2012 N.A.M.E.S. Show and Joe Martin Foundation Craftsman of the Year Award Presentation

Sherline at the Show

Commentary and photos by Craig Libuse. Click on any photo to see a larger image.


Here is a photo from the Sherline booth during the show. Jim Clark (red shirt) is seen in the lower right helping out a customer behind a display of Sherline tools.. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Dateline: Wyandotte, Michigan, April 21-22, 2012

Back to the Yack

The 23rd annual North American Model Engineering Society Expo came back to the venue where it first was established after a number of years in Southgate, MI and Toledo, OH. The Yack Arena in Wyandotte, MI is a familiar spot to long-time show-goers.

Manning the Sherline booth were marketing director Craig Libuse and long-time Sherline representative Jim Clark plus Craftsman of the Year winner Gary Conley from Glen Ellyn, IL. Gary exhibited his 1/4 scale "Stinger 609" engine and fired it up many times during the weekend to the delight of the crowd. The 6.09 cu. in. supercharged V8 puts out about 9 HP at 11,000 RPM.. Also helping out was master craftsman Jerry Kieffer of DeForest, WI who demonstrated miniature machining on the Sherline 4500 lathe.

In addition, featured Craftsmanship Museum member, Iqbal Ahmed of Nagpur, India was on hand to demonstrate his running scale 1886 Benz Motorwagen, which was the featured engine of the show this year. It appeared on the cover of the show program and the show buttons that were used for admittance to the show. At the absolute last minute (4 hours before the flight) he was able to obtain sponsorship from a fan of his work to fly over from India for the show.

Show highlight Photos

Click on any thumbnail photo in the left-hand column to enlarge it to a full-screen image. Photos: Craig Libuse

Gary Conley (black jacket at left) talks about his new Stinger 609 engine to some of the show spectators. The engine was running at the show and Gary fired it up often. The second photo shows the dyno he usually tests his engines on, although some of the components have been removed for the demo at the show. The large electric motor attached to the drive shaft is part of the dyno setup and is not the starter, which is a scale size component. The water reservoir and fans are in the black tower behind the engine.

The second paragraph shows another Stinger 609 that was delivered to the show for one of Gary's clients.

Jerry Kieffer is into the 8th year of building this 1/8 scale Harley Davidson "Knucklehead" motorcycle model. The engine, transmission, suspension, kick starter, horn, lights and speedometer are fully functional. In fact, even the tiny 1/8 scale Schrader valves in the spoked wheels hold air. Jerry estimates a few more years will be needed to complete this masterpiece, but he probably is right when he says no one will ever build another one like it. The gray finish is raw metal. It is bead blasted to get the consistent surface finish but will eventually be painted after the engine has been run. The speedometer now does work. It is only 1/2" in diameter, but the needle registers when the shaft is turned by hand. In fact, just like the real Harley speedo, in the lower speed ranges the needle bounces around a bit but smooths out when reaching the higher speeds. The copper seat will eventually have thin leather stretched over it. The tires hold 4 psi air pressure, which gives a scale amount of "flat spot" on the tires based on the weight of the model. Jerry will eventually build a tiny air pressure gauge to read the air pressure, but it will read a scale 32 psi when measuring the actual 4 psi just to keep it realistic.

Keep in mind that a 1/8 scale model is 1/8 the length, width and height of the original. This means that it is 1/512th the volume of the original (1/8 x 1/8 x 1/8). It truely has to be seen to be appreciated to the fullest, but I hope these photos give you some idea of the work and thought that has gone into this model.

The final photo shows The Home Shop Machinist magazine editor George Bulliss (center) and another gentleman photographing Jerry's Harley. This photo gives a better idea of the small size. (First two photos by Ken Foran)

Last year's Craftsman of the Decade winner, Louis Chenot is now building a 1/6 scale GarWood boat from the 1930's to be powered by a running miniature Liberty V-12 aircraft engine. You can see from the photos at the left that the hull is just about complete although not yet stained or varnished. One of the two Liberty engines Lou is building sits in the engine compartment. Lou's display included the second engine and some of the wax masters to be investment cast for other components on the engine.
Former Craftsman of the Year award winner, Ron Colonna was at the show again this year. One of our favorite engines of his is this scale beautiful double overhead cam Novi V-8 Indy powerplant. So far it has been fighting Ron and doesn't want to fire up and run, but he is determined to find the cause and get it running.

