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Member postings for Henry Artist

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

Thread: Steam plant for a Graham Industries VR1A
09/04/2017 14:11:34

This steam plant will have a line shaft because I like my engines to do some work. (And running accessories makes them more fun to play with.)

I found an old Wilesco line shaft that would be suitable. I wanted to be able to lubricate the bearings. I could just drill a 1mm hole in the top of each support and countersink it. Then I remembered some really nice oilers that I got from my friend Jin...

Holes drilled and tapped M3, the oilers were secured with Loctite 603.



I think they look pretty good.smiley

09/04/2017 13:02:26

I have a few "helpers" Neil. wink


Thread: Bending 1/8 pipe
09/04/2017 12:51:32

Tube bending springs are largely a complete waste of time unless you want very gentle complex bends.

For bending 1/8" tubing, small pipe benders like this - **LINK** - are much better. They were originally sold for bending vehicle brake pipes but have found favour with those who build small steam engines. They are available EVERYWHERE and prices vary wildly.

For really tight bends I also use DuBro pipe benders. Available from all good Radio Control model shops. I can even bend thin wall K&S tubing with them. Just remeber to anneal the pipe before you try to bend it.

Thread: Steam plant for a Graham Industries VR1A
09/04/2017 11:46:35

Some views of the firebox without the boiler in the way.

Firebox 1

Firebox 2

Firebox 3

Two screws will be used to secure the base plate to a board. They are hidden inside the firebox in a vague attempt to keep the appearence of the finished steam plant fairly neat.

Stainless steel M2 threaded rod is used to clamp the firebox to the boiler. This will (eventually) be cut to length.

09/04/2017 11:04:20
Posted by Nick_G on 09/04/2017 10:28:33:


Thanks for taking the time to post your progress and methods Henry. It's informative for others that may wish to follow a similar path someday. - It's what this site is all about. smiley

IMHO there are not enough 'build logs' on this site. frown


Glad you are enjoying it Nick. smiley

I kinda wondered about the lack of build threads on this site too. When I was returning to model engineering a few years ago I always found build threads fascinating. (I still do!) But it was frustrating that while they often showed what had been done, they rarely explained how and why...

09/04/2017 10:30:30

The aluminium and brass sheets are taped together and drilled.


A test fitting shows that they go together in a satisfactory manner.

Four brass M2 screws are soldered to the underside of the base plate and the firehole is soldered to the firebox. The inside of the firehole is cleaned up with needle files.



09/04/2017 10:16:29

With the silver soldering completed it is time to make the base plate for the firebox.


A piece of aluminium sheet (0.9mm) and brass sheet (0.5mm) were cut to size. Transfer punches were used to mark the location of the screws.

The aluminium sheet serves several purposes -

  • It prevents unwanted marks on the brass sheet.
  • Eliminates burrs on the brass sheet during drilling.
  • Ensures correct alignment of the mounting screws during soldering.
  • Will help to prevent the nuts being soldered to the scews. (Been there. Done that.)
  • Prevents distortion of the thin brass sheet during soldering.
  • Will act as a drilling template when it is time to mount the steam plant on a board.

To make the hinge on the firehole a length of 2mm OD, 1mm ID brass tube was silver soldered to it. The ends of the tube were cut flush with the sides of the firehole and the middle bit milled away. A similar procedure will be used to make the hinge on the firehole door.

Also in the above picture you can see the Bix 009 burner that will be used in this project and a second firebox for a marine steam plant.

09/04/2017 09:38:22

The firebox has been rolled in a 3-in-1 machine, clamped and silver soldered.


It will stay as a complete ring during the other silver soldering processes to attach the mounting brackets and boiler supports.

Once the silver soldering is completed a fretsaw is used to open up the firehole and a razor saw used to cut through the join and the tube. This tube will form the clamp to attach the firebox to the boiler.

