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Member postings for Ramon Wilson

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

Thread: Hallam Engine
04/03/2010 16:53:29
Hi again,
Alan, further to your oil bound frustration which, I am now pleased to be able to state I can  sympathise with personally, I think I may have found the reason for your engines problems - and almost certainly if the characteristics experienced so far with this example are anything to go by.
I now have this one running successfully albeit not on spark ignition - that is the next stage - but I thought you and others may be interested in progress so far.
In order to ascertain whether this engine would run at all I decided to take onboard the advice of Hugh, who is, after all, well experienced in running petrol engines and does, to be fair, actually practices what he preaches but first I took another really good look at the various engine parts and it's make up beginning with the carb.
The needle has a (relatively) coarse thread and taper and it was felt that this is probably the root cause of the 'rich' fuel situation which, for this example certainly, has proved to be.
The piston does not have a transfer port in the skirt so could be fitted the wrong way and it would still run though probably nowhere like it should. The transfer port is cast into the crankcase and connects directly with the main cavity. However this is only a possibility and not likely to be the cause
The timing was checked with a timing wheel and shows the exhaust opening for 100degrees the transfer 78 degreesand an inlet period of 76 degrees.
Before any running could take place a simple cylinder head to take a glow plug was made the internal shape simulating the original with no attempt to reduce compression. Indeed I would think given the quick method of producing the shape it is possibly very slightly higher.
A propellor driver and brass collet were made but this would not grip as it had nothing to push back against on the 5/16 dia parallel shaft. The front housing was bored out to take a larger phos bronze sleeve and the crankshaft diameter increased with a high carbon steel sleeve loctited on and then turned between centres to a running fit.
Using standard 80:20 Methanol/Oil glow fuel the first attempts at starting showed a total impossiblity to control the fuel flow from the crude needle arrangement the engine simply flooding and refusing to start.
A simple venturi was then turned up from ali with an increase in the bore size to 6 mm and a slight 8 degree taper in the inlet end. A basic 3mm dia spraybar was made with a much finer thread and needle taper. Whilst the bore was increased the choke area is possibly slightly smaller than the original (Visual comparison)
At this stage these are the only alterations to the engine - one a practical need
(crankshaft) the other an improvement on fuel supply. I really do not think the original 'carb' is up to the task - certainly for glow and which will probably be the same for  petrol.
The compression with the new head is good but not excessive and the piston seal likewise. After quite some flicking (I have never used a starter) and some finger biting 'pops' the engine began to fire intermittently before running - I believe - in an identical fashion to yours. (It certainly sounded the same) Thing was it took a few seconds for the penny to drop. It wasn't actually running! but merely oscillating - firing alternately back and forth quite happilly.  Gradually closing the needle (about 31/2 turns open) a few degrees at a time  the engine suddenly gave a couple of burps and burst forth into a free and easy run albeit backwards as side ports will do. The finning on this engine is 'marginal' to say the least and with that solid head it was difficult to keep cool but I have had several runs today like this oscillating at first followed by running 'properly' in either direction two or three minutes at a time. Like all lapped piston glow engines though virtually impossible to hot start so plenty of tea breaks!
My old analogue tacho, languishing in the model box unused for several years is typically now not working but I would hazard a guess about 4000 or so on a 13 x 5 Zinger wood prop. I hope for a loan of one so more on this later.
Now whether this is happening to yours given the need for a spark at the top of each stroke I don't know but the similarity in sound  as well as visual appearance to your video is striking. I'm sure you realise Alan but I'm not saying this is what is happening to yours merely my observations on this one but it's probably worth another look. Its easy enough to spot though by the difference in draught from the propellor - virtually none whilst oscillating but a good breeze - forward or back otherwise!
Based on todays experiences then my opinion at this stage is that the fuel system delivery is definitely critical to this engines make up. The second half of Hugh's statement 'if it will run on glow it will run on petrol' is yet to be proved but so far, with the first half out of the way, I feel I'm on the right track.
If you are not able to follow the same path regarding making parts then once I have (or not as the case maybe) got it running as intended then you are more than welcome to these bits.
28/02/2010 17:52:22
Having taken another look Martin that's not an unreasonable question as there doesn't appear to be a breather vent visible anywhere but that may be well hidden under the cap. Whether that would have the effect of the apparent restriction on running remains to be seen, I would have thought that if the tank were 'sealed'  the engine would eventually stop through lack of suction. A very small vent eg a crack around the inlet pipe etc may allow some equalisation but might possibly have the effect of causing the engine to run lean as the pressure inside was reduced and richening up as it it equalised however whether that would cause the engine to stop as Alan describes when he moves the fuel needle either way seems to point in another direction.
I notice Alan your engine has no webs on the front housing , probably machined off for easier movement on the timing arm perhaps? or just a different casting.
Regards - Ramon
28/02/2010 15:52:11
Hi Chris,  Yes it does!
A fair comment, based on your personal experience - and nothing a better indicator for making ones own mind up - a factor I totally agree with.
It may be that SAE 70 proves to be too thick but at this stage I will take on board what my friends are saying as well as taking note of other opinions expressed. Like so much in life one should listen to all carefully before making a judgement.
As I stated quite early on this thread I do not have any personal experience with spark ignition motors but that my intention was to build one. That hasn't changed and taking an interest in Alans request has spurred me on to do so even more.
I guess if I am guilty of anything it's taking an interest, with my own interest in mind too, in someones problems and trying to help based on the info already possessed on small IC motors as well as, at this stage, as that of others whose experience I know of and value. Turning to such others at  times for info that one is ready to accept but perhaps others won't is not something that can be foreseen and in all probability you may have similar aquaintances possibly in other fields that you might do likewise.
As you say 'it does take all sorts'
I intend to be back with a running example of this old engine too so please be assured that if the oil proves too thick or too much or it doesnt do or live up to what I have been told then I will be the first to admit it - redface or not  
At this moment though I would just like to see Alan improve the running of his to his satisfaction and that I at least can get this one to fire.
Regards  - Ramon

