Plans, projects and how-to's for home machinists

Free Plans: Jingle Bell Steam Engine

This is a short 3-minute video by “rbandes1” that shows and explains the operation of the “Jingle Bell Steam Engine” he made.  It was built from free plans provided by Professor Nial McCabe, who teaches Engineering Technology at the County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ.  Professor McCabe has one on display with a main bearing that has become loose from heavy use.  As a result the flywheel lightly touches the frame when it turns, creating a “Jingle Bell” sound.  That’s how it got its name.

Paul Jorgenson also built one of these engines.  His version is a little bit simpler and he has a very nice set of plans (PDF) for it.  Paul also has lots of photos showing its construction over on the Home Model Engine Machinist forum.

Free Plans: Model of a Watt type Steam Governor

On his blog featuring model engineering projects, Adam Richard Cooper has intricately detailed plans for making a Model Watt governor–the part that regulates the speed of steam engines by acting as a negative feedback system–that he designed himself. His post includes construction notes and CAD drawings along with a large photograph of the completed governor. He notes that his design is hand-cranked and lacking a valve lever, which he didn’t have time to complete.

At his blog Adam has other model engineering related posts including a review of tungsten carbide tipped tools for the lathe and a project that makes two cones joined at bases, which, when set at certain angles, appear to roll uphill.

Jan Ridders’ Updated Flame Eater and “Scuderi” 4-stroke Engine Plans

Jan Ridders has updated plans on his web site for two of his favorite engines: a 2-cylinder flame eater and a Scuderi Split Cylinder internal combustion engine.The flame eater was one of the first engines that Jan drew up detailed plans for and one that has received a lot of interest since he first made it eight years ago.  He said the quality of these original plans was poor and in his spare time has updated the CAD drawings to make them clearer.  It was a project Jan said he almost scrapped because at the time he didn’t know much about what it took to get flame-eaters to run, but after building a vertical 1-cylinder engine he got the hang of it and picked this project up again.

The Scuderi Split Cylinder engine was another of Jan’s favorites, but after the plans raised design questions he decided to update the CAD drawings.  Jan found plans for it on the internet and then made some variations, like separating the two cylinders entirely. This is easy to make using mostly standard parts.

Jan features a number of other engines on his web site, which is available in both English and Dutch.  You can request a copy of his plans by sending him an email.

Free plans: Tapping/drilling block

Pete Stanaitis has designed a really nice drilling and tapping block and you can find the plans for it on his web site.  A tapping block is a simple but very useful tool used to make sure a tap is started straight in its hole.  The tap is much more likely to break if it’s not, plus you’ll probably get poorer quality threads even if it doesn’t.  Pete’s block can be used with 16 different sized taps from size 6 to 1/2-inch (NC & NF threads).  It can also be used to drill straight clearance holes.  You could make the block using aluminum or another kind of steel, but it will last longer if use 4140.

By the way, Pete is a blacksmith and has a large web site with lots of interesting and useful information.

Random Quote

Do well by doing good.

— Benjamin Franklin