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Too ambitious or achievable?

My first I/C

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Simon Barr17/01/2020 18:45:09
15 forum posts
12 photos

I'm relatively new to the engineering world and mostly self taught, but enthusiastic and need a project. My lathe is sitting there just begging to be used but other than making practice swarf it's mostly idle.

I love the I/C engine in all it's forms so I thought that may be something I could aim for. After spotting an advert in the magazine I've looked at the Hemmingway kits site and the Kiwi Mk2 has caught my eye. Am I being too ambitious with this choice?

I have my lathe (Warco mini) with assorted tooling, 3 and 4 jaw chucks and a face plate, lots of hand tools and access to a pillar drill. Also a vertical slide but it's an older one and doesn't have a vice as such. Am I well enough kitted out for such a project or would a mill be needed?

Any suggestions welcomed.

Simon

JasonB17/01/2020 18:57:46
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Very hard to say what one person is capable of but back in the 30s when this engine was designed very few hobby workshops would have had a mill so all the work would have been done on the lathe with the aid of a vertical slide.

It would be worth having a read through a good build thread of the Kiwi so that you can see what is involved and then decide if you feel you can manage it or if a simple 2-stroke from inexpensive barstock would be a better option as your first IC engine. This build by Vince is quiet a good read.

Roger B17/01/2020 19:27:04
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106 forum posts
43 photos

You probably have as much equipment as the designer had. Give it a go, there will be plenty of help available on here if you are not sure of some operations.

The possible issue with castings is that replacements can be expensive if you make a bad mistake. With a bar stock engine you just cut off another piece and start again. Most of the loss is just your time.

Hopper17/01/2020 19:59:41
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4653 forum posts
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Typically the Kiwi would not be a beginners project. Yes the designer had little equipment but he was a highly experienced master craftsman.

It is more usual to start off with simpler projects and work up to the more complex. Simple steam engines run on compressed air are popular.

Google Elmers Wobbler engine for real simple plans and Potty Mill Engine for a great intermediate level project.

JA17/01/2020 20:03:37
936 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by Roger B on 17/01/2020 19:27:04:

You probably have as much equipment as the designer had.

The Kiwi was designed by Edgar Westbury. At the time he was the civilian boss of the apprentice and officer training workshop at RAF Cranwell.

I have just seen Hopper's posting. Simple Stuart steam engines are a good start

JA

Edited By JA on 17/01/2020 20:05:33

Steviegtr17/01/2020 20:04:50
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1262 forum posts
119 photos
Posted by JasonB on 17/01/2020 18:57:46:

Very hard to say what one person is capable of but back in the 30s when this engine was designed very few hobby workshops would have had a mill so all the work would have been done on the lathe with the aid of a vertical slide.

It would be worth having a read through a good build thread of the Kiwi so that you can see what is involved and then decide if you feel you can manage it or if a simple 2-stroke from inexpensive barstock would be a better option as your first IC engine. This build by Vince is quiet a good read.

Well how nice is that. Absolute beauty. Could junk my Ducati engine & put one of those in. How many hours do you guys put into making these amazing machines.

Steve King 517/01/2020 20:15:18
84 forum posts
94 photos

My advice (from a complete novice) is build tools first.

Brass tipped nocker / hammer

Tap follower

Tail stock die holder

Tap wrench

T nuts

Maybe a QCTP if you don't already have one.

Harrold hall has a web site with lots and lots off free plans that are easy to follow. All made from cheap bar stock and once made very useful. Then progress to kits and castings, but saying that if you have the cash crack on as it may get costly buying signal items from kits that you fooked up learning.

Hopper18/01/2020 01:53:24
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4653 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by Steviegtr on 17/01/2020 20:04:50:
Posted by JasonB on 17/01/2020 18:57:46:
How many hours do you guys put into making these amazing machines.

Somewhere between a hundred hours and a thousand hours per engine, depending on complexity, skill levels and equipment. Some model locomotives, probably in the multiple thousands of hours in some cases.

Speedy Builder518/01/2020 07:14:12
2027 forum posts
144 photos

Turn the question around a bit, is there an IC engine which is very simple to make, probably quite inefficient, but at least would go pop pop.

not done it yet18/01/2020 08:33:26
4742 forum posts
16 photos
Posted by Speedy Builder5 on 18/01/2020 07:14:12:

Turn the question around a bit, is there an IC engine which is very simple to make, probably quite inefficient, but at least would go pop pop.