09/04/2017 08:41:29

With the holes in the firebox drilled it is guillotined to size and the opening for the burner cut with a fretsaw. Horizontal cuts are made for the firehole as it is easier to do this while the metal is flat. The rest of the material is left in place to provide structural integrity during the rolling and silver soldering processes.



1/32" rivets will be used as pins to locate the brackets and supports during silver soldering.

I was struggling to come up with an effective design for a latch for the firehole door which is 20mm wide. Then I realised that if I angle the front of the firehole gravity will hold it shut. smiley

09/04/2017 08:20:55

Brass sheet has been drilled.


So have the brackets and boiler supports.

The individual brackets and boiler supports are then sawn off.


A mitre box and razor saw give accurate cuts. The smaller holes are 1mm and the larger are 2.2mm.


Two of the mounting brackets have adjustment slots milled out with a 2mm cutter.

09/04/2017 06:40:40

Parts marked out ready for drilling.


The firebox will be made from 0.5mm brass sheet, mounting brackets from brass angle, boiler supports from brass flat section.

For those who like to know the size of things, where it is practical to do so, pictures are taken on a 1cm grid.


Edited By Henry Artist on 09/04/2017 06:41:12

09/04/2017 06:30:10

A couple of years ago I got a Graham Industries VR1A and made a simple horizontal boiler which was heated with gel fuel to run it. This worked well but I decided to make a better steam plant for the engine... because I can.

While visiting Blackpool Model Boat Show last year I acquired a Brue boiler made by Helen Verrall-Stait for a very reasonable sum. The boiler came with wood cladding and a chimney but no fittings. Most importantly, it did come with a test certificate and paperwork.

A quick rummage in the bits box produced some fittings and the chimney was replaced with one from another boiler.


I wanted the burner tube at the rear of the boiler and of course some means must be found to secure the boiler to a base. (Otherwise it may wander off when I'm not looking...)

So this is what was required -

  • A firebox for the boiler which should be raised 12mm to allow a Bix 009 burner to function efficiently and have sufficient ventilation.
  • A means to affix the firebox to a base.
  • It should have a door on the front so the burner can be lit (and to allow for observation of the burner flame).

Thread: Is it ok the hold a small lathe chuck in a larger one
08/04/2017 08:58:19

Something I have seen a friend do on his Myford is to mount a 50mm Emco chuck on a mandrel made from hex bar and grip the mandrel in the jaws of a larger chuck. He has marked one of the faces of the hex bar so having calculated which position gives the minimum runout he can easily refit the smaller chuck again and again.

07/04/2017 10:14:31

Depending on the size of the larger chuck you may also like to consider using a six sided collet block if you need to hold round stock...


Thread: Encouraging new hobbyists
07/04/2017 10:02:26
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 06/04/2017 21:43:16:

Posted by Henry Artist on 06/04/2017 20:29:19:

Someone entering the world of model engineering today is more likely to buy a mini-lathe (C3, CJ18A, etc.) than a Myford. When was the last time Model Engineer magazine ran articles on making models specifically with a mini-lathe?

The truth is there's not much you can do on a Myford you can't do on a mini-lathe, the only real difference in capability is the lack of a gap so most Anthony Mount designs (with 8" flywheels) are mini-lathe no-nos!

Very few projects are machine specific, really they tend to require a certain minimum centre height and almost all turning projects in ME and MEW can be done on any 3 1/2" centre height machine.

For the record my Southam build which is being serialised in ME was made on a Mini Lathe and an X2 milling machine, as were my previous model builds in ME.


That's good to know Neil. laughyes

Most of the people I encounter who wish to become involved in model engineering have NO engineering background whatsoever. They never learned it at school or college, never saw it in their daily work. Indeed they seem to come from every walk of life except engineering! There may be a distant childhood memory of playing with a Mamod engine or Meccano but that's about it.

Often they have become involved in toy steam and wish to progress to model steam. There's not a lot out there for these people to help them make the transition and they are often acting in isolation. They don't know anyone in the real world they can go along and talk to in person. Forums like this one can be a useful resource of infomation for absolute beginners, especially if it has an easy-to-find "How To..." section. You'd be amazed at how young* people would much prefer to look up information on the web rather than go read a book.

