2006 N.A.M.E.S. Show and the 15th Annual SHERLINE MACHINIST'S CHALLENGE

Steve Peirce makes it two in a row, and novice machinist Benjamin Roth takes top Youth Division spot.

A total of 17 entries included some first-time entrants and high quality craftsmanship.

Commentary and photos by Craig Libuse. Click on any photo to see a larger image. See bottom of this page for information on entering next year's contest.


(Left) Craig Libuse presents Steven Peirce his award plaque and prize check for collecting the most overall votes for his model American Hoist & Derrick Co. logging engine. Steve's 4th place finish with his second entry gave him the largest prize check as well, taking home $442.00 of the $1700 prize money put up by Sherline. --Mike Rehmus photo (Right) Benjamin Roth was this year's winner of the 21 and under Youth Division. He also took top prize as the only Novice (2 years or less experience) and the Craftsman's Choice award for youth craftsmanship. He is shown at his workbench with his awards, check and the books donated by Sherline and contest overall winner, Steve Peirce. The total of Benjamin's awards gave him the second largest portion of the prize purse after Steve Peirce. (Click on either photo to view a larger image.)

Dateline: Toledo, Ohio, April 22-23, 2006

Voters drop tokens into cups next to their 5 favorite entries.

Seventeen fine entries with many from first-time entrants made this a tough contest to judge. Though Sherline puts up $100 per entry in prize money, the voting is done by spectators at the show. Each spectator who wishes to vote is given five tokens and asked to choose their top five favorite projects with no more than one vote each. Each vote is worth a dollar to the builder.

Steve Peirce's winning entry. The skid bears the name Maxum Iron Works, which is the name of Steve's workshop. (Click on photo to view larger image or see below for more.)

Steven Peirce takes both First and Forth place with his two entries

For the second year in a row, Steven Peirce of Uniontown, Ohio took top honors. His beautifully finished and detailed entries took first and fourth place overall. The winning entry was a model of an 1880's American Hoist and Derrick Company logging engine made from brass and steel. The boiler is too small to be safely fired, so the model is powered by compressed air. Scaled down from William Harris's plans in a book offered by Village Press, the engine has a .344" bore and .500" stroke. The boiler has 379 brass rivits. Logging historian Merv Johnson helped Steve with some additional details to make the engine more historically accurate. Steve has generously offered to provide an additional copy of the book he used as a prize for the winner of this year's Youth Division. He is sending a copy to winner Benjamin Roth.

Second place went to Robert Merva with his beautiful "Hercules" engine designed by Bob Shores. Third went to newcomer John VanAntwerp with his very popular .22 cal. British deck gun. After Steven Peirce's 4th place finishing Donkey engine came another new entrant Dave Butler with his AZRO tubing bender, and 6th went to still another first-time entrant John Schneider. John's entry deserves special mention, as it is one of the smallest running Stirling engines we have ever seen. I'm not sure the spectator voting favored his entry, as I suspect many of the voters didn't realize how delicate a mechanism is needed to pull off this task. In addition, he did a beautiful display with all the parts of a second engine displayed around the heating pad that kept the engine running for a good portion of the judging period. I hope we will see more entries from John in the future.

Youth Winner Benjamin Roth takes Novice, Youth and Craftsman's Choice awards

Benjamin Roth was not able to attend NAMES, so I wasn't able to get a photo, but Kelly T. was kind enough to provide the above shot from the last Estevan Model Engineering Show in Canada. Benjamin is seen here doing a casting demonstration.

This year we had three entrants in the Youth Division. Both Zachary Brumberger and John Katona have entered in the past, but winner Benjamin Roth was both a first-time entrant and a Novice (two years or less experience in machining). This meant his prize money was doubled. When added to his portion of the additional Young C. Park award of $500 for entries in the youth division, his share of the prize money came to $346.00. This was actually the highest single entry amount, as Steven Peirce's check included a payment total for both 1st and 4th place. Benjamin's entry was a running 1/6 scale Gray hit-n-miss engine that included some interesting features. Benjamin not only machined the brass castings himself, he also cast them from patterns he made. Displayed with the engine was the tiny steel gear cutter he made to cut the gear teeth. Master Craftsman Jerry Kieffer also pointed out the tiny two-piece spark plug that was also made from scratch. This is a very difficult project, and it was completed with great skill for a 16-year old. We expect to see some great projects in the future from Benjamin.

