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Benz Model One
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Model Engineering

In my efforts to create accurate and detailed ship models I needed to produce a greater number of wood and metal
parts that were required to reproduce those on the original vessel.  This lead to an increased interest in machining. 
To satisfy this interest I had to acquire an new lathe, a milling machine and a drill press all of which are designed for
miniature work.  The, along with these new "toys" I have a nice set of drill bits, lathe cutting tools, mill cutters and
accessories for the milling machine that allow me to hold the piece being machined at any angle or position required.

The first parts I made with the mill were for the restoration of my Bluenose model.  These included the gears, ratchets
and other components of the windless.  As well I made 12 side bait buckets and compasses for the dories.

Steam Engines

The common areas focused on by model engineers are steam engines and internal combustion engines.  Larger steam
locomotives typically operate on live steam while miniature stationary steam engines of originals that would have been
used to power factories or ships are mainly designed to run on compressed air.  Internal combustion engine models I
have seen are of those used in aircraft, automobiles or boats and are either static or operational.  In all the detail captured
in many of these engines is truly amazing.

My interest in this area is with steam engines operated on compressed air.  Being that my knowledge here was negligible
there was a lot to learn.  I first obtained a set of books that discussed steam engine design and operation which gave me
a basic understanding of how they worked and the timings involved with allowing live steam (or in the case of a model,
compressed air) into the cylinder to move the piston and to exhaust spent steam.  Next, I purchased a kit of a reversing
engine  which allowed me to see all of the parts required and to understand how they worked together to operate the engine.

Now was the time to start on my own creation.  I chose a simple oscillation engine with few moving parts but did include
are of the basic components required in all engines.  The project was a success and the engine runs.


La Marquise

What led up to my increased interest in model engineering were some pictures I saw of a steam driven car, La Marquise,
built in 1884.  The car still exists and still runs.  Exceptional.

 This car so intrigued me I decided I wanted to build it but knew from the outset it would not be a trivial task.  There
are numerous pictures of it on the internet so there are images showing almost all views and components.  A gentleman
living in Berlin had created a 3D drawing of the car based on these images and I am extremely fortunate that he was
willing to share his work with me.  There is a lot of detailed information available with the exception of components
that control and time steam to the cylinders as they are not shown in any of the photos or drawings because they are
under the car. 

My first step is to load the drawing into TurboCad and separate out the major components (frame, wheels, boiler, seats, etc)
so each can be viewed, measured and studied separately.   Then I will have to spend some time designing the linkages
between the rear axle, the throttle and the cylinders to control the steam and allow the car to run.

The model will operate on compressed air.  In the text below any reference to steam is as the item would have operated
on the original car but is to be taken to mean compressed air in the model.

This will probably be a two year project but no doubt an interesting one.


May 2013

Over the past few months I have completed some basic components of the La Marquise model. 

Boiler/Firebox assembly along with the inner and outer frames.


Firebox and boiler assembly.


One of the four cylinders and all of the components required to make it operational.  To the left of the cylinder block
are: the steam valve, gasket, steam chest (with "O" rings and their retaining plates to seal the shaft which will go through
the steam chest and control movement of the valve), gasket, chest cover plate, bolts to hold these items to the cylinder
block, gasket, retaining plate (for the live steam port) and bolts to hold the plate in place.  Below the cylinder block are
the piston, screw to hold the piston to the piston shaft, gasket, cylinder end plate and bolts to hold it in place.  Above the
cylinder block is the "O" ring and it's retaining plate to seal the piston shaft where it enters the block and bolts to hold
the plate in place.  To the right are the gasket, retaining plate and bolts for the exhaust port which is located on the top
of the cylinder block in the picture.  The dime is included to provide a perspective of the scale.

After assembling the cylinder components on the car's frame and operating them it became clear that the "O" rings on the
piston and those used to seal around the shafts were to inflexible which caused movement of the shafts to be restricted. 
To alleviate this problem the piston was remade using Teflon and the "O" rings around the shafts were replaced with
packing.  Packing is a graphite impregnated cord which, once in place, reshapes to the exact contour of the shaft and hub
forming a low resistance seal.  Packing is used for the same purpose in live steam engines.

