You will need access to a reasonably equipped workshop to build this engine, or any other steam engine for that matter

Essential Equipment

Lathe The minimum size would be 6" centre height, 36" between centres. You might get by with a smaller one for most jobs but you will need 30" to turn the columns, 34" for the crank etc. You will also be glad of the power that a lathe of this size has. I had to reduce the diameter of the crankshaft counterweights a bit as I was tight in the swing dimension over the saddle

Mine is a Taiwanese machine, 1 1/2HP

Lathe Tooling A full complement of tooling is necessary as turning, facing, thread-cutting, parting off etc. are all frequent operations  
Mill If you are going to bore the block yourself you will need at least 7" of knee travel. Mill/Drills generally have only 5" on the quill.

My mill has only 20" of long travel, and although fine for most things I had to take two "bites" to machine the length of the bedplate and the cylinder block.

Throat depth has been a continual restriction at 8"

Given the choice I would have bought an old mill with a 48" table but I wouldn't have been able to get it down the stairs into the workshop!

Mill Tooling A variety of milling cutters are necessary. I have found essential an imperial collet set, a 38mm tipped end mill cutter, a 100mm tipped facing cutter, a boring head (with 150mm extension), a slitting saw arbor, a dividing head  
Digital Readout The 2 axis DRO on the mill has been essential for me. At A$2000.00 it was expensive but saves me hours on every job.

I have been able to get away with very little marking out, positioning holes is a breeze as is taking a specific cut, finding the centre of something etc. Drilling the 76 holes in the cylinder head for the covers was a breeze as was drilling the holes in the covers themselves... just centre the cover and tell the DRO the pitch circle diameter and the number of holes, press ENTER and Hey Presto!..there are the coordinates for the next hole

An essential for the amateur machinist

Measuring equipment Micrometers up to 4", Vernier calipers, telescopic gauges, cylinder bore gauge, Dial gauge  
Basic Stuff Grinder, Drilling Machine, Linisher, LPG Torch, Guillotine (for shims), Shop crane (the cylinder block is only just liftable)  
Tooling Various Taps, wad punches, screwdrivers, spanners, drills, cutters etc. There is always something to add to your collection  
Bandsaw I should have bought one of these years ago. It has saved me its purchase price of around A$300.00 several times.

Steel bought as a cut length is twice as expensive as that purchased from the "off-cut" bench where there is usually a large selection of stock in lengths of about a metre.

Buying a metre of this and a metre of that for a few dollars and cutting it as needed has totally changed my approach to various setups and the manufacture of jigs. With a bit of general material in the stock box it is easy to design and manufacture a jig or tool as needed rather than design the job around not making any lengthy cuts by hand.

It has also been essential in cutting in half the crankshaft counterweights, eccentrics, eccentric straps and various bearings

Shown here cutting the eccentric straps in half

Wish List

Equipment I don't have but have needed (ie someone has done it for me) or that would have made life easier


Surface Grinder There have been a few jobs that have needed surface grinding: the top and bottom faces of the cylinder block to ensure parallelism and finish, the slide bars and a few spacers
Scissor lift assembly table I seem to always be bending over or standing on a stool. It would be nice to make the engine go up and down to avoid this. This sounds a bit petty but if you decide to make this engine you are going to spend hundreds of hours in very close proximity to it while you put it together and take it to bits over and over again  fitting things.

Revision December 2002

After taking delivery of the table and lowering the engine on to it there was an alarming swaying of the table possible when lifted to bench height.

Conclusion: Far too unstable to safely work on the engine at bench height

I returned the table as unsuitable & Hare & Forbes (Sydney Machinery Dealers) refunded my money without question.


Full size Mill See above


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