Also entered in the youth division were a nicely machined puzzle in the shape of a dog made from brass and stainless steel by Zachary Brumberger (14) and an interesting wood turning representing the volume of a trigonometric function made for an advanced math class project by John Katona (17). The project was prepared for entry in last year's contest, but the night before the contest John was involved in a devastating automobile accident that left him confined to a wheelchair for life. His father Joe of JK Woodcraft entered the project for him this year as a surprise and we are glad to say that John is recovering and continuing with his schooling. Joe has purchased a Sherline CNC system with hopes that John will be able to get back into machining with the help of a computer.

Contest winner Steve Peirce has generously donated a copy of the book In Search of Steam DonkeysóLogging Equipment in Oregon by Merv Johnson. This is the book he used to research and build his winning project and one that should be of interest to anyone considering building this type of engine. Steve has asked that the book be presented to the winner of this year's Youth Division, Ben Roth. The photo next to the book shows a newspaper article of Steve when he was Ben Roth's age. Another early talent!

Enter next year's contest...

To read the most current copy of the complete contest rules and learn about entering next year's contest, CLICK HERE for a .pdf version of the rules/entry form sheet. At this time there are no anticipated changes for the next contest.

Summary of 2006 entrants and their projects...

See the section below for photos of each entry.

1. Steven Peirce, Uniontown, OHó1880's American Hoist & Derrick logging engine running on compressed air.
2. Robert Merva, Latrobe, PAó"Hercules" engine on oak base.
3. Jon VanAntwerp, Grand Rapids, MIó.22 Cal British Deck Gun
4. Steve Peirce, Uniontown, OHó1883 Dolbeer vertical spool 1-cylinder donkey engine. 180 brass rivits, over 200 parts. (Not yet completed. Will be run by electric motor.)
5. Dave Butler, DeForest, WIóD1 AZRO #1A tubing bender
6. John Schneider, Bridgeville, PAóMiniature low temperature differential Stirling engine. One year in design and construction. Design done by mathematical analysis. Made from 316 Stainless, 6061 Aluminum, brass, acrylic, graphite, styrofoam and polyester foam.

1. Benjamin Roth (16), Elgin, NDó(9th place overall) 1/6 scale Gray hit-n-miss engine, cast, machined brass
2. Zachary Brumberger (14), Macedon, NYóMetal puzzle from brass and stainless steel
3. John Katona (17 when built, now 18), Rochester, MIóAdvanced math project to build a 3D representation of a trigonometric function. Reproduces volume to 1% accuracy. Formula: Y = 1/4 Cos (X + 1) +1.

Benjamin Roth

OTHER CONTESTANTS (In alphabetical order)
Forrest Atkinson, Madison, WIó2 entries: Ball end turning tool and knurling tool for Sherline lathe
Fred Bowman, Lisbon, OHóBrass vertical steam engine of English design (only entered for a few hours of contest voting)
Jesse Brumberger, Macedon, NYó5-cylinder radial engine made from five .049 aircraft engine cylinders with custom designed crankshaft and block. Runs on compressed air or steam.
Bert de Kat, Troy, ON, CanadaóConcrete mixer, 1/2 scale of plans by Rudy Kouhoupt
Norm Jones, Chelmsford, MAóHot air engine designed by Bob Simonik. Aluminum base, brass flywheel 1.75" diameter
Karl T. Schwab, Warren, MIóSmall hit-n-miss engine with clock in flywheel (original design), contains 45 machined brass parts. Details from 1927 1.5HP Economy hit-n-miss engine*
Richard Saunders, Manchester, IOóGeared Steam Engine from Elmers Engines book. Spalded maple flywheel and base, graphite piston.

*NOTE: Plans for this project will be included in an upcoming issue of The Home Shop Machinist or Machinist's Workshop.

Photos of the 2006 Entries

Click on any photo to see a larger version. Use your browser's "back" button to return to this listing. A U.S. quarter dollar coin is used for size reference in many of the photos. It is 24 mm in diameter for those outside the USA.

(S. Peirce photo) 1st Place--Steven Peirce

Last year's winner repeats with this highly detailed 1880's American Hoist & Derrick logging engine. Hundreds of brass rivits give detail to the boiler, and the brightly painted geartrain duplicates the function of the original. Made from plans in a book, the engine was later modified upon the advice of experts on this engine to make it more historically accurate. Made from brass.

    2nd Place--Robert J. Merva

Based on a design by Bob Shores, this brightly painted and polished Hercules engine sits on a beautiful oak base.

