Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book: Miniature Internal Combustion Engines

Miniature Internal Combustion Engines
Model engineers have been making miniature internal combustion engines for as long as that type of engine has been around. Some, though, have been put off from this endeavor because of the perceived difficulty of the task. This book attempts to remedy this situation. The text covers various internal combustion engine designs and their operating cycles. The core of the book provides detailed information about the process of constructing internal combustion engines. Readers with a basic knowledge of machining should find the information necessary to build a simple single cylinder engine. The book features tons of photographs and beautiful drawings to make the concepts clear.

Here's where you can learn more about Miniature Internal Combustion Engines


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Book: Making Simple Model Steam Engines

Making Simple Model Steam Engines
I don't have this book yet, but it is most definitely on my wishlist.

From the book description:
A highly illustrated, step-by-step guide to constructing a range of simple model steam engines, aimed at both beginners and the more experienced. This book details the construction of a range of simple miniature steam engines and boilers. The projects, each of which can be completed with only a basic workshop, range from a single-acting oscillator to more sophisticated twin-cylinder double-acting engines and a variety of boilers. A final project brings together engine and boiler for a simple steam railway locomotive. These projects are a perfect introduction to model engineering and an enjoyable exercise for the more experienced engineer or those who wish to pass on their hobby to a younger generation.

Here is a link to the book Making Simple Model Steam Engines.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gary Schott's MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS

Gary Schott's MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS
Texas-based metalsmith, jeweler and educator, Gary Schott, will be holding his first real solo show, called MECHANICAL PLAYTHINGS starting this week.

The show opens Nov. 28th at Design Works, located in Galveston, TX at 2119A Post Office Street. The opening reception will be held from 6-9PM Saturday Nov. 28th, 2009.

It is sure to be a great show in which you can touch and play with some mechanical art-toys.


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Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Complete Modern Blacksmith book

The Complete Modern Blacksmith book
I recently gave this book to a friend for his birthday. An anthology of three out-of-print books, this book is a great value. The book covers much of what you might expect from a book with this title. What makes it really cool is its emphasis on making, repairing, and maintaining useful tools of every sort. I haven't found this information elsewhere yet. Very nice pencil drawings accompany the text. If you want to take your "making skills" to the next level, you should check this book out.

Here's amazon's info page on The Complete Modern Blacksmith.


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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Proxxon Micro Band Saw with optional wet cutting

Proxxon 37172 MBS 115/E Micro Band Saw


From the Amazon.com Product Description
A solid, ribbed die-cast aluminum housing (not a tubular or sheet metal construction) ensures the necessary stability. The machine has double ball bearing aluminum pulleys, a sturdy machined table with a slot for the miter gauge as well as the coolant trough. The worktable tilts up to 45° for accurate miter cuts. The low noise 110-120V motor (high quality, for quiet, prolonged use) operates via toothed belt. Electronically controlled speeds for exceptionally accurate cutting (no subsequent finishing necessary) are available from 395 to 820 ft/min. A practical table at the outside of the machine housing indicates the recommended speed for various types of material. The blade size of 13/64" x 1/64" (5.0 x 0.4 mm) is ideal for fine work, allowing to cut even smallest radii. The machine is equipped with a vacuum-cleaner adapter to help you work in a dust-free environment.

Here's the link to the Proxxon Micro Band Saw


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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Proxxon precision mini-lathe - 30 lbs of awesome

Proxxon 34004 PD 230/E Lathe
The Proxxon Lathe PD 230/E can be used to perform precision turning on plastics, steel, brass and aluminum. It boasts a lot of very nice features for such a small lathe.

From the manufacturer's description
Comes complete with automatic feed, thread cutting capability, headstock chuck, live center and top slide for taper turner. It may be used to part, turn, and cut tapers. The numerous optional accessories add the versatility you need to complete all your miniature projects. Weight approximately 30 pounds and dimensions approximately 21inches by 9.8 inches by 5.9 inches. Has features of full sized lathe and can be packed away after each use. Practical hand wheel with zero adjustable scales 1 division = 0.001 (0.025 millimeter) 1 revolution equals .04 (1 millimeter). Combination of 3 speeds and additional electronic speed control allowing speeds from 100 to 3000 rpm are among the many features standard on this precision lathe.

OK, so I'll add this to my wishlist: the Proxxon 34004 PD 230/E Lathe


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill: small, green & awesome

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill
Oh, make no mistake: I want one of these.

From the Amazon.com Product Description
Proxxon micro mill MF 70 - This small and beautiful unit is ideal - the accurate mill for lab, optician, jewelry, electronic and model building projects. Mill is made with a cast iron base. The vertical column and compound lathe are treated, high quality aluminum. All axes are play-free and have adjustable slides. The headstock, made of die cast aluminum, houses 24 pole balanced special motor and provides stability even at high operating speeds. This stability facilitates the use of the finest cutters.

