Since Monty and I have been homebound for several months we have embarked on different projects.A Jigsaw puzzle has become a permanent fixture on the dining room table, so we both stop there throughout the day.I’ve done the usual household cleaning chores, hauled stuff to the Goodwill and even painted some patio furniture. I’ve spent time reading and writing.Nothing very exciting, that’s for sure.
When Monty’s friend, Bob, showed him a miniature steam engine his brother made, Monty was intrigued with it.The more he thought about it he decided he’d try his hand at making one.
The first thing you have to understand is Monty loves a project, that man has laser focus and will spend hours studying and figuring how to build something.This project was perfect for this pandemic period.
Our garage is lovingly referred to as a working garage.We have the cars snuggled in there but Monty has an assortment of machines and tools that I can’t identify.There are racks of hand tools, assorted pipes and fittings, nuts and bolts in organized bins plus the big stuff. There’s a lathe and a milling machine and some kind of drilling thing.I would be hard pressed to correctly identify these things but I’ve heard about them.These machines are the old hand operated ones made in the ’50’s. There are no laser cutters or computer hook ups, just a lot of head scratching and manual labor.
This project started with plans pulled from the Internet, some old guy made one of these miniature steam engine way back, apparently before the decimal system was invented, because the dimensionsare all in fractions.Monty shook his head and started converting it all to decimals so he could at least match the settings on themachines.
Since the garage holds everything imaginable he had some brass and aluminum scrap he could use for parts, he just had to machine the parts.Good news, the parts didn’t have to be very big, remember this is a miniature steam engine but working with tiny parts was areal challenge.Figuring out how to hold a small part to drill a hole the size of a thread at a forty-five degree angle wasn’t easy.I heard a lot about this over lunch, this project was pretty much the center of lunch conversation for the four months it took to build it.I didn’t mind, I know when Monty tells me about a problem he is really just using me as a sounding board.After he explains it all he will usually come up with the solution.My part is to nod my head and murmur mmmmmmmm.
I did encourage him to take pictures along the way in this project and I think he got some nice ones. The engine has been assembled and re-assembled several times and it is looking good.
Monty has a compressor so we know when the air is applied to the intake the piston starts pumping and the fly wheel spins. The video of the machine running is really cool but I’m not sure I can get into this post.
So while I cleaned house, which is no accomplishment because it is just dirty again, Monty actually accomplished something.He gave his brain a good workout and learned more about the lathe and milling machines.He already has come up with plans for a totally different and even better engine.
http://carriebonello.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/IMG_7118.jpeg480640Carrie Bonellohttp://carriebonello.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/new-carrie-logo.pngCarrie Bonello2020-07-30 09:49:342020-07-30 09:49:34The Engine That Could