Model Making & Engineering

I spend hours making many different types of models and I find this is a great way of relaxing. It means I also spend time researching the fundamental design and operation of both the model and the tools used in making it. This blog is all about sharing that work. It’s also a constructive element where I end up with something that is rewarding for years to come.

plans now available - small


Plans for single piston solenoid motor are now available. A simple design that makes a great starter project for someone with a new lathe.

Or the 5 cylinder rotary engine that has taken 100’s of hours to construct.

All of these models have their rewards in the process of making and as objects to look at.

My gallery page lists a large number of my models.




There’s always a lot of information and tables that are needed around the workshop and that are helpful in the field of general engineering and so I’ve started to list those under the heading Knowledge, a great place to start is with the Engineering page itself.

  • cast iron piston and aluminium conrod


    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 The piston is a cylindrical part which reciprocates in the cylinder bore of an engine and transmits the force of the gas pressure through the connecting rod to the crankshaft. This means the piston [more…]

  • Harris book hammer

    Perfectly Balanced Hammer

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 This might be the most perfectly balanced hammer.┬áLet’s come back to this, I’ve been flicking through and reading sections of K. N. Harris’ book on boilers and boiler making. This is in response to [more…]

  • boiler wrapped in lightweight fleece

    Maximum Boiler Insulation

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 What does maximum boiler insulation look like? When I say “look” I mean in terms of heat loss as this is then something to aim at in terms of design. How much insulation is [more…]

  • boiler wrapped in teflon and then in 1m length of nichrome wire

    Electrically Heating the Boiler

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 Electrically heating the boiler will allow me to correlate the mathematical model of the boiler. This will also allow me to explore boiler insulation techniques. The instrumentation of the small vertical boiler has allowed [more…]

  • optimised firebox and burner

    Optimising the Firebox and Burner

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 This won’t be the last, but optimising the firebox and burner has moved the boiler to a place where it can deliver steam to a steam engine. This has involved a number of changes [more…]

  • flame interaction with the boiler

    Flame to Boiler Distance

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 One thing that has concerned me is what is the optimal Flame to Boiler Distance? The original firebox and methylated spirit burner was generating approximately 54W. At the operating point of the boiler at [more…]

  • LED lights up

    Lamppost Engine Running on Steam

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 For all of the issues in getting the small vertical boiler working it’s finally there and I got the Lamppost engine running on steam. This is the first time I’ve run one of my [more…]

  • model of a model boiler

    A Model of the Model Boiler

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 So, I’m building a Model of the Model Boiler. The model is a mathematical model and to be honest it is in the simplest terms. The boiler is the small vertical one made as [more…]

  • boiler cooling curve

    Cooling Curve

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 When measuring any thermal properties of an object, one of the first things to measure is the cooling curve. This will help to establish a number of factors. This is also a good curve [more…]

  • Pico Technology Thermocouple Logging

    Boiler Instrumentation for Testing

    Facebook0Tweet0Pin0LinkedIn0Email0Print0 In order that I can understand why the boiler is not quite working as expected I first need to setup boiler instrumentation for testing.┬áThe instrumentation is all around temperature measurements. For this setup I’m [more…]



The workshop / man-cave is the den in which we can master a number of engineering techniques. This is my space for woodworking, metal working and sometimes just a place to sit and contemplate a design.

Calling Model Makers

If you would like to share your model making and this could be the latest design, the processes you have used or the tools you love then drop me a line



I moved the calculations to an excel book that you can download, use and edit as you like. Plus it’s completely free. I update and add to this on a regular basis and so please do check back to see what’s new. Current sheets cover:

  1. rotary table dividing plates
  2. wheel speed
  3. cutting speed
  4. acoustics

Also, if there is a calculation you would like to see added, please do drop me a line

Please share algorithms, references or just an idea for an excel sheet and I’ll do my best to have a go at adding it.