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Member postings for Jim Nic

Here is a list of all the postings Jim Nic has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
11/08/2017 12:03:31

Vertical Cross coming along nicely George.

As I remember Stew's design calls for the piston valve hole to be made all the way through the valve chest and a plug to be inserted to seal the bottom. I found I was able to drill and ream to within a couple of mm of the bottom and the valve still had room to operate and I avoided the need for a plug and the potential for an air (or steam) leak.


Thread: Split dies
06/08/2017 13:56:28


I have a set of cheap dies bought when I started model engineering and they are tapered both sides so when I need to get up to a shoulder I take the die to my bench grinder and adjust the profile of the non printed side. Simples.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
06/08/2017 13:49:42

Hi George

As I recall I drilled the cylinder and steam chest to drawing and luckily got it right. I do have a DRO on my mill/drill which makes that a better option for me than spotting through and picking up the marks. This part actually allows a little inaccuracy especially if you clad the cylinder devil

Also I normally make clearance holes a tad big, normally 0.1mm, to give a bit of wriggleability. As Stew Hart (not Hall, he was the giggling fool off "It's a Knockout " from the telly wasn't he?) says "A little bit of clearance never got in the road."


Thread: Whats this mini-lathe
01/08/2017 20:26:40

It says at the top of the write up "Interesting hand made modellers lathe."

I'm guessing the "hand made" refers to the lathe and not the modeller. wink


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
29/07/2017 14:11:32

That Otto Langen top plate looks to be a fair old chunk of steel Jason, did it warp at all when you thinned it down?


28/07/2017 11:42:43

They look nice George, pity the bottom one won't be seen. sad


24/07/2017 12:18:39


Yes the crankshaft shape is for cosmetic reasons (as are most of the "modifications" on my engines) and to fully use up the piece of steel I made it from. I don't think the mass of the extension is enough to affect the balance particularly at the low speed the engine runs at.

The colour of the photo is a strange result from my cheap happysnapper digital camera in artificial lighting, the model is painted in a dark blue slate grey kind of a colour which came from Revell model paints, number SM350. I can't recall where I got it, probably from a toy/model shop locally.


24/07/2017 09:36:32

George. My flywheel is indeed fabricated, not exactly as Stew Hart designed but similar and it worked out well. It was an interesting thing to have done and I've used the method for 3 others since.

Thanks for the comment Hopper. The engine is the Vertical Cross Single designed by Stewart Hart in 2013 as part of his "Dads and Lads" series. The plans are freely available, I downloaded them from Model Engine Maker site. Big picture, albeit with a strange colour bias, below.

vertical cross single 1.jpg


23/07/2017 20:54:55

Nice result George.

On my version of this engine I stood the top plate on edge against an angle plate and cut around all the edges with a 5mm slot drill to make it look a little less slabby.



23/07/2017 14:06:57

Making slow progress on the Stew Hart Popcorn engine. Here are a couple of pictures of the first trial assembly of the major bits.

Next up is the valve operating mechanism after which I can get it running with a temporary air supply and then on to the air manifold with it's throttle valve, governor and whistle.

first assembly 3.jpg

first assembly 2.jpg

Thread: What Did You Do Today (2017)
19/07/2017 10:13:01

An impressive range of skills Martin!


08/07/2017 21:26:44

It seems that electrical matters are the subject of the moment. My day went to pot at around lunchtime when my computer gave up the ghost with a blank screen and a strong smell of expensively overheated electronics. crying 2

I spent the rest of the day resurrecting a very slow 17 year old laptop so that I could get on t'internetty, which rules our lives these days, and make this post.


Thread: Cheddar Valley Steam - is there a problem?
04/07/2017 20:20:33

The Small Claims division of the County Court is indeed easy to bring a case in. However getting judgement in your favour, whether by default or by the weight of your case, doesn't mean a thing if the defendant doesn't settle. You still have to fight for your money and the costs you have incurred on top, the only difference being you have a County Court Judgement on your side.

I would suggest that if you are considering the legal route you warn CVS what you intend before you actually spend the £35.00 in the hope that he will understand the potential implications and engage with you.


Thread: Congratulations
16/06/2017 14:21:49

Here, here! yes


Thread: Ebay chuckle
14/06/2017 20:58:22

Today I collected my new pillar drill, the subject of this thread. It turned out not to be as bad as the seller made out (although the vice he included is an abomination and is headed for my scrap bin).

After a bit of cleaning adjusting and lubrication it looks better and runs smoothly

It is not a precision machine by any means but I bought it to put an engine turned finish on the baseplate of my Popcorn engine and avoid the risk of spraying abrasive muck all over my mill/drill.

I need to rework the quill locating pin as Ian Skeldon 2 has shown above and it will then do me nicely.

I doubt I will keep it after it has served the purpose for which I bought it so if anyone wants a cheap wood drill, keep an eye on the bay in a week or so for a bargain. wink


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
14/06/2017 20:38:50

More progress (but slow) on the Popcorn. I turned this piece of bar:

via this:


and this:

into this:

I combined the crosshead guide, for that is what it is, with this, the crosshead:

To get this (attached to the previously made cylinder):

I'm not too happy with the finish on the crosshead guide but frankly there is so much headscratching and work in it I can't bring myself to scrap it. Probably the more I look at it the more it will grate on me and I'll end up making another one having learned a couple of lessons from the first.


17/05/2017 15:26:17

Looking good George. I especially like the connecting rod, beautifully finished.


16/05/2017 20:43:09

A little more progress on the Popcorn.

The cylinder with its end covers, piston and piston rod

A cylinder family shot, note the extended steam chest to cater for my error in making the cylinder incorrectly with not enough meat on the valve face. I fabricated the steam chest as I didn't have a milling cutter that was long enough to carve out the middle from one side and also small enough to form small radius corners. It is just possible to see the silver solder joins.

And finally the cylinder assembly mounted on a gash bit of aluminium on which I intend to practice engine turning when I get a round tuitt.

I will be making provision for the air/steam inlet to the steam chest a little later in the build when I come to make the inlet manifold.



Edited By Jim Nic on 16/05/2017 20:46:12

Thread: Replacement Lathe Motor
11/04/2017 10:06:32

Alan w - thank you for posting your story and the conclusions. I recently burnt out the motor on my similar Warco lathe by working what is a light hobby machine far too hard to the point of overheating it to failure. Luckily in my case the controller survived and Warco were able to supply me with a replacement motor from stock. Let this be a lesson to all of us with lightweight hobby machines.

John Rudd - as an interested spectator to this tale may I take this opportunity to offer my thanks for your input here and in other threads which while helping with a particular problem add to my understanding of my machines workings.


Thread: The Workshop Progress Thread (2017)
04/04/2017 19:38:00

Slow progress on the Popcorn engine but I've got the cylinder done:

Popcorn Cylinder

It was only when I was taking the picture that I realised that it didn't look right and I had done a upcock; the valve face is 4mm too close to the bore. crying 2 I didn't want to waste a good piece of brass or the time spent in making it so I think I can rescue it with a deeper valve chest and a modified slide valve.

It was then a quick (for me) job to make the cylinder base and here are the 2 pieces together:

Popcorn Cylinder on base

Cylinder ends and valve chest up next


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