Model Engine Maker

Engines => From Plans => Topic started by: arnoldb on July 21, 2012, 06:51:56 PM

Title: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 21, 2012, 06:51:56 PM
This will be a slightly edited re-post of the second engine I built; Elmer Verburg's #15 - Fancy.

When I started building this engine exactly three years ago to this weekend, I was a very raw beginner with only a lathe and drill press, and a bare minimum of tools.

It took me three weeks and a lot of hard work to finish back then.  Given the shop-load of tooling I have acquired since then, I could most likely build this same engine to the same sort of finishes in a single day or two, but it would not feel the same, and I wouldn't learn nearly as much as I did back then.  This little engine still occupies a prized position in my little collection, as well as in my heart.

Many of the people who inspired, helped and just plain egged me on during the original build are members here on MEM - I still can not thank you gents enough. 

We all have to start somewhere  :) 

25 July 2009:
I started on Elmer's Fancy, and will build as close to original plans as possible, but to the highest finish I can.
Deviation from the original build plans will be to make shafts, holes and screws to the closest metric equivalents, I'll be using aluminium for the column and might "personalise" the flywheel.

Started with the column - turned the bottom dowel, turned space for the decorative foot, and turned the rest down to 5/8" up to the chuck as suggested by Elmer. Then laid out for the rest of the detail:

Part-way through turning the detail:
Nearly made a boo-boo on the taper bit; calculated the angle at which to set the topslide from Elmer's dimensions (nice doing trigonometry for a change), but forgot to halve it! Fortunately I realised this in time, as the initial cut angle just looked wrong.

This is where I stopped:

To turn the round part at the foot, I just took a piece of 6mm silver steel, drilled a 4mm hole through it at a slight angle; then used the bench grinder to grind it to shape to make a form tool. Then heat treated it and a final couple of pushes over the oilstone & it worked a treat - forgot to take a picture though.

Wanted to carry on that day, but had to stop due to severe chatter & cold feet - not on the project, but on my body - It was terribly cold here in Windhoek that day and my workshop's not very warm ;D
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: ksouers on July 21, 2012, 06:58:48 PM
Ah, another arnold build!

I'm in.
Where's the popcorn?

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: dsquire on July 21, 2012, 07:20:13 PM

Ah yes, I remember that scrawny kid from Namibia. He hardly knew how to turn the lathe on much less make a model engine. He sure has came a long way in those 3 short years and is sure turning out some beautiful pieces.

I've seen it before Arnold but I have the popcorn out and the easy chair so I'll be watching over your shoulder to refresh my mind with what I saw the first time.


I've got plenty of popcorn but you'll have to reach for it. haha

Cheers  :)

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 21, 2012, 07:42:12 PM
Thanks Kevin  :) - you won't need as much popcorn this time around  :P
Don, thank you; I take that as a huge compliment  :), but a LOT of credit goes to you and many others who selflessly helped me along the way and shared your knowledge freely so that a beginner like me could benefit from it.  I just had to do a bit of machining along the way  :-[

26 July 2009
Did some more work on the column that day.

I didn't want to spoil the finish on the column, so clamped it with paper as protection in the vise, and set about milling the flats using the vertical slide on the Myford:

Flats finished, drilled & reamed holes for the main bearing and pivot shaft. I din't have a 3mm reamer yet, so made a d-bit reamer from some 3mm piano wire for the pivot hole:

Next up I made the drill-jig and spacer bush, then drilled the ports; just clamped the myford's machine vice in the cross-vice on the drill press & went for it:

Then, with the machine vice still in the drill press cross vice, I rotated the column 90 deg in the machine vice and cross-drilled the hole for the steam connection.
After that, the machine vice went back to the vertical slide on the Myford, column turned another 90 deg, and milled the flywheel clearance on the foot of the column, as well as drilled out the spring clearance for the pivot shaft. I found a spring that I hoped will work.
Ended there that evening: column complete (except for base), and special bits & bobs needed to get to this stage.

Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: lazylathe on July 21, 2012, 07:43:46 PM
I remember reading through this one a while ago...

To think that this was your first engine and then fast forward a short three years...
WOW, you have come so far Arnold!
It gives me some hope!!! ;D

Chair and popcorn are ready!!

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 22, 2012, 01:46:26 AM
 :) Thanks Andrew - this was actually my second completed and running  engine. The first runner I built just plain rocked and was done in one weekend flat  ;D.  And there's a couple of skeletons in the closet - my really first engine is not even built yet  :-[ - it's about time I finish that one  ;)

30 July 209
Managed to get some more done; not much, but some.

I was running low on raw material for this build, so I splurged on a 400mm length of 25mm square brass stock - bigger than I needed, but that's all the supplier had.
After recuperating from the price-shock on the following Monday and Tuesday ;D , did a bit on Wednesday:

For the engine's cylinder, I sawed off a piece of the brass square at just over the needed 1 1/4" (to allow facing off the bandsaw marks). As the cylinder requires a rectangular profile along the length, I then sawed off another piece on one of the sides leaving just over the required 1/2" thickness. No way I was going to turn the unneeded just-under 1/2" slab into to swarf. Next photo shows the last cut - I made some add-on parts for my bandsaw to work with smaller pieces. (It also shows I REALLY need to clean the saw  :-[ )

After that I just faced the block to size and marked out & punched for the cylinder bore and pivot shaft - as I stopped that evening:

The next evening, I bored the cylinder - first center drilled, drilled 4mm with frequent back-outs, then drilled 9.5mm (just under size) being VERY careful to go to the right depth:

Then bored out using the silver steel boring bar I made a couple of weeks ago (that thing is HANDY!) For the finishing passes with the boring bar, I just locked the myford's carriage to the leadscrew & used the leadscrew handweel rather than the apron wheel; it makes for an easier and more controllable fine-feed. Then turned the outside down to leave the tubular extrusion like in Elmer's plans. Stopped here for at that point - boring bar, bored cylinder & boring photo:

Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: ksouers on July 22, 2012, 06:03:03 PM
Thanks for reposting this, Arnold.
Why do I not remember this build? Or perhaps I do but just don't realize it (thanks, Alzheimer's.)

I've got plenty of popcorn but you'll have to reach for it. haha

Thanks Don. Had some trouble at the border, but I managed :)

( (

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 22, 2012, 10:41:33 PM
 :) Thanks Kevin - I think you were busy minding the server at that point  :)  - It's gotten harder to remember all the builds for me as well; In fact, I've had to resort to the "Search" option quite often to find something I thought I remembered - and I'm just barely not even 40 yet! 

1 August 2009

Had some more fun that day...

First turned the 3mm pivot shaft from the only piece of 6mm brass rod I have & threaded the end M3. Took a photo of that but it's so out of focus I can't show it here  :-[:

Elmer suggests an aluminium "plug" in the cylinder bore when you solder the pivot pin to the block to prevent solder from flowing into the cylinder. He also suggests putting some packing over the cylinder bore opening when machining the recesses on the block face. I combined these requirements (and a "no burrs left in the cylinder option ) by taking the piece of aluminium off-cut that was left when I made the column - it had about a 6mm length on it that was machined the same size as the column's head; the rest was thicker, but just long enough to use . I just chucked it on the thinner machined section, and turned down the rest to fit fairly tightly into the bore. In fact, when I tested it, the fit was so close, that I couldn't push the cylinder much more than 5 mm over it; it would just pop right off again from air pressure in the cylinder.

Not wanting to struggle to get it out later because of an air-lock, I drilled a 5mm hole through the plug; if needed I could then use it as a mandrel and/or lap later in the build

Then I set up the cylinder block (with the aluminium plug pressed in) in the 4-jaw and centered on the pivot hole. Elmer mentions that you must use a dial test indicator to check the squareness. I don't have a DTI yet, so used my favorite dial indicator. I know my lathe faces slightly concave, so rather than tramming like Elmer suggests, I just took alternative readings on the ends by rotating the chuck and used the chuck spanner's handle as a lever between the brass plug and chuck face to get things squared. Then a test on a "circle" closer to the pivot hole with the dial indicator showed no discernible run-out; meaning the cylinder face was square on all sides.