The center hole in the side of the block leads to the exhaust port.  The holes next to it lead to openings in each end of
the cylinder.  To operate the valve will slide over the three holes.  As it moves to the left it will allow exhaust steam to
leave from the left end of the cylinder and then live steam to enter the right end of the cylinder forcing the piston to the
left.  The valve will then move to the right allowing exhaust steam to exit the right end of the cylinder then live steam
into the left end of the cylinder forcing the piston to the right.


Another view of the cylinder components.


October 6, 2013

After months of making parts for La Marquise there are enough pieces to assemble into the basics of the car. 
Here are some pictures as it is now.

Side profile.  The copper tubing is to take the steam exhaust from the cylinders to the firebox exhaust.

The mirror mounted under the car is to allow the underside to be viewed without turning it over.



From the top.  The eccentrics on the rear axle will drive the valves that let steam into and escape from the four cylinders.


The front axle and steering arms.


Close-up of the cylinders.


Doors into the top of the firebox and the firebox exhaust.  The lid on top of the firebox is where wood and coal was put in. 
The lid on top of the exhaust would be lifted up to allow draft when starting the fire then pushed down once steam was up
and the engines were running.  With the engines running steam exhaust from them would be going into the main exhaust
pipe with sufficient velocity to provide draft for the fire.


Steering drive.  A threaded shaft will be screwed into the assembly to the right of the gears.  When that shaft as turned
by the driver the assembly attached to the gears would move up or down and rotate the gears  which would then rotate
the shaft going up to the steering arm causing the tie rods to move and the wheels to turn to the left or right. 


December 10, 2013

Valves and water level gauge on the boiler.

The center valve in the set of three at the bottom of the boiler is used to drain the boiler.  The one the the left is connected
to a manual pump and the one on the right to a powered pump.  The are used to add fresh water to the boiler.

The valves at the top control the live high pressure steam.  The two upright unites are pressure release valves used to
automatically release steam pressure if that  pressure gets to high.  The valve on the left allows the operator to release
steam into the exhaust tube.  The one to the right, and half hidden in this photo, feeds steam to the steam pressure gauge. 
The larger valve out on front of the others feeds live steam to the cylinders.  On the model this last valve will be operational
and will allow compressed air for the cylinders to be turned on and off.

The clear tube and valves attached to it are a glass used to determine the level of water in the boiler.


This picture shows the grate in the bottom of the fire box and below the fire box a pan used to catch embers and ash
falling out of the fire box.  The image of the grill pattern in the pan is from a red light shining down through the fire box. 
The "L" shaped arm extends out to the front of the car and when moved from side to side would cause spent ash and
embers to fall out into the pan.

The brass fitting is unique to the model.  Compressed air will enter the car here through a clear plastic tube.


April 2014

After more months of machining parts and assembling them on the car, the La Marquise is operational.  Compressed air
is fed through the brass fitting at the bottom of the boiler shown in the photo above.  From there it flows through the main
shut-off valve on the output side of the pressure relief valves at the top rear of the boiler then trough a valve controlled by
the throttle lever and on to the cylinders.

As can be seen in he following pictures my initial paint job was less than satisfactory.  Valves and pipes will be left with
their brass and copper colours respectively.  Other parts will have to be repainted.


Here we see the main shut-off valve (with large wood handle) and the pipe carrying the pressurized air to the throttle
controlled valve.  Both of these valves as well as the "D" valves mentioned below are functional on the model.  Other
valves and pipes will installed as they are on the original car but will not be functional.  The throttle lever, standing
between the rear cylinders, controls the volume of air pressure available to the cylinders and the travel of the "D" valves
which feed air to each of the cylinders.  The "D" valves are timed with the rear axle so that air pressure is applied causing
the pistons to move forward or backward at the appropriate portion of the axle rotation forcing the wheels to rotate. 
The cylinders on each side of the car are time 90 degrees out from each other so that when one side is applying minimum
power to the axle, the other side is applying maximum power.


Looking down at the rear axle you can see the electrical generator which would power the lights on the original car. 
Opposite the generator is an eccentric, driven from a gear on the axle.  This eccentric drives a pump used to feed fresh
 water to the boiler when the car is moving.  In addition to this pump there was a hand pump next to the boiler  that
was used to fill the boiler when it was cold and an injector that served this purpose when steam pressure was up but
the car was not moving.

