; 0.160" is the correct dimension—although no harm will be done if they are cut the extra 20 thou deep. So far I've heard of one of these being completed. How many more have been finished, or even started? Have your work immortalized in The Engine Gallery: send pictures of your completed Mills 1.3 Mk I!
Next, ECJ editor, Tim Dannels, has been going over the Watzit Section and emailed to remind me that he had positively identified the Czech Oddity quite a while back. Somehow the correct name never made it to the item in question, but this has now been corrected. The second error, in the item underneath the Czech Oddity, is more serious, and I owe an apology to all those intrepid pilgrims wandering around Idaho trying to find a "Muncie" with an AMA museum in it. Said museum is to be found, of course, in Muncie, Indiana. This too has been corrected.
While talking about tireless Tim and ECJ, a new web site dedicated to engine collecting is in development. When officially launched, the site will provide selected Journal articles from past issues and an on-line shop where you can order individual issues and subscriptions to ECJ, or purchase the American Model Engine Encyclopedia. The shot here shows what to expect. The link will go in the Links Page as soon as Tim gives the OK.
Issue #4 of Model Engine Builder contained an article by John Vietti describing how to construct your own miniature magneto. John reports that subsequent to the appearance of his article, he has been working with a retired east coast (US) electrical engineer who has wound a special coil that results in a much hotter spark from the magneto. John intends to provide MEB readers with an update in due course, and with luck, finished coils may even be available. In the mean time, John says that if you've built, or stated work on the original design, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for improvement suggestions. Back issues of MEB #4 are available from their web site.
The annual UK Harrowgate model engineering exhibition has come and gone, and so have our roving reporters, Ken Croft and John Downie. As usual, MEN's coverage is restricted, mostly , to IC engines and related stuff. So click to thumbnail of the Bugatti to see a few photos (46) of show highlights. The thumbnail subject is a beautifully detailed model of Ettore Bugatti's automotive genius. Incidentally, the highly futuristic Bugatti Model 100 experimental aircraft from 1939 is on display at the EAA AirVenture Museum. The story behind this aircraft—which looks just as modern as any of Burt Rutan's designs—can be read on the EAA website here.
ETA Needle Threads
Last month, mention was made of variations found in the thread used for early ETA needle valves. Well the Internet has made the world a small place, and employing only two degrees of separation, we now have the definitive story. The MEN article was seen by Ron Moulton (truly one of the great names in aeromodeling) who immediately contacted ETA designer and past team race champion, Ken Bedford. Ken confirmed that the spraybar used initially for both the ETA .29 and .15 was 3BA, but was changed to a 40TPI, Number 6 ASF thread on the .15 to get finer tuning. The .29 however carried on with 3BA until the design changed to the internally threaded version with the gland nut. Ken suspects that the engine I restored had been fitted with a .15 spraybar at some time in the past, so my restoration returns it to the original thread.
The British Engineerium
While we've been calmly sleeping in our beds over the past month, a drama of epic proportions has been playing out in the UK. At risk was the future of The British Engineerium. This is an astounding collection of engineering exhibits, including a lot of noteworthy models, housed in the historic Goldstone Pumping Station at Brighton, just a few blocks from the equally famous Brighton Pier. The Engineerium's fate had reached the state of Yet Another Auction and a lot of effort had gone into producing a wonderful, whimsical catalogue. The event itself was scheduled for May 10, 2006. On the morning of the auction, with crowds gathering, it was announced that a benefactor had come forth who would acquire the entire collection and premises with the objective of maintaining it as a going concern. This was greeted with almost universal rejoicing by the would-be buyers. Last time I checked (May 21, 2006), the on-line version of the remarkable catalogue from Auctioneers, Bonhams & Butterfields, was still available for perusal—all 489 lots of it. Take the time to sample a few. The Motor Boys were particularly taken with the following descriptions:
- Lot 122: An important full-size twin cylinder reversing horizontal aeronautical engine built by John Stringfellow (1799-1883). The engine is illustrated in "An Ancient Air" by Harald Penrose, the most comprehensive biography of the Victorian pioneer John Stringfellow of Chard. Said to have been designed for powering a balloon to relieve the Siege of Paris in 1871, it was described in his Will as "The Paris Engine".
- Lot 141: An utterly lethal and mildly malicious flash steam model hard chined and stepped racing boat circa 1930. With any steam plant that cannot be controlled (for example by radio) immense ingenuity is needed to balance heat, boiler feedwater and steam evaporation rate. Such boats were very popular in the thirties and everything was about speed rather than looks. This example was comparatively recently steamed following a boiler pressure test and ran like a scalded cat (Though I have never run one)
- Lot 432: A twin cylinder horizontally opposed air cooled four stroke petrol engine by Edgar T Westbury, circa 1920. Complete with cast iron cylinders and cylinder heads, exposed rockers with cam-operated push rods, camshaft-driven distributor, carburetor and manifold. Wooden base.
