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Basic Training for Model Engineers

There is a popular moan among the model engineering fraternity that “no one does training any more – its Health and Safety you know”.  SMEE decided to take a lead and now offers four courses. The two “Basic Training” courses are open to all (anyone under 18 must be accompanied) although we encourage students to join the Society. Recently a course on Milling has been added to the range of courses offered, which is also open to all. The grinding course is different, it is “members only” and a hands on course. See the bottom of this page for more details.

Training_PageThe Basic Training courses consist of a number of monthly sessions (usually the second Saturday of the month) at Marshall House and we can accept between 12 and 20 delegates on a course. Each session (they last a full day) consists of lectures, discussion and possibly demonstrations. Unfortunately we have had to accept that practical workbench sessions for all delegates are not possible. It is not an H&S issue primarily – we do not have the equipment, space or supervising manpower. Despite this apparent limitation the courses we have run so far have been very well received. By the way you do have to pay – we need to cover our costs and make a small profit for Society funds.

The first course, over three sessions, discusses the setting up of a workshop, what equipment is desirable and the basics of how to use machines and hand tools.

The second course, over six sessions,  covers the construction of an oscillating steam engine and boiler based on Tubal Cain’s “Polly” design. At each session we discuss those parts which delegates go home to make in their own workshops in time for the next session.

The courses are presented by Society members who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have many years experience in engineering, others have started much more recently. Most of the lecturers attend sessions that they are not themselves presenting. That means we always have a wide pool of experience to draw on during the many discussion sessions. Experience has shown that delegates derive as much from the wide ranging discussion between themselves and the SM&EE members present as they do from the formal presentations.

A full set of notes, plus tea and coffee are all included in the course fees.

Unfortunately Marshall House is not wheelchair friendly. If you need any special assistance please let us know.

There are more details of the introductory course here and of the “Polly” course here.



This course aims to introduce model engineers to some of the practicalities of milling in the home workshop. Selecting a machine is covered in the part one course so it is assumed that participants have access to a milling machine or suitable lathe but may lack the confidence or knowledge to use it effectively. We should emphasise that nearly all the discussion is as relevant to milling in the lathe as it is to the vertical milling machine.

As with most of our courses this is not a “hands on” course. We will talk and demonstrate with the aim that you will be able to put our advice into practice when you return home.

The presentations cover vertical milling cutters, speeds and feeds, the use of cutting fluids and the various methods of work holding. Discussion is encouraged and our experience is that many questions of direct interest to participants get covered in this way.

More details of this course can be found here.


Lathe Tool Grinding

The fourth course covers the use of the off hand grinder to produce and maintain lathe tools. Unlike the other courses, this is a one day course and includes practical sessions for all attendees.

For safety and insurance reasons, it is only open to Society members.