The black arms going forward from between the generator and pump eccentric drive the "D" valves.


Another view of the rear axle and the components on it.

 The links below will bring up movies of the car operating.  Depending on your system the movie may play in a separate
window.  If you hear it but cannot see it look for another window that has opened.  As well, it will take a few seconds to
download the movie after click the link.



October 5, 2014

The La Marquise has seen significant progress over the past few months.  The following photos show what has been added.


Here we see the underside of the car with all of the water and steam lines in place.  Some detail on the pipes and fittings:

  • The lines going into the inner side of each cylinder carry steam to the valves which open and close to allow steam
    into the piston and allow exhaust steam out at the appropriate part of the pistons travel.
  • The brass cylinder in front of the rear axle is a pump driven by a gear on the axle.  I would be used to pump water
    from the reservoir to the boiler when the car was in motion.  This pump is operational on the model.
  • The brass cylinder next to the rear drive cylinder at the upper portion of the picture is an injector.  It would use
    steam to force water from the reservoir to the boiler when steam pressure was up. 


This picture shows the brakes and steering mounted on the car. 

The brake shoes can be seen just in front of each rear wheel.  The black arms between the rear cylinders and extending
back toward the rear axle apply and release the brakes.  This linkage is controlled by turning a handle in front of and
to the left of the driver.  This is all functional on the model.

The steering is seen on the lower portion of the picture.  More detail of drive mechanism is made clearer in a later image. 
The brass "U" shaped yoke is moved up or down causing the brass rod going up toward the front of the car to rotate which
moves the arm connected to the tie rods causing the wheels to turn to the left or right.  This works on the model.


Here the cylinder exhaust lines are in place.  Steam exhaust from the pistons will move through these pipes and into t
he main exhaust pipe from the fire box.


Now the main exhaust pipe from the fire box is in place.


This image shows some of the pipes and operating components on the top the car.  The boiler unit is on the right,

the water reservoir on the left.

  • On the top right are the pressure relief valves and the main valve to control steam flow to the cylinders. 
    On the model this valve can be used to turn on or off the flow of compressed air to the cylinders.
  • The coil cools live steam and feeds it to the oil filled canister in the center of the picture.  As the steam passes
    through it picks up a film of the oil then is fed back into the main steam line.  This oil film lubricates the pistons
    and valves.
  • The pipes going into the front of the reservoir are overflow lines from the axle pump and injector. 
    If the pump or injector are operating but additional water is not required in the boiler that water would be routed
    through these overflow lines back into the reservoir.  The valve between the overflow lines feed the hand pump
    which we will see in a later photo.
  • The handle coming up between the lines is used to control the brakes.  The handle on the left is the steering control.
  • The white lever is the throttle.  It controls the travel of the valves at the cylinders thereby controlling the volume
    of steam allowed to the pistons and the speed of the car.  This is operational on the model.


Here we have the steering mechanics.  Turning the handle above this unit cause the main body of the unit to move up
or down then through the rotation of the gears, moves the arm seen next to the front wheel which moves the tie rods.

The steam pressure gauge is visible behind the steering.


This is a view of the left side of the boiler.

  • The brass tube and handle extending up next to the boiler is a hand pump which would be used to get water to the
    boiler when it is cold.
  • The three valves next to the hand pump control: 1)water from the hand pump into the boiler,  2)would be used to
    drain the boiler and 3)water from the injector into the boiler.  The valve at the same level as these but around the
    other side controls water to the boiler from the axle pump.
  • The plaque on the side of the boiler specifies the maintenance schedule for the boiler.


Here is the car and all of the components completed as of this date.  The platform over the water reservoir is the base for the seats. 
The covers over the coal bins surrounding the boiler open and close on the model

The base the car sits on has a mirror under the car so that everything on the bottom of the car can be seen.

The car sits on a set of rollers that are connected below the base.  The rear wheels of the car drive the rear rollers which drive the
front rollers to turn the front wheels at the proper sped in relation to the rotation of the rear wheels.


What Next.  The main things yet to come are:  Leather covered seats, fold down platform behind the seats, floor in front of the seats,
front fenders and head lights.


