It's that time of year again. Don't know about you, but the fervency of opinion in both the rabid pro and anti sides of the secular labeling of late December has reached the scale where moderates like me don't know what to do. Seems that no matter what I do, either one, the other, or both will be upset! Well maybe Scrooge had it right, so Bah! Humbug! I say—in the nicest, most respectful way, of course. After the December issue is released (inflicted?) on the world on Saturday, December the first, I'll attend a project meeting on Monday the third (yes, could not help myself, I'm back in the software development game again), then Ruthie and I will head up the coast for a few days to stroll up and down the beaches and work on our skin cancers.
We are also trying to avoid the rampant, escalating gift giving the "season" has degenerated into. Not that gift giving is a bad idea—it's not, and we both like being surprised as much as the next bloke, but this trend of having to outdo last year, every year, has to stop somewhere. We've gifted each other with a nice LED bedside lamp, with iPhone chargers built into the base (they charge iPads and Kindles too). That's one of those obvious ideas that makes you wonder why you didn't think of it first and we are both looking forward to receiving them. I've also got a secret, inexpensive something extra for Ruthie, and she will have some similar for me I'm sure, except hers will be more thoughtful because women are more creative that way. Almost getting back to being the thought that counts, and that seems a less stressful way of living to us these days.
So while we are enjoying the beaches of Alexander Headland, I hope you are enjoying the December Issue of MEN. I've tried to include a bit of everything, and Adrian has outdone himself with two engine reviews. My Tech-Tip taste tester thinks our idea for this month is unique, innovative, and practical even. And because it's December, we have a new Free CAD Plan set. Thanks go to Chris Boll and Rob Jenkins for making this possible and this year, the plan is not restricted to Members only; everyone can download it. Then we've got Gallery and Watzit entries, a bit of news, and thanks to the generosity of another reader, we have scans of the missing pages for a pioneering engine construction series from 1938. It's all detailed below.
All that remains now is to wish you all, on behalf of The Motor Boys, myself and a very patient and understanding Ruthie, a very Politically Correct Festive Season Greeting. Or not, depending on your own, personal sense of social ethics, geopolitical beliefs, religious leanings, preferences, and whim. And we'll see you again, on January 1, 2013.
Ron and The Boys
New Feature for MEN
As of this month, we have a new way to help move between the "Standard Items" on the monthly MEN pages. If you look at the right hand side of the page opposite the titles Editorial, New Books, Engine of the Month, and Tech Tip, you'll see a couple of graphic links which will take you the same heading on the next and previous Editorial page, in date order. Naturally, when you reach the forward or backward limits, only the one appropriate navigation arrow appears. I hope this helps you—it sure helps me!
For the moment, you'll find the links don't appear in pages prior to the January 2011 issue. The reason for this is to limit the number of updated files included in the monthly Members' Update zip file. The links will extend to the 2009 and 2010 pages next month, and follow up with another two years worth each month until all have been done. Some early pages don't have all the "regular" headings, but I'll figure out the most painless way to handle that as it happens.
There are some more subtle usability tweaks added as well. The annoying scroll bar which most readers experienced at the bottom of the Navigation Bar is gone, and the access to the Member's off-line Cookie has been made more obvious—some Members missed it, and so missed out on over half the extended content of the DVD!
Lastly, you may notice that when you click on a Year link in the left hand Navigation Bar, it opens out and any open one closes up. I've had to do this because as the number of years has grown, having too many open at the same time really messed up the Navigation Bar content. You can still click on an 'open' year to close it.
BJ Cicada Plans
For a long time now, Model Engine News has maintained a tradition of offering a free CAD plan set for a model engine twice every year, in December, and March. Sometimes the plan is made available to everyone, but mostly it is restricted to MEN Members as a way of saying thanks for buying the DVD and keeping this web site viable. This year being a leap-year, our December Free Plan is unrestricted, so as Tiny Tim might say, "Merry Christmas, one and all", or maybe it was Baldrick, I can't remember. Regardless, the plan is for the BJ Cicada, and you can get your copy from our Plans Page. I'd intended to have finished mine by now, but it's been too hot for shop work. C'est la vie, or guerre, or something... So over to you, dear Readers. Let me know if you find any errors in the plans, and send in photos of your Cicadas.
The All Electronic MEB #28
As mentioned back in our October 2012 Issue, Model Engine Builder has gone to a digital format to reduce costs, without reducing quality, and to keep the presses rolling. The first such (partial) issue is #28 which went on-line to existing subscribers at the beginning of the month. If you were a print subscriber, you will have received an email advising you of where to go on the MEB website to log in, and more importantly, what your subscriber ID number is. A follow-up email indicated that some were having trouble, giving probable causes and work-arounds. It all worked fine for me and I'd cynically guess that anyone having difficulty was probably using Internet Explorer (IE: just say no...)
