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First model engine?

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  • First model engine?

    For years I've had no shortage of machining projects, either making parts for our motorsport hobby or tools or just plain fixing things but for a number of reasons that seems to be changing a bit. My project to do list is getting very short and I'm looking for new machining adventures and thinking about a model engine. So here I am looking for recommendations for one to start with. My criteria are it needs to be reasonably challenging to machine, it must run by itself (i.e. no compressed air or other outside energy source - a real engine), and no castings or kits. I think a real steam engine may be cool but I really don't know anything about them.


  • #2
    A possibility is one of the Jerry Howell bar stock IC engines. I have just bought the plans for the V-twin and am impressed (as always) with the detailed instructions he put into the procedure of making the components.

    I would recommend one of the singles first though. The Farm Boy gets good press.

    Good luck.



    • #3
      How are you going to run a "steam engine" "by itself (i.e. no compressed air or other outside energy source - a real engine)" ?

      The only engine I know that creates motion directly from heat is the Stirling engine. They can be made from bar stock (no castings) but require careful machining to obtain good fits because their specific power is quite low.

      You may want to look in on the Model Engine Maker forum...

      for engine ideas and help with making one.
      Regards, Marv

      Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things

      Location: LA, CA, USA


      • #4
        Do a web search for Webster engine. They are a simple internal combustion engine , running on gasoline or Coleman fuel. The plans are a free download, and it is a wonderful "beginners engine" to get started building model i.c. engines. i have built one and they are simply a marvelous engine to start on.---Brian Rupnow
        Last edited by brian Rupnow; 12-31-2014, 10:39 AM.
        Brian Rupnow
        Design engineer
        Barrie, Ontario, Canada


        • #5
          Originally posted by mklotz View Post
          The only engine I know that creates motion directly from heat is the Stirling engine. .
          the Stirling engine... is like a song with no melody.
          A woman with no curves.
          Just aint Gorgeous.

          Now Steam is Sexy!
          Has testosterone built into it!
          Last edited by Old Hat; 12-31-2014, 10:30 AM.


          • #6
            A shameless plug for Village Press, the sponsors of this forum. Get a copy of either "The Shop Wisdom of Philip Duclos" or "Two Shop Masters". They both feature several of Phil Duclos' IC engines. They range from relatively simple to challenging and are all scratch built from barstock.

            Phil Duclos' plans, build photos and instructions are first class and comprehensive. The Shop Wisdom book is an excellent text for the beginning home shop machinist.

            Perusing other VP offerings will open a wide range of engine projects, steam, hot air and IC as well as general shop projects.
            Jim H.


            • #7
              Wow thanks - lots of good ideas to check out already! Keep 'em coming.


              • #8
                Hi torchroadster
                Brian Rupnow is no stranger to building engines. Here are links to four engines he built (there are probably more):
                He does an excellent job of documenting the build process, problems encountered, and how to fix them. I think all the engines were built from raw stock.
                Location: Long Island, N.Y.


                • #9
                  How about a gas turbine? my very first engine was a Kamps tubine, there's a thread here with some pics.

                  They are a lot of fun to build, lots of different material types to machine ranging from aluminum alloys thru to stainless and inconel.

                  The only "casting" needed would be an impeller/compressor wheel, but there are plenty of suitable types on ebay which can be bought cheaply.
                  My $0.02

                  Good luck with whatever engine you decide on.




                  • #10
                    Here's a link to a model engine forum. Seems to me there's a lot of good info there.