  3rd Place--Jon VanAntwerp

A first-time entrant, Jon made this British deck gun from plans. It is capable of firing .22 Cal rounds and all the adjustment mechanisms work.

  (S. Peirce photos, last two) 4th Place--Steven Pierce

Steven's second entry did well too. It is an 1883 Dolbeer vertical spool, 1-cylinder "donkey" engine. Not quite completed in time for the contest, it will eventually be run by a hidden electric motor, but all the moving parts are in place. Includes over 200 brass parts and 180 brass rivets in the boiler. The last photo includes a little eye candy for scale.

5th Place-Dave Butler

Dave received a lot of favorable comments on this tiny model of an AZRO #1A tubing bender. The most common was, "I used to have one of those and wish I still did."

6th Place-John Schneider

Perhaps the most under-rated entry in the contest, this amazing Stirling low temperature differential engine probably deserved a better overall finish. Perhaps its small size kept it from being noticed by the spectators doing the voting. In any case, getting an engine this small to run is an extremely delicate operation, and the display was also very well done. Designed  through mathematical analysis and built from home drawn CAD plans, this project took a year from start to finish.

1st Place Youth, 1st Place Novice and winner of the Craftsman's Choice awardóBenjamin Roth (16)

Benjamin Roth not only machined the parts, he made the patterns and cast the brass for this 1/6 scale Gray hit-n-miss engine. A detail of the tiny 2-piece spark plug he made is seen at the right. In front of the engine next to a quarter dollar coin for size reference is the tiny gear tooth cutter he also made to cut the gears.

2nd PlaceóZachary Brumberger (14)

Last year's division winner entered a clever puzzle made from interlocking pieces of brass and stainless steel. Photos show the puzzle assembled as it was displayed and also disassembled so you can see the number of different pieces involved.

  3rd PlaceóJohn Katona (18)

Built when John was 17, this physical representation of a trigonometric function was done for an advanced math class. The shape reproduces with 1% accuracy the volume described by the formula Y = 1/4 Cos (X + 1) +1.

Additional entries in alphabetical order
Forrest Atkinson, Madison, WIóTwo accessories for a Sherline or other small lathe: a knurling attachment and a ball end turning tool.  (Knurling tool shown. Photo of ball turning tool to come)
 (No photo available) Fred Bowman, Lisbon, OHóVertical marine steam engine
Jesse Brumberger (Zachary's dad), Macedon, OHóA 5-cylinder radial engine made from old airplane engine cylinders
  Bert de Kat, Troy, ON, CanadaóBert at age 74 still enters a nice project every year. This model cement mixer was built by taking Rudy Kouhoupts plans and building at 1/2 size.
 (No photo available) Norm Jones, Chelmsford, MAóHot air engine with aluminum base and 1.75" dia. flywheel
  Richard Saunders, Manchester, OHóGeared steam engine with spalded maple base and flywheel

More on the 2006 NAMES show...(Click on any photo to see a larger image.)


Jerry Kieffer always has a project on hand to amaze the crowd. If you asked, he would unwrap his almost-completed 1/8 scale Harley Davidson engine. Here people squint or use magnification to see the details of the engine he is holding in his hand.


Here is the latest steam engine from former Craftsman of the Year winner and three-time contest winner Wilhelm Huxhold.


This 1932 SJ Duesenberg model by Louis Chenot of Carl Junction, MO is a little further along every year. The engine, trasmission, rear end and chassis is pretty much complete. The gearbox is fully functional and the engine will run. The finishes and paint on this model are a wonder to behold. The finished piece will be world class.


This large scale 1940 Maserati Tipo 8CL 3 Litre F1 car was built by Fiore Di Bernardo. The car is complete down to instruments in the dash though without a motor. (The original would have sported a 4-cylinder engine when raced.) An 8-cylinder Maserati engine is also on display. It is complete in all external detail but is not a running engine. The builder can be seen in the lefthand photo in a blue shirt behind the car.

(Left) Ron Colonna fires up his small 4-cyl. Offenhauser engine. It idles nice and slow and revs nice and high--and it sounded great! Behind it is a small Harley Davidson Panhead twin and in the foreground is a Challenger V8. (Right) On display along with some large steam locomotive models was the Lady Gayle, a full size and completely restored steam powered lake launch.