December 12, 2014.  La Marquise completed

The seats, fenders, head lights and floor are now on the car which were the final things to complete.

Right profile from above.


Right profile.


Left profile from above.


Left profile.

Underside of car front.


Car front with head lights illuminated.


Etched headlight side panel shown with headlights on and off.


Rear of car.


Rear of car with platform lowered.


Maintenance schedule plaque and valves on rear of boiler.


Steering drive mechanism.


Link to a movie of the car running.    Note:  This is a large file so may take five minutes or more to download and start to play.


Building of this car started with eight months of off-and-on again research and information gathering then twenty five
months of machining and assembly of parts.  My knowledge of machining increased dramatically through the process. 

Overall I am very happy with the result.


1901 Panhard-Levassor Forward Control Cab Phaeton

In June of this year (2016) I had the urge to build another car and started looking around for one that struck my fancy. 
When I saw pictures of the Forward Control Cap Phaeton built by Panhar-Levassor in 1901 I knew this was the one. 

The style of the car intrigued me.  The plan is to have the engine (internal combustion) running and the car remote controlled. 
Whether this can be done remains to be seen but one must have objectives.

The pictures below are what I have to work with.

Rear quarter of the car.



















Front quarter.


Head lights.



Passenger compartment.


Driver's controls.



Serial number plate.


January 2017.

As of this date major components of the engine have been machined and shown in the photos below.


This image shows the upper and lower housings from the right side of the engine.  The right motor mounts extend out
from the lower housing.  The exhaust valve stems and their return springs extend down from the upper housing. 
The round hole in the upper housing is the exhaust port.


This is the underside of the lower housing showing the crank shaft in place.  The lower ends of the connecting rods
and the sleeves in which the pistons run can be seen here.


This is a top view of the top of the engine.  The two round openings at the top of the picture are for the intake valves. 

The next two holes are the exhaust openings from the cylinders.   Exhaust will flow from these openings, through the
channels below them in the picture to the exhaust valves.

The curved piece around the housing is the outer portion of the water jacket.  Cooling water will enter the side of this
jacket. flow around the cylinders then up into the channels cut into the top of the engine and exit from the opening at
the top center of this picture.


This picture shows the components of the engine machined at this point.

From the top left you see the upper housing, lower housing and oil pan.  These are machined from aluminum.

Down the center is a dime to give perspective of the scale, the pistons, connecting rods and crank shaft.   The pistons
are aluminum, the rings are cast iron.  The connecting rods are made from a ZA12 aluminum alloy which has very
good bearing characteristics which negates the need for bushings in the connecting rods.  The crankshaft is turned
from 1144 steel.  It is supported by ball bearings on  the outer ends and a bronze bushing in the center.

On the right side are the valve seats, the valves, valve return springs and spring keepers.  The seats, valves and keepers
are made from drill rod and will be hardened



June 30, 2017


Profile of the car as it is now.  The frame is 13 1/2" long and 3 3/16" wide.


Rear axle and springs.  The springs on the axles support 2.5 pounds at half compression which is sufficient to
support a total weight of the 10 pounds.  The Hanson cab will sit on the springs looped above the frame to
provide the passenger with a nice comfortable ride.


Front of the motor and steering.  The hole in the front of the motor is the inlet for coolant water from the radiator.
The housings to the right of the spark plugs are the input valves.  They are atmospheric valves so open with the
vacuum created by the intake stroke of the piston.

The back side of the longer section of the tie rod has gear teeth cut into it to mesh with a gear on the end of the
rod on which the steering wheel is mounted.  The brass turnbuckle will be used to adjust the toe in of the front


Front wheels are 4 3/16" in diameter.  The spokes are made from apple.  The rims are aluminum.  The tires are
"O" ring cord cut to length and glued together with super glue.  There are two ball bearings in each wheel hub so
the wheels can turn freely on the axles.

The arm supporting the tie rod can be seen between the two forward spokes.  This lower end of this arm is on a
pivot so that the steering gear will always be in contact with gear teeth in the tie rod.

The rear wheels are 4 7/8" in diameter.  Their construction is the same as the front wheels with the exception of
the sprocket mounted on the inner face of the wheel.  This sprocket will be connected by a roller chain to the drive
shafts coming out of the gear box

Side view of the motor showing the cam shaft which will drive the exhaust valves.  The hole in the upper section
of the motor is where the exhaust pipe will be connected.

