Author Topic: The Future of Model Engineering  (Read 1811 times)

Offline mikemill

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The Future of Model Engineering
« on: October 13, 2023, 12:16:53 PM »
Comments made by visitors to the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition could be summed up as not as good as it used to be, also the demise of the exhibition at Allypally that only leaves Harrogate as the only other annual celebration of our wonderful hobby.
Mention was also made as to the age of most of the present participants, myself I am 75 in a few weeks’ time, the lack of younger people taking up the hobby for what ever reason is of concern as to the future of M E.

I would love to pass on my knowledge to the next generation, but how to! evening classes no longer exist for metal work where I learned a lot, and used facilities to build boilers.
Without falling into the trap of ‘young people these days’ but we have to acknowledge the fact that the addiction to the mobile phone, the amount of time dedicated to viewing its contents leave little room to pursue practical interests.

Hence, I come to the sad conclusion that once we pass on there will be no such hobby of Model Engineering.

Regretfully

Mike

Online Jo

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2023, 12:34:04 PM »
Things change but things remain the same.  :)

Model Engineering has always been a "Rich Man's Hobby". The demise of the manufacturing in the UK provided a lot of opportunities during the 80's and 90's for people to take up the hobby. Houses had garages or gardens back then which had space for a workshop. Today it is only youngsters who have not left home (have no children/partners of their own) who have the spare money and space in their parent's house who can take it up.

I am at a loss as to why anyone would want to join most model engineering clubs these days. They don't do model engineering :hellno:  they run miniature railways    :Doh:

Jo

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Offline samc88

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2023, 12:44:03 PM »
Im 28 and been dabbling for years. I cba with the local model engineering club as its 1)over an hour away and 2) full of old people who just want to play with trains which doesnt wholly interest me enough to want to join. I much prefer being on forums, I wonder what the age of people on the forums is as I'm sure that will be much more varied in number

Online Jasonb

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2023, 01:59:11 PM »
I was interested buy the comments that "We" have all the tools we need in the other thread. What about those that are coming into the hobby and by that I mean home machining not just traditional model engineering who are starting out. Just because "You" have what you want does not mean everyone else does. I know that ARC have been busy with a lot of visitors as they are not far from th eshow so there are people about with money to spend on things they need and who don't want an old Myford who were the only machine tool suppliers at the show.

ME forum seems to have a lot of people starting out and just like me at one time they may need to be making 3 or 4 trips back to the car with their purchases from a show. However Times have Changed, where as at one time it was send off a stamped addressed envelope for a catalogue or pick one up at a show then all the faff with mail order, working out postage to include etc meant it was a good idea to go to a show with a long shopping list. These days it's just a few clicks of a mouse away and often cheaper depending where you buy from.

Go to another forum such a MECH and they are loving every bit of it as the main subject of that forum is building and running locos so our prospective as engine builders will be different to theirs and has always been the minority as witnessed by the proportion of locos in the two main UK mags and I would say the US ones too. So we will only get to see a few exhibits that interest up compared with what may be 10 times as many locos on display.

Those coming into using engineering tools are now a lot less likely to be buying them to do traditional model engineering but using them to work on things like RC models, restoration of cars and bikes, steampunk, jewelry making and so on and they will likely be even more turned off by locos and dare I say it steam engines, IC may have a bit more appeal. They are also likely to ub 3D printing and more into CNC than hand skills. They won't want to be making steam engines and locos but things like RC Excavators and other plant, robots, tune up parts for that rock crawler of large scale off roader, maybe a metal barrel for an AFV model. That is how I stated out needing the lathe for an RC Helicopter when you had to mak ebits not buy RTF and from there I drifted into Model Enginnering.

Evening classes were mentioned as the source of learning at one time, again things have changed and anyone starting out now has the likes of You-tube, Facebook and forums to get instant help and answers (good and bad) I doubt many will read a book either.

The shows as we knew them have had their time and unless they drastically change the will die out just like the traditional model engineer will.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2023, 02:03:56 PM by Jasonb »

Offline simplyloco

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2023, 03:26:32 PM »
SNIP

I would love to pass on my knowledge to the next generation, but how to! evening classes no longer exist for metal work where I learned a lot, and used facilities to build boilers.
SNIP
Hence, I come to the sad conclusion that once we pass on there will be no such hobby of Model Engineering.