Iqbal Ahmed and his son Arif came all the way from Nagpur, India to display his recently completed 1/4 scale 1886 Benz Motorwagen. Built in only 13 months using just a Sherline mill, the project was timed to be finished for a celebration of the Automobile in India and the 125th anniversary of Mercedes Benz earlier in the year. Iqbal and his son Arif were able to find a last minute sponsor in India to help pay their way to the show.

The final photo shows Iqbal (middle) between Craig Libuse of Sherline and the Joe Martin Foundation (left) and Gary Conley (right).

Former Craftsman of the Year winner Richard Carlstedt of Green Bay, WI was at the show with his wonderul Monitor steam engine. Rich put many years of research into the building of this first truely correct model of the engine that powered the famous Union ironclad during the Civil War. Ask him about it, and you will get a story that will make a great book--if Rich can ever find the time to write it all down.

Master model maker Ken Foran was at the Foundation's booth offering his newly released book on how to make models in brass. The vintage Ford racecar, one of the models featured in the book, was on display along with a Jaguar E-type engine he is now building. Check out Ken's page in the near future for contact info on how to buy the book. He sold out what he brought to the show in the first few hours.

This Hale CVC (Constant Volume Combustion) model aircraft engine features a very unusual configuration. It was built by Jerry Hale who also made the castings. It is an 8-cylinder, water cooled internal combustion engine.

1999 Craftsman of the Year winner Wilhelm "Bill" Huxhold of West Hill, Ontario, Canada was at the show displaying his amazing lineup of finely crafted steam engines. He doesn't need to sign his work. One look and the machining and you know who built them.

The Langlois Machine Company is a scale model of an 1800's shop. Jack Langlois of Rochester, NY took about 6 years to complete the model. He was oiling up the machines for another day of work when I caught the first photo.

Former Sherline Machinist's Challenge Contest winner George Britnell of Strongsville, OH has built this great running 302 Ford V8 engine. It idles slow and smooth and revs fast, sounding great the whole time. Now he has completed a 4-speed transmission to go with it. A US Quarter is placed in the photo by the tranny to give you an idea of the size. It was all done without CNC machining.

The engine has a full water jacket cooling system and pressure oiling. It took about 2500 hours to complete.

For the fans of big live steam models, the NAMES show had plenty for you too.


Also at the show...

2012 Joe Martin Foundation "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award is presented to Gary Conley of Glen Ellyn, IL.

Craig Libuse (left), Director of the Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship presents the award for 2012 Metalworking Craftsman of the Year to Gary Conley of Glen Ellyn, IL. Gary is the 16th winner of the prestigious award. (Click on photo for a larger image.)

A Rough Road to Success

Gary Conley has been making and selling engines for over 3 and a half decades. Some have tried to make a living in model engineering, but most find it is more practical to keep it has a hobby, as it is tough to make a living at it. Gary started with 1/4 scale engines in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 cylinder versions but soon found that the demand was pretty much only for the V8 version. At that time every part was custom machined from billet stock. As his skills progressed he made cast versions of the engine which became known as the "427" due to its 4.27 cubic inch displacement. He had a lot of success with this engine and offered it in naturally aspirated and supercharged versions, even developing a 1/4 scale hotrod and Cobra chassis and bodies to go with it.

An offer from Chrysler to build a model of the Viper V-10 engine  was too good to turn down, but after 5 years of work, a running prototype and a lot of work in molds and masters, a catastrophic fire at the foundry cost him just about everything he had worked for. After a days of tears in his shop, he set back to work to reconstruct what he could from the tragedy. Since the 427 molds were also lost, he was out of business until he could develop another engine. Working with the few parts left from the viper, he was able to fashion molds for what amounted to a shortened V8 version of the Viper engine. This now displaced 6.09 cubic inches and became the new Stinger 609.

Gary brought one of the engines to the show with him and ran it for eager spectators, and impressive sounding it is too. Gary was presented with an award certificate, a book on the foundation, an engraved medallion and a check for $2000 by the Joe Martin Foundation at the show. Our congratulations to Gary on his award.

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