By Roger Backhouse
Model by Charles Hirst

Are you thinking of building a stationary steam engine but lack training?  Perhaps planning a machining workshop ? Or would like to update your metalworking skills? 

Help is at hand. The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers runs courses to help newcomers to model engineering. Many people have built a stationary steam engine thanks to their training.  

Basic Training discusses the setting up of a workshop, what equipment is desirable and the basics of how to use machines and hand tools. Each day session consists of lectures, discussion and sometimes demonstrations. All are held at the Society’s base in South London, with its meeting room, library and workshop, over three Saturdays starting in February 2017. 

Polly by Gus Keating

The Part 2 or Polly course, over six sessions,  covers construction of a small oscillating steam engine and boiler using a variety of metalworking techniques which are demonstrated. After each session delegates make parts in their own workshops in time for the next session. These courses are open to all, but other SMEE courses including the practical tool grinding course are for members only.

Courses organiser Allen Berman is himself a keen model engineer. He explains: “These courses are very popular as they demonstrate basic metalwork techniques now rarely taught in schools. They aren’t ‘hands on’ courses but many participants have been inspired to enjoy model engineering and making metal components.”

Techniques described or demonstrated include marking out, safe use of hand tools, turning parts, sheet metal work, soft soldering, silver soldering for strong joints and using a milling machine to cut slots and shape metal. 

Essex model engineer Howard Caroline says: “Joining the course gave me the knowledge  to tackle metalworking jobs I had been putting off for years. Tutors have a wealth of experience to advise on pitfalls and solutions for engineering problems. Good progress is made with the support from fellow participants.” 

Further information on the SMEE website or write to SMEE Courses organiser

SMEE stationary engines group meeting.