After missing out last year I made sure to take in this year’s edition of the North American Model Engineering Society meet. I’m sure glad I did. With the Portland GEARS show getting canceled late last year it meant I hadn’t been to a proper model meet in two years, which is rather longer than I’m built for. In any event, the show lived up to the hype with some truly first class efforts and some work that I’m almost certain I will never see eclipsed.
For those who have never been to such an event, model engineering encompasses a wide range of disciplines from telescope making to internal combustion engines to toolmaking and most things in-between. And of course these items work – why wouldn’t they?
One of the highlights was getting to pour over construction photos of Ian Wynd’s (Hamilton, Ontario) Bristol Mercury. Seeing the pair of milling machines and pantograph he constructed to enable him to pick out points in space on this rather beautiful radial engine proved just as interesting as the actual series of engines he is constructing. In the hour or so I spent there I learned a great deal from some one who actually had a lifelong career in a field relevant to the work at hand. That’s one of the big selling points for me – actual knowledge!
Another bright spot was finally getting to see Jerry Kieffer’s almost finished Harley-Davidson. It was only out in the wild for a few brief minutes but I will never forget seeing the bike. It is built to scale – 1:8. Quite simply it is the greatest model I have ever seen in person. It kick starts, has prototypical gauge flutter, tyres with scale valves, a tyre gauge that pumps what is needed to sit correctly and reads what it should prototypically. When you can make .009″ bolts/taps/dies at 500 odd TPI as described in his landmark micro threading article then this is what becomes possible.
And then there were the young folk, the three or four of them that I recognized from before. One of them, Marco Terenzi, (marcoterenzi.com) had a beautiful workshop displaying the working 1/4 scale hand tools he makes for a living. He casts, machines, brazes, does it all really – just like the others but he’s almost 10 years younger than me a lot younger than the rest. That’s got to be a good sign and some exciting prospects. I know I’ll be keeping tabs along the way.
For a few additional meet photos I’ve linked to my flickr account here:
They’re under the NAMES 2016 heading.