By now, you should be tired of reading, so here's a picture of how I did the set-up to turn the recesses and pivot hole:

Easy going; turned the recesses to 0.4mm deep and drilled the pivot shaft's hole. With the aluminium plug inside, I drilled the 3mm pivot hole just till the first aluminium swarf came out, so the hole is not entirely through the brass - leaving some retaining shoulders and no burrs in the cylinder. Then to make life easier while soldering, I put a generous fillet in the hole using a countersink.

I turned the aluminium plug in the cylinder to get away from the "dent" left by the drill. Got everything right for soldering - all cleaned up etc.
Then the FUN started  :o: - the pivot shaft was WAY to loose in it's hole : :-[ - I measured, thought, reflected, and then looked at my drill set; I drilled the darn pivot hole 3.5mm and not 3mm !!! : :'(

After a cup of coffee I decided next best was to make a new pivot shaft; just turn it 3.5mm for the section that goes into the cylinder block and 3mm for the rest. Problem was, I didn't have brass stock left for it. OK, some 6mm silver steel turned down should do the job. Turned a new shaft; used emery to get the 3mm section bang on size for the column, and then proceeded to turn the 3.5mm section under-size again!  :o :'(

Well, third-time lucky ??? Made a soap advertisement pivot shaft (of the New! Improved! variety) - it worked! - was still slightly loose in the hole - ideal for soldering. Not wanting to struggle with it moving when soldering, I used the rough beaks on my big vice to put some raises & dents on the 3.5mm section - worked a charm; I needed to lightly tap the shaft into place, it didn't wiggle a bit in the hole and was nice and square in all directions, leaving nice room for the solder to wick in (If this seems like a cheat - yes it is, but it beats the heck out of trying to get punch marks on the shaft to get it to stay put  ;D)

So ended off the evening with this:

2 shafts now useless for this build - for the photo wall-of-shame; they will be re-used , the aluminium "multi-purpose" bit with the dent left by drilling, and the cylinder block with shaft eventually attached.

At least little Fancy's column and cylinder block could come together - some bling still needed though :

Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 23, 2012, 06:39:01 PM
2 August 2009

The quest continued...

Having gone to bed the previous night not having any 6mm brass rod left (too little anyway) I woke the morning with an idea.
Once again, 't was cheating (I know), but I didn't want to turn a length of 12 mm brass down to mostly 3mm for the con rod.
My idea was to use some 3.2mm "brass" brazing rod that I have, and solder the 6mm piece on for the big-end link:

So I turned a bit of the brazing rod down to 3mm, drilled a 3mm hole in the piece of 6mm rod, and soldered them together. At least my silver soldering was improving; in fact I'm actually started to like it - still not pretty, but improving:

I then showed some grit, and proceeded to clean up the "con-rod in making" with a bit of filing and a lot of emery & oil.
Looking at the plans, I saw that I had forgotten to cut the threads on the piston end... Easy, just chuck it up with the lump that has to become the big end in the space behind the chuck jaws and thread it, right ?  :disagree: - No Go! - it's too short!  :wallbang:

So, turned a "collet" out of 6mm drill rod: Could only find a broken 3.2 mm drill :rant: - so used my M4 tap drill (3.3mm) to drill a hole through. Then with the dremel, cut 2 grooves part-way on the length, and one slot all the way through the center. Chucked the con rod in this in the 3-jaw; worked a treat to turn down from 3.2mm to 3mm & thread the piston end. Sorry- forgot to take a photo....