Here's the link for more info on the Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill



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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Proxxon 38481 IB/E Professional Rotary Tool

Proxxon 38481 IB/E Professional Rotary Tool
While most of us are familiar with the versatile rotary tool, we tend to equate it with the Dremel brand name. I have owned many, many Dremel tools and do not have any serious complaints.

Still, this Proxxon profession model appears to offer some noticeable improvements. The manufacturer claims that this model can be use for extended periods when polishing, grinding, cleaning and engraving -- without becoming overheated. That is one problem I have had in the past, but I think I pushed the poor Dremel too far.

Like the better models of Dremel rotary tools, this Proxxon can be run at a range of speeds from 5,000 to 20,000 RPMs. Variable speed is a an important feature in any make of rotary tool.

Finally, the Proxxon features a die cast aluminum head which serves as a study housing for the steel spindle, running within a ball bearing assembly. This strikes me as more robust than most Dremel tools.

The unit comes with six collets (sized 1/32", 1/16", 5/64", 3/32", 7/64" and 1/8") and is compatible with a number of Proxxon accessories such as a foot switch, flexible shaft, and drill stand.

Here is a link to the Proxxon 38481 IB/E Professional Rotary Tool


Note: Those of you who know you will be using a rotary tool a lot, should consider something like the Foredom rotary tools that jewelers and serious woodcarvers use.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'Oceania' kinetic art by Casey Curran

Take a look at the amazing hand-cranked automata of Casey Curran. The artist uses twisted wire of various materials to create very original and organic forms. There is no welding or soldering involved -- just twisted wire! Kudos all around!

Casey Curran's work can be seen in person at Gallery IMA in Seattle, Washington.


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Soldering: A Basic How-To for Automata Makers

Tools used for soldering metalsThe photograph shown here features some of the essential tools used to solder metals together: a fan for blowing away fumes, protection for the work surface, water for cooling, a torch, solder, and flux. The photo should also show emery cloth, steel wool, or Scotch-Bright pads for cleaning the metal surfaces -- a very important step.

Charles Mak writes:
"I was looking for soldering info, since soldering, I believe, is a technique an automata-maker should be familiar with. In fact, some works by Neil Hardy require soldering for their mechanical parts. I came across this site which offers more than just soldering technique but also a wealth of (free) information on materials, preparations, sources, etc. It's all free to view and print, but for those who prefer a 16-page color book, they can order it or download it for a fee."

Most online tutorials assume you want to solder electronics. While the principles are the same, the process is a bit different. Here is the site with free soldering and metal-working tips. (You'll need to scroll down a bit to find the start of the article.)

For a comprehensive reference to metal-joining techniques, you might take a look at Soldering, Brazing and Welding, which looks to be a great book on the subject.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nemomatic show this Friday - Berkeley, CA

Sculptor and automata-maker Gould Nemo (Nemomatic) will be participating in the group show: "Recovery" at the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, CA, USA along with other artists who work with recycled material.

This will be the first opportunity to see his new Giant Robot sculpture before it is permanently installed at a private residence.

Also on display will be his amazing Giant Squid automaton.

Learn more at the News section of Nemomatic.com

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

4" Brass Caliper for measuring

I love the look of this all brass 4 inch caliper for measuring. Often when I use calipers, I don't even read the measurement. Rather, I take the measurement with the calipers on one piece (or tool), then transfer the distance measured on to another piece. Of course, if you want to read a measurement exactly, calipers are a great way to do it.

Some of the product specifications:
  • Does outside and inside measurements
  • Sliding dovetail way (that's the track in which it slides)
  • Rigid construction
  • 4"/100mm rule with vernier scale
  • Graduated in 1/16" and mm

For under $7 USD, this looks like a very good deal to me. Then again, I love brass.

4" Brass Calipers at WoodCraft

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Friday, December 08, 2006

New England Model Engineering Society

Dug North speaking for the New England Model Engineering SocietyI would like to thank the members of the New England Model Engineering Society for having me as a guest at their most recent meeting. Four automata-makers were invited to say a few words, and I was one of them. Despite my lack of preparation, the members were very gracious and asked many interesting questions.

There are a lot of good metal-working and model making resources to be found on their web site. If you live in New England and are a fan of this sort of thing, you might consider joining their group.

Here's a link to the NEMES web site.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Makers: Gift Card with Purchases at Northern


Free Gift Card With Purchase At NorthernTool.com
For those of you that make stuff -- automata or otherwise -- Northern Tool is running a special promotion where you get a gift card with your purchase. Type in this promo code on the Address Verification page: 94660.

The offer applies to orders over $100 bucks, but this time of year, that's easy to do. They have pretty much every tool under the sun from a $2 strap wrench to a bulldozer that goes for $21,800!

Don't take my word for it...see if there is a tool you cannot find at Northern Tool + Equipment.

(If are unable to find a tool, post it as a comment here.)

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