By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Is Model Engineering "green"?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
derek hall 129/11/2021 07:37:50
233 forum posts

Hi everyone,

I have been wondering about this for some time, obviously not just model engineering but in general what we get up to in our workshops.

I realise there are many ways to approach this to justify our "green - ness" and how our activities don't have any affect on the environment.

I suppose an extreme would be a treadle lathe used during daylight in a unheated shed, turning bits of wood!...

All this is up for discussion of course and we are in the "tea room" !...unlimited virtual bourbon, digestive and custard cream biccies are available.

Very interested to hear your views....

Regards to all


Pete Rimmer29/11/2021 08:02:45
1257 forum posts
69 photos

All the time i'm in the workshop I'm not running the central heating which is the no2 producer of NOX.

Being in the workshop is good for the environment!

Michael Gilligan29/11/2021 09:03:08
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by derek hall 1 on 29/11/2021 07:37:50:


All this is up for discussion of course and we are in the "tea room" !...unlimited virtual bourbon,





Martin Kyte29/11/2021 09:15:58
2794 forum posts
53 photos

Interesting question.

I suppose you have to compare with what you would be doing otherwise. Generally workshops keep us local in as far as most of us don't drive to get there. Energy wise I don't suppose I use that much, machines are not running all the time and I certainly don't over heat my workshop. Material input is low 'ish in as far as there is not a huge throughput from raw material to finished item. We are quite good generally at recycling, also known as hanging on to stuff that we think may be usefull. We tend to repair rather than replace. Being or becoming green is essentially an engineering problem so we should have something of a headstart.

regards Martin

Ady129/11/2021 09:17:27
5175 forum posts
738 photos

It's all about energy creation and conversion which in engineering terms has a long way to go

Nobody wants to give up the advantages of industrialisation, apart from a few fantasists

8 billion people and counting now... used to be 6 Billion...

The days of hippy communes are long over

Martin Connelly29/11/2021 09:18:00
2182 forum posts
227 photos

Every time we make a part to repair something that is basically in good order rather than bin the thing and replace with new we are likely being green. Hard to say though if the net carbon footprint of a home workshop is positive or negative since every one of them is a unique setup.

On TV this week: The processors running to maintain the blockchain system use as much electricity as Argentina. How mad is that. It was in an article on NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), used to prove that someone owns the rights to something such as a computer image and digital currencies.

Martin C

martin haysom29/11/2021 09:26:52
107 forum posts
Posted by Ady1 on 29/11/2021 09:17:27:

8 billion people and counting now... used to be 6 Billion...

this is the real problem

Pero29/11/2021 09:31:54
163 forum posts

Regrettably not - but you could compensate by planting a grove of trees between the lathe and the mill, or by buying a quarter of a carbon credit, or by holding your breath the entire time you are working in the workshop combined with a generator attached treadmill to power the machinery.

However as a selfish old ***** I shall continue as before and live in hope that the real problem, albeit one for which there is no short term solution, global over-population. Well, there are short term solutions but I don't think we want to get into those,

I suspect that, possibly apart from gardening, no hobby is green and ours, which uses lots of energy in the construction of our tools and machinery, to make our raw materials to construct our workshops and to power the whole activity, means that we are probably quite a way down the list.

Philosophically, are we to be limited in the not to distant future only to activities which produce food or grow trees?

Forgive my jaundiced view but I will be a year older tomorrow - always a depressing time!


Derek Lane29/11/2021 09:50:07
789 forum posts
175 photos

I have a very low wattage greenhouse heater in the workshop for protection of all the machines, but on very cold days i will top up the heat with a convector heater for 1/2 to 1 hour prior to going into the workshop then turn that off. From then onwards I can carry on and keep warm.

As for machines running I think I spend more time measuring and setting up so they don,t really run for long this also applies when I am woodworking. I do prepare the bulk of my wood for a project with a machine but after that do tend mainly to use hand tools.

As for metal working I tend to spend more time preparing set up and marking out than machining (probably due to being a novice in this field)

pgk pgk29/11/2021 10:11:12
2605 forum posts
293 photos

Hobbies give me time to think. I have solved nuclear fusion, synthetic muscle, the British economy and that of Europe. But since no-one listens to me I have decided to become an equal opportunity bigot and indiscriminately hate everyone and everything.

Energy crisis? Simple. Ban central heating . Therefore, no need for insulation or double glazing, saving all that glass and plastic and copper. Limit folk to a single 1KW heater. Growing up with frost on the inside of the windows we know most people will survive. The old, sick and infirm will croak early and take load off the NHS. Instead of cremation they will be hydraulically rammed down deep mineshafts, thus creating green oil for future generations and freeing up housing stock. Shivering prevents obesity and diabetes
All motorways and dual carriageways will be turned into solar farms. Still want to own a car? It only encourages people to go places and waste time and money and spread disease....


Martin Rock-Evans29/11/2021 10:19:57
25 forum posts
14 photos

I find it a really interesting topic. In comparison to other hobbies like motor racing or flying, we're probably not too bad.

Some of our impacts maybe fairly obvious (heating the workshop). What about the impact of some of the chemicals we use for cleaning, finishing, etc? Do we consider the environmental implications when choosing process a) over process b)? What should we be avoiding?

Pero29/11/2021 10:25:39
163 forum posts

Apologies for the double post - I didn't want to spread that much gloom!

PGK - beware of what you wish upon the old, the sick and the infirm. Too many of us are already approaching that with some trepidation.