Before setting up the vertical slide for milling, I first turned the piston - got it bang on size by just turning:

Turned some odd-spaced  :-[ oil grooves on the piston. Then center drilled, drilled 2.5mm to a bit past part-off point and then bored (well... "drilled") the piston inside to depth. Then with 3mm tap in the tailstock drill, just tapped the 3mm thread in the top of the piston:

To get a better feel for the tapping, I just set the Myford up as if I want to use back-gear, then leave the back-gear selector in high speed setting. With this set-up, the chuck is very loose to turn by hand and gives nice "feel" for threading.

Parted off the piston - a piece of 1.6mm brazing rod in the tailstock chuck prevented it from going in the swarf-heap:

Then I set up the vertical slide, and using the collet I made earlier to grip the con rod, I milled one flat face on the big end, marked it out, center drilled, and drilled and reamed a 2mm hole through it. With a piece of 2mm piano wire in the jaws of the tailstock chuck (now inserted in the headstock ) I just removed the con rod (collet and all) from the milling vice, turned it 180 deg, and shoved it over the piano wire in the chuck. Then I brought the carriage with the vertical slide back, and just clamped the collet up again - this way everything stays in alignment, and the next face on the big end is nice ans parallel with the original. - Once again, I forgot to take a photo!

This is where I ended that day  A piston and con rod:

And screwed together:

Initially and intentionally, I left the thread on the connecting rod slightly short - I needed to add a couple more threads to the con rod, but got pretty close. Elmer's plans calls for this entire assembly to be 1 1/2" long, and my calipers shows overall length when screwed together 1.4995" - that was close enough  ;D

6 August 2009

As I was already feeling "cranky" that evening, I decided to leave the Fancy's crank for later.

Earlier the week I found some substitute "loctite" suitable for retaining bearings & bushes, so just did a simple turning job - made the main bearing bush. A simple job - turn-drill-ream&part , but oh-so-relaxing (and it beats ironing shirts / washing floors LOL )
Pressed it into place in the column with some of the retaining compound so it can set.
Drilled the port hole in the cylinder block & cleaned up the burrs, then put the spares together to get an idea what I let myself in for:
The "ugly" hole at the top of the column was where I'd press in the steam pipe later.

Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: zeeprogrammer on July 24, 2012, 01:35:03 AM
I have always enjoyed reading your threads Arnold.
What strikes me too is your attitude and enjoyment of the hobby.

I'm out of popcorn. Anyone have an alternative?
Don't say M&Ms. I've been prohibited by the one who loves me.
Same for pretzels, nuts, chips of any kind...I'm sure I can exceed the maximum email length.

But she lets me have my jelly jar! Here's to you guy.
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 24, 2012, 10:41:49 PM
Thank you Carl  :)  Me? Attitude? - Yeah; I know I can be a bit grumpy  :wallbang: - but that's just me  :ROFL: - I see nothing wrong with the jelly jar  :cheers:
Re-posting this build makes me really miss our buddy who owes you a beer though...