Regretfully

Mike

Don't lose heart Mike, for people like me have been passing on our knowledge for many years via build threads on Forums such as this, and you could do the same. The Brit Progress build threads that I started since 2005 on the MECH site have received 225,000 views, as well as other major build projects, so hopefully, some people learnt something from them!
I also have two active apprentices who seem to appreciate what I show them, so all is not lost.

Jason, when I talk about 'we', I'm talking about wizend old gits like me, not spritely young things such as yourself...
John

« Last Edit: October 13, 2023, 10:28:50 PM by simplyloco »
Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” ― Socrates

Online Jasonb

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2023, 04:02:43 PM »
John, I'm probably in the We class as I have what I need now.

Though I am still able to remember when I was building up my workshop trudging up and down to the ally pally car park a few times with a carrier bag or threes handle trying to sever my fingers ;)

Agree build threads and answering questions by beginners on the forums is a way to share what you have learnt and I have also done a few designs and build articles in the mags again aimed at the beginner, another one due out soon.

Online Jo

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2023, 04:42:46 PM »
When I was younger  :old: I was rather surprised to find out that Model Engineer even existed as a hobby. A friend took me home and his father was making model engines and owned a lathe and a workshop  :o then I realised that Mike (Vixen) who I worked with had a model traction engine cylinder sitting on his desk at work  :o At that time I had never even considered that making working model engines was even a possibility :o

Model Engineering is not very good at advertising itself outside the normal circles    :-\

Jo
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Offline Laurentic

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2023, 04:44:29 PM »
In "the other thread",as Jason put it, there was indeed talk of most model engineering folk having (mostly) all they need in terms of workshop tooling, but then again, most of the punters I saw at the MMEE show were of a 'certain age'; I am 77 and yesterday at the show I amused myself by being on the look out for anyone who looked significantly younger than me.  There were very very few, so perhaps the comment of most folk having sufficient does apply, providing they have been at it for a while.

However, for someone coming into the game then there is nothing like actually going to see a mill or a lathe or tooling and attachments for both, or for the other stuff one needs or wants, close up and in the flesh.  Seeing something on the internet is of no comparison, the pictures on-line tend to make stuff look bigger and better than it really is.  On-line is great for searching out good deals at the best prices, but for deciding what specific item, make and model, you want to buy nothing beats seeing it for real.  I remember when I was in the market for a mill, I thought the cheapest smallest Seig model would do nicely, until I saw it and thought how small it really was. Again, a little while ago on another thread Jo was looking for a replacement hacksaw - which prompted me to do the same.  Looking at them on-line and thinking one looked good lasted as long as it took me to actually see it close up and then I quickly thought otherwise! 

What was good about say Warco, Arc and Chester machine tool suppliers all being at a show together was if you were in the market for a lathe say, you could wander from supplier stand to supplier stand and see your choices sitting there, and instantly compare and contrast, without having to travel to each suppliers showroom, a distinct advantage.  Now that has gone - and for good reasons on the suppliers part - but for the person setting out in the game it's not so good.  As Jason says, going to a show with a shopping list, wandering around the stalls ticking stuff off the list, and then staggering back to the car park overloaded with bags of heavy stuff (or arranging delivery and then sitting back expectantly) had a certain satisfaction and achievment not afforded the newbie today - which is a further disadvantage to him or her, as well as them possibly not knowing until it arrives whether the right choice had been made.

Chris
« Last Edit: October 13, 2023, 04:48:17 PM by Laurentic »

Offline Charles Lamont

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2023, 05:15:48 PM »
Remember that we have been to the show on a weekday. Perhaps there could be a slightly younger age profile at the weekend. (?)

Offline mikemill

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2023, 05:24:53 PM »
Interesting to hear what others think about our future, I take Jasons point that there are many ways to enjoy M E and we should encourage it.

But I think there is nothing better that an experienced person showing a learner on one-to-one basis, we all know the little nuances that don’t come across watching a video on You Tube. One example would be how to grind up a tool for the lathe or how to make a form tool. I use tipped tools for some jobs, but there is nothing better than sharpening a tool before cutting brass.

Us old hands know there are many things that are not in books or instructions of how to, only many years of experience do you get to know how.

Mike

Offline Dalboy

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2023, 06:27:24 PM »
Like some hobbies I think many come into them at a later time in life especially when retirement looms. Now that I have retired I have plenty of time to spend in the workshop.

I came into it through woodworking and making models from wood which most times only took two months, so I decided that I needed something which would take longer. Having seen many at rallies that I attended with my woodturning this gave me the push to set up and start to make the Farm Boy and the Rob Roy.

