Using a Mamod engine and Wilesco accessories as model making workshop? Will it work?
I have an electrical feed from my house to the shed. This feed powers my railway, lighting, heater, compressor, extractor, assorted tools and most importantly a kettle! The only thing missing is a fridge 🙂
It’s my man cave and it suites me perfectly and it’s where I do a lot of louder, messier, work.
Unfortunately, the other day something went wrong with the electrics and I lost power to this garden den.
I’d hoped to get some modelling on this particular day. Namely some OO scale scratch building and starting on the Sterling engine project.
This work required the pillar drill or my trusty Dremel but without power, I was scuppered.
But then my creativity kicked in.
In another corner of my shed is an old Mamod engine that I’m fixing up. There are also a few Wilesco workshop tools that attach to it. A Wilesco pillar drill in particular.
These are fun to watch but surely they’re toys and not suitable for actual use?
But without power and drill work to be getting on with it was time to find out.
I topped up the boiler of the Mamod engine, lit the burner and let it build up a head of steam.
Next came plastic bottle that will be used as the cylinder for a proof of concept Sterling engine and which needed holes drilling. I placed this under the Wlesco pillar drill, flicked the flywheel and it burst into life, rotating the drill bit as it should.
The drill bit isn’t really a drill but a shaft with a flattened head on it and I was doubtful it would work but work it did.
It took longer than it would have taken with a normal electric drill but it the holes as required.
This was fun!
I was making a trains parts with a steam engine!
A short time later, I’d drilled the holes required and without an Amp of electricity.
The steam and burner had even warmed the shed up a bit.
Sure, these tools aren’t ideal but it was a fun experiment and made the modelling more interesting although slightly slower.
I’d love to hear from anyone else who uses their Mamod and Wilesco with workshop tools for real too.
How far could you take these tools and a Mamod or Wilesco engine? Could a model making lath or band saw be driven?
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.