8 August 2009

That morning I started on the crankshaft. I decided to use brass for the web, so chucked and faced a bit of 3/4" brass. Then I used my smallest center-drill to just touch the stock, to get the center. I marked out the web while mounted (the center dimple is needed for the compasses to get the crank pin offset). For marking out, I really like the Myford's flat bed-ways - a quick wipe over the bed (to get rid of swarf) and drop (well, carefully place) a square on the bed & mark out:
 Then, using the toolpost as a "steady" for my wrist, I punched marks for the crank pin and for the holes to help machine the web contour. I decided to make the crank-pin hole and machine the contour on the web before parting it off, so I set up the vertical slide and dividing head, transferred the chuck, and drilled the needed holes:
 Then I put the the 4-jaw on the spindle with a centered 4mm bit and milled (well, gashed/hacked  :-[  the web profile:
 Notice the deep scratch left on the web surface by the biggish chunk of brass (similar to the one still left in the top of the photo) breaking off. That was very nearly a sticky-brown-pants moment...
Back then, And still now, I din't have a riser block for the dividing head to fit it directly to the short cross-slide, nor did I have any way of mounting the chuck more rigidly to the cross-slide. There was also no way to mount the dividing head directly to the vertical slide and get in the ranges needed to mill this job, so I had to resort to using a cross-slide extension I made - hence the non-rigidity in this milling set-up:
 I then transferred the job back to the spindle, drilled the hole for the main shaft, faced off the scratch (fortunately I left some "meat"), and parted the web off. A quick turning job for the main shaft (from silver steel) to press-fit in the web with some retainer, and then used my cheapy-Dremel-like tool to polish the web. The main shaft is handy for clamping the assembly in the big vise for polishing; shaft protected by a leather welding glove  :)  Then I cut some 2mm piano wire for the crank pin with the Dremel (I use my Real Dremel for more important jobs  ;) ) and, thoroughly cleaned, I pressed it in (yes, with retainer  :) ). It's easier to polish the web face first - without the crank pin in the way  - so, one crank done:
 If, at this point in reading, you haven't fallen asleep yet, I must compliment you on your tenacity  :ThumbsUp:
 The singular braincell I left on duty for an idea eventually did have one! - make the flywheel from the cast iron specially obtained for the purpose, and mill 5 spokes in it with the flywheel locking pin and screw hidden inside of one of the spokes. Wow - brilliant idea  :noidea: - except, after the day's milling I was not keen to repeat that! So I called a meeting between all the brain cells present (a couple were away chasing girls - I hoped one of them would get lucky, but as it turned out  that wasn't the case).
 Once I was able to impress the importance of the matter on the present brain cells, they came up with nearly as an insane solution as the original - build a multi-part flywheel - "mystery metal tube" for the outer part (Rim as I've learnt since) - from an old printer, 6 brass spokes (one of which doubles as the flywheel locking screw) - made from 2mm "brass" brazing rod, and a 12mm hub made from silver steel.... INSANE, but what the heck, I'll try it; if it fails, I'll just make a "plain" flywheel... I thought I'd try it!
 Center drilling the hub for one of the spoke locations - lots of 1.6mm holes after that  ;D :
The day was finished off with 2mm threads in each of the hub's spoke locations (except for the one "plain" 2mm hole in one location for the "locking pin/spoke"
Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: Dean W on July 24, 2012, 10:52:20 PM
Thank you Carl  :)  Me? Attitude? - Yeah; I know I can be a bit grumpy  :wallbang: - but that's just me 
Arnold, I don't think anyone has seen you as "a bit grumpy".  ;)  On the contrary, those who know, know you for
the mild mannered guy that you are.  :)
Pleasure watching this build unfold again.  It's a good one for us old hands as well as the new fellows to the game.
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on July 26, 2012, 07:51:00 PM
Thanks Dean  :)  - LOL - mild-mannered maybe, but you should ask some of the assistants/apprentices I've had!  There was one that cottoned on though; he used to come to work a bit earlier, and made sure there was a freshly brewed pot of coffee waiting at the office.  He was poached by an IT company - and when I also joined that same company earlier this year in a position where I could assign work to him if required, his first comment was "F....kit; and I can't even make sure you get your morning coffee!" Brilliant guy though; he's really doing well and I'm right proud of him  :)

On to the final installment of Fancy  :)

