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

Tools needed to build a 3 1/2in gauge Tich

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Steven C05/05/2022 22:17:38
5 forum posts

Hello my name is Steven I'm 15, and I looking into building my first live steam engine. I'm planning on building a 3 1/2in gauge Tich. What tools would you need to build such an engine. I apologize if this seems like a silly question I'ma bit of a novice.

DMB06/05/2022 07:40:06
1312 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Steven

Assuming funds short,l ook at the drawings, make a list of taps and dies needed for any threads. Ascertain tapping drill sizes for only the required taps. Don't buy sets as you will probably never use some sizes. Just go to a supplier like Tracy tools to buy just what you need, including only the size of diestocks and tap wrenches to fit. The foregoing is probably the cheapest way of acquiring only the tools needed. Don't buy second hand as they are all cutters and likely to be blunt, you probably have no means of sharpening them and small diameter taps could snap in the work.   I suggest you take care with taps smaller than 1/8" diameter and use the very next larger tapping drill size to avoid overloading tap and breaking it. Resulting thread still has similar strength.  Join a local club, choose one with a lathe in their workshop and check if someone will be willing to teach you how to use it and make the parts needing turning, boring, drilling. Be aware that your project will take sometime and money to complete but do enjoy the journey and very good luck.

Hopefully, others on here will offer their advice and words of wisdom.

It is this week, a hundred years ago, that the designer of your project started writing in Model Engineer.






Edited By DMB on 06/05/2022 08:10:27

Thor 🇳🇴06/05/2022 07:47:29
1628 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Steven,

Welcome to the forum. I assume you have (or have access to) a lathe and the required lathe tools. Follow John's advice, if you give your approximate location there may be someone close that could advice you.


JasonB06/05/2022 07:47:58
22749 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

Firstly you will need somewhere to work which would be either the end of a garage or a garden shed. You will need a sturdy bench and a solid vice fixed to this.

As well as the many smaller tools mentioned you ideally want to be able to work from home rather than have to be taken to a club to use machines> So a lathe of some sort will be needed, one that can take a decent vertical slide for milling work. A bench drill will be handy as will a grinder to sharpen your tools and even if you don't build the boiler yourself blowtorch and hearth for silver soldering.

Also think of the time you will need to set aside as you will be looking at 1000hours plus, more so as you are learning and may not have the ideal tools to do the job quickly. If tooling and materials will have to come in the form of birthday and Xmas presents then that can also extend the build time. Pocket money is unlikely to go far so you will have to forget about things like motorbikes, cars and girls for the next few years


Hopper06/05/2022 07:59:23
6393 forum posts
334 photos

A lathe. A drill press. A bench grinder. Box of misc handtools. Just gor starters.

DMB06/05/2022 08:24:33
1312 forum posts
1 photos

Many years ago, I acquired an old flat bed Drummond, badly worn. Used it for a bit, sold it locally and buyer had fellow club member, ex school metalwork teacher help him and made new mandrel bearings for it.

For a young beginner not yet working earning money to buy items listed above, then what I suggested will get newbie started, perhaps with a second hand bench vice on an old table in shed or back of dad's garage.

My local club has lathe small bench drill hefty vice on sturdy bench and massive hacksaw machine, bench toolgrinder, all used by very keen beginner who is there almost every Saturday, beavering away.

Jon Lawes06/05/2022 09:02:05
926 forum posts

Hi Steven,

Can I suggest you get yourself along to your local model engineering society? Most are able to assist with tools (for example I don't often use metal rolls, but our club has some members are free to use). Most model engineering societies are delighted to see new members, especially those lucky enough to be starting young!

My Model engineering society is Westbury, Wiltshire (the WWSME), if you can get your parents to bring you along to ours or one like it you would certainly be made most welcome, given assistance, and find a good source of cheap second hand tools.

Edited By Jon Lawes on 06/05/2022 09:02:18

Nick Clarke 306/05/2022 11:19:15
1425 forum posts
63 photos

Hi Steven -

The Tich book is very useful as there is lots more information there than you will find in the drawings alone.

Alternately Tich Articles is a link to a pdf of the magazine articles which describe every process in building the loco.

I agree with the bit about going along to a model engineering club/society but please don't give away exact contact details. The two clubs I am a member of are in North and South Birmingham, if either of those are local to you.

