2004 N.A.M.E.S. Show and the 13th Annual SHERLINE MACHINIST'S CHALLENGE

Ron Colonna takes a first-time win with a running Whizzer motorbike model

Scott Schwab takes both the Youth Division top award and the new Masters' Choice craftsmanship award.

Commentary and photos by Craig Libuse


Ron Colonna accepts his first place award plaque and winnings from Sherline's Craig Libuse at the 2003 NAMES show. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Dateline: Southgate, Michigan, April 24-25, 2004

This year's contest had 15 entries and ended in the closest top three vote count in the contest's history. Only 10 votes out of 1500 separated first and second place, and third place was only 16 votes further down from there. When all the votes were counted, Ron Colonna came out on top with his Whizzer motorbike, which he built over a period of about 8 months. Not having a prototype to work from, many of the parts were made from photos of parts he saw for sale on eBay. The engine runs on methanol and idles at 2000 RPM. The speed is controlled with a working twist grip throttle on the handlebar and runs at 8000 RPM on the top end. It is a 4-stroke design with 3/16" diameter valves. Cylinder bore is 9/16" and piston stroke is 17/32". The ignition is by glow plug, made by welding a commercial element inside a custom made body with a 5-40 thread. The belt drive bike has an operating slip clutch, working coaster brake and "springer" front suspension. It also sports a real leather covered seat. The wire wheels are laced in the original 36-spoke pattern. Spokes are .040" music wire with hard soldered heads and threaded ends of brass. Wheels are adjusted for true running as on a full-sized bike. Decals were produced using CAD software and printed on decal paper with an inkjet printer.

Steve Peirce (Right) accepts his award plaque and the biggest check of the day for his combined 2nd and 4th place finishes. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Last year's novice winner, Steve Peirce of Uniontown, Ohio entered two different Maxum engine models which can be run on compressed air. By taking both second and fourth place, Steve ended up being the top money winner in the contest with his combined votes. The Maxum "Darling" that took second place features 100 hand made parts (not including fasteners) and a flawless finish. The level of detail in the parts and decoration is incredible, and was obviously noted by the spectators at the show who did the voting.

Finishing third was an entry that was sent all the way from Nagpur, India by Iqbal Ahmed. He chose to model a small lathe in brass and steel, and it turned out to be popular with the machinist-oriented voters. Iqbal had hoped to attend the show but his application for a visa came too late. One unique facet of his model lathe is that it was itself made entirely on a latheóthe only piece of metalworking equipment Iqbal owns. It is also a very old and very large (6-foot bed) lathe for which he has added attachments to do milling and other jobs not normally associated with a lathe. Iqbal also makes steam and gas engines. His work can be seen on the Joe Martin Foundations Internet Craftsmanship Museum at www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/Ahmed.htm.

Three young entrants split $500 Young C. Park award...

Youth Divisions winners (L to R) Trevor Katona, Scott Schwab and Zachary Brumberger display their respective entries. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Scott Schwab (15) of Fraser, MI moved from fourth place in the youth division in last year's contest to the top spot this year with a highly polished steam engine and boiler made from scrap parts. In addition to the prize money from his overall finishing position of 5th place he received $200 of the $500 Young C. Park award for young craftsmen put up by the Joe Martin Foundation.

Another first for the contest was a three-way tie for 6th place overall which included a tie for 2nd in the youth division between Trevor Katona (11) of Rochester, MI and Zachary Brumberger (12) of Macedon, NY. Included in the three-way tie was Zachary's father, Jesse Brumberger, but bragging rights will get to go to younger Zachary because the final $300 of the Young C. Park award was split between the tied youth entries, $150 each, so he took home a larger paycheck than his dad.

