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Quality kit supplies in the UK?

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Tull Clancey27/02/2021 17:11:32
2 forum posts

HI there, just getting the last few things of the workshop finished so I can drive myself mad building steam engines. (static) (probably) (Mostly)

To get started I thought I'd try one of those kits where they give you raw stock and plans, hopefully in metric else I'll have to restock all my sodding tooling.

Can you kind folks recommend companies for such things?

Many thanks.

Mick B127/02/2021 17:38:59
2044 forum posts
117 photos

Stuart Models' 10V is an excellent starting engine - if anything the copious advice you might get on here if you raise questions could be bewildering.

Brian H27/02/2021 17:56:17
2238 forum posts
113 photos

The 10V was the first model engine that I built when I got my own workshop more years ago than I like to think about. It is an excellent one for a beginner, especially as spare castings are available if you make an error, which hopefully you won't.


mechman4827/02/2021 17:56:43
2935 forum posts
460 photos

Stuart Models are ideal.


Michael Briggs27/02/2021 18:06:37
217 forum posts
12 photos

Stuart Models are a good choice, the fasteners are BA so you will need some additional tooling.


Samsaranda27/02/2021 18:08:39
1244 forum posts
5 photos

Hemingway models supply kits if you are feeling ambitious and want a variety, they supply engine kits and also kits for some basic tooling which may be of help to someone starting out in modelling. Dave W

JasonB27/02/2021 18:14:52
21611 forum posts
2490 photos
1 articles

Your choice of metric kits will be quite limited, the book about building the Stuart doe shave metric drawings but some of the threads may still be imperial.

You may have to look further afield for all metric with barstock supplied such as Bengs in Germany, if you don't get the barstock but just castings then the choice of European suppliers goes up a bit with the Likes of TS again in Germany who do have a couple of kits of a similar complexity to Stuarts.

Polly Engineering do the Anthony mount casting kits which are metric but a bit advanced for someone starting out and you would have to supply your own barstock & fixings

Steve Neighbour27/02/2021 18:18:15
109 forum posts
1 photos

+1 for Hemmingway yes

I recently made their 'Machinists Hammer' - they supply a nice easy to follow set of instructions and a drawing, albeit in imperial dimensions, but I have a metric/imperial DRO and micrometer so it wasn't to taxing - though I fail to see why some folk seem to get so excited about 'thousands of a Inch !!!

I introduces straightforward turning in different metals and also a nice play at 'taper turning' which is a great beginners challenge !!

And . . at the end you get a nice very useable bronze/aluminium hammer (which now don't want to use as it's way too shiny) laugh


Nigel Graham 222/03/2021 23:12:56
1767 forum posts
22 photos

Making in metric with inch-calibrated machine-tools (or vice-versa) is more a matter of inconvenience than of re-tooling your workshop!

All my machines are Imperial but I can handle metric work without too much difficulty, using appropriate conversion-charts.

I keep one of those poster-sized Tracy Tools charts hanging up the workshop, suspended on a old dress-hanger so easy to flip round between size conversion and tapping-drill sizes.

Some stock-bar sizes are close enough for fair direct swaps of metric for inch, though you will need to take due care to assess the effects on fits with other components, and on the finished form or function; and be prepared to machine the material to the appropriate size if and where necessary.

The common BA sizes (which are metric, by geometrical progression, but described in inches) have close metric equivalents. For example 0BA is almost M6, 2BA / M5, 5BA / M3, for their diameters - you can't of course mix them directly even if some seem to screw together. Watch out though for potential problems with the hexagon sizes on the fasteners, if converting a design from one range to the other

There is also a metric standard fine-pitch range which I've never used, but might be more suitable for some model-engineering purposes than the somewhat rough-looking "ordinary" M-series fastenings with their comparatively coarse threads.

You might find some of the older model-engineering drawings or handbooks specify letter/number or fractional-inch drills, usually for thread-tapping sizes; but in fact standard metric drills in 0.1mm increments will cover virtually all the threads and other detail work you and I are likely to ever need.


The only areas where you would need additional or replacement tooling are conversion change-wheels if you intend cutting inch threads on metric lathes (or vice-versa), taps and dies, and measuring tools - though many electronic micrometers and calipers have a built-in inch/metric choice anyway, at the press of a button.


So no, you do not need to "restock all your [inelegantly-named] tooling "  to make inch-dimensioned model parts in a metric workshop; just buy the few extras genuinely necessary, such BA, BSP (aka G, RP or RC ) and ME-series taps and dies; and conversion-tables. Or convert the project to metric equivalent.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 22/03/2021 23:15:24

ron vale 131/03/2021 20:23:34
48 forum posts
5 photos


this could be an egg sucking exercise but converting Metric to imp and vv is as easy as falling of a log

If plans are works drawings in Ft/in and you are doing a 5in gauge loo then to convert to i(model) inches multiply the full size by 0.0885* to get scale length Assuming you are working to 1 i/16in to foot

The correct figure id 0.8855416667 !! lol

If you want metric equivalent the multiply by 2.248

to convert model plans inches to metric multiply the inches ( and decimal parts) by 25.4

if converting metric to imp then divide the metric by 25.4

Dave Halford31/03/2021 20:49:39
1816 forum posts
19 photos

And also get a copy of Zeuss

DMB31/03/2021 21:59:28
1187 forum posts
1 photos

I have nearly completed Harold Hall's T&C grinding jig to his excellent drawings in his book. I failed to source sensible lengths of all the metric sections required. I ordered plenty to allow for mistakes and thought total cost not too bad. OK if you live close - ish to say, Maccmodels but hopeless trying to get local supplies down here in Brighton. What I obtained was 2" sq and 1 3/8" sq steel bar substitute for 50mm and 32mm in the drawings. Table is 4"sq. 1/4". Just used the Imperial sections and worked to the metric dimensions. Not at all difficult. So far, only one big problem, no metric 3 x 10mm for the Gib Strips part 12. I thought maybe use 1/2" × 3/8", but the difference between the two thicknesses throws out the dovetails and the leadscrews. Thinking of annealing the steel before I mill 3.5mm off each side to prevent it curling up.Otherwise, metric/Imperial dims not been a problem. Also, helpful bits of info like stock sizes and specs. on completely error free drawings. Well done, Harold.


JasonB01/04/2021 06:58:22
21611 forum posts
2490 photos
1 articles

You can get 10 x 3 gauge plate which would be better than mild steel for a gib strip. Or M-machine do 13 x 3 MS flat bar by the 300mm length as well as the metric square stock by the 25mm length.

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