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Topics - ahowell

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"PowerHouse" 4-Cycle Gas Engine / Matt Parker's Powerhouse
« on: July 04, 2017, 04:21:16 PM »
Got this email from Matt Parker on July 4, 2017.  Click the youtube link at the bottom to see it run!


Thanks again for helping me to solve my hall sensor problem. Even though it wasn't anything more than a bonehead move on my part, it was you who insisted it was the hall sensor leading to me finding the issue.
The below video is my engine finally taking its first breaths of life. Thanks to your father for a great set of plans which allows folks like me to accomplish these builds. I look forward to the next engine build.

Thanks again,
Matt Parker

Here's a valid question I received from Richard Piaseki on May 1, 2017:

I just bought the plans for the Farm Boy engine and after reviewing the drwgs., I have a question. Sheet #3 does not show a .500 hole for the crankshaft/bearing. Is there a reason for this or just an omission error?
Richard Piasecki

I wasn't sure, and I also noticed a similar issue with the connecting rod end, so I asked "EngineMaker' (builder of Farmboy #3).  Here's his reply:

On page #3 your Dad gave the dimensions for the placement of the holes as 1.820" from the back edge of the frame and 1.280" from the back of the lap joint. Now the size of the hole is the .500" dimension shown on the crankshaft bushings shown on page #9. Half of the hole is in the bearing cap and the other half is in the frame. I drill and ream my 1/2" holes as the bearing should be captured by the bearing cap ( so it doesn't spin) bur not crush the .376" inside bushing dimension.
On page #8 if you look at the connecting rod drawing, the bottom of the connecting rod dimension is .400" wide and the cap is also .400" wide. The hole goes at the seam of the 2 parts and in the center ( the .900" divided by 2 = .450") from  the edge. The hole size is the .561" dimension shown on page #8 as the rod end bushing. You could actually make the hole drilled an reamed .562" and the bushing .561" dimension .562". In this case the rod cap bolts going through the bearing keep the bearing from turning. My guess is that your Dad meant to say "Drill and Ream a .562 hole through rod big end" instead of .282" as shown on the rod big end assembly picture shown on page #8.

PICTIM ignition module running on a standard 9v battery for the past two hours.  For this demo, the PIC chip has been programmed to simulate a 4-cycle running at 2000 RPM.  Visit for more details.

See this link for YouTube video:

"Howell V-Four" 4-Cycle Gas Engine / Bob Cooke's V4 Update
« on: October 10, 2016, 05:18:14 AM »
Bob just sent me these photos.  Just a little ignition work, and it'll be ready to run.  Looking great!

"Howell V-Twin" 4-Cycle Gas Engine / Steve Gould's V2
« on: October 04, 2016, 07:19:56 AM »
Here's an e-mail I received from Steve Gould on Oct 3, 2016:


Hi Allen,
My Howell V2 engine is nearing completion, it’s a handsome looking engine and a bit more difficult to produce than my original assumption. There is still a number of steps to go before completion, but all the main parts are working fine and the cam gear train works very well. Here is a picture, it looks the part when polished!

"Farm Boy" 4 -Cycle Hit-&-Miss Engine / Dave King's engine collection
« on: July 24, 2016, 04:21:49 PM »
Got this e-mail from Dave King today. His engines look and run great. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Allen
Just a quick note to say I have finished my third engine 'Vickie' and what a stunning looking engine she is.
I had all my engines running together today and have included a picture and a link to a Video. What fun!

( )

My next project is the Ringbom - Stirling Pump Engine to keep me busy for another year.
Many Thanks
Dave King.

Buy/Sell/Trade / "Duplex" Engine Partial Casting Kit, $75 OBO
« on: May 04, 2016, 04:06:30 PM »
I found this "Duplex" engine partial casting kit in one of Dad's "stuff" boxes.


Flywheel Castings (2)
Fire Door Castings (2)

See photo below.

Email if interested.

Buy/Sell/Trade / "Beamer" Engine Partial Casting Kit, $100 OBO
« on: May 04, 2016, 03:48:58 PM »
I found this "Beamer" engine partial casting kit in one of Dad's "stuff" boxes.


Engine Base Casting
Crankshaft Standard Castings (2)
Beam Casting

See photo below.

Email if interested.

I found this "Rider" pumping engine partial casting in some of Dad's "stuff" boxes.

This partial casting kit contains the following items:

Upper Frame Casting
Lower Frame Casting
Furnace Door casting
Crank Arm Casting (1)
Pump Outlet Valve Cover Casting
Pump Inlet Valve Cover Casting

Comes with 3 extra pump covers (as seen in plastic bag in photo)

See attached photo.

E-mail if interested.

