machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most. n.b. There is a list of my first 800 posts in my post of 17 June 2021, titled "800 Posts"

Video of Casting Small Complex Cannon Parts

This video was taken and edited by my daughter Eleanor.  I was doing an aluminium pour of some parts for the Armstrong RML cannon, explaining the process to her.  I was hardly aware that she was videoing, so the interaction is conversational.

Although the pour was not a success because none of the parts were good enough to use, it does show the process as seen by someone who previously knew nothing about it.








There is also a 20 minute video of the whole process which I will add to this post when it is available.

Reader Rob has suggested that the positions of the defects suggests that air entrapment is the cause of the voids and that the fix is to position some vents at the positions at risk.  I will try that with my next pour.  Thanks Rob.

Here is the 22 minute video.  Just as recorded.  Not planned or edited.









There are 2 “rallies” at Lake Goldsmith each year.
This collection of pics and videos is from some of the 65 sheds containing exhibits.
I thought that I would remember the details but there were so many……
Also, just iPhone pics. Next time I will take my Nikon.


This grand parade deserved more than my iPhone video. The battery failed after only about 1/4 of the parade. It was amazing and inspirational, and uplifting.
Absolutely must see.
Next grand parade in Nov 2014. 1st and 2nd. I WILL BE THERE.

STEAM POWERED SAWMILL, looks bloody dangerous to me!

at Lake Goldsmith Steam rally. 6 May 2014.
This must be the best value for the steam head, mech head, metalworker. male in the world today. I even saw some female types enjoying the show.
More vidoes to follow as my incredibly slow ADSL will upload them.
Next rally Nov 1 and 2 2014


At Lake Goldsmith near Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

It is awesome!
Fantastic steam rally, held twice yearly.
Tractors, steam engines, saw mill (working), steam cars, and a profusion os steam experts.


A few snapshots from my iphone while I was doing the first nickel plating.

Making a copper boiler

The boiler which powers the Bolton 7 steam engine is 250x100mm. The case is 1.6mm thick and the ends are 3mm thick. It has 7 x 6mm copper stays. The safety valve, pressure gauge, sight glass and valves were bought items. It operates at 60 psi but has been tested to 120 psi. Propane gas fuel.

A Small Full Size Beam Engine

A beam engine from 1832, owned by Jay Leno.
Well worth a view. A beautiful machine

John Made Ring Roller

The ring roller is used to form strips of steel or pipe or rectangular or square section into curves or circles. This home made version will handle up to 1/2 inch thick and 4″ wide. (12.7×100 mm). It is powered by a 1/2 HP electric motor, geared down 1:60. The chain drives the bottom 2 rollers. The top roller is a cluster of old ball bearings. The top roller is adjustable for height, with 2 spring loaded 16mm nuts. The case is 16mm plate, bolted together with 10mm cap screws, so it is reasonably heavy duty.
I added the infeed and outfeed rollers as an afterthought, to avoid any possibility of the work twisting in the machine.
The video shows making a semi circle of 25×25 SHS, in a diameter of approx. 1.5 meters, but I have made circles as small as 150mm in 12×40 mm mild steel.
The Roller is bolted to a steel bench and is easily removed when not in use. The motor stays attached permanently.


Using the Boxford 125 TCL, and Mach 3
I will do a feature about this CNC lathe in a later post.
Some people consider that using CNC in model making is a form of cheating.
I will happily continue cheating.
It is a demanding and fascinating mode of metalworking, great for repetition work, tapers, curves and complex shapes.

Making the Bolton Beam Engine

A sequence of photos and videos about some of the aspects of the build.
Actually, this is more of an experiment in the process of making a show using photos videos and music.
The music is by Lis Viggers.

Beam engine operating

The Bolton 12 beam engine has now had some “running in” time, and I have made some tuning adjustments to the valve timing.
Is it now running more smoothly on low pressure compressed air. For the video the compressor is turned off, and the engine RPM falls off as the tank pressure goes down.
I do not have a boiler big enough to run this engine on steam, and I am negotiating with a friend to borrow his boiler so I can make a video of the engine running on steam. (Stuart, are you reading this?)


Bolton 7 working with live steam

This is the first run of this engine using steam. I have previously had it going on compressed air, but there is nothing like real, live, hot steam!!

It did show up a few problems which I will have to fix. A few minor leaks, need for a displacement oiler, and need to adjust the length of the piston rod. You will hear a knocking sound in the video. I think that is due to the piston just touching the cylinder cap at the end of each stroke. Not difficult to fix, but will require a complete teardown of the cylinder=piston.

to see it click on the link below.