Young C. Park is a retired dentist and expert model maker from Honolulu who was selected as the Joe Martin Foundation Metalworking Craftsman of the Year in 2002. He elected to donate his winning check for $1000 back to the foundation to be used to encourage young people to take an interest in craftsmanship. The foundation decided to split the award into two awards of $500, the first of which was divided among last year's entrants under the age of 21. The final $500 was divided among this year's young builders. Joe Martin has decided to continue to fund this $500 award in the name of Young C. Park for future contests in thanks for his generous contribution.

Scott Schwab also takes new Masters' Choice Young Craftsman award

(L) Craig Libuse of Sherline helps Scott Schwab display his check and awards for winning both the Youth division and the Youth Master's Choice awards. (R) Former Martin Foundation Craftsman of the Year George Luhrs inspects Scott Schwab's entry. (Click on either photo for larger image.)

Last year it was noted that among the entries in the youth division, emphasis was given by the voting spectators to the younger entrants, even though some of the older contestants in the division had produced models that exhibited better craftsmanship. Taking age into account when judging an entry in this division is certainly a valid criteria, but since the Joe Martin Foundation is interested in rewarding craftsmanship, it was decided that an additional award would be presented this year to reward craftsmanship in this division regardless of age. The NAMES show offered the unique opportunity to have the presence of the current and three former winners of the Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award, so it was decided to let them pick their favorite based strictly on craftsmanship. The three entries were varied and each exhibited unique forms of craftsmanship, but in the end a consensus was reached. Zachary Brumberger's brass mortar exhibited the finest machining skills, Trevor Katona's steam engine was the most educational with it's clear plexiglas parts, but it was agreed that the silver soldering skills exhibited by Scott Schwab in his steam plant entry were the most difficult to achieve and he took the win. In addition to his first place plaque and check, he was given a second "Masters' Award" plaque signed by the former award winners Jerry Kieffer (1997), Wilhelm Huxhold (1999), Georger Luhrs (2001) and Roger Ronnie (2004).

How the contest works...

The voting in this contest is done by the spectators at the North American Model Engineering Society's exposition in Wyandotte, Michigan. Each spectator who wishes to participate is given five tokens and asked to place them in cups next to his or her five favorite projects. They are asked to spread their votes over their top five choices. With a varied range on interests among the spectators, all projects won votes. Sherline puts up $100 in prize money for each entrant up to 25, so with 18 entries from 16 entrants, there was over $1800 in prize money available. In addition, we had another $500 for young entrants donated by Young C. Park of Hawaii.

(L) During the contest, cups are placed next to each entry. (Photo from 2003 contest.) Spectators at the show vote on their favorites by placing voting tokens in the cups by their five favorite entries. Each vote is worth a dollar when Sherline hands out the checks on Sunday. (R) Family funóGrandfather Karl Schwab and grandson Scott Schwab share the fun of building and entering their projects. Scott has outscored his proud grandfather each of the past two years, this year taking 5th overall and 1st place in the Youth Division. Zachary and Jesse Brumberger also entered as a family and ended up tied in the voting. (Click on either photo for a larger image.)

To read the most current copy of the complete contest rules and learn about entering next year's contest, CLICK HERE for a .pdf version of the rules/entry form sheet.

Summary of 2004 entrants and their projects...

See below for photos of each entry.

1. Ronald J. Colonna, McKeesport, PA, model Whizzer motorbike with running engine
2. Steve Peirce, Uniontown, OH, Maxum "Darling" hit-n-miss engine model powered by compressed air
3. Iqbal Ahmed, Nagpur, India, brass and steel lathe model with electric motor
4. Steve Peirce, Uniontown, OH, 1941 Maxum "Liberty" engine model powered by compressed air
6. (3-way tie) Jesse Brumberger, Macedon, NY, Antique balance scale model with weights

1. (5th place overall) Scott Schwab (15), Fraser, MI, steam power plant with engine and boiler
2. (tie, 6th overall) Trevor Katona (11), Rochester, MI, steam engine with plexiglas parts and aluminum flywheel
2. (tie, 6th overall) Zachary Brumberger (12), Macedon, NY, brass 1/2" pneumatic mortar and mahogany base

