Thursday, March 8th, 2012 09:20 am GMT -6 Thursday, March 8th, 2012 09:20 am GMT -6Thursday, March 8th, 2012 09:20 am GMT -6
 
Model Engine News website

Yes, I know I’m an electrics guy. That won’t keep us from enjoying this great website.

 

 

 

Introduction

The banner at the top of the web pages reads Model Engineering and Model IC Engine Projects. But the URL and the contents really seems dedicated to a monthly online magazine called Model Engine News. The man behind all this is Ron Chernich from Australia.

I couldn’t find this mentioned anywhere, but the primary focus appears to be antique and handmade model airplane engines.

Sherline

The header of the web page contains a link to The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. This is a foundation started by Joe Martin, founder of the Sherline Corporation. Sherline makes machine shop equipment used to make these model engines. The goal of the foundation is to encourage excellence in craftsmanship with emphasis on metalworking projects at the small end of the size scale. The Internet Craftsmanship Museum was also started by the foundation.

The Good

I have to admit, this is a world that I know little about. But I can tell when I have run across a good website when it draws me in to explore and tempts me become a part of the community. Model Engine News did that. The online magazine has been published once a month consistently since 2002, and there’s a ton of stuff to look at.

Each issue contains about half a dozen special features and another half a dozen regular features. The full issue is on one web page, making for very easy navigation. Every feature has a photo that can be clicked on and expanded. Sometimes these photos expand into full photo galleries. Nice.

Mr. Chernich is obviously very knowledgeable about the subject. All the feature articles are very authoritative.

A separate buy and sell section has quite a few engines, model airplane kits, books, and other miscellaneous items. There were actually more items listed here than I was expecting. The books have prices listed and I thought they were all reasonable.

Another section is called the design center. There are some very good articles and engine timing calculators. This may be the best part of the website. Worth a visit.

The Bad

The website pages use frames, which a long time ago were declared to be bad. The main problem with frames is that they make it almost impossible to bookmark or email a link to a single page within the site.

True to its name, the magazine is mostly about news. All of the feature stories in each issue are short, typically only a couple of paragraphs long. Many are really introductions to longer articles on other websites.

The Ugly

The website layout is not particularly attractive, but it could be worse. After browsing the website for a little while, the left hand navigation bar kind of fell apart on me. Not a big deal, but another indication that the website layout is behind the times.

There is a search function, which is commendable, but I did not think it was very good. My attempt at searches always resulted in frustration, not usable search results.

Model Engine News homepage

Summary

I remember attending the WRAM show in upstate New York many years ago. There was a man at a booth with a miniature motorcycle. It was maybe a foot long (30 cm). I believe he had hand-built it himself. What was really amazing, and the reason I still remember it, is that he could turn on the engine and run it, just like a real motorcycle! Even the sound was authentic. This website is for those that love small engines like that one.

Most of the coverage of the website is on internal combustion engines for model airplanes. I would have loved to see a construction project for a model airplane electric motor. I guess maybe they are just too simple.

Even someone with just a passing interest in the subject (like me) can learn a lot by visiting this website. If nothing else, you can look at the pictures and marvel at the craftsmanship of these master engineers.

4 / 5 stars      

http://modelenginenews.org

Internet Craftsmanship Museum

New York Times article about miniature engines

Sherline Corporation

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