Mike and Toni have taken full advantage of the new format, offering three pdf documents, three spreadsheets (Excel and Open Office compatible), plus a jpg image of a degree wheel for engine timing in three different image resolutions. Other links on the page provide optional downloads for the related Adobe Acrobat pdf reader, and Open Office for those who don't have MS's Excel spreadsheet program. Early days yet, and this is not yet the complete issue #28, but looks good to me so far.
Deller: Complete At Last!
Our Engine of the Month in April 2005 was the little 1cc Deller sparkie from 1938. At the time, we were unable to gather all the Newness Practical Mechanics article series, not that this stopped enterprising model engineers like Les Stone and Graham Podd from making running examples. We knew we were missing parts II, and V, so our Deller page asked if anyone could supply these missing pages. Well good things come to those who wait, and at the tail end of November, 2012, an email arrived from John Bell (UK) offering the missing parts together with Part VII which we did not know we were missing, and a page from the November 1936 issue of NPM which introduced the engine, flagging it as a future construction series for the journal, and dating it at last. The Deller page has been updated with the missing material, and text revisions reflecting current knowledge. Thanks John, much appreciated.
New Watzit Entry
We have an absolute cracker of a Watzit for you to end the year with. It's not that we don't know what it is, or who built it, because we do! It's simply that the engine is so loaded with things I know attract the attention of model engine builders and collectors that rather than make a standard Gallery entry out of it, I figured it deserved elevation to Watzit status. So click here for the Outside the Box Watzit, and thanks to Darrel Pugh for providing the images.
New Gallery Entries
We have two new Gallery entries this month. The first is a dieselization job on a pair if Cox TD 09's done by Jon Fletcher (OZ) for a customer. When you read the piece and examine the pictures, take note of the neat transition of conrod big-end to shaft, It's fine work on a fiddly job like this that separates the masters from the rest. Cox engines make good diesels, though to get the best from them, just replacing the glow head with a variable compression thinggy is usually not enough. The down side is the higher stresses and faster running the diesel versions are capable of places extra stress on the crankshaft, and breakages are not unknown.
The second Gallery entry is a charming little 0.5cc diesel designed and built by Richard Fallas (NZ, ne UK, with PNG thrown in). Richard calls his design the Sandfly, for reasons explained on the Gallery page. This is timely, following on from our Tech Tip from last month on making small diesels. Richard has offered his design to us, so expect some CAD plans for it sometime during 2013.
Incidentally, while on the subject, David Owen wrote to say that quoting a cylinder taper for a specific engine is too restrictive, and possibly misleading. David says—and I have to agree—that a workable taper for pinch fit piston/liners is in the region of 0.001" over a length of 1", or 0.025/25mm if you prefer, both tapers inclusive. It does not matter what the cylinder length is, that taper will work regardless. He feels that zero taper, on the other hand, is nearly impossible to work with, as either the piston has the correct fit, or it does not. On the subject of step deflector pistons, David agrees, saying it is a bad idea, but given the overall success and high regard in which the original Mills is held, the concept is hard to erase. The photo is a needle for an AE 0.01 (or 0.02) cc diesel that David made for a customer last month. The needle drawing was provided by Model Engine News.
K Eagle: Revised and Expanded
Adrian has provided us with a bonus review for the Festive Season (and how's that for Weasel Words and Political Stupidity taken to its illogical conclusion). Our previous page on the Kemp and K Engineering engines under 1cc was a "quickie" which contained good information, misleading information, and missing information! This has been rectified by a brand new Kemp and K 1cc Engines page which addresses previous sins. The old page is still there because I suspect that other pages reference sections of it, and other pages re-use images it contains. If I delete it and its images, things might break, so the page has been made hard to find and labeled, in the best IT tradition, "Deprecated".
New Books and Magazines This Month
Spindles, by Harprit Sandhu, is Number 27 in the long running Workshop Practice Series (WSP for short), currently published by Special Interest Model Books, UK. The ISBN is 1854861492 and it first saw light of day in 1997. Much of the material it contains is older than that, but remains current, nevertheless. Initially, I thought the author's name must be a clever nom de plume, but no. Mr Sandhu hales from Champaign IL (USA) and has published other books on electronics, parallel programming, and robotics!
His Spindles book describes a number of precision spindles with various types of bearings, ways to machine them, and ways to drive them. I count seven distinct types with two variations, all presented in the typical WSP format of old (black and white photographs and clear line drawings scattered throughout the text, printed on non-glossy paper). Drawings in the individual chapters omit some dimension detail in the interest of clarity, however an appendix contains complete mechanical drawings for each type, dimensioned to the SI standard (metric). The book contains 156 pages making it one of the larger WSP titles.
In his book, Mr Sandhu expresses a fondness for clock making and describes several high spindles he has made to assist him with precision grinding and gear cutting. It is interesting to see the different bearing arrangements he has chosen for inside, as distinct from outside grinding work. Also described is a micro spindle designed to fit in the George H Thomas designed Universal Dividing Head. As the UDH is machined to have its axis on the lathe's axis, this provides Model Engineers who have built the UDH with a rather good equivalent to the traditional tool post grinder. Sandhu claims his was built in a couple of hours due to the difficulty of mounting a Dremal Moto-Tool in the lathe toolpost for this purpose. This seemed like a good idea to me and was the main reason I bought his book (must get around to those UDH castings under the bench, someday...)
