Thread: Ambitious newby
Is aluminum/iron casting beyond the scope of the home workshop?
Not for small aluminium parts, but it takes years of practice to be able to cast something as complex as the parts you'll need. Also something the size of a crankcase is going to be hard to do in a home sized furnace. Making a furnace big enough is a challenge in its own right! And thats just for aluminium, iron/steel is a whole new ball game.
Whilst I applaude your efforts and ambitions (as someone who often bites off more than he can chew) I do wonder about your understanding of the complexity of the challenge. You are focusing opn the design and machinining of parts, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I have some small experience of engineering and materials analysis from past experience of designing cold-wall heat-exchangers for cooling military equipment and I wonder how/when you are going to do the materials analysis and heat/cooling analysis to determine whether your design will work (clearances across temperature gradients, etc.) or will simply seize at the first run or, worst case, melt itself into oblivion...?
Personally, before you go much further, I would suggest you invest in a small mini-lathe and mill and see if you can make a working model of a single pot 2-stroke or steam engine to one of the many designs on the web. That'll give you far more insight into the skills/expertise needed than any questions on here.
I was just talking about casting the manifold, it would be kinda heavy if I milled it. But yes I intend to to do just what you are suggesting. I am hoping this hobby is more complex and challanging than I ever imagined. If I thought it were something I could master in 5 years I wouldn't bother with it. I know I'm talking big and asking dumb questions, but how exciting would the prospect be if I were dreaming about milling aluminum key chains? Quite honestly I don't care if my first engine siezes up or falls apart (safty concerns notwithstanding) I'm interested in learning and comming up with new ideas and trying things that others think are stupid. That is how innovations come into being. How many brilliant inventions were dreamed up by big corperations following the rules and taking baby steps? NONE! To answer your question I'll probably do materials analysis after a few failed attempts at guess work. Will that bother you? This is a hobby, my intentions are to have fun and to learn. Why is everyone so concerned that I won't do it right the first time? Who the hell ever does? One guy says get the biggest lathe you can and another says get a mini one to learn on. I'm pretty sure I can learn just as well on a large one and from what I've seen on ebay it won't really cost me much more(I have friends with large trucks that will haul stuff as far as I like and I just have to pay for time and fuel so that''s not an issue. I think I'll start with a mill and a lathe and an assortment of accessories, and just start messing around. I've downloaded an assortment of books to read in the mean time to get some beginner project ideas. I'm just posting my engine design to keep ocupied for now. Why does everyone keep talking about "years of practice and experience" like they are a terrible thing that I can't afford? If I make my first working engine in 20 years I'll be ecstatic! Chill out and just humor me for Pete's sake.
Brsanko i admire your enthusiasm, i too used to get fed up with people telling me that is too difficult and requires skills etc. My first CNC machine was not built to work just to satisfy me that it could be done. After that i invested in a lot more kit time and energy amongst my very busy schedule. I cast most of my own lump material for machining in aluminium. Cast iron is a problem for me as most things in iron i would like to use is way too big to handle. Don't be put off but just acknowledge what they are saying as it is advice and at the end of the day you do not have to take it?
Don't forget the only dumb person is the ones that don't not ask the dumb questions and get no where. At the same time listening about others mistakes could save you a lot of heartache.
Don't give up or take things to heart, if people did not try we would not get anything done in this world :-)
My first machine worked better than i expected and it made parts for my second one so goes to prove sometimes just doing can be the best lessons. I could cost a lot more buying proper training.If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:
Horses for courses, some people will set small goals that are achievable and give a small reward, others will set a massive challenge and get a big satisfaction from it... if they achieve it. If you don't try you won't succeed, but trying does not guarantee success. There are some that know they will never achieve their goal, but enjoy the pursuit nevertheless.
The fact is that modern machines are so complex they require more knowledge than one guy can muster, certainly if building from scratch. The people you see running their own gas turbine are usually people with professional knowledge and experience.
The internet is a often a bear-pit, but you are open to public comment and everyone has an opinion, it is usually the naysayers who are motivated to post. There is something adversarial in human nature I think. Perhaps in some places most people say "yay, great idea, go for it!", while encouragement is nice technical criticism is also useful. If you say "my goal is X", then people are bound to point out the feasibility or otherwise. And I think most people feel obliged to warn someone if what they are doing is doomed to failure.
If you want to just do your thing, that's fine, but if you seek expert advice, listen to the advice. Filter out the purely negative points, build on the positive suggestions. It is entirely reasonable to suggest practicing on smaller, achievable projects, than going for the "big bang" approach. Whether in business, science or engineering, pretty much every success story has a history leading up to it.
This guy doesn't want good sound advice gained from experience he just wants you to blow smoke up his arse.!! . . . . He's clever he's got an IQ of 140 you know, so leave the Arrogant twat to gain the experience the hard way.!!
Okay, now to address the rest of you kind sirs, I apologize for the previous unplesantness. I shared my ultimate goals because that is what motivates me, but currently the goals concerned are, setting up a workable shop to learn in and eventually move on to bigger and better things. My budget to begin with is about $10,000. I have no current plans to make any money with the shop, it purely a hobby. For me success is merely trying and learning. Please continue to give suggestions as to my engine design. Considering I have never so much as disassembled an engine does not my design show some decent ideas? I digress. I certainly do not have unlimited money (not yet anyway) but I do have a good supply of time. How that saying go about idle hands? I am getting a nice chunk of money and have business plans that should keep me in a fair supply of cash. I live simply and would probably be content to spend a good share of it on this hobby. So far I have deduced that I should get myself a lathe and a mill. What other accessories would be essential to begin making things out of aluminum. Perhaps someone could point me to some instructional projects to get me started as well. Yes, I will do some searches on my own as well, but I'm here now addressing you so I thought I'd throw that out there. I will block Jazz so you will not be interupted by my reactions to his stupidity anymore (sorry, I have mental problems, my brain is a high performance machine and when it malfunctions it can be disasterous) thank you all for your helpful advice.
A pillar drill would be useful and wont set you back much compared to the rest. The milling machine will clearly work (better) for drilling, but often it's handy to use a normal pillar drill as it's quick to set up and means you don't have to interrupt the milling machine.
A metal-cutting bandsaw is invaluable if you're working with reasonable size aluminium bar, which could well be the case if you mill the block from solid. I won this one (so it was good for the money!) but there are many other good ones cheaper on eBay:
I think we have a bit of culture shock here. Don't want to give away too many secrets but we are an odd bunch in the UK, you have to be slightly self depreciating, arrogance is not tolerated. I think it is something to do with our women, I call it "bloke speak".
The language is full of expressions with deep meaning, call someone a "great steaming birk" or tell them to "get their finger out" and they won't care. Use the wrong words and you are asking for a fight.
If you get insulted, the easiest way out is to agree, costs you nothing, you would go up in our estimation.
Jazz doesn't reckon you can make this engine, suggest you call him a "great Jesse" or "big girls blouse", he will understand.
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