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Alex Gibson 109/06/2021 04:23:36
3 forum posts
1 photos

Hi everyone

I am new to model engineering, I aim to build a nice size traction engine eventually but will probably start with a stationary steam engine.

I love all things steam especially locos and volunteer in my local heritage railway MPD department.

So here it goes how do I start a project, I picked up a copy of mdep engineering and found it really interesting.

What basic tools are needed and where do i obtain materials I have seen a few online sites etc

I am looking for general advice on the subject to get me started as soon as possible on a project. I know its a bit vague but feel a little lost in the matter due to having no prior experience In this field, frown​​​

not sure if there are any local people or clubs that do model engineering. I live in North staffs area.

Thanks in advance

Andy Carlson09/06/2021 08:14:01
402 forum posts
130 photos

Hi Alex and welcome to the forum. It's worth browsing and searching some other threads - materials suppliers are a recurring topic. The general advice is to buy material of a known spec that will play nicely on our machinery. I've used M Machine and College Engineering myself and a couple of 'real' engineering suppliers local to me. Macc Model Engineering Supplies have been recommended on here and may be handy for you but I haven't used them myself.

I'd say that the most basic tools that you need are hand tools - a decent bench vice firmly bolted to a decent bench, files, hacksaw and so on. Buy a small number of good quality tools rather than a large number of bad ones.

A lathe will be the minimum that you will need if you want to build steam engines. Again you will find plenty of threads about choosing machine tools and some lively debate on the merits of used British lathes vs Chinese imports. The space you have avaiilable and the size of project that you want to take on will be major considerations.

Start with small projects that you can complete in a day or a few days while your are learning. One of my first projects was a centre height gauge for my Cowells lathe based on the one under 'maiden voyage' here . Easy to make and I use it regularly.

There are indeed model engineering clubs and you will be well advised to join one. I don't know your area so I can't offer any specific suggestions.

Do come back with more specific questions on here... but pleeease try not to ask 'Myford or Mini Lathe'?.

Good luck!

Journeyman09/06/2021 08:49:56
avatar
1074 forum posts
210 photos

Hi Alex, welcome to the forum. You could start your voyage of discovery by having a look at my website - Journeyman's Workshop there are five pages on getting started from setting up the workshop through hand tools to choosing machinery.

Good luck

John

Edit: typo (it's too early in the morning fingers haven't woken up yet)

Edited By Journeyman on 09/06/2021 08:51:48

Brian H09/06/2021 09:00:18
avatar
2240 forum posts
113 photos

Hello Alex and welcome. I can vouch for MaccModels, they are very good and as Andy (above) recomends, local suppliers can also be good, but you need to know what specification of material to ask for. If you are working to a published design then this should not be a problem.

As you are new to road vehicle models then I would strongly advise looking at established published designs such as those from Live Steam Models (http://www.livesteammodels.co.uk)

There is a North Staffs MES (http://www.nsmes.co.uk/) although most MES' are railway oriented but some cater for road vehicles and most will carry out boiler testing and offer advice.

Please keep us up to date with what you decide and ask any questions on here.

Brian

Howard Lewis10/06/2021 15:48:11
5545 forum posts
13 photos

Welcome to to Model Engineering, and the Forum.

First advice is DON't rush.

It takes a long time to learn to be a skilled machinist.

Also, be reasonable in your expectations. A hobby lathe is not a Toolroom, precision lathe. The price difference is several orders of magnitude.

Bear in mind that 3 jaw chucks do not hold work absolutely concentric. Expect something of the order of 0.003"

( 0,075 mm )run out.

You wouldn't buy a Cessna 150 and promptly set out to fly the Atlantic!

Learn how to use your machines and measuring equipment.

Learn by making small things, such as tools. A ) They will be useful, B) You gain experience and confidence in the process.

A Centre Height Gauge is easy to make, and will be useful A tool that is not mounted on centre height will not cut properly.

A Tailstock Die Holder set up is fairly easy to make and will be very useful.

Learn how to grind tools, and how to mount them. A badly mounted tool could scrap the piece on which you are working.

Better to scrap a bit of steel bar than an expensive casting from a kit!

Buy some books; money well spent and could save money bin the long term

Ian Bradley "The Amateur's Workshop" Among other things, says how to set up your lathe.

L H Sparey "The Amateur's Lathe"

Neil Wyatt and Dave Fenner have both written books on the mini lathe.

Harold Hall "Lathework"

You will need to budget for tooling. I would advocate, as a beginner, buying a bench Grinder and learning how to grind High Speed Steel tools.

HSS is more forgiving of knocks than carbide, and can be cheaper. For the cost of a carbide tip, you can buy a HSS toolbit which you can regrind several times. Also, when you need a specific tool form, you can grind it in HSS. Carbide you can't

Carbide has its uses, but less so for an absolute beginner.

I am a fan of Tangential Turning Tools. Only one face to grind. Sold commercially by Eccentric Engineering. But you can make your own. There have been at least two designs published in MEW. Can be made using hacksaw Files, and Drill with handwork, and measuring tools.

A Digital Calliper can cover upto 150 mm (6" in old money" for external, internal and depth measurements.

You will need to buy Drills, Taps and Dies, and measuring equipment.

Eventually, you will find a need for a 4 jaw independent chuck, which will let you into buying D T I s and a Magnetic base.

A lot of this stuff is Capital Investment., rather than Consumables., and you will be using thee things for many years to come..

HTH

Howard

br10/06/2021 17:03:33
697 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Brian H on 09/06/2021 09:00:18:

Hello Alex and welcome. I can vouch for MaccModels, they are very good and as Andy (above) recomends, local suppliers can also be good, but you need to know what specification of material to ask for. If you are working to a published design then this should not be a problem.

As you are new to road vehicle models then I would strongly advise looking at established published designs such as those from Live Steam Models (http://www.livesteammodels.co.uk)

There is a North Staffs MES (http://www.nsmes.co.uk/) although most MES' are railway oriented but some cater for road vehicles and most will carry out boiler testing and offer advice.

Please keep us up to date with what you decide and ask any questions on here.

Brian

Pllus one for Brian's suggestion for LSM for the larger scale traction engines. Good people to deal with

In 2inch scale, the Durham and North Yorkshire from Blackgates is anice engine.

bill

Jon Lawes10/06/2021 17:15:36
avatar
691 forum posts

Looks like you have a Model Engineering Society here:

North Model Engineering Society, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle ST5 0QP

My advice would be go speak to some people there directly; if they are a society worth their salt they will be only too keen to assist someone starting out in the hobby. My MES (down south) gives instruction to new engineers and has equipment for their use.

Best of luck and welcome to the hobby. I've been wondering for years how long I have to do it before I consider myself anything other than amateur; I may never know!

Dave Halford10/06/2021 18:05:28
1818 forum posts
19 photos

Most MES clubs have open days as fund raisers where you can go and get the feel of a place. Jon means this one looks like you can go and chat over the fence to them.

The Hughes book featuring Minnie gives drawings and a lot of machining set ups without the need for a milling machine. It won't pull you, but Minnie's are affordable with not too much detail and you can get castings off Ebay from time to time. It gives you a model about 18 inches long weighing about 30lb.

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