Scott Schwab

OTHER CONTESTANTS (In alphabetical order)
Bert de Kat, Troy, ON, Canada, steam engine
Barry Dosdall, Red Wing, MN, polished small machine vise
Brian Finlayson, Waterlou, ON, Canada, overhead mill/drill attachment for miniature lathe
Richard Long, Wichita, KS, miniature electric solenoid engine and bakers fan
Karl T. Schwab, Warren, MI, "Bouy" steam engine made from bar stock and cast lawn mower oil pump part*
John Van Koeveringe, Hannon, ON, Canada, small ball end turning tool of his own design

*NOTE: Plans for this engine will soon be published in The Home Shop Machinist magazine. It is unique in that the main cast part can be purchase over the counter at low cost from stores that sell replacement parts for lawn mowers.

2004 Entries

Click on any photo to see a larger version. Use your browser's "back" button to return to this listing. A U.S. quarter dollar coin is used for size reference in most of the photos. It is 24 mm in diameter for those outside the USA.

  1st Place--Ron Colonna of McKeesport, PA took eight months to build this scale model of a Whizzer motorbike. Many people at the show commented that they had ridden such bikes in their youth which probably contributed to its popularity in the voting. The motor runs between 2000 and 8000 RPM and has a functioning slip clutch. The bike features a working coaster brake and "springer" front suspension as well as accurately laced wire wheels. The photos include a quarter dollar coin for size reference, but the bottom photo shows Ron holding his model to give you a better idea of how small the engine is. For purposes of the contest, the engine was considered the project, and the bike itself was considered a display for the engine.
2nd Place--Steve Peirce of Uniontown, OH came from the novice caterory last year to take second place with this highly detailed and beautifully finished Maxum "Darling" hit-n-miss engine that runs on compressed air. It was a close finish, with this entry missing first place by only 10 votes out of 1500. The "Darling" engine contains over 100 parts not including fasteners. This is one of those models that the closer you look, the better it gets. Even the finest details are faultless. Steve uses Sherline tools in a shop he has set up in his kitchen, so don't let lack of space deter you if you want to get into model engineering.
3rd Place--Iqbal Ahmed sent this entry all the way from Nagpur, India for the contest. Machine tools are always popular with the voters as witnessed by last year's winning Bridgeport mill model, and this highly detailed brass lathe finished only 26 votes shy of first place. The lathe design is a combination of a couple of tools Iqbal is familiar with and not an exact model of any particular lathe. It was made entirely on a very large and very old 6-foot long lathe. Parts that would normally be milled were made on the lathe using a milling attachment and other attachments made for the lathe.
  4th Place--Steve Peirce entered two projects this year, which is allowed by the contest rules, and it turned out to be a wise decision. The combined winnings from both 2nd and 4th place ended up totalling more than the first place winner took home. Steve's other engine is also a tiny and very detailed model that runs on compressed air. This one is a 1941 Maxum "Liberty".
  5th Place--Scott Schwab. (See 1st place, Youth Division below)


6th Place--3-way tie. Jesse Brumberger built something a little different...a miniature antique lab balance scale. (See also 2nd and 3rd place in Youth Division below.)
1st Place--Scott Schwab (15)óSteam plant with boiler and steam engine made from scrap bar stock and parts. Scott also won the Master's Choice award for craftsmanship as a result of demonstrating good skill in the difficult task of silver soldering.
2nd Place (tie)--Trevor Katona (11) submitted a completed entry this year. He chose to build a steam engine using some
2nd Place (tie)--Zachary Brumberger (12), tied not only with Trevor in the youth division but also with his dad for sixth place overall. Because of extra money donated by Young C. Park and the Joe Martin Foundation, Zachary topped his dad in the prize money department.
Additional entries in alphabetical order
Bert de Kat, Troy, ON, Canadaósteam engine (two views of same engine)
Barry Dosdall, Red Wing, MNópolished small machine vise with brass jaws
Brian Finlayson, Waterlou, ON, Canadaóoverhead mill/drill attachment for miniature lathe (photo 1) and knurling attachment (photo 2). (Entrants are entitled to enter up to two projects.)
Richard Long, Wicheta, KSóminiature electric solenoid engine and bakers fan
Karl T. Schwab, Warren, MIó"Bouy" steam engine made from bar stock and cast lawn mower oil pump part*
John Van Koeveringe, Hannon, ON, Canadaósmall ball end turning tool of his own design

Enter the Machinist's Challenge yourself in 2004...