I gave up on ( cold ) fusion but I have cracked perpetual motion. However I am not going to tell anybody how it is done, I will hold my breath until I turn purple and take the secret with me down the deep mineshaft.


KWIL29/11/2021 10:41:11
3563 forum posts
70 photos

As they used to say in Dad's Army, we are all doomed!

Until such time as the gross polluters get on with it, such little as we can achieve on our own (apart from the moral high ground) will make little difference.

Ian Johnson 129/11/2021 10:44:49
376 forum posts
102 photos

I think we should make pgk the environmental and energy tsar! Not sure if I can wait that long for dead people to turn into fuel though!

So I'll continue scrounging material, repairing things and enjoying my hobby, getting on with life, and largely ignoring the green zealots!


pgk pgk29/11/2021 10:47:03
2605 forum posts
293 photos
Posted by Pero on 29/11/2021 10:25:39:

PGK - beware of what you wish upon the old, the sick and the infirm. Too many of us are already approaching that with some trepidation.

As said - equal opportunity includes me - at least the backache will finally go.. I’ve just redecorated the sun-room. It took 2 days to sugar-soap the ceiling and walls, windows, tiles etc and had to take the third day off because I couldn't move...


SillyOldDuffer29/11/2021 11:13:17
8897 forum posts
1998 photos
Posted by Pero on 29/11/2021 09:31:54:


However as a selfish old ***** I shall continue as before and live in hope that the real problem, albeit one for which there is no short term solution, global over-population. ...

The numbers don't support over-population as the cause of our present difficulties. Roughly, 10% of the world's population own 85% of the world's wealth. About 35% of it is owned by only 40,000,000 individuals.

As 90% of the world's population aren't major consumers (by far), they aren't the problem that needs fixing. Who is best placed to reduce waste? Rwandan villagers or rich Westerners?

I suggest anyone in the developed world blaming someone else for climate change and resource shortages is off the rails. Three blame-shifting misunderstandings are making the problem hard to fix when the need for reform is urgent:

  • Climate change is a natural process and nothing humanity does will alter it. No need for us to do anything.
  • Climate change is caused by human activity, but it's nothing to do with me. No need for us to do anything.
  • Climate change is due to human activity, but there's no need to fix it. 4°C warmer sounds quite nice! No need for us to do anything.

All three ideas have the happy effect of denying responsibility. But apart from that and supporting vested interests, these notions don't help. They are all dead-ends. Refusing to adapt never ends well.

There is hope. Engineers understand the need to honestly diagnose problems and design appropriate solutions. We know problems don't fix themselves. We understand the value of evidence over opinion. Experience proves head-in-the-sand and blaming others never fixes engineering problems. We know getting stuck in does.

Practical men coming up with practical solutions are the answer, not can-kicking politics, fake news, wishful thinking and refusing to accept responsibility.


Martin Kyte29/11/2021 11:49:17
2794 forum posts
53 photos

Well said SOD.

Is China to blame for the emissions caused by manufacturing your new lathe or are you.? It's everyones problem and we should all be part of the solution.

regards Martin

Pero29/11/2021 12:01:14
163 forum posts

Unfortunately Dave the other 90%, or a large percentage thereof, aspire to join the 10% ( China and India being good examples ). I don't blame in the slightest but it is pushing up consumption at an alarming rate. In the meantime we have 7 or 8 billion people exhaling CO2 and producing methane from various orifices. However apparently this doesn't count because it is 'natural'. Apparently it is only cows that are unnatural. Makes you wonder if climate change is under the direction of the Vegan Vatican.

It is interesting that it is always the big industries that are the source of all evil. In reality it is us, the "little people' aka the consumers that are the problem. That is to say, if we don't buy it or consume it they wont produce it. This applies to humanity across the board.

Population management at a different timescale to the current climate change problem is something that has to be addressed. Hopefully before a more effective virus comes along and does it for us.


Brian G29/11/2021 12:09:35
845 forum posts
38 photos

I suspect we would be in a far better position to answer Martin's question if some effort went into material and process traceability. Until the "carbon footprint" of products and services is shown (and taxed?) at the point of sale, reducing Britain's CO2 emissions is probably futile if the reduction only comes from offshoring the most polluting processes.

Brian G

Chris Mate29/11/2021 12:13:02
151 forum posts
32 photos

I dont think the selution is going to be easy and most important successfull. Oil evolved with population growth, however the green selutions just sprung up at 7 billion+ scale, now theres a big diffrence to take into account.
The other thing is resources already consumed, and resources going to be consumed manufacturing totally new stuff and scrapping old stuff, can we afford this as resources sunk physically deeper into the earth to mine at the scale required.

To replace the oil energy at a scale of 7 Billion and growing will literally flooded the earth surface with windmills and solar panels that neither provide power 24/7/365. We have not seen it at that scale ever in the history of mankind, so its a big jump into a new future projected.

Nature has a way of ballancing things out over time in its ways which we may not like, it would be interesting to see which new problems creeps up after such a change, and if we can deal with that.

It looks we are going to have less and less of a life in future. Will we be able to have stable power to sustain a power hungry digital world(Huge constant power), including your banking affairs working 24/7/365-?

I cannot see how any monetary system can keep on functioning if the real basic resources involved in everything else from basic(Your basic needs) to luxuries(Those you can avoid if have to) like:
3-New digital embedded in al systems.

If these basics get out of hand in exponential ways, the system will not be able to keep up, you need these just to stay alive and have a work.

Edited By Chris Mate on 29/11/2021 12:17:52

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Rapid RC
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest