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'If that little one doesn't hum, nothing will go through it. It will just plug up,' he said. 'When people build miniature machines, they tend to match the rpm of the larger one to the smaller, but that won't work. The big ones run the cylinder at 900 rpm, but my little one needs 2,200 rpm to do the same job.'
To work right, Richard said, the rim speeds must be matched, using the out side diameter of the pulleys.
The connection belt that runs from the model steam engine to the model thresher is made of canvas tent stock. 'I cut it, fold it and sew it, and then use bead sealer to seal it - the same stuff they use for tires at a car shop. It's kind of like black tar, and it's kind of expensive.'
On full-sized machines, the drive belt connecting the steam engine to the thresher sags in the middle, and Richard says that's because the belt has to be heavy enough so its weight keeps it from slipping off the pulleys.
When Richard exhibits his model steam engine and thresher, he often encounters people who mistake them for company products. 'I have to tell them, 'No, they were all hand built.''
But he says he enjoys hearing old folks telling their children and grandchildren, 'That's how we did it in the old days. People really like these Case models. After they've seen the big ones running, they come and see the little ones.'
Other farm tractors that Richard has built include a half-size Farmall C, a 3/8-size Minneapolis-Moline UB and a 3/8 1929 Case C tractor. He also made a model steam hammer, just like one with which he used to work.
Richard said anyone can learn to make models and he hoped more people would get into making scale models, of old farm machinery. 'Start out with a drill press and a small metal lathe, and learn how to use them. Start subscribing to some of these magazines and look in them for people advertising castings for small engines. Then you start out with the small engines, and keep getting bigger.
'People ask how you learn how to do it. You go to the library and look in the books. Then you go home and start working.'
- Bill Vossler is a freelance writer and the author of several books on antique farm toys. Contact him at Box 372, 400 Caroline Lane, Rockville, MN 56369; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
'People ask how you learn how to do it. You go to the library and look in the books. Then you go home and start working.' - Richard Fischer
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