Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The electronic buzz coil kit is now back!

Back by popular demand is a new, improved electronic buzz coil ignition module.  What's a "buzz coil"?  It's very similar to the TIM-6 ignition module except that instead of generating one spark for each power stroke, the buzz coil can generate dozens for each power stroke (200 per second - duration depends on the "dwell angle").  This greatly improves combustion for slower hit-and-miss or older engines that may not have much compression.   The new PCB is slightly larger than Jerry's handmade PCB and displays part outlines and labels for easier assembly.  Also included are wire terminal blocks to make wire hookup much easier.

For more details and prices, see the following link:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ed Arata's Cannon

Here's an e-mail I received from Ed on July 9, 2013:



Just a note to let you know that I finally finished my cannon from the plans that I bought from you folks three years ago!!

I had the cannon barrel, but I needed plans to reproduce the 24 Pounder Carriage.

As you can see my finished product is bigger than your model, I had to scale your plans up to match my barrel, along with some design modifications for ease of construction!!!!

Missed the 4th of July so will have to find another event to try it out............

Thanks Again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dana Hall's oversized Farmboy

Got this e-mail from Dana on June 13th, 2013:


Hi Allen...
Dana Hall here from Florida...
I hope this letter finds you well...
Been a while since I've talked with you...

I just finished the Farm Boy engine from your fathers plans... I made the engine 25% larger than what is called for... Instead of 6 inch flywheels, now they are close to 8 inches in diameter... I recalculated and increased each dimension on the plans by 25%...

I decided to try running the engine on propane instead of liquid fuel, and after a little tweaking, it ran so well that I just left it that way...

Enclosed are 3 photos of the engine... I thought you might like to see them...

Talk with you later,

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Graphite piston size issue (builders, please note!) (4IN1)

Here's an e-mail I received from Wayne Linfield on June 1, 2013:


At Christmas I received a 4 in 1 engine kit with the Graphite & Bearings kit. I am now getting around to building the engine. I find that the graphite piston is too small. The data sheet specifies the diameter as 1.045" but the part I received is only 0.997".Having already bored the cylinder out to 1.000" it is too small to fit properly.Is it possible to send me one the correct diameter?


And my reply:



Hmmm - never noticed that before.  That must be a typo, because the data sheet for the "Duplex" engine kit shows 1.000", which is the same stock.  I'll have to fix that on the 4-in-1 kit packing slip.

Looking at page 10, it shows the cyl diameter is 1.000".

We do not offer graphite larger than 1".

Although I am not a machinist, I would think it would be wise/prudent to make your parts around any pre-manufactured parts.

Sometimes, bearings are slightly smaller by a thousandth or two from what the plans anticipate.  Once or twice a customer has also complained about that.  Of course, I have no control over manufacturers to make bearings the exact size as the plans specify.   You must allow for generally accepted mass-production size tolerances.  Not unlike 2x4 lumber is actually 1.5" x 3.5"?

Since your cyl is now oversize, I suppose you could insert a stainless steel sleeve like Dad did on his.  Then you won't have to make another cyl.

Sorry about that!

Monday, March 18, 2013

David Lavoie's V2

Got this e-mail from David on March 18, 2013:


Hi Allen,
I got the Sensor squared away finally, The ground was at the base of the engine and it was not liking it there, I have my engine all anodized and it is cool looking, I have it running and here is a link to my engine site with pictures.

Thanks David Lavoie

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Error on page 3 of Farmboy plans?

Below is a "thread" of e-mails between me and "EngineMaker" - builder of Farmboy #003 on Jan 15th and 16th, 2013:


Me --> EngineMaker

I trust all is well with you and your family this New Year.

A customer has a question that I'm not sure about.  On page 3 of the Farmboy plans, in the upper-right "rearward view" it shows a dimension of .325 as the thickness of the side frame INCLUDING the cam shaft protrusion support.  So, .325 minus .250 (thickness of frame wall) should equal a protrusion thickness of .075.  However, the lower right "bottom view" it shows a protrusion thickness of .105 --- this is a .030 inch difference.  I can't quite get my cheapo caliper in there to measure the actual dimension on Dad's Farmboy (flywheels are in the way), and I was wondering if you could provide some insight.  If I were to make a guess, I'd say the .105 is correct, and the "rearward view" dimension is incorrect.

Please advise...


EngineMaker --> Me

I see what you mean on the drawings. I can't remember what dimension I used when I made mine in January of 09.

Looking at the drawing, the pad already has a 1/32 inch radius at the frame and the pad looks to be 2 times that in height than that which would put it about .094" high (all very inaccurate). If I had to guess I'd say I made it to the .105" number and if it was incorrect I could always mill it back down to .075" and I don't remember doing that.

Another way is to get the placement of the gears and then work backwards to see how high the pad has to be from the frame.

That being said I'll get in about 7 tonight and measure mine and get back to you.  I remember also your Dad told me that when he made the plans from the original engine that he made a few changes to parts to make them easier to make.


EngineMaker --> Me

I just got home and checked my Farmboy. The best that I can measure mine it looks like .375". Now if you take .250" for the frame and .105" for the pad you get .355". That's a difference of .020" which I'd say are the layers of paint on the inside of the frame and the outside of the pad on mine.  I'd say .105" is correct.