The Introduction gives reasonable insight into the options and selection of spindle bearing types (all bearings in the book are either of the ball or roller type). This is followed by a chapter on design which concentrates on bearing types, arrangement, and pre-load. Surprisingly, the spring pre-load employed by Prof Dennis Chaddock for his famous Quorn Tool and Cutter Grinder is not mentioned. Chapters five through thirteen each describe a different spindle. Each chapter is worthwhile reading for the author's machining instructions which inevitably center on maintaining concentricity, and achieving precision fits where required. The chapter on driving the spindles is a bit short on detail, neither does Sandhu give much coverage to safety in relation to belting—an omission I suspect many Model Engineers will not criticize him for at all!
Overall, I like this volume and still fully intend to make that danged spindle for the UDH, just as soon as I make the equally danged UDH! The lack of chapters talking about magneto bearings, spring pre-load, and labyrinth seals to keep grinding dust out of the bearings I consider an omission, but then as a past Quorn builder, I'd have to, wouldn't I? In any case, these are well dealt with in the Quorn book—which is why I know they are missing... Looks like we are in danger of introducing a circular argument here, so best I stop. Certainly the subject matter is rather specialized, but it is the sort of specialization that serious Model Engineers and especially those who make model IC engines should take note of. It's a current volume, available from Amazon for $22.95, or from various UK sources for around £7. I give it four stars, knocking off one only for the highly specialized nature of its content, and the absense of spring preloaded magneto bearings .
Engine Of The Month: Allbon
This month's special engine is more about a man than a specific engine. To users and collectors of British engines, especially diesels, the name Alan Allbon will conjure instant memories, most of them fond, I'd imagine. Adrian's article trys to give tribute to the man and the engines he designed for his own company, in association with Davies-Charlton Ltd, and Allbon-Saunders. Finding information on the man himself has proven especially difficult, so if there is any reader out there who has more information, or can point us to a magazine article on him that we've missed, we'd sure appreciate it. The page is also referenced from our list of esteemed people and companies, with Alan L Allbon appearing in the ranks of the model engine Pioneers.
Tech Tip of the Month
How many of you out there grew up with this sound filling your ears? "Son, there are two ways of doing things; a right way, and a wrong way...", and how many of you now find yourselves saying the same thing—and getting roughly the response you gave all those years ago? This month's tech tip is a lengthy sequence for the right way to perform a simple operation which is very easy to do badly, or at best, poorly. Visit the new How To Insert Threaded Inserts page for a simple way of achieving consistently excellent results. Check out the How To... index page for most of our previous good ideas.
The Good, the Bad, and the Inexpensive
For some time, I thought that an adjustable angle vice would simplify some setups. Good ones are rock solid, precise, and alarmingly expensive for just occasional use. Bad ones are cheap, but lightly constructed and while they may be rigid enough for straight drilling, I'd worry trying to mill something in them. That leaves us with this typical Asian import. It is not as solid as the precision variety, but it's not flimsy either. Even better, it was On Sale for $50, so I bought one. On unpacking, I tried to rotate it and found it reluctant to move for a few degrees, the moving easily, then jamming, then easy again, etc. The reason is plain to see, the manufacturer had given me a bonus free gift in the form of a fine paste of cast iron duct in the dovetail slide. The slides were nicely machined, so few wipes with acetone, followed by slide-way oil and the rotation felt acceptably. I'm pleased enough with it for the price and as long as I don't try to take great hoggin' cuts, it—coupled with a digital level—should do the job nicely.
This section is intended to alert you to little things that are hard to expand to a full news item, or cunningly wind into the Editorial, but are worthy of note never the less.
- The Hornet page has been updated with more serial number data. The link will take you direct to the revised paragraphs.
- Deciding whom to crown as a "Pioneer" is rather subjective and almost as difficult as deciding when to use who, and when to use whom! I debated deeply with myself before adding Alan Allbon to this group, deciding finally that his work producing commercial sub-1cc diesel engines was more pioneering than not. This being the case, then Bill Wisniewski also deserves appointment for his work with tuned pipes and Schnuerle porting for model engines. He has been posthumously promoted accordingly.
- Ouch. I made a tiny typo in the XML data from which the Book Review Index is generated. This resulted in Richard De Crespigny, author of QF32 being called "Dichard". Sorry, Dick. All fixed now.
- Joe Martin of the Internet Craftsmanship Museum passed this one on. It'd not new, but if you've not been there before, visit the Museum of Retro Technology.
- Finally, to those who noticed that an entry for the December 2012 page appeared in mid-November, but gave a 404 "Not Found", sorry, my bad. I was testing the New Features and accidentally uploaded a peak preview of the Navigation page with a link to a page not uploaded—until now .