9 August 2009

Well, Fancy was complete; didn't turn out quite as well as I wanted, but practice makes perfect...
:paranoia: Way back when I posted the above line, I didn't realise that "perfect" is impossible to achieve, and that any build will reach a point where one have to decide "good enough is good enough" - on a purely personal and subjective basis :) 
That morning I finished the flywheel assembly: first time I can recall that I had both my lathe's chucks holding work-in-progress; 3-jaw with the hub-to-be and 4-jaw with the rim-to-be after getting drilled & tapped using the dividing head:
 Both were just parted of after above photo - the hub only after I drilled and reamed it to size for the axle.
 Then I made the flywheel spokes from brass brazing rod, and threaded one end each for M2 to screw into the hub. These brazing rods are strangely difficult to get threaded; the die just does not want to "bite" to start, so I had to file a fairly significant taper on each before threading.
 Then I assembled the lot with loctite on all the treads and the parts in the rim.
 Hub assembled & excess rod crudely clipped off using side-cutters:
 To make up the missing spoke - which is also the locking pin, I shortened an M3 grub screw, and cut and filed a bit of brazing rod to the correct length for the assembly. Some of the spokes were intruding into the shaft hole, so I drilled the hole out in the drill press, then reamed to size again; that got rid of the protrusions. Then I turned the excess bits on the rim down in the lathe using the grub screw & lock-spoke to clamp to an arbor.
 Polishing the spokes in situ to get rid of some excess loctite & dings from the installation nearly stumped me - but I settled on a leather thong coated with metal polish; one spoke at a time; this worked a treat ( Unfortunately, it runs with a bit of an up-down wobble; couldn't figure out how to correct that :-[
 Then I turned a base, and while still in the lathe, used the tailstock to press in the column. The red bit you see is a leather welding glove between the top of the column and the tailstock drill chuck to prevent damage to the top of the column:
 After this, I pressed in the steam pipe in the vice - once again using the welding glove to protect everything. I knew it was home when I heard a strange kgrtz sound; the pipe punched a neat hole through the glove & I had to fish out the round bit of leather from inside the pipe...
 Then I (crudely) polished the cylinder block, cleaned everything, assembled with some thin oil, and gave it a trial run. Something's still a bit stiff, but at about 10 PSI she started up and ran. All brass components are polished; the flywheel is "semi" polished, and the aluminium column and base are as-machined.
 I still wanted to make a nice nut for the pivot shaft and given everything a clear lacquer coat to protect it, but that will have to wait for now. is still outstanding now in 2012  :-[
 So here's Fancy (I hate my camera; it highlights the defects!  :ROFL: ): I've since gottin a much better camera; but it's even worse about showing up defects!
  I hope my effort is worthy of it's name! - and a BIG thanks to everyone who supported me through this build  :NotWorthy: !

And the video:

Back to 2012

Thanks to all who watched the re-run  :)

I must say, re-posting this build certainly brought back a LOT of good memories as well as some sadness (RIP Vernon - The exploding loco avatar is sorely missed).

Kind Regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: zeeprogrammer on July 27, 2012, 11:28:09 AM
Thanks for the re-post Arnold.
Yes...lot's of good memories.
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: DaveH on August 09, 2012, 06:56:23 PM
Nicely made,  :ThumbsUp: smashing post and photo's as usual  :NotWorthy:

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: ReFlad on August 13, 2012, 03:33:31 AM
 What a nice build.  I remember referencing this build when I built my own.  You are truly an inspiration!  :NotWorthy:

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: steamer on August 13, 2012, 11:20:16 AM
Thanks for that Arnold!  I think I'll have my Son build that one first....

 I do remember and miss Vernon as well.

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: vcutajar on August 13, 2012, 03:34:05 PM
Thanks Arnold for posting this build log.  It's the first time I saw it and have been through it from start to finish.  Really enjoyed it.

Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on August 13, 2012, 05:45:00 PM
Carl, Dave, Ronald, Steamer & Vince, thanks gents  :NotWorthy:
This was my second running engine; the first was one of the rocking engines from the craze that swept back then.

Dave (Steamer), I think this engine is just about perfect as a beginner's model.  Not too small, but small enough that mistakes aren't expensive in material terms.  It's a good runner as well, and well suited to the most basic tooling  :ThumbsUp:

Kind regards, Arnold
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: zeeprogrammer on August 13, 2012, 11:05:36 PM
This was my second running engine;

And the rest are...?
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on August 14, 2012, 11:03:55 AM
And the rest are...?

 ;) On their way - slowly, but surely  ;)
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: b.lindsey on August 14, 2012, 11:57:36 AM
Nice build arnold, and I will surely be looking for the others when you get the time. I agree with Dean also, this is a good one for beginners and experienced alike, so thanks for sharing it again.
Title: Re: Elmer's #15 - Fancy
Post by: arnoldb on August 14, 2012, 05:54:27 PM
Thanks Bill  :) - I'll post them up as I can.