Under side of the motor showing the crank shaft and connecting rods.  The large hub to the left is the flywheel
and outer clutch plate.

Oil pan sitting in place.

Prototype of the gear box.  This prototype was used to ensure all gears meshed properly and measurements of it
taken to use in machining the actual gear box.  The gear arrangement to the right is the differential and forward/
reverse set up.  When the lever extending from the right of the box is shifted it will cause the drive gear to engage
with the upper of lower gear (as seen in the photo) thus putting the car in forward or reverse.  When these gears are
half way through their travel neither will engage with the drive gear and put the car in neutral.

The shafts extending out from the sides of the box are the drive shafts and will be connected via roller chain to
the sprockets on the rear wheels.

Gear arrangement which provides four speeds.  The lower shaft and the gears on it shift to the left and right to
mesh the appropriate pair of gears.  In this image it is in third gear.  Moving the shaft all the way to the right will
put it into first gear.


February 10, 2018

Since June of last year much work has been done on the body and operator controls.



Profile of the completed body.  The curved cover behind the drivers seat flips up to allow access to the motor
which is below the seat.  The curved cover in front of the passenger compartment folds forward to allow access
to that compartment.

To open or close the windows the passenger would pull on a ribbon which is fastened to the bottom of the
window and extends up into the compartment.  A tassel at the end of that ribbon is visible in the window.


View front the front quarter.


Looking into the passenger compartment.  The seats are made of real leather.


Wood paneled ceiling of the passenger compartment.


Drivers controls.  On the left are four sets of oilers which have no functional use on the model, other than to look
pretty, because all rotating components run on ball bearings.  The two gauges show voltage and temperature. 
I was unable to determine  what the brass hubs would be used for so have no functional use on the model.

On the lower right are the driving controls.  The arm (standing up below the gauge) rotates the shaft and the link
on the right which is connected to the arm shifting the differential gears from forward/neutral/reverse.  The
peddle on the right is the accelerator and connected to the throttle on the carburetor.  The center peddle is
connected to the clutch and the next one is for the brakes.


View of the peddle linkages below the floor.  The arm on the left goes back to the differential shifter.  Next is the
accelerator link which rotates the shaft which rotates the arm on the far right which connects to the carburetor.  The
third arm is connected to the clutch linkage.  The knob on the left (between the wheel and frame) is used to hold
the clutch in an engaged or disengaged position on the model.  The fourth arm is for the brake linkage but the
brakes are not yet in place.


August 27, 2018

As of this date the model of the car is complete as a static model.  I have spent the last two years working on it and
need to get on to other things so this model will be relegated to the display case for a while.  In the future I would
still like to try and get the motor to run but will not be going to the effort of making it remote control as there is just
not enough room to install the batteries radio and servos that would be required.

Now for more pictures.


Side profile.  I had initially painted the body myself but was not happy with how it turned out so stripped off all
of my paint, applied body filler to remove any imperfections then had a friend who has access to automotive
painting equipment repaint it.  Now I am happy with the finish.


View from the rear quarter.


Drivers control console.  The three pedals, from left to right, are brake, clutch and accelerator.  The accelerator pedal
does operate the carburetor.  The clutch and brake  just follow the linkages operating the clutch and brake.  The
lever above the pedals operate the links to shift the differential from forward, neutral and reverse.


Side view of the drivers area showing the steering wheel, hand brake and gooseneck horn.  The black wheel below
the steering wheel operates the linkage which shifts gears in the gear box.


Passenger compartment.  The ribbons hanging from the side windows are used to raise and lower the windows.


Motor seen via the open cover behind the drivers seat.


Right rear wheel.  The shoe for the hand brake can be seen in front of the wheel.  This brake is operational.


Rear under carriage.  When rotated, the rod hanging below the gearbox operates a cam that forces brake pads
against  the inner face of the sprockets.  The tube is the exhaust pipe.  The brass rods running from the rear of the
frame to the axle prevent the axle from moving.


Radiator with the Panhard Levassor logo on it.


The running lights.  Each of these lights is made up of 13 different pieces.