Edited By Ramon Wilson on 28/02/2010 15:53:32

27/02/2010 21:55:55
Yes Alan, quite happy with the direction - short side to the transfer.
As above  - found the pics okay - thanks.
I believe 1/4 x 32 plugs are now readily available - I'm sure I saw that Just Engines sell them. Whether you can get 3/8 though is another matter but an adaptor could be made. It would be nice to get an original unmachined head for this - it's not very good and is poor by the rest of the engine.
Bye for now
27/02/2010 21:47:42
Hi again Alan,
I'm afraid that beyond the most basic facts the mysteries of the ignition system mechanics are yet to be discovered.
However the cam on this appears to be the same as yours closing for a very short period relative to the lift. (This flat also appears filed on)
As you see it the points have just rotated around the engine, currently they are loose and will rotate to the same top position as yours. As it stands the position can be locked with a  screw but a short threaded bar knurled on the end would help move it while running and allow locking which is something I'm certain I have seen on other engines elsewhere.
BTW as a matter of interest is yours assembled with round head 1/8 whitworth screws?
(The four cylinder head bolts on this go in no more than three or four threads!)
Your photos appear to show what Hugh described as the original tank - made from a casting. This one has just a piece of tube with an end turned from flat plate let in.
27/02/2010 21:18:10
Hi Alan,
I have stripped this engine down this afternoon and feel fairly certain this one is home built. I dont know what your piston is like but this has a shallow slope on the exhaust side with a much shorter one on the transfer side. This one is a composite with an ali top riveted to an ali insert for the gudgeon pin clamping a cast skirt.
My intention was not to insult you with the suggestion of wrong assembly merely  a suggestion on something else to check.
The reason I think this one is home built is that virtually all the flat faces appear to be filed including the piston top.
The crankshaft is made of three parts the pin and shaft silver soldered in place.
The piston seal is not particularly good but I will carry out Hughs recommendations and see where they lead to. I will have to get a new plug (or make one) as this one is broken.
Regards for now - I'll keep you posted on developments.
Chris - I'm not quoting from 'hearsay' per se. The two people I contacted are well known for their knowledge of vintage model engines. One earns a living repairing, making parts and building replicas the other has  a lot of experience with using them in tethered cars and hydoplanes. Their advice is possibly not perfect in some quarters but I've known one a long time and of  the others experience for about the same.
However, at the risk of possibly being castigated for quoting from such, perhaps you will be reassured by the fact that Westbury who, in his book Model Petrol Engines (of which I have literally just obtained a copy this evening) states and I do quote (p159)
"A 250cc motor cycle may run quite satisfactorily on a mixture of 1 part oil to 16 parts petrol while a 5cc engine may require 1 part oil to four parts petrol" unquote .
The 'technical' reasons why a small two stroke petrol engine requires this amount is not something I know the answer too as yet but standard glo fuel is either 75:25 methanol/oil or 80/20 depending on the engine (I had better add - of the ones I'm used too!)
He goes on to say that the most suitable proportions are found by trial and error and represent a compromise between under oiling and over oiling.
It would appear that four to one is a probably a good starting point then.
Kind regards - Ramon
27/02/2010 15:57:40
Alan I forgot something.
Hughs advice to me was to fit the engine with a glowplug -an adaptor will need to be made - and try running it on methanol (and oil - castor that is or commercial glow fuel) first. Not for long just to establish its abilty to run - you should achieve a more flexible run against needle valve settings.
The timing cam has to be set in relation to the piston and the timing bracket should be capable of movement and locking whilst running. He recommends a retarded spark for starting - just ATDC
There is also the fact that if yours was home made the porting/timing events may be restricting things.
Just thought - you do have the piston in the right way? Some side port pistons have a step on the top to one side - this has to go on the transfer side of the bore.
Now I really am off to the workshop!
27/02/2010 15:37:28
Hi again, I didn't get far with that! - since my last and Meyricks post above some further developments - Meyrick, please, just remember  for most of this I'm just the messenger here
