By Craig Libuse
Wilhelm Huxhold of West Hill, Ontario, Canada, the top prize winner at the SHERLINE Machinist's Challenge in 1997 and 1998 won again in 1999. Here he is shown after accepting the award plaque for being honored as the Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the year for 1999.
Mr. Wilhelm Huxhold of West Hill, Ontario, Canada once again took top honors in Sherline's Machinist's Challenge contest for the third time. His entry this year was built specially for the contest and took seven months to complete. After this third win and after winning the "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award from the Joe Martin Foundation, Mr. Huxhold has said he is going to retire from competition and catch up on some of the other projects he has on his long list.
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. With seventeen entries, many spectators wished they had seventeen tokens as all were worthy of votes, but they had to spread their votes over their top five choices. With a varied range on interests among the spectators, all projects won votes, but there were not too many close calls. Sherline puts up $100 in prize money for each entrant up to 25, so with 17 entries, there was $1700 in prize money available. We would like to encourage more entries next year so that the maximum $2500 could be available to the contestants.
The quality of Mr. Huxhold's work has definitely challenged competitors over the past few years to bring their work to new levels of detail and finish. This year's entries included five first-time entrants and the overall level of quality of all the models was the best yet. There were at least four other entries that could have finished in first place in any previous contest. Newcomers finished well, with first time entrants Robert Merva and Bert de Kat finishing in the top six. Following are a few of the projects.
This compound Corliss by Wilhelm Huxhold won by a substantial margin in the voting. In his entry form Mr. Huxhold lists the basic stats on the engine as having a 5/16" bore and 5/8" stroke on the high pressure cylinder with a .416" bore and 5/8" stroke on the low pressure cylinder. The overall size of the base is only about 4" x 5", but the level of detail included in the model is awe inspiring. It is constructed of stainless steel, aluminum and Meehanite and has completely functional valve gear.
George Luhrs finished second to Wilhelm Huxhold last year and this year. He is probably one of the contestants who was not extremely disappointed by Mr. Huxhold's promise too retire from competition. To ease the pain of another second place finish, George had the satisfaction of being the only person to place two entries in the top six with second place and fifth place finishes. The combination of his two finishes gave him the highest cash reward of any contestant. He constructed two extremely tiny 4-cycle engines and no one doubted his claim that they are the smallest running 4-cycles in the world. The top finishing aero engine has a 1/4" bore and 5/16" stroke (.245cc displacement). This is an original design and not a scaled-down model of an existing engine. It has a spark plug ignition and runs on gasoline. Unfortunately, Mr. Luhrs picked up his entries on Saturday before I took my photos so I missed getting a shot of the engine. I have requested a photo from him, and if I receive one I will add it to this section.
Third place among entries of this caliber is quite an accomplishment, but Robert Merva's beautiful Plunkett 4-cycle engine was up to the task. It was beautifully polished, painted and displayed and attracted the eye of many voters to beat former winner George Britnell by only 10 votes for third place. The engine is water-cooled and includes a handmade radiator. The felt-lined oak box serves as both a transportation case and a display stand. The model was entirely constructed using Sherline tools.
Former contest winner George Britnell entered a 1/42 scale brass and steel model of a 1925 65 HP Case Traction Engine. The level of detail on this engine is simply stunning and I personally felt it had an excellent shot at first place. The picture below says it all. This is a model absolutely anyone would be proud to display. George also came up with an interesting way to close the wooden case that protects the model for travel. He made a turned brass fitting and threaded ring. The fitting was then split with half attached to the bottom and the other half to the lid of the case. With the lid in place, the knurled ring is threaded on locking the cover in place. It's simple, effective and clever.
Wilhelm Huxhold, West Hill, Ontario, Canada--Compound Corliss engine
George Luhrs, Shoreham, NY--World's smallest running 4-cycle aero engine (1/4" bore, 5/16" stroke)
Robert J. Merva, Latrobe, PA--Water-cooled 4-cycle Plunkett engine (1/2" bore, 3/4" stroke)
George Britnell, Strongsvill, OH--1/42 scale 1925 Case Traction engine
George Luhrs, Shoreham, NY--4-cycle gasoline engine driving a turbine (1/4" bore, 5/16" stroke)
Bert de Kat, Troy, Ontario, Canada--Very small thimble steam engine (1/16" bore, 1/16" stroke)
Dennis Scherf, Cedarburg, WI--Miniature brass craftsman's tool collection
Dennis Scherf, Cedarburg, WI--Miniature tools for working on 4-cycle engines, stainless steel
Karl Schwab, Warren, MI--Dickens toy live steam locomotive, polished brass and steel
Bert de Kat, Troy, Ontario, Canada--"Bijou" oscillating steam engine (1/8" bore, 1/8" stroke)
Jesse Brumberger, Macedon, NY--Mini outboard motor typical of 1920's era w/ exposed flywheel
Richard Hanley, Portland, MI--1/4 scale Spindex indexer, polished brass and steel
Larry Lamp, Leesburg, IN--The Rook Puzzle, figure out how to remove the pawn from inside the rook
Dick Saunders, Manchester, IO--Small travel chess set from aluminum and brass, pieces 3/8" x 3/8"
Wilhelm Huxhold, West Hill, Ontario, Canada--Miniature boring head with integral ww8 shaft, tool steel
Petter Renzetti, Arden, DE--Wobble plate engine w/ 8-piston sequentially valved rotary motion
Frank Warrick, Muskegon Heights, MI--Steel sine plate/tilting angle table
Sherline wishes to thank all the entrants for their fine work. We hope it will inspire others to take their modeling to smaller and more intricate levels. We hope you will be back next year with another entry. Try to encourage your friends and club members to join the fun too.
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 in 1998, 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 '00, think big and build small!
For pictures and information on the winners of last year's 1998 Sherline Machinist's Challenge, CLICK HERE.
Contest winner Wilhelm also wins the 3nd annual Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. Visit the page highlighted above for more details on Mr. Huxhold and his projects.
For the 1998 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.