There is no entry fee. Sherline makes available $100 in prize money for each entrant up to the first 25, so a maximum of $2500 in prize money can be available. We hope next year to see at least 25 entries so that the full total of $2500 will be up for grabs. There is also a Youth Division for entrants under the age of 20 the day of the contest. An additional $500 is divided among the entrants in this group. Start making plans to get a project together for next year's show. Call 1-800-541-0735 for details or watch this site. As far as we know at this time the contest rules will remain unchanged. Our goal is simply to show the interesting and fun things that can be built with a few cents worth of material, good miniature machine tools and a bit of skill and imagination. Novice entrants (less than two years experience building metal projects using machine tools) have a chance to score double prize money as Bruce Roland did in 1998, Graham Hollis did in 2000, Steve Peirce did in 2002 and 12-year old Scott Schwab did in 2001, so don't let the quality of some of the entries intimidate you. If you are just starting out, you can still build a good project. For '03, think big and build small!

Results of past contests











More on the show...

Jerry Kieffer was on hand to demonstrate the precision capabilities of the Sherline lathe by turning a 1/2" diameter bar of steel down to a .010" diameter hair and then drilling a .005" hole down the center of it.  (Click on photo for larger image.)

Sherline once again donated product to be used for the raffle to raise some money so the NAMES organization can continue to put on this wonderful show each year. On the left NAMES members cart around a Sherline lathe to encourage raffle ticket sales. On the right is the display of all the raffle prizes offered at the show. (Click on photos for larger image.)

(L) Rudy Kouhoupt introduced a new engine at the show. It is a "compressionless" internal combustion engine of his own design that is based on a concept from the 1800's. He has produced a video on how to make it that includes plans and a materials list. No castings are needed. It will be available along with his other many books and videos through ads in Village Press publications The Home Shop Machinist, Machinist's Workshop and Live Steam. (R) Former Martin Foundation Craftsman of the Year and multiple winner of the Sherline Machinist's Challenge contest Wilhelm Huxhold of Ontario, Canada displayed his latest masterpiece. This tiny steam engine includes the vertical pump on the right and stands only about 3 inches tall. It runs beautifully on compressed air. (Click images for larger photo.)

More Awards

Roger Ronnie of Rapid City, SD was awarded a plaque and a check for $1000.00 from Joe Martin Foundation for being selected as the 2003 winner of the foundation's "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year." The award was presented by Craig Libuse on behalf of the Joe Martin Foundation at the 2004 NAMES show where Mr. Ronnie displayed examples of his engraving work. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Roger L. Ronnie...eighth winner of the Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award

Roger Ronnie is not only a skilled engraver, he is also a craftsman capable of making the intricate watchmaking tools that he engraves. In addition, he is now building a 1/3 scale Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 engine that he plans to use to power a Cushman scooter to be called the "Cushman Screaming Eagle V-12." Mr. Ronnie's work can also be viewed in detail in the Joe Martin Foundation's on-line museum at www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/Ronnie.htm.

Roger Ronnie displays some of his engraving work to the spectators at the 2004 N.A.M.E.S. show. He also brought a magnifier and detailed closeup photos of some of his work, as much of the scrollwork is so small and detailed it is hard to fully appreciate with the naked eye. (Click on either photo for a larger image.)

Click this link to learn more about the Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. Visit the Foundation page for more details on Mr. Ronnie and all the previous winners and their work.

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