Taking the oil first however, yes modern synthetics do have a good reputation for keeping the engine clean as well as lubricating in as efficient manner if not more so than 'good old' castor. The downside with using castor is that it will not burn as such and  leaves a deposit on all surfaces, inside and out. Not so much a downside 'inside' but the outers are as you say 'gummy' to say the least and in most cases downright bloody terrible.
I have a new and as yet unrun Ukranian built  (Stalker ST61 LS) ABC engine purely designed for (C/L) aerobatics and there is a gallon of 'synthetic' ready for it. My understanding to date is that if pure sythetics are used following castor on a reasonably well run engine then this will remove the varnish and lead to poor sealing and hence performance. Because of his fact some use a mixture.  I would not use this oil in any of my other 'stunt' engines or others previously run on castor for that reason. Standing the risk of being accused of stating the obvious high performance engines need a high energy fuel and the less oil (given adequate lubrication) that contains the more that can be achieved. I'm thinking here more of diesels and glow ignition model motors. The more modern model engines are incredible pieces of the engineering art. The quality of machining ensures consistent good fits and tight tolerances - they're precision instruments to say the least and I agree, good, quality lubrication is important and needs to match the requirement.
This engine however is what it is, side ported, made around 1950, possibly at home with no esoteric materials involved. The advice so far from those who have good knowledge of running and operating this engine and those of similar ilk is clear - use it at 4:1 and use a thick SAE70 oil. I don't doubt your knowledge Meyrick and your sincerity to see Alans engine improve but is this sending someone down a road he doesn't neccessarily need to take? On this engine, at this stage personally I think it would be.
I have had another look at the video and it appears both engines are identical.
Unfortunately Hugh cannot  get round today but we have had another long conversation
Further info is as ------ quote
His Hallam catalogue states it is the 12th year of production - it doesn't give a date.
Hallams ceased producing most of their line throughout the war as most were aimed at the model aircraft market the flying of which was banned for the period. Here it gets a bit confusing but apparently in 1944 they released and continued to produce the 'Nine' which was intended for tethered model cars.
The 'Nine' was also 'stroked' to give a 'ten' - the stroke was increased from .875 to 1.00 the bore remaining the same on both engines.
The catalogue states that the engine would turn the (recommended) 15 x 9 prop at 3,400 rpm. [To me that's a big prop and pitch even for a 60!] It does not list any power outputs but does give a static thrust expected with that prop of 31/2 lbs. and strangely, even contradictory given the times, it states that it would power an aircraft of 5 - 8 lbs weight.
Now get this - it gives the Flywheel rpm as 15,000  Quite! however before Meyrick gets excited we both felt this is totally unrealistic not least because of the side port layout. I would think that the 1 in front is possibly a typo! but ??? it certainly has bearing on Meyricks thought on the flywheel 'inhibition'  - BTW remember that was just a quote passed on - Mike called me back specifically to comment on that point.
The engine cost just £1-7/6d with a flywheel and £1-5/- as a prop version but whether this was for castings (probably) or the built engine I'm not sure. (You can always think of more questions to ask after the phone goes down)
Well that really is about it for now Alan. Like you I am now on the same learning curve, indeed somewhat behind as I have still to get this to run. I'm open to all thoughts though and will take note of all comments but , as I'm sure most would agree, it's only natural at times to 'follow ones nose'
Best  regards - Ramon
Thread: ED Racer 'times two'
27/02/2010 12:18:48
Thanks for your interest and kind comments.
I'm hoping to get these bead blasted soon but in the meantime will get on with the crankshafts though as perhaps you see I am a little side tracked at the moment!
Back soon with this though.
Regards - Ramon
Thread: Hallam Engine
27/02/2010 11:52:07
Hi Alan, Frank, 
Yes '59' '60' '61' all signify a basic ten cc motor.
When you have the parameters right Alan you should be able to start this motor by hand though wearing a thick glove might be advisable. In the meantime until you do get the right settings carry on as you are, just be careful not to really flood it and possibly damage the conrod.
I'm not sure about the two stroke oil I will find this out for you later but I think Mike last night was refering to thick engine oil.
The spring starter you are refering to is probably on a small Davies Charlton motor. This was a feature on their maller engines for many years - 'Quick Start' as I recall. It worked well on the smaller of those it was fitted too especially the glow motors. I think Cox had a similar system too.

