Lewiston High School Machinist Club

Some things just feel right. Such was the case when I first saw one of these little engines show up on Ebay a couple of years back. The members of the Lewiston High School Machinist Club choose and execute one steam engine design each year. The projects are used to teach the students how to operate the CNC controlled tools which the school has available. I'd suspect there is seldom a lack of enthusiasm among the members.

At the end of the school year, a very limited number of the engines are offered up for sale on Ebay. This year I couldn't resist buying one, as a way to support their program.

Pat Schmidt, who oversees the machinist club program, informed the students that I intended to put the engine on this web site, to help them get a bit of credit for their hard work., They graciously offered me the chance to purchase a second engine design, when they learned I had missed out on one last year. I was not only grateful for the offer, but pleased to be able to share their talents with others. Pat tells me this program has been quite a success, allowing the club to provide over $6000.00 in scholarships for deserving students. Not bad for a small group of kids with newly discovered skills..... eh?

Student Machinist Project
Leiwston High School, Idaho, USA - Manufacture date: 2001
Bore =1/2", Stroke 2", Flywheel diameter = 2 1/4"
Style: Single Acting Oscillating , Horizontal Mill Engine

Dimensions: 51" length x 3" width x 3 1/2" height

2001 Horizontal Oscillator Engine

I've watched these little engines appear on Ebay once a year for several years now. Last year, I placed a bid for one of these small horizontal oscillators, but was not available when the auction ended. The result was that I was outbid for the engine. This year I went the "Buy it Now route to assure I got one.

This design has been the standard for the club for the past few years and it is both well designed and well executed. The workmanship is beyond reproach and it is almost scary to see the engine running on 15 pounds of air. It turns some pretty incredible rpm's with very little noise.

Student Machinist Project
Leiwston High School, Idaho, USA - Manufacture date: 2001
Bore =3/8", Stroke 1", Flywheel diameter = 2 "
Style: Single Acting Oscillating , Horizontal Mill Engine

Dimensions: 3" length x 3" width x 5" height

2003 Vertical Oscillator Engine

It was a surprise to see a new design show up on Ebay this year. The vertical oscillator was designed and executed, based on a double acting saw mill engine owned by the family one of Pat's students. The single action design was adapted to make the engine easier to machine and build. Quite a bit of attention was devoted to getting the unique "S" spokes into the flywheel, attesting to the CNC setup skills the students have learned.

Once again, these guys have created an eye appealing piece which runs like a little demon on as little as 2 pounds of air.

Each engine comes on a beautiful hardwood base (these are on walnut) with a brass base bezel. The students also engrave the year the engine was made and "Lewiston High School Machinist Club" into the bezel as part of the CNC training.

By the way.... if you recall.... school club days, "in my time at least", only totaled a very minor few hours over a period of a whole year. These engines were essentially designed, machined and built on a pretty darned tight time frame, using very short periods of available working time. That fact alone trumps some of the "professional" machine shops I've contracted with over the years.

I began this page by saying "Some things just feel right". How often can you support education, make a charitable donation, and get a wonderful new addition to your steam engine collection?. Hopefully I'll be adding new pieces as the Lewiston High School Machinist Club continues to come up with new designs over the next few years.

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