- Lot 495: A box containing various electric motors, including four with gearboxes (useful for exhibition animation), sundry time switches and other things too fierce to mention.
So should you ever find yourself in the Olde Country and at loose ends, get yourself to Brighton, ignore the pier and what passes for a beach, and spend the day in the Engineerium (not to be confused with the Nympherium).
Sugden Special: Last Word
Last month, we conjectured that there may have been a long undiscovered error in the Sugden Special plans that robs the engine of a potential 2K+ rpm. With the help of some kind and helpful Canadian free-flighters, we managed to exchange emails with the actual Dave Sugden and can now well and truly put the matter to bed: the plans as published are correct, just as Dave drew them. The fact that we were able to screw more performance out of this 50 year old design merely reflects the advance in knowledge of what model two-stroke timing should look like. Dave himself expressed amazement that his old design had drawn so much attention, and that such a group as the Motor Boys should be building so many modern-day examples. The heading shot shows progress being made by master-caster, Vincent Chai. Now take a moment to refresh your memory of what Vincent's Battiwallahs look like, and what the "pure" Sugden looks like, and you may see why I'm tempted to call Vincent's engines Sugwallah Specials.
Whatever You Do, Don't Sneeze!
A good sneeze could blow this one away, never to be seen again. The creature is an example one of the smaller C02 engines in range made by Czech expert, Stefan Gasparin. Ken Croft, on whose thumb is rests, said he had been dreading the day when one should be passed to him for repairs. Luckily, the repair was only to the charger nozzle, but even so it required drilling a hole through a screw around 1.5mm in diameter. Details of the Gasparin range can be viewed here on the SAMS Models site. This lists the smallest engine as the G1 which weighs in at a mere 1 gm. It is said to be suitable for models up to 3" in wing span and hard to obtain. The next up, the G5 weighs a massive 5 gms. The larger engines now have a regulator valve suitable for use with radio control.
Fisher Auction Results
In the April issue, we featured the Chrystals' catalogue for the auction of the OFW Fisher collection as the Book of the Month. The sample shown was kindly mailed to me by Ron Moulton, who attended the auction of April 21 on the Isle of Mann and has kindly made a comprehensive report on the event available to us. As you will read in Ron's report (available by clicking here), there auction results were not without a number of surprises. One of these is the little Majesco Mite, a 0.735cc side-port diesel seen here. This had been valued at £60 to £70 , but given its rarity, it fetched a whopping £470!! Forgetting the price (if you can), this little engine is precisely the sort of thing that appeals to the Motor Boys, so plans are being drawn up for a replica. The other surprise was a Morton M5, apparently no better than my own, that went for a staggering £2,100 [gasp].
Broken Links Restored
Every month, as I review the "broken links" report of this web site, a past sin taunts me. Late in 2004, I accidentally deleted two images that were attached to the Taipan Tyro Restoration page. When I found this out, I was not greatly concerned as I knew that the server was backed up to tape nightly, so all I had to do was ask the sysadmins to restore them for me. But before I got around summoning up the courage to do that, the machine that they were stored on was "retired" and the old tapes could not be read on the new system. When the subject was broached with them (delicately), the request went into their "too hard basket", despite—or perhaps because—of the fact that I was supposed to be their pointy-haired boss!
As DSTC entered the close-down cycle, that old hardware remained even though the sysadmins who knew how it went together did not. The non-engine related photo here shows "old foxtail", the Sun R2200 server, complete with RAID 5 array and tape robots, cobbled back together with optical fibre connecting it to a Cisco switch in a last ditch attempt to restore those two lost files. The restore took about two minutes. The research and preparation for the job took two days (on and off) while various little problems including a lost root password were solved. But the photos are back in place; the monthly 404 report will no longer shame me, and a special zip file of the missing photos and related thumbnails has been added to the Members' Page so MEN CD owners can update their on-line copies. I am just so pleased; woo-hoo.
Want to Build a Sleeve Valve Donk?
Model Engine News receives a *lot* of email enquiries every month on a diverse range of subjects. Most we can answer, or come up with some plan that may result in an answer. One from last month relates to rings for a proposed sleeve valve engine. Easy thought I, until I saw that the engine was to be "full size". If you'd like to be involved in the design and construction of a man-rated, sleeve-valve, aircraft power-plant, visit http://thebigflyin.tripod.com/ and have a look.