More good news Alan-
I have just spoken with Hugh who it transpires has obviously has quite some detailed knowledge of Hallam products.
He has a Hallam catalogue and is is going to call later to see if he can identify the example I have which I think is very similar to yours. Having described the engine to him he thinks it may be a 'nine' (cc)
Apparently many Hallams were produced as kits of parts for the home builder as well as ready built versions so that may explain the variation on capacity. Likewise the fitting of the flywheel - could have been for boating or car use or just to be able to run the engine on the bench.
Concensus now is definitely the 4-5000 rpm band and fitting that larger 14" dia prop.
I have taken some pics of this one for you perhaps you can compare yours in detail.

As you can see there is no propellor driver fitted to this engine either. I will make one that fits to a split tapered brass collet which will have no effect on the original engines make up
These last two are for interest. The first shows the Hallam venturi against that for another engine of the same capacity, an OS Max 60 racing marine engine awaiting renovation. Rev band on this is just a tad higher of course!
The last shows the Hallam compared to another marine engine this time an OPS 65 which was reclaimed from a very salt encrusted and siezed state. The carburetter fitted is from a Super tigre engine bored to 9mm dia. but this really ought to be larger for this engine to operate 'where it should'
I'm enjoying his Alan, now I'm off to get that engine prepped. Will let you know on further developments
Regards for now

Thread: Making a screwcutting tap
26/02/2010 23:08:27
Hi Mike, well errr.... Quite! I think its the dog kennel then! I'm getting a bit side tracked at the moment but will try when I can to see if this furnace works (if only to see if I can get the electric meter disc to self distruct). Thanks.
Yes it does Neil, particularly on very small taps where fluting would prove difficult. It won't exactly be a 'production' tool but it does get the job done surprisingly well. It helps too if the flats taper very slightly inwards (towards the point).
Thread: Hallam Engine
26/02/2010 22:47:27
Further update Alan.
I have not been able to contact Hugh yet but have had some other luck which will hopefully prove enlightening.
I visited the friend who loaned me the Racer to copy this afternoon and we were discussing your engine. Turns out he has not one but three Hallams! Two were 29s - 5cc and the other was the same as yours.
I now have his '60' on extended loan plus a coil etc to have a play with and learn about the eccentricities of the 'sparkie'!
The venturi is near the same diameter as yours - 4.8mm to be precise and surprisingly virtually the same as the 29's! but the needle valve/spray bar set up is as I suspected and though quite small by most standards does leave a reasonable amount of choke area.
This evening I spoke with someone who has a great deal of experience with model engines of all types. He says the Hallam was produced around 1944-45. It was primarily designed for aircraft use and not cars as I surmised.
His general comments are:
Spark ignition can be more sensitive to needle settings than diesel or glow
Fuel is normally 4 to 1 but use a relatively thick oil - SAE70.
Timing bracket should be capable of movement through a range of about 10 degrees to establish optimum timing.
He considers that the flywheel is inhibiting the rpm so perhaps that's the first item to remove and try. Suggested prop size is at least 14 dia x 4-5 pitch and it should produce around 4-5000 rpm as already thought.
So it looks as if you can begin with the fuel and reduce the oil content slightly. He also says that they are easy to flood and if as you say the 'exhaust is dripping' then that does point to an over rich state.
I didn't ask about whether it was a commercial product or castings for home use. I have another call to make so will try to clear that one up for you.
I will need to set this engine up and get the electrics sorted which will take a day or two but will keep you posted on developments. I'm looking forward to this - it will be interesting to compare the two.
Hope this is of some further help
Regards - Ramon