After some very lengthy research I made a list of machines and tools waiting for the day I could afford to buy the set up. I came into some money so a new workshop was purchased which was big enough for both hobbies. Once erected the machines and most of the larger items brought so now it is just order materials and any small tooling.

Next up for me is to join the local club which seems to spend the summer time at the track either with locos or traction engines.

And yes I still do woodworking/turning as well as gardening these all keep me busy as well as jobs the wife seems to find for me to do, I think many have that last problem :LittleDevil:

Online Jo

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2023, 06:54:31 PM »
... these all keep me busy as well as jobs the wife seems to find for me to do, I think many have that last problem :LittleDevil:

Its all about how you were brought up. For instance: Women see untidiness as a job to be done, (many) men just see untidiness as something to be lived with    ::).

Jo
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline Laurentic

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2023, 10:09:15 PM »
"men just see untidiness as something to be lived with"

Not sure I see a problem there Jo..........!!!! :cartwheel:

Chris

Offline Art K

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2023, 11:12:46 PM »
I don't know that I'm a "wizened old git quite" yet. But I do remember watching something probably on you tube. They were making RC steam punk vehicles, including a steam powered centipede! They made boilers and wobbler steam engines that operated them. Maybe things aren't as dire predicted, but just going a different direction than you or I would go.
Art
"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you" B.B. King

Offline Michael S.

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2023, 08:33:23 AM »
Steam punk mouse.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJwxXoxc2wI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJwxXoxc2wI</a>

Michael

Offline Bluechip

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2023, 09:31:35 AM »
"men just see untidiness as something to be lived with"

Not sure I see a problem there Jo..........!!!! :cartwheel:

Chris

From ORDER >>>>>>>>DISORDER  is just  Entropy.  It's always been like that. It always will. Resistance is futile. The Vogons knew all about it. ;D

Dave

Offline GordonL

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2023, 12:52:53 PM »
Another problem is that back when us old frogs got started there were a lot of small tool and die shops with 6 to 8 workers operating a single small manual lathe or mill and from time to time this was replaced and it was possible to purchase the old machine to be rebuilt for home shop use. Now everything is computer controlled and way too expensive and requires way more technical knowledge than the hobbyist has. Today's manufacturing is geared toward mass production, not making small quantities. Everything is just replaced with newer, bigger, better and the old one is just thrown in the trash. Remember when you used to rebuild the fuel pump on your car instead of replacing the entire fuel injection module?

Offline Admiral_dk

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2023, 07:49:57 PM »
I felt something like Chris and Dave in regards to 'Entropy' - when I read Jo's comment on the relationship between Men and Women .... ;D (my own premesises  :-X ) ....

But to be fair - I know of at least one Couple, where the roles are reversed  ;D

Quote
Remember when you used to rebuild the fuel pump on your car instead of replacing the entire fuel injection module?

Are you sure that they don't replace the whole Car now'a'days  :thinking:
There where also a Danish joke that has lasted most of my life - about those who 'Get a new Car when the Ashtray is filled up' (instead of empty it) - usually those with too many money (but not always) ....

Per

Offline Laurentic

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2023, 04:54:02 PM »
I did know of one couple Per, a few years back, who when it was his birthday she bought him something like a nice dress, and when it was her birthday he bought her something like a new power drill.  At least that way they were both happy with the presents.

Nothing to do with this thread though - sorry for the digression,

Chris

Online Jo

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2023, 06:00:23 PM »
I did know of one couple Per, a few years back, who when it was his birthday she bought him something like a nice dress, and when it was her birthday he bought her something like a new power drill.  At least that way they were both happy with the presents.

I buy myself a few nice Lathes and Milling machines  :thinking: Before anyone gets the wrong idea they are MINE, as is the sports car and the cross stitch kits  :naughty:

Jo

P.S. The casting sets belong to Surus as do the finished engines  :pinkelephant:
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline GWRdriver

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Re: The Future of Model Engineering
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2023, 03:59:04 PM »
[snip] I am at a loss as to why anyone would want to join most model engineering clubs these days. They don't do model engineering, they run miniature railways    :Doh:
Jo

The club six others and myself founded in the 1960s as a model engineering and live steam club has morphed into an amusement park-like operation with little (if any) locomotive building and no model engineering.  As primarily a "builder (rather than a "runner") there is very little to attract me to their meets.
Cheers,
Harry

 

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