I found this "Rider" pumping engine partial casting in some of Dad's "stuff" boxes.

This casting kit contains the following items:

Engine Base Casting
Upper Frame Casting
Lower Frame Casting
Furnace Door casting
Crank Arm Casting (2)
Pump Outlet Valve Cover Casting
Pump Inlet Valve Cover Casting

See attached photo.

E-mail me at if interested.

Buy/Sell/Trade / MT3 5/8 Mill Holders $20 EA
« on: April 28, 2016, 11:17:14 AM »
I'm not a machinist, so I don't know much about these.  Dad had a small box of these, and I need to get rid of them.
They're new, and unopened (except a couple to take photos).  The box is labeled:


And the holder is labeled:


I have 13 of these, and 2 where the box is labeled:


$20 EA and $10 shipping, regardless of quantity.
Email if interested.

Ignition, Throttle, Magnetic Pump / Throttle hole dimension question
« on: November 23, 2015, 06:46:28 AM »
Malcolm from Great Britain had sent me an email question about the 2-Jet throttle plan pages included in the V-Twin plans:

Q: On sheet 27 left side view there are 2 holes .100. from top and .570 from top and .265 from right hand edge.
I can't work this as to size, depth, threaded etc.  Can you help me with this?

A: Hi Malcolm.  Page 27, looking at the "Left Side View", I'll call the top hole #1, and the bottom hole #2. These are the two holes you inquired about .

For hole#1, the dimension reference is shown to the left of the "Top View": Drill .070 thru and tap 2-56.  Looks like you drill until you "T" into the larger .140 hole at a 90 degree angle.

For hole#2, the dimension reference is shown to the left of the "Front View": Drill .043 dia into fuel inlet, then drill .070 dia x .200 deep and tap 2-56.

This may sound childish, but try cutting out the Top View, Left Side, Front View, and Right Side, then tape them together to form a basic 3-D model, then I think it will mentally come together much clearer.

Hope this helps...

"Beamer" - Stirling Cycle Beam Engine / Steve Peirce's Beamer
« on: November 05, 2015, 03:47:56 PM »
Very nice looking engine, Steve.

Sideshaft Vacuum (atmospheric) Engine / Steve Peirce's Sideshaft w/Cart
« on: November 05, 2015, 03:45:51 PM »
Very cool.  Love the saw and the cart!

"Howell V-Twin" 4-Cycle Gas Engine / Fan hub assembly explained
« on: March 03, 2015, 07:28:25 AM »
Here's an e-mail thread I thought would be a good topic to share with others:


Hi Allen,
Last time I emailed you, I was 80% complete in a few months, I’m getting a little closer now.
I’m working on the fan, Sheet #35. Because there are no assembly drawings on many of the subassemblies, it makes things interesting, like a puzzle. The fan hub takes a .156 x .312 flanged support bearing for the Fan Shaft. But where does the other bearing go. (a shaft needs two support bearings). I assume it goes in the Fan Belt pulley. But in you kit of bearings there is no bearing that size.
As always thank for your help.
From South Florida: Weather report for today - 81 degrees


Hello Ernie,
Hey - no fair bragging about your weather!
After some study and speaking as an amateur, here's what it looks like to me:
1. Insert a .156 ID x .312 OD x .125 flanged bearing, flanged side out, all the way onto the Fan Shaft.
2. Insert the Fan Hub into onto the Fan Shaft, narrow end attached to the bearing from step 1.
3. Insert the second .156 ID x .312 x .125 flanged bearing on the Fan Shaft, flanged side out.
4. Insert the Fan Belt Pulley onto the narrow end of the Fan Hub.
5. Attach the Fan Mounting Bracket on the remaining exposed end of the Fan Shaft.
See if that makes sense to you.


That cleared it up.  In summary there is a ball bearing inserted on each end of the Fan Hub. But, why is there a .500 dia x .190 dp cut out in the Fan Belt pulley. I think it would have made more sense to put the other ball bearing in the Fan Belt Pulley. 
One more thing, the gears. Cutting gears is expensive due to the cost of the gear cutters and a rotary table. The gears can be purchased from SDP or other gear houses, expensive. However, I purchased then on eBay for about $3.00/gear. Only slight modification is needed. If you would like more info just ask me. You may want to pass it off to others.
I certainly appreciate the help, thank you again.


Yeah, I wondered about that deep cut on the Fan Belt Pully.  I can only guess that Dad did not think it needed all of that bearing surface contact, and also makes it easier to disassemble should the need arise.  He knew he would have to disassemble the engine after he built it to draw up the plans (contrary to typical product development, Dad built his engines first, then developed the plans after!)

Send some of that sunshine and warm air up here.  We could use it!


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