Recondition a Briggs & Stratton?😀

Clive B18/01/2020 08:52:06
30 forum posts
20 photos

Hi Simon,

I built the Kiwi Mk 2 as my second ic engine. I would say that it would be quite ambitious as a first engine project, but achievable and very satisfying. I estimate that it took me about 300 hours to finish it. The build notes, by Westbury, that come with the kit are very good. There is another build thread on model engine maker forum which I found useful in addition to the one mentioned by Jason.

Alternatively, you could try the Atom Minor Mk 3, also from Hemingway, which is a simpler (and quicker to build) two stroke engine which sounds almost as good as the Kiwi when it's running. I built this as my first engine. The booklet on this build gives an excellent guide to construction for a beginner.

Regards

Clive

Tricky18/01/2020 10:57:56
48 forum posts
2 photos

Jan Ridders designed a very simple 4-stroke engine which is easy to make and which was serialised in Model Engineer. Details are on his web site here.

I can confirm it goes pop pop very satisfactorily!

Richard

David Noble18/01/2020 14:00:28
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190 forum posts
8 photos

Hello Simon,

My ambition has always been greater than my ability! My advice is to choose something that takes your interest and take it slowly, one piece at a time. This is a great place for advice feel free to ask. As has been said before, there are no silly questions only silly answers

Best Wishes, David

Bob Rodgerson18/01/2020 16:11:35
592 forum posts
174 photos

I agree with what David Noble says about taking it slowly one piece at a time. One of the biggest regrets I have was making a Simplex 5" gauge loco as a first locomotive project when I really wanted to build a 4-6-2 locomotive. I built a second locomotive straight afterwards that was more complex but that didn't require any additional skills to build. With IC engines I built a flat twin four stroke engine as my first build, this was followed by a 5 cal radial and another much larger flat twin.

Do what your heart tells you and you will succeed.

JasonB18/01/2020 16:20:57
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18317 forum posts
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One other factor to take into account is are you happy working with old designs that will be in imperial and need imperial tools unless you feel able to decide on suitable metric alternatives?

Nicholas Wheeler 119/01/2020 11:31:56
333 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by David Noble on 18/01/2020 14:00:28:

Hello Simon,

My ambition has always been greater than my ability! My advice is to choose something that takes your interest and take it slowly, one piece at a time.

Do that, but accept that you'll probably remake the first parts as your skills improve. Which is another good reason for starting with something simple; there will be fewer parts that you will be unhappy with!

SillyOldDuffer19/01/2020 12:26:44
5929 forum posts
1281 photos

Another vote in favour of starting small. I find plenty of 'simple' projects quite challenging enough thank you! It depends on the individual though: I respond best to mid-paced learning where it's neither easy or difficult. Challenge is good for me, but not if it turns into frustration because I skipped a skill earlier. Others like to be pushed harder, and don't care how full their scrap box gets!

As a complete beginner I worked through projects easiest parts first because I needed to build skills and confidence. Now I'm half-competent, I'm more inclined to do hard parts first, because that's where the learning is! Also, I know once the hard parts are done, the easy stuff will come naturally.

Dave

Neil Wyatt19/01/2020 17:34:14
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17970 forum posts
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Make sure you get a copy of Edgar Westbury's build instructions for Kiwi Mk. 2. He was up there with LBSC in terms of guiding people through builds.

Neil

Donald Williamson20/01/2020 15:34:29
17 forum posts

Hi I built The Kiwi about 2 years ago on a Clark lathe and lick you self taught the engine runs well . I have a series of pics of construction which I got from the HMEM web site a chap there built one, if you could use them I could email them, I also have video of mine running.

Donald

Simon Barr20/01/2020 18:53:33
15 forum posts
12 photos

Thanks for all the replies, all very sensible and there's some useful links in there that I'm going to investigate. Over the weekend I dug out my vertical slide to refresh my mind. I'd only used it once before and wasn't very impressed by it. It didn't appear to have much of a usable range and the workpiece clamping arrangement leaves a lot to be desired. I've now realised that my cross slide should maybe have more holes than it does for mounting the vertical slide.

I'm going to get this sorted and then try and get stuck in to some smaller projects before tackling the Kiwi. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Simon

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