Edited By Ramon Wilson on 26/02/2010 22:50:43

Thread: Hand scraping
26/02/2010 14:02:11
I expect Tony to have much more to comment on this than I but even though to date I have carried this out in a somewhat dsylexic manner the results were successful.
Sometime back I made a new, longer table for my mill and scraped in the old and new slideways. With nothing else available I used a straight edge ground from gauge plate (soft state). The initial side of the saddle dovetails were done and squareness checked using a DTI off the inner machined but unused face. The other sides parallelism was checked by micrometer across two ground rollers held in the vees of the dovetails.
Once done the sadlle was refitted, the gib put in and a slide fit checked for any tightness in places over the travel. This was then repeated for the new table. Despite my application of blue to the wrong surface(!) it worked and I'm more than happy with it's accuracy and alignment.
I know that to scrape a flat suface you need three surfaces and from the way my friend John used my small 10 x 15 plate to scrape his much larger one then I guess it can be 'overlapped' but perhaps Tony or others can take over from here.
Regards - Ramon
Thread: Hallam Engine
26/02/2010 13:03:20
You know theres nothing like "a boody good funeral" to put life into perspective.
On that note - spray bars.  (Grannies please turn off now)
Alan this is the device by which the fuel is metered into the engine normally by a needle valve closing or opening. There are various make ups of these but the most commonest is one which passes diametrically through the venturi tube. One or sometimes two small holes are drilled though this tube which allows the fuel to be drawn through. If your engine has this type then it's possible that it's thickness is taking up most of the space available in the venturi. If this is the case then your engine is probably running in a semi choked state.
Another type, which from your description sounds as if you may have, is where the fuel inlet side screws into the intake tube just projecting through into the venturi. The needle held by a secondary part is screwed into the intake tube diametrically opposite and the needle passing thru the venturi and controlling the fuel mixture at the point of entry. Obviously the area each side of the needle in this type will be much larger than that using a more common spray bar.(for the same venturi dia.)
At this stage modification of anything is not something to consider - just ascertain as many parameters as you can.
I have got the contact number of the person I mentioned and have tried but no answer as yet.
There are several posibilities with this old engines problem. If it was home made then it's possible that the port timing is not to print. The fuel you mixed may have been excessively oily. (I believe ratios vary engine to engine but there will be a 'standard' . I don't know what that  is at the moment - that's one of the questions to ask Hugh). There may be a lack of aspiration and the ignition timing may be way off.  All 'may-be's'  but picking them off one at a time you will get there.
It's my intention to make a spark ignition 'vintage style' engine in the very near future. What you have is a really lovely vintage engine indicative of it's age. If I can find out anything  more  to help you get it running as it should do for it's type and period I will. It will also help me at the same time.
Regards for now - Ramon
Thread: Drawing projection, first or third?
26/02/2010 12:22:50
Steve, Thank you for bringing such a  commonsense approach to this matter.
For myself, I have been fortunate never to have worked with monkeys, nor for that matter to be in charge of them, just good people who have held a pride in their work and what they do. (Don't wear knickers either - preventative measure you know- if you don't wear 'em you can't twist 'em)
On the matter of self deprecation then by all means go ahead, be my guest - I certainly won't lose any sleep over it but please leave me out of the equation. I learnt at an early age that deriding your troops is a negative and fruitless exercise.
As I said before the questions are simple enough - is there a good reason for the practice of transfering datums and does it bother any one else.
Steve has gone some way to try and answer the actual question - thank you.
Thread: Hallam Engine
26/02/2010 08:00:57
'Morning Alan
I'm about to go off to a funeral - makes a change from the workshop I guess but when I get back I'll take some photos of spray bars for you. There are several variations so depends what you have.
Glad to be of help, talk to you later
25/02/2010 22:52:24

