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

Wayne Grenning

When the Daimler Chrysler Corporation decided to make a reproduction of its first engine, one that was a pioneer in automobiles and the model for the modern engine, it commissioned three copies.  One was kept at the company’s headquarters, the other went to a collector in Michigan and the third to a museum.  Ironically, there was a problem with all three—Chrysler couldn’t get any of them to work.

That’s where Wayne Grenning came in.  He is a historic gas engine reproduction expert, having built a museum’s worth of them that he keeps at his Lockport, N.Y., home.  One of the Daimler models found its way to Pennsylvania, where it was displayed at the Coolspring Power Museum.  The museum’s director already knew Wayne well from the many reproductions he sent the museum, so he turned to Wayne  again to help fix the missing components and get the engine up and running.

The Daimler engine represented the culmination of the experimentation with internal combustion, but the original engine was lost in a factory fire in 1903, with only the blueprints surviving.  From those drawings two prototypes were made for advertising purposes, but the designers didn’t like the look of where the carburetor was so they moved it to look “more presentable.”  After spending months on the project with the help of two others, he had the engine up and running again

Between his website [Grenning Models and his YouTube page,] and his activity on forums, Grenning has provided extensive details for just about every major project he’s ever done in the past decade or so.

For readers who want a more in-depth look at how Wayne restored the engine, complete with photos of just about every step, he maintained a thread on the SmokStak Forum as he worked on the project.

History in Engine-making

It was a trip to the county fair at age 11 that first turned Wayne on to making model engines.  His friends wanted to sample the food and go on the carnival rides, but Wayne was more concerned with the impressive display of tractors and other equipment beyond the rides and games.  He started working on engines from there, building his first hit-or-miss engine in 9th grade.

“That was the beginning of my bug for machining, and I kept working on other projects after that,” he says.

It wasn’t until after he graduated college that Wayne decided to make it something more than a hobby.  He began actively making engines, and by the end of his 20s he was making his own casting kits to sell.  Today Wayne is a fixture on the model show circuit and bulletin boards like SmokStak.

When he started, machining was mostly a solitary endeavor, with little communication between participants.  He recalls that when someone had a question about a certain technique or project, their options were limited—they could ask the one or two other people they might know, usually a mentor, or if that person didn’t have an answer they could write to one of the few specialty magazines and hope for an answer in the forum within a few months.

Today, with the advent of the internet and the prevalence of forums dedicated to just about every type of machining, the world of machinists has grown more connected and knowledge shared much easier, Wayne says.

“If you’re John Q. Collector and you want to learn something but have never done it before, you could type a few sentences on a message board and get a whole bunch of replies,” he says.   “Before, when magazines were the only real way to connect with large groups of people, it took a lot longer and knowledge and tricks were slower to spread.”

The Internet has also brought about a large increase in the type of projects hobbyists can do and made it easier to buy materials, Wayne says.  Casting kits and projects in particularly have grown by “leaps and bounds” in the past 10 or 15 years, he adds.  Before the rise of the internet, most machining hobbyists read or earned about new projects from magazines, so they could see anywhere from 12 to 18 new projects over a year.  Today, with internet forums and web sites dedicated to all different aspects of machining, they have a trove of information available at just a click.

Favorite Projects Continue reading Wayne Grenning

We were down for about 16 hours because of Dreamhost

Update: Dreamhost is still having problems, although not as bad as yesterday.  So I just signed up for CloudFlare.  Once the nameserver changes get propagated it will help keep us online by displaying cached pages if Dreamhost goes down again.  It should also make our web pages load quicker and provide some additional protection against hackers.  

MachinistBlog is hosted on Dreamhost and they had problems, which they still haven’t explained, which caused us to be unreachable for about 16 hours today (Sunday).  I’ve been buying web hosting services since 1995 and they’ve been by far the most unreliable one I’ve ever done business with.  On the other hand, their support’s been good and they provide unlimited bandwidth and disk space for about $9 per month.  However, we get so much traffic that I’ve had to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to get more memory and computing power.  The VPS is currently costs an additional $35-$40 per month and that amount will continue to increase along with our readership.

I’ve already been looking at alternatives but I’m not close to making any changes.  If I had the time to be my own system administrator I’d switch to Linode as my host.  I’ve also been looking at CloudFlare and wondering if I can use Amazon’s “cloud” to carry some of the load.  If you have any suggestions I’d like to hear them.

Smithy Granite Clutch and Driven Pulley Bearing Replacement

New contributor Jay Bolyard did an outstanding job describing how to make this repair.  — Rob, editor & chief floor sweeper.

This article describes how to replace the Smithy Granite 1324 Classic Combo Lathe-Mill-Drill’s ball bearings in its driven pulley.  The bearing may have to be replaced if it makes a noise like the one described below.


