Pacific Rim International Model Engineering Exhibition, Eugene, Oregon, September 1999

Created: October 25, 1999
Last Update: September, 2005
Click images to view them full screen.

PRIME is a west coast version of the long running NAMES (North American Model Engineering Show). NAMES happens in Detroit around April, while PRIME runs in Eugene, OR in September. It's a relatively new show with the first event being held in 1997 at the faire ground in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is a peaceful, quiet little university town just west off of the I5 about half way between the California and Washington borders. I was lucky enough to be living in Portland at the time of the first show and to be making a business trip at the time of the third show in 1999. Below are the photos I took with brief descriptions. Sorry I don't have many names to go with the photos. If by chance you spot your own work here, let me know and I'll provide the appropriate attribution.

The "Bay Area Engine Modellers" (I think that's their name) from San Francisco has had a strong presence at all PRIME shows. This shot shows just a part of their display featuring a four-in-line four stroke that is cranked by hand to show how the bits move. Look at the expression on those kid's faces. Hope it lasts.
A beautiful Bentley BR2 built to Lew Blackmore's design. The BR2 was considered the pinacle of rotary engine development at the close of WWI. Lew built the first from measurements made from an engine in the Imperial War Museum in London (I think) and used it to capture away the Duke of Edinborough Cup to Australia for the first time. The engine's design and construction was serialized in Model Engineer and Leu self-published a book that contains all drawings and maching notes. This book has recently been republished in softcover by TEE in England. I saw this engine run here in 1997 and it is a sight and sound to behold.
Here is a Zimmerman Cirrus Mk I, drawings and construction notes for which appeared in Strictly Internal Combustion (SIC) magazine. Mr Zimmerman made many of these before turning over all the drawings to SIC. There are two sizes: a 1/4 scale and a 1/6th scale. Castings for both are still available. Eric Whittle, who provided the construction notes and pictures for the SIC article, subsequently designed a 1/9th scale version requiring no castings that was published in Engineering In Minature. As should be obvious, the engine is a four cylinder in-line four stroke. The original powered aircraft like the Avro Avian (in which Bert Hinkler made the first solo flight from England to Australia).
This engine was part of the Bay Area display, I think. I didn't notice at the time, but what appears to be flat twin to casual glance, is actually an alternate firing design using a "scotch yoke" that rigidly connects the two pistons. Very interresting. I imagine it's going to vibrate a little though, unless the designer (Pat O'Conner according to the plaque) has a clever plan in mind...
In the vendor/trade area, the US distributor for the Gasparin range of C02 engines had a terrific display. Here is a 9 cylinder ROTARY engine. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it run due to a leak in the plumbing. He was having a great time charging up tanks and handing engines to kids to hold while they ran on the gas charge. I think it's termed "puppy-dog" selling (just hold this little fella for a second...)
And here's the full Gasparin range (or close to it) arranged on a christmas tree (forget the gifts under the tree, just give me that tree). Just about every configuration of aero engine is represented here. Most use the same piston/cylinder assemblies. There was a near microscopic CO2 engine in an indoor R/C model on his stand with a span of about 10 inches! Don't know what the R/C gear weighed, but it was real tiny.
Here is a 9 cylinder radial made to Hodgson drawings (a regular advertiser in SIC). Originally, this engine appeared in Popular Aviation back in the 1936. There was a bit of minor controversy when the "Hodgson" version of these plans were first sold, but when the original PA article and the redrawn CAD plans are compared, the value-add of the Hodgson drawings becomes abundantly apparent. The original drawings required a lot of interpolation and engineering creativity on the part of a builder. The CAD drawings are meticulously complete
Using the 9 cylinder as a starting point, Mr Hodgson's son created drawings for 7, 14 and 18 cylinder versions of the engine. Here is a beautiful example of the dual bank, 14 cylinder radial version seen outside the exhibition hall just before it was run up for a very large and appreciative crowd.
And here it is in action, swinging that 24" prop with ease and responding beautifully to the throttle. It's surprisingly quiet, even with no exhaust collector and has that unmistabable "round engine" sound.
Another SIC design, here we have a Kinner 5 cylinder radial. Although not exact scale, the engine is based on the one that powered light planes and military trainers of the US in the 30's (there's a PT19 in the San Diego Aerospace museum powered by a Kinner, for example). SIC has published two versions of this engine in two different scales.
I just had to snap this shot. The engine is a Morton M5 and this is engine serial number 2. It was being offered for sale at $1850, if I remember correctly. I have a set of M5 casting (not originals, but the ones made by Bruce Satra, another regular SIC advertiser). Got to get around to cutting metal for that engine Real Soon Now.
I don't know what the outcome of the voting was, but this has to be way up there for the best of show. It's a Panther Pup which was published in Home Shop Machinist (HSM) some years back. As you can see, it is executed mostly in brass, but the main thing that sets it apart (taking imaculate workmanship for granted, just for the moment) is the pull out drawer in the base which contains a sample part of every internal component, nestled in perfectly fitting cavities. Although I'm a avid aero type, this would have got my vote. How does he keep all that brass so shiny!?
Here is Tom Hammond's Quorn nearing completion at last. Tom and I met at the Portland Model Engineers a few years back, as cronicled elsewhere on this web site. He was responsible for having patterns made and parts cast for use by fellow club members and writes a newsletter for other Quorn curious people (everyone has a set of Quorn casting under the bench, right?)
This V twin swings a prop, but looks more like a motor cycle engine. The engine was running (in doors) when this shot was taken. I guess it must have been at idle, as the shutter speed on my Nikon Coolpix 950 digital camera is still 1/60th of a second for flash synchronization, but that prop's almost stopped.
A close to complete Pratt and Whitney R-985 by Paul Knapp. The scale is 1:4 and the accuracy is "museum quality". I understand that casting s an plans will not be available, although completed engines will. Previously, I had thought that this engine had been made from Bruce Satra's castings. Bruce's castings are available from Vernal Engineering, and the drawings are available from Bob Roach in Australia. I've seen the drawings. They are amazingly complete and scale except for the impeller which uses a part from a washing machine! It's internal, so I guess that don't matter none, as they say.
And to finish up, here's a CUT-AWAY of the same engine! Imagine all that work in machining up cylinders, heads etc, then taking a saw to it! Still, a fantastic display by Paul.

By the way, all the photos on this page were taken with the new Nikon COOLPIX 950 Digital Camera. I can't recommend this toy enough. To reduce the load time for the images, I've reduced the jpg image quality to 50% - so the originals are even better than what you've been looking at.

The other piece of news from the show comes from Fransis and Bob Washburn who publish and distribute SIC. Despite Bob's earlier decision to avoid the Internet (as stated very frankly in his Letters to the Editor column), SIC is having a web site prepared. You can (and should) visit the Strictly IC web site and if you don't already subscribe, print out the subscription form and do it now!

Also appearing in person, all the way from Vancouver (that's Vancouver BC, not WA) was Guy Lataurd of "Machinists Bedside Reader" fame. Apart from selling books, Guy was showing samples of brass nameplate etching that can be scaled down to microscopic. The machine that does this will be the subject of a new book from him which is currently in the works. Just the thing for doing the manufacturer's name plate on my Gnome rotary (which I haven't started yet :). Guy is also on the net now, but I've managed to loose his URL. You can order his books through Amazon, but if you order direct, you get autographed copies.

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