Thursday, 10 October 2013

 Rik Shaw was working as a toolmaker until 1986 when a back injury stopped him in his tracks and he also had to dispose of his own  little workshop. It is only in the last four years that he has managed to recreate a small "tool room" in an enlarged summer house and there he has been able to continue his model engineering hobby.
 The model in the photograph is based on a design by Stan Bray, a contributor to Model Engineer and was purchased from a chap on a day on which he had left his specs at home - big mistake, it was when he put his reading glasses on that he realized what a mess he had bought. Rik had to completely strip it and remake many of the components, the rest he managed to salvage by re-machining. Rik is proud to say that the refurbished model is now quite a handsome piece and is enhanced by its new acrylic display case purchased from Widdowsons Ltd. The acrylic display case was custom made to the exact size and bought from their website at
The complete refurbishment took two months to complete, but was well worth it. The model is approximately 500mm high and has a 200mm diameter flywheel. With Rik's dodgy back he could just about lift it. The full sized versions of this type of vertical steam engine model were originally put to work in mills and factories where space was at a premium and horizontal engines would not fit. You can see it running under compressed air here:

Rik had previously completed another scratch built horizontal single cylinder steam engine around 1985. The original plans came from Model Engineer, he adapted them and built it to twice the plan size. Piston diameter is one inch and steam is distributed via a "D" valve. Much of this engine he finished machined using universal, surface and other types of grinding machine as he viewed its construction as an exercise in tool making rather than creating anything to scale.
 Rik made it from gauge plate and bar stock, the only bits he did not make were the nuts, bolts and washers. It is approximately 330mm long and weighs  nearly 8 kilos. It runs under compressed air as shown above.

For a guided tour of his workshop you can watch the following video, which needs to be updated as he has sold the small lathe/machining centre and replaced it with a much larger new lathe and milling machine.
Rik has been tool making of late but under the bench lies a six inch diameter brass naval shell case that he wants to use to fabricate a posh flywheel to fit on an engine which at the moment is only in the early design stage (He is thinking about it)!

Rik has also ordered two more display cases for another two models.