  • Machine makes a bearing gone bad noise – you know it when you hear it – a zzZZzzZZzzZZ sound at low to medium speed – may not be able to distinguish the noise at higher speeds [Hear it in a .mp4 video]
  • The noise occurs in all three drive modes: lathe, mill and neutral (occurring in neutral is the key)
  • The noise occurs with and without the lead / feed gearing engaged
  •  The noise does not occur with the belt taken off
  •  The noise seems to come from the clutch and driven pulley area when machine is run with pulley box open


  • The ball bearing inside the driven pulley or the clutch bearing in the shifter fork (or both) are likely in distress and the source of the noise
  • They either need to be re-greased – or – since you’ve got it all apart – best to just replace them with permanently lubricated and shielded bearings

A few unique tools and a few supplies that are needed in completing this work

  • Large snap ring pliers – larger than most people have in their toolbox – must be capable of up to 4″ shaft – Like these found at Grainger Item 3JXL9 – Large Snap Ring Pliers at Grainger
  • Propane torch
  • 2-ft long 1/2″ threaded rod – with (3) matching hex nuts and (3) 1/2″ fender washers
  • Grease – I used Amsoil Multipurpose Synthetic Grease
  • Screwdrivers
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Wrenches
  • Rags
  • Parts schematics for reference
  • Access to an arbor or shop press – A mallet could be used if great care was taken – your decision
  • Approximately 5″ square and 2″ x 12″ pieces of wood – whatever is available – photos below show usage

Homemade or Hardware and Auto Parts store supplies

  • 2.33-2.45″ ID x ( 21/4″ long tube or equivalent tooling pre-made with lathe for use in pressing off the old and on the new clutch bearing.  (2″ Schedule 40 white PVC Drain Coupler – can be used instead – $1 at hardware store)
  • 2.8-3.1″ OD ( 1/4″ thick plate or 2.8-3.1″ OD tube ( 11/2″ long or equivalent tooling pre-made with lathe for use in pressing out the old pulley bearing.  (3″ ID to 3″ OD exhaust pipe adapter – can be used instead – $3 at auto parts store)
  • Two #8 x 1″ long machine screws (or pins ~ 5/32″ dia)
  • Two M5 x 0.8 bolts – at least 25mm long – easier if longer – suggest grinding/filing the tips smooth/flat to decrease face marking on the right coupler (G03-005)
  • 3.80-3.90″ OD ( 1/4″ thick plate or 3.75-3.90″ OD tube ( 1″ long or equivalent tooling pre-made with lathe for use in pressing in the new pulley bearing – I made it on a friends lathe because mine was already apart… (3″ grey PVC Electrical Coupler came close to working – needed to turn about 0.1″ dia. off 1/2″ of one end)

New Bearings

  •  1 – # 6011ZZ (2Z) – 55x90x18mm (Clutch Bearing). Minimum ABEC-3 with C3 clearance.  Choose ZZ (double shielded) vs. original open/open design to avoid need to periodically grease and keep contamination out of the bearing.  Cost depends on brand chosen – I chose Nachi-Japan.
  • 1 – # 6013ZZ (2Z) – 65x100x18mm (Pulley Bearing).  Minimum ABEC-3 with C3 clearance.  Again, choose ZZ (double shielded) vs. original single shielded design to avoid need to periodically grease and keep contamination out of the bearing.  Lack of good grease and the former machine owner keeping the belt tension engaged when not in use is likely what caused my bearing to fail.  Again – I chose Nachi-Japan. Continue reading Smithy Granite Clutch and Driven Pulley Bearing Replacement

Retractable pen made from 30-06 bullet casings

I think this is a cool project and the video may teach you some new machining or fabrication methods even if you don’t want to make a retractable pen out of a couple of empty 30-06 bullet casings.

The pen looks like it’s pretty easy to make.  The hardest part might be getting a couple of bullet casings without spending much.  It looks like you can buy small quantities of used cartridges on Etsy for less than $10.  You might want to also try asking nicely at your local gun shop or on Craigslist.

You may also have trouble finding the exact same pen if you’re in the US.  I’ve never seen one like it and the designer is working in millimeters, which means he’s probably in Europe or Canada.  But if you’re able to play with machine tools then you probably won’t have any problem finding a good substitute.

By the way, it looks like he made it on a 7×12  mini-lathe, which are pretty affordable and popular with home machinists.  I’ve got one and really like it, and I still use it a lot even though I have a bigger and better lathe now.

Random Quote

No such thing as spare time
No such thing as free time
No such thing as down time
All you got is life time

— Henry Rollins – Shine Lyrics