Gallery and Watzits
There are new entries in both the Engine Gallery and the popular Watzit Pages this month. The Gallery addition is on the LEs Stone Tribute page and shows Les' latest work, a Lindberg Hornet 'C'. It is seen here posed with the engine that lured Les away from live steam, a Hornet 'A' from one of Roger Schroeder's Classic Engine kits. Click on the thumbnail to visit Les' page and read about this rather rare Lindberg (and before you ask, "no relation" ).
By the way, Roger has provided an update for his Building a Model Airplane Engine That Runs page with new and revised suppliers.
New Books and Magazines This Month
As The Library encountered no New Arrivals, so to speak, during the past month, we'll look at the first in a series that really should have been mentioned before. I refer to The Machinist's Bedside Reader, by Guy Lautard, ISBN 0-0690980-2-2, self-published, 1986. TMBR is the first of three volumes of hints, tips, stories and ephemera collected and published by Canadian Guy Lautard. The book is still in print and prices vary with #1 being quoted as US$19.95 when purchased direct, or a mere $38.50 from Amazon (so I won't bother to create a link that gives me an Amazon Associates' kick-back ).
On his web site, Mr Lautard declares humbly that the Bedside Readers "...are among the most popular books ever written for machinists!". They are quarto size, perfect bound, and heavy enough to make reading them in bed mildly dangerous. Number one contains 208 pages of text, photos and drawings.
My copy was purchased from Guy in March 1997 (he kindly signs all copies bought directly from him) and the title page states it is the 2nd edition, 10th printing (1996), confirming that it has been a modestly popular work.
The table of contents is too extensive to enumerate here, but fortunately, the complete TOC for #1, and each of the other Readers is reproduced on Guy Lautard's web site. However I'll pick out some highlights that gives an indication of what to expect:
- A Drill Sharpening Jig For Drills From 1/8" to #60.
- Ball Turning Without Special Attachments
- How To Put On A Mighty Fine Cut
- Designing And Fitting Split Cotters
- A Small Lathe Built in a Japanese Prison Camp
- How To Remove A Chuck That Is Jammed On Tight
- How To Impress Your Mother-in-Law
- One Way To Ruin A Lathe
The writing is clear, and as you can infer from some of the titles listed above, not at all dry and serious. At least one technique described in TMBR is used virtually every time I go into the shop; others less frequently, and some not at all, but reading them was fun and I can't offer more praise than that. This volume and it's two brothers are highly recommended.
Just as I was ready to push this edition of Model Engine News out to the web, a Global Priority satchel arrived containing the 4th Edition of Anderson's Blue Book. This book lists MECA swap sheet and eBay prices for American model engines made between 1911 and 2005. Obviously such prices will change over time, so it's good to see that Frank and Vicki Anderson are diligently updating and expanding their reference. I'll have a full review of this latest edition next month, but in the mean time you may like to visit their website: http://www.andersonsbluebook.com. In addition to the Blue Book, they offer a four volume set reprinting catalogs from the Golden Age of Model Airplanes (note that they constrain their efforts to North American products—there are only so many hours in a day!)
Engine Of The Month: G-Mark .12 Opposed Twin
This month I indulge my Twin fetish with a screwdriver's eye view of the neat little G-Mark 0.12 cuin Opposed Twin, two-stroke glow. This engine features an innovative approach to one of the two bug-bears that challenge opposed twin two-strokes designers that is well suited to replication by amateur builders. A reference has been added to the Engine Finder (along with the Majesco Mite and Westbury Dolphin), or you can click on the thumbnail to go direct to the page.
Tech Tip of the Month
We have two tips this month. First, we look at a way of machining large radius curves, convex or concave, without resorting to the use of a special form-tool, or radius-turning gadget. The work pictured here was undertaken during the restoration of the Model "A" ETA 29 GP, but can be used to produce spinner nuts and other similar items. By coincidence, it is an adaptation of a technique described in our Book Of The Month, although I use a CAD program in place of the formulae and calculations given by Guy Lautard. Click on the thumbnail, or visit the How-To Pages.
The second tip falls in the Occupational Health and Safety category. The mat seen here is in front of bench where my hated mill-drill sits. Another mat of the same type is in front of the lathe stand. The material came from a "rubber goods" supplier and is most frequently used behind the bar in pubs and clubs. I added them years ago after noticing residual pain is the feet and lower legs after long sessions standing on the hard concrete floor. They totally cured the pain problem. I can now spend eight hours plus standing on the concrete with no ill effects whatever (I believe in the old days, a wooden pallet served a similar purpose in machine shops). That's the "health" part. The "safety" aspect comes when you drop things. The mat prevents them from getting dinged by hitting the concrete, and with luck, it also traps them. So in most cases, you don't then have to grub about in the lethal swarf under the bench, or hunt around in dark corners where critters hide, trying to find where the damn thing rolled to. This saves you from the injury caused by hitting yourself over the head, cursing your own carelessness.