John MC06/05/2022 11:53:22
376 forum posts
44 photos

I began building a large boilered Tich when I was 15. Took about 8 years to build. I had an "Eclipse" lathe, 2.5" centre height and a selection of hand tools, basic marking out tools, a square, centre punch and dividers. A hacksaw and some files. A hand drill and a few drills. Threading equipment was acquired as needed. Back then there was very little low cost equipment from the far east, what there was was usually poor quality. Nowadays far eastern equipment makes model engineering on a very small budget so very much easier.

The Eclipse lathe was soon replaced by a round bed Drummond and most of the manufacture was done on that. The various construction articles in me at the time tended towards assuming milling would be done in the lathe so plenty of help there.

I would agree that joining an ME society would be a good, didn't work for me all those years ago but thats another story.......


Jon Lawes06/05/2022 12:14:09
926 forum posts
Posted by John MC on 06/05/2022 11:53:22:

I would agree that joining an ME society would be a good, didn't work for me all those years ago but thats another story.......

Our club runs sessions for novices which is very useful; I think if the club has the right mindset (and realises that without young members there will be no club) it's a very supportive environment

duncan webster06/05/2022 13:52:36
3984 forum posts
65 photos

I'd build a Juliett, slightly bigger, not much more expensive, but much easier to drive when it's finished

Steven C06/05/2022 15:55:25
5 forum posts

Thank you for the help everybody, my dad does own a few of the things listed here. All I'm really missing is the lathe and the vertical slide to go along with it, along with a few other things. I have considered building a Juliet rather than a Tich but some of the reasons I'd prefer building a Tich is that there seems to be an entire book dedicated toward novices like me in building one. Also the castings are cheaper than that of the Juliet on the Reeves website. What I'd now like to know if a mini lathe would be suitable for such a project like this? If so would it be possible to find a vertical slide to along with it.

Best Regards Steven

Pete Rimmer06/05/2022 16:06:57
1233 forum posts
65 photos

Hi Steven and welcome. It's a shame you didn't come along 12 years ago when I was looking for a suitable recipient for my dad's part-built Jinty when he passed away, I would have gladly donated the lot . In the end I gave it to the local model engineering society for them to decide.

Just for interest - where are you located?

Steven C06/05/2022 16:17:05
5 forum posts

Sadly I'm not located in the Uk, I'm in the states you don't come across model engineering clubs often here.

J Hancock06/05/2022 16:47:42
836 forum posts

Being brutally honest here , don't confuse small with easy. And if you do decide on Tich make sure EVERY drawing dimension is right because LBSC used a very special ruler for his dimensions.

A Gauge 1 Project is a guaranteed confidence builder , and it works.

Then build your bigger locomotive.

Weary06/05/2022 16:55:23
376 forum posts
1 photos


Tish castings are available from a number of UK suppliers, not just Reeves.

Two suppliers that come to mind are GLR Kennions, and GS Model-engineers. I'm sure that there are others too. So you might want to shop-around if you decide to go down the Tich route.

However, as you are in the US you might care to consider the Kozo Hiraoka designed locomotives which also have thorough and complete up to-date construction books and use the absolute minimum of castings. Second-hand copies are often available too. Where there is a requirement for castings, or you prefer a casting, these are available from US based suppliers. Just something to consider.



Edited By Weary on 06/05/2022 16:56:36

Steven C06/05/2022 18:07:22
5 forum posts

I'm starting to reconsider which engine to build now either a Juliet or a Tich, how many people could a Juliet pull compared to a Tich? Do you think a Juliet is the overall better starters engine? Thank you for all the help

Best Regards Steven

Nicholas Farr06/05/2022 18:33:46
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi, Blackgates Engineering also do castings for both Tich & Juliet.

Regards Nick.

J Hancock06/05/2022 19:48:08
836 forum posts

I would try to find a design with outside valve gear , valve sitting on top of cylinder.

You will know why when you come to .make minor changes to your inside valve gear .settings.

David-Clark 107/05/2022 07:44:49
220 forum posts

Tich would be fine for your first engine.

I suggest you start eith the frames but leave the axle slots undersize until you get a lather and vertical slide.

By the time you have hacked out and drilled the frames you will haven a better idea if y.ou want to devote the time and resources to the project.

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

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

Latest "For Sale" Ads
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