Questions I often get asked include:

  • Where can I buy a boiler kit?
  • Where can I find plans for things for my engines to run?
  • Where can I buy pre-machined kits?
  • How do I make boiler bushes/fittings?
  • How can I make a displacement lubricator?
  • How do I soft solder steam pipes?
  • How do I fit a gas burner to my toy steam boiler?

As has already been pointed out most model engineering clubs and societies have a distinct predilection for railways which operate outdoors. Given the unpredictable nature of our climate engines, devices, models and other contraptions which can be run indoors on a table top hold a significant appeal especially if they are easy to construct and operate. This is, after all, about encouraging people into the hobby...

*From my perspective anyone under the age of 40 years is "young".

06/04/2017 20:29:19

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people wanting to get into model engineering is the percieved cost of setting up a small workshop. Another is what they can then, as novices, construct with the tools they can afford.

Someone entering the world of model engineering today is more likely to buy a mini-lathe (C3, CJ18A, etc.) than a Myford. When was the last time Model Engineer magazine ran articles on making models specifically with a mini-lathe?

I believe more people could be encouraged to take up the hobby if the makers of casting kits offered pre-machined flywheels. Bengs Modellbau do this but no-one else seems to have realised it is a good idea.

Another thing not yet mentioned in this thread is the role toy steam can play in getting people interested in model engineering. Mamod, Jensen and Wilesco are alive and well and still making wonderful steam toys. Of the three only Wilesco offer an extensive range of accessories and tinplate toys that can be driven by toy steam engines. I think it would be a good idea if plans were published of simple accessories and devices that can be driven by small engines. Sometimes people need inspiration...

Thread: Musing About Oils
06/04/2017 19:14:56

Rapeseed oil is still sold as an inexpensive vegetable oil by other supermarkets in UK.

I know this because I had to buy some last week. I mix it with 460 grade Steam Cylinder Oil for use as a general lubricant on my little steam engines. smiley

Thread: Beginners lathe
05/04/2017 10:15:33

Something else to consider...

Not everyone who has an interest in model engineering is fortunate enough to have a garage or shed they can install a lathe and other machinery in. Some people live in small apartments often up several flights of stairs. A small lathe which is compact and light enough to be put away in a cupboard when not in use may be more practical than a larger lathe.

Having a lathe you can make things with is better than having no lathe at all...

02/04/2017 23:57:35

Well I do have a Sieg C0 so I'd like to offer my thoughts on it...

The Sieg C0 is effectively an updated version of the Unimat 3 with a more powerful motor and few other refinements. It is a perfectly good (if tiny) model engineering lathe. I got mine from Arc and it came with their tailstock adaptor which neatly gets round the tailstock alignment issues some people encounter. I originally bought it to make fittings for my small toy and model steam boilers. I quickly realised that it could do a whole lot more...

I added a compound slide and an Emco QCTP (quick change tool post) which allows me to use 8mm indexable tooling. Most Unimat accessories are compatible with the C0. Unlike the Sherline and Taig lathes which are made from aluminium the C0 is made from steel and cast iron. Because its physical dimensions are small it is very rigid and therefore surprisingly accurate.

There is no thread cutting facility on this little lathe but such tasks can be handled with taps and dies. Tailstock travel is only 20mm. The maximum diameter it can turn is 50mm though you'd be surprised just how many things that model engineers want to make fit within that dimension. Cuts have to be very light which means it can take a while to make something but if you're using it for a hobby is that such a handicap?

If you plan on retiring to your shed and building a Stuart Major Beam this is not the lathe for you. However, for making small parts it's fantastic.

Thread: New Member
22/03/2017 21:55:58

Thank you for the warm welcome. face 1

My interest in model engineering as a hobby was reignited just a few years ago. It all started when like everyone-and-his-brother I built an Opitec 420...

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