1998 N.A.M.E.S. Show and the

Last year's winner, Wilhelm Huxhold, makes it two in a row!

By Craig Libuse



Wilhelm Huxhold of West Hill, Ontario, Canada, the top prize winner at the SHERLINE Machinist's Challenge in both 1997 and 1998, accepts his plaque and prize money from Sherline's representative at the show, Craig Libuse.

Dateline: Wyandotte, Michigan, April 25-26, 1998

Mr. Wilhelm Huxhold of West Hill, Ontario, Canada took top honors in Sherline's Machinist's Challenge contest for the second time. For 1998 he built a beautiful Corliss steam engine model which garnered the most spectator votes. The contest is judged by the people attending the North American Model Engineering Society's show. People passing by Sherline's contest display area are given five tokens each and asked to vote for their five favorite projects (no more than one vote per project). This means that voting is done not only by engineers and modelbuilders, but also by their wives, kids and friends. The entries getting the most votes are those which appeal not just to a certain specialist faction, but those that a large variety of people can agree upon as obviously superior in every respect. Mr. Huxhold's steam engine definitely fell into that category.

Mr. Huxhold spent approximately 1200 hours working on the engine during the past year. It was scaled to fit within the contest's size limits of 64 cubic inches of volume with no single dimension greater than five inches (not including display base). The purpose of the contest is to demonstrate the beautiful and interesting things that can be made using very little material and small machine tools. Although Mr. Huxhold is a retired machinist with a shop full of full size professional tools, he prefers to work on projects that are very small and intricate. Projects like these are ideal for tabletop size machine tools which are small, accurate and far less expensive than their full size counterparts. All the entries in in the contest can be easily carried around to show to friends and be displayed on a desk or coffee table. Some were even small enough to carry in your pocket!


Mr. Huxhold's winning entry for 1998...a Corliss steam engine built from scratch. Though a project like this requires a decent investment in time, the cost of machine tools and materials can be quite small when making parts of this size. In fact, the small size of miniature projects offers a level of appeal that can't be found in larger models. Even those who may not be interested in a Corliss steam engine become interested simply because they marvel at the delicate details and craftsmanship.


George Luhrs moves up from 4th in 1997 to 2nd in 1998

Finishing second was George Luhrs with an extremely tiny 4-cycle engine. Not much larger than a quarter, the single cylinder running engine was accompanied by a display showing all 82 parts that make up the engine. The bore of the engine is 1/8" and the stroke is 5/32". As far as we can tell this is one of the smallest running 4-cycle engines ever built and quite an accomplishment.

George Luhrs amazed the internal combustion engine builders again this year with an even smaller engine. This running engine is made up of 82 parts and has a bore of only 1/8"!


Novice Division: Top novice entrant Bruce Roland finishes third overall

Finishing third behind entries like Bill Huxhold's steam engine and George Luhrs' internal combustion engine is a pretty commendible feat. To do it as a novice is downright amazing. Bruce Roland of Kew Gardens, New York drove to the show in Michigan and hand delivered his entries. He entered two Stirling cycle engines. One was a model of a vintage fan and the other featured beautiful polished and engine-turned finishes. There were also two other handsome Stirling engines entered in the contest, but Mr. Roland's got the most votes. The novice division is new for the 1998 contest and the rules specify that however many votes he/she receives, the top finishing novice entrant is presented with a prize check that totals twice his awarded votes! In this particular case, it meant that third place actually paid a higher prize amount than first place.

Bruce Roland's Stirling cycle engine took third place overall and top honors in the Novice division. The top novice finisher is awarded double prize money, making Mr. Roland's entry the largest individual cash award winner.

Enter the Machinist's Challenge in 1999

SHERLINE places $100 in the prize purse 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 no entry fee, so we hope you will start making plans to get a project together for next year's show. Call 1-800-541-0735 for details or watch this site. At this time we have no plans to change the rules for the next contest. 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 this year, 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. Next year, novice entries will be identified which also helps draw the attention of those giving out the votes. For '99, think big and build small!


More Awards

Alan Ingersoll wins the 2nd annual Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. Visit the page highlighted above for more details on Mr. Ingersoll and his projects.

For the 1999 results CLICK HERE.

For the 2000 results CLICK HERE.

For the 2001 results CLICK HERE.

For the 2002 results CLICK HERE.

For the 2003 results CLICK HERE.

For the 2004 results CLICK HERE.

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