View Full Version : Another lurker out of the closet

05-08-2006, 05:53 PM
While I do contribute occasionally in written form, I suppose I'm guilty of
lurking in the sense that I've never put up any pictures of my work. This post
is meant to correct that.

First is a breath-powered, double acting, piston valve 'steam' engine to a
design seen, IIRC, in HSM years ago.


I give lectures on the development of prime mover technology at the local
grade schools and use this engine to involve the kids. They all get a chance
to blow into it (alcohol wipes sterilize the blow pipe (not shown in the
picture) between students) and have a ball doing so. The link pins on this
engine are 1/16" drill rod, turned down to 0.040" and split on the ends with a
0.005" slitting saw so they can be spread slightly like a cotter pin to hold
them in place.

Next is a beam compass from plans by Elmer Verburg. The somewhat unusual
design of the pencil holder allows it to also hold an X-acto knife for cutting
circular gaskets. Not shown is an extender that allows it to handle radii of
up to 24".


Next is a tachometer I built using a commercially available IR
diode/phototransistor unit rescued from a card reader. Battery operated, in
use it's connected to a counter or the frequency reading channel on one of my
VOMs. With exactly sixty holes in the spinner, the readout in Hz is identical
to the RPM of the engine being tested so no calculations are required.


This is a steam engine with no valves from a design in "Model Engineer"
magazine. The piston is turned through an angle about its axis by the complex
linkage to the driveshaft during each up-down cycle. This turning alternately
exposes a flat on the piston to the input and output ports to provide the
valving action. Since it's a completely symmetric design, reversing the
engine only requires interchanging inlet and exhaust.


And, finally, the ubiquitous PMR lathe model in Alistair's favorite color.
The three ball handle on the cross-slide was made using the PROFILE program on
my web page (couldn't resist a plug, Evan).


Sorry for the quality of the pictures. I'm hoping for a digital SLR for my

05-08-2006, 07:41 PM
That is some nice stuff, I like the beam compass and the tach. I don't do the "tiny little engine" thing, but they look great. I have bookmarked you "program" site, but I have always remember it too late, GRRR...I need to store the link where I can find it easy.

05-08-2006, 07:49 PM
I also really like that compass. I like measuring and drawing tools in general and I prefer plain steel finish like that one. The breath engine is cool too. I can also run the one and only "steam" engine that I built on breath as it requires less than .5 psi. It also can be reversed by exchanging the exhaust and input.

charlie coghill
05-08-2006, 08:29 PM
Marv, if you don't mind I am going to copy the pic of your beam compass and make one when I get some time.

I have a couple of projects that I am working on now. The .6o crusader engine is one but it went on the shelf for a while. I sort of got discusted with it.

05-08-2006, 08:30 PM
All i've got is: "Wow!" Nice work - especially given the size! I always say i can't work on anything to small to take a couple of good hammer blows when i'm angry :)

05-08-2006, 09:23 PM

I would like to copy your beam compass as well. Thanks for the pictures...that is some great work!

Rob :)

05-08-2006, 09:39 PM
Absolutely beautiful work!!!

Iam especially partial to the lathe. I nearly fainted whan I saw the penny.

Jim (KB4IVH)

05-08-2006, 09:49 PM
Wow. I was going to post some of my projects, warts and all, but after seeing your work I'm not sure. Those projects sure blow me out of the water. Maybe I will just keep quiet.


05-08-2006, 10:07 PM
That put all us hacker lurkers back in the closet :rolleyes: Did you make any new swear words building those............ gotta go my self esteem just took a harpoon..................... :D

Tin Falcon
05-08-2006, 10:36 PM
Nice work guess I will have to post an engine or two now.
Tin Falcon

05-08-2006, 11:32 PM
Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Makes me glad I posted the pictures.

Scishopguy: Don't be too impressed by the size of the lathe. That's not a
penny in front of it. It's a Sacagawea dollar coin. One of the hardest parts
to make on that was the rocker that goes in the dished washer to support the
1/16" square tool (ground for threading) in the lantern toolholder.

C-ROSS & johnhurd: Please don't say that seeing these pics is scaring you off
from posting. That's exactly NOT what I wanted to achieve by posting pics.
Be inspired, not intimidated.

Obviously, I had Verburg's plans for the beam compass at some point but, after
several house cleanings, I can no longer find them. Academic, since I'm sure
they're copyrighted and reproducing them would be a no-no. Besides, you guys
are clever and can work it out on your own.

Below are two photos of one of my self-designed height gages. The first shows
the two component parts. On the left is the measuring bar. On the right is
the crennalated base into which it fits.


In use the measuring bar fits into the crennalated base.


The crennalations allow the bar to be set to be 1 & 1/8, 1 & 1/4, 1 & 3/8, ...
2" above the surface on which the base rests. A 1/16" step in the bar allows
one to obtain all the intervening 1/16" increments. A 1" long rod projecting
down from the bar, also with a 1/16" step, provides all 1/16" measurements
between 0 and 1". Not shown in the picture is an auxiliary base that elevates
the crennalated base by 1". So this unit provides all the 1/16" measurements
between 0 and 3" in a very compact unit. Originally built to set cutter
projection on my router, it, like Topsy, 'just grew' to become a very useful
little tool for all sorts of applications.

Finally, my design for a height gage combined with a scale holder. The height
gage bar can be rotated to touch the scale so picking off measurements is very
simple. The vernier adjustment makes precise settings easier.


05-09-2006, 01:45 AM
Modeltec, Aug 1984, New Features in a Beam Compass, Elmer Verburg.


Available here for 9.95


05-09-2006, 11:50 AM
Yes, Evan, that's it. I remember that Modeltec published a number of articles
by Elmer in which he described special purpose tools he had made to aid in his
model making. I built his standoff depth gauge, an internal flange measuring
gauge, and several model makers' vises from those articles.

05-09-2006, 12:45 PM
Wow that is real nice work with skills like that seems you could make that camera.