Hi Alan,
Meyrick has summed most of this up very well. However whilst I'm not advocating  physically opening up the port at this stage checking that the area each side of the spray bar is sufficient to allow a reasonable amount of air through ought to be considered. It does sound as if it isn't breathing properly but as Meyrick states this could be the result of the timing and  the oil content as well. Indeed possibly a combination of all three 
(Now that is hedge betting for you!)
By reducing his spraybar diameter to 2mm compared to my 3.2mm my friend Johns Nova engine ran the same 13 x 5 prop at 5100rpm to mine at 4000. The venturi diameter is the same on both engines at 5.5 mm dia. Quite a difference for such a small increase in area. I would have thought that the total open area needs to be around 14 sq mm minimum for an engine of this size. eg appx 6.5 dia with a 3.2 wide spray bar.
As said, knowledge of operating sparkies is non existant but as an I/C motor if it is as sensitive to the needle as you say then I feel this points more to
fuel/air mixture anomalies but the spark does need to be in the 'right place' for the relevant mixture condition. 
Though this engine is no power house compared to front or rear intake types -  the side porting as said will certainly limit its ability to rev -  it should however be capable of more than appears - I would have thought that you should comfortably achieve around the 4- 5000 mark with the prop you are swinging even driving that flywheel as well.
'I know someone who knows someone'  who is heavily into vintage tethered cars - If I can contact him I will see if I can get any further info or advice from him for you.
Regards - Ramon
25/02/2010 18:17:40
Hi again Alan, I've now managed to get the youtube open - good coverage of a lovely engine.
As I say I have no direct knowledge of sparkies but would say that this is running well below what you would expect. The rear view shows what looks to me like an extremely small venturi area. Couple this with the space taken up by the spray bar and the engine is going to be well choked - can you meaure this and see what the actual area is? An engine like this would need to 'breathe'.
The engine is cracker though and sounds great - just wait till it peaks!
Thread: ED Racer 'times two'
25/02/2010 16:18:01
Following on from experiencing the Nova bursting into life I thought it would be interesting to have a go a designing a diesel based around the 2.46 ED Racer of the 50's/60's.
I borrowed an old Mk4 from a friend and scaled it up by a factor of 1.266 which brings the capacity to approximately 5cc.
The drawings were laid out on copier paper in the traditional way - with a pencil using a piece of Contiboard as a drawing surface - 'CAD' drawing (Contib'd Aided Design!)
Two blocks of ally were obtained and the chipping began - 221/4 ozs. per block to start, 31/2 to finish. Quite a bit of swarf!.
I did two to hedge my bets incase of a mistake - and yes, if you are wondering -the keen eyed may spot a subtle difference but ostensibly they are both suitable for use so now the next stage can begin - Crank shafts - two piece as in The Nova as so far this has stood up well to the torque swinging a fairly large prop. These of course will rev much harder but with a smaller prop.
Some asked for some pics so here are a couple,
Rather than fill the site albums up more pics of the the machining stages can be seen here
if you care to visit. They haven't been captioned yet but I will at some stage.
Now, it's time to clean up that swarf!!!
Regards - Ramon

Edited By David Clark 1 on 26/02/2010 08:05:57

Thread: Hallam Engine
25/02/2010 15:50:00
Hi Alan,
Disappointingly the you tube video wont open for me - for some reason it says my java script is turned off or I need to down load the latest Flash Player. ??????
Though I have no experience with spark ignition I recognise the name of the engine which I believe was intended more for  tethered car racing. When you say it will only run at one speed is this controlled by a throttle on the carb or are you varying it using the fuel needle. A pic or two would help
Good you've got it running though.
regards - Ramon
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