The Toledo Experience

Hotels: Fifth Third Field is right next to the Seagate Convention Center. Above you can see the view from my 10th floor window in the Radisson of the ball park in the morning and during the Saturday night game. (I was still tabulating contest results or I would have joined the rowdy Village Press crew at the game. Tickets are really cheap compared to professional prices.) The field is home to the long-established (1896) AAA team, the Toledo Mudhens. The roof in the foreground of the daytime shot is the convention center adjoining the Radisson and Hotel Seagate. Anyone who stayed away fearing an unsafe downtown venue should put their fears aside and come to the show next year. There are plenty of nice restaurants within walking distance of the hotels at the convention center and the neighborhood is in the process of a downtown renovation. Views from the Radisson are either of the ballpark (and post-game fireworks show) on one side or the Maumee River on the other side, and indoor parking means you need never leave for the whole weekend unless you want to. Two hotels, the Radisson and Hotel Seagate are attached to the Convention Center and underground parking. The Radisson was clean, has a nice restaurant and Starbucks in the lobby and great views on either side for $99 a night. The Seagate Hotel was somewhat musty, understaffed, had only one working ice machine (10th floor) and no working telephone messaging service but was also only $59 a night and just as close. There are other hotels with walking distance or a short drive, but nobody has yet given me a report on any of those.

Recommended eating places: Murphy's (great jazz and steaks) is right across the street, The Spaghetti Warehouse, Tony Packo's Cafe (of Klinger and MASH fame) by the ball park and the sports bar and restaurant in the Radisson are also good. On the riverfront directly across the river are five new restaurants. We tried the Real Seafood Company on Sunday night and it was one of the best meals of my life. There were many more right in the area of the show that we have yet to try next year.

Also at the show...

2006 Joe Martin Foundation "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award is presented to David Kucer of Montreal, Canada


David Kucer (left) of Montreal, Canada is the 10th winner of the Joe Martin Foundation Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. He makes miniature guns, a number of which he brought with him to display for the show crowd. Here Jesse and Zachary Brumberger of Macedon, NY inspect the selection of tiny guns as two other showgoers look on. (Click on photo for a larger image.)

1. David and Zavie Kucer stand behind their display of miniature weaponry. 2. A wide variety of weapons in miniature were on display, and David was quite willing to take them out and let people handle them in person. 3. Some of you may have noticed the rings David wore. He carved them from 3/4" steel hex nuts purchased at a hardware store. (Sorry for the poor focus of the image.) 4. Craig is surrounded by four of the ten winners of the Craftsman of the Year award present at the show. From left to right are Wilhelm Huxhold (1999), Jerry Kieffer (1997), Craig, David Kucer (2006) and Roger Ronnie (2004). (Photo #4 by Mike Rehmus)

David Kucer...Tenth winner of the Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award

David Kucer and his son Xavier (Zavie) joined us at the show to accept the award for Metalworking Craftsman of the Year. They brought with them an impressive collection of some of the world's finest miniature arms. David is on the board of the Miniature Arms Society and known worldwide for the excellence of his work. Zavie will become the fifth generation of the family to carry on working with expert hand skills and is in the process of learning the techniques from his father. Leaving the aerospace industry several years ago to apprentice with his father, his engraving skills are already quite good. David and Zavie were available all weekend to show spectators their work and said the model engineering crowd could better appreciate what they did than the crowds at the gun shows they usually attend. Examples of his work can be seen at the Joe Martin Foundation's on-line museum at www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/Kucer.htm.

Click this link to learn more about the Joe Martin Foundation's Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award. Visit the Foundation page for more details on Mr. Kucer and all the previous winners and their work.

Enter the Machinist's Challenge contest yourself in 2007...

There is no entry fee. Sherline makes available $100 in prize money for each entrant up to the first 25, so a maximum of $2500 in prize money can be available. We hope next year to see at least 25 entries so that the full total of $2500 will be up for grabs. There is also a Youth Division for entrants under the age of 21 the day of the contest. An additional $500 is divided among the entrants in this group as part of the Joe Martin Foundation "Young C. Park Award" for youth. There is also a "Novice Division" for machinists with two years experience or less. (The top Novice finisher receives double prize money.). Start making plans to get a project together for next year's show. Call 1-800-541-0735 for details or watch this site. As far as we know at this time the contest rules will remain unchanged. Our goal is simply to show the interesting and fun things that can be built with a few cents worth of material, good miniature machine tools and a bit of skill and imagination. Don't let the quality of some of the entries intimidate you. In the past 15 years, no entrant whose entry has been available for voting for the whole contest span has ever won less than $30 and some have one hundreds. Most of all, though, everybody has had a lot of fun. If you are just starting out, you can still build a good project. For '06, think big and build small! Check the links below to see results of past contests.











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