This was the second occasion on which this event had been held at Ascot, also the second at this time of the year, after a number of years at Sandown Park when the show was set between Xmas and the New Year. The autumnal timing certainly conveys benefits in terms of weather and this year we were treated to continental style sunshine for the entire duration of the exhibition.
A major attraction at the show this year was the two and a half kilometres of ground level five inch gauge track brought across from Sinsheim. One humorist was heard to observe that the sun popped out when the German boxes were opened, I dont know whether it popped back in when they were packed up.
The track was in daily use by a variety of steam and electric locos, some pulling trains of scale wagons, but the highlight was the demonstration by Tim Coles of his gas turbine loco, now with bodywork, but still in bare metal finish, photo 1. Each time a demo was announced, a large crowd gathered, to be impressed by the model with its unmistakeable noise, also by the explanation of workings by James Hill of the Gas Turbine Builders Association.
Two static turbine demonstrations were also set up, one being an experimental rig built by Barney Coles, as a precursor to a gas turbine powered motorcycle, photo 2. The other was a commercial AMT Olympus model jet engine, rated to give 51.7lb thrust at 108500 rpm, photo 3. The ubiquitous Black & Decker Workmate provides a convenient platform for testing model aero engines, but the sheer power of the Olympus stretched this to the limit. In practice, observer/assistants on each side applied the lead boot treatment to avoid Flying Workmate syndrome.
Another engine demonstration which drew admiring onlookers was that by Malcolm Sayers of his one third scale model of a 1923 three litre Bentley four cylinder car engine, photo 4. Also entered in the same class was Barry Hares magnificent one fifth scale model of a Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, photo 5.
The Competition Workshop Equipment
This year the workshop equipment and tooling category was supported by no less than seven entries.Taking them in entry order they were:
A5/1 Coaxial centering gauge by Mr J M Carter. This is shown in photo 6, and may well be based on the design published by Peter Rawlinson in MEW Issue 118. The judges awarded Mr Carter a Commended.
A5/2 Photo 7 illustrates the precision level checking adjustable table by Mr N W Farr.
A5/3 In photo 8 may be seen on the left, the top slide for a Myford ML7, fitted with a digital scale. Also visible in the picture are the DRO, an earlier development version shown last year, (to the right) and material showing trial machining of the housing.
Photos 9 and 10 give close ups of the early and late versions respectively. Mr Willson received a bronze medal
A5/4 Charles Woodward exhibited this impressive Stent tool and cutter grinder, which gained a bronze medal, photo 11. Readers who may be keen to build one of these useful and compact machines will find the castings and drawings available from Blackgates Engineering.
A5/5 The judges were even more impressed by this clock wheel and pinion cutter, photo 12 also by Charles Woodward and awarded a silver medal. The machine will accommodate pinions up to 38mm in length, and wheels up to 125mm in diameter. Pinions are climb milled using an anti backlash feed system. This machine is described in detail elsewhere in this issue.
A5/6 The CNC controlled multimode machine by Mr A Jackson was displayed along with a number of accessories. The high standard of both design and manufacture ensured that the builder gained a gold medal. The machine may be operated under manual, power feed or CNC control of saddle, cross slide and spindle, allowing a wide variety of operations to be undertaken. These might include taper, thread and contour turning, horizontal and vertical milling, CNC dividing, spiral milling etc. This complex machine is shown in photo 13.
A5/7 Peter Clark is a regular entrant and this year he showed his selection of chucks for a Shaublin 70 lathe, photo 14. A notable feature here was the facility for alternative jaws, particularly relevant to delicate work. He was awarded a highly commended.
One decision which did cause quite lengthy deliberation amongst the judges was that concerning the Duke of Edinburgh Award. After an in depth study revealed the extent of the complexity of the model, the trophy went to Mr R Turner for his 1/76 scale model of a Ruston Bucyrus 1260-W Walking Dragline. Mr Turner could be seen operating this model and answering questions from spectators, through the entire duration of the show.
Every model engineering show relies heavily on involvement by clubs and societies, and MEX is no different in this respect. SMEE plays an integral part in this event, displaying many models and items of workshop equipment. At the prize giving ceremony, their Chairman, Mike Chrisp, a former editor of Model Engineer, kindly stepped into the breach due to the absence of the current Model Engineer editor, David Carpenter who has been ill.
Amongst the items to be seen on the SMEE stand, were the GHT staking tool made by Cherry Hill, photo 15, the Kennet tool and cutter grinder, by Stuart Walker, parts of which are shown in photo 16 and the Worden, photo 17 from Giles Parkes.
Last year, the Stirling Engine Society were short of one of their better known personalities, but it was a great pleasure to see that Roy Darlington was now in better health and once again able to attend and wax lyrical, passing on his deep knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for this type of power unit. Photo 18 shows Roy with a Stirling engine powered radio controlled car.
As well as undertaking the outdoor displays, the Gas Turbine Builders Association also manned a stand showing inter alia, sectioned engines, photo 19 and parts of a model 18100 gas turbine loco being constructed by Jerry Burchell.
The construction methods adopted for fabricated items such as bogie frames, photo 20 were a combination of laser cutting and vacuum brazing.
Another interesting feature here was the use of brushless motors for the axle drives, photo 21.
A flavour of something yet to come was indicated by the part mould for a model of a TSR2 aircraft, made by Martyn Purdie. The model is designed to be powered by not one, but two of the AMT Olympus jet engines as mentioned above. The design weight of the model is in the region of 50lb, so an installed thrust of over 100lb should give some pretty electrifying flight characteristics.
Photo 22 shows parts for a fabricated nozzle guide vane arrangement currently being investigated by James Hill, to be used in conjunction with a turbine from a commercial turbocharger.
One of the exhibits on the Napier Power Heritage Trust stand caught my eye and brought back happy memories of days when apprentices, especially in the aero engine industry, were expected to manufacture much of the contents of their tool kit. Photo 23 shows just such a collection.
Ickenham and District is clearly a club whose members embrace a wide range of interests. The variety included rail exhibits from five inch gauge down to 00 gauge, with items of workshop kit such as the home built lathe and the hand operated drilling machine, both shown by Mr M Humphrey, photos 24 and 25.