Model Engineering

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I first discovered model engineering when I came across a bound volume of the Model Engineer magazine in my high school library. What an eye opener, I had never seen anything like the little locomotives that jumped out of the pages of this remarkable journal. Capable of pulling a fully grown adult and more, I was absolutely fascinated by these engines. Over the next few years I regularly borrowed the solitary volume from the library, reading, and re-reading, determined to learn everything I could about these little live steam locomotives so that one day I would be capable of building my own.

It was some years before I was able to get started - education, a family and a career had to take priority. Eventually, however, I was able to clear a corner of the garage where I could set up a workbench. Pride of place was occupied by a newly purchased, lightly used, Emco Unimat PC Basic lathe complete with a range of accessories including the vertical mill/drill attachment. Although tiny, 54mm centre height, 194mm between centres, it was, and still is, a pleasure to use and a very good machine to learn on.

Now, with the beginnings of a workshop, I was anxious to get started on building a locomotive, but before jumping straight into what promised to be a multi-year and complex project, I managed to curb my enthusiasm long enough to start instead with some simpler projects - ones that I would have some chance of completing succesfully and in a relatively short time.

First off was a stationary engine; the "Elmer #25 wobbler". A relatively simple oscillating engine which makes an excellent first project for the beginner. Drawings and instructions for this engine, as well as a collection of other stationary engines ranging in complexity, can be found in the book Elmer's Engines by Elmer Verburg. This is a great book for stationary engine fans unfortunately, however, it is currently out print, and the prices sellers are asking for for used copies is absolutely insane. Fortunately for those who would like to build one, the drawings and instructions are freely available on the web.

After completing the Elmer engine I turned to building a few simple bits of workship equipment - a centre finder, an end mill holder, a tailstock die holder, etc.
At long last I was ready to embark on my locomotive building adventure. After some research I decided to build a 5" gauge Railmotor as published in Model Engineer and described elsewhere on this website.

Everything else

Over the years, in addition to Model Engineering, I have developed an interest in a diverse array of hobbies and distractions. Some of which have been purely leisure pursuits whilst others have overlapped with my professional life. Currently my primary interests are model engineering, stamp collecting, leatherwork, electronics and software development.
Some of which are also featured on this website.