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Latest copy of The Journal (June 2024) now available

The latest copy of The Journal (June 2024) is now available online. You can see a list of all available online copies of The Journal here.

Online back issues of The Journal now go back to 1967.

Web site availability over Christmas 2023

I am sorry that the web site has not been available over the Christmas holiday period. I did a small amount of maintenance work just before Christmas and although I tested it and left it in working order, shortly afterwards something happened that took us over the permitted disk usage quota and the site was automatically taken offline. This also meant that I was unable to get to the management dashboard to correct the problem and have had to wait until our service provider restarted normal office hours today (2nd January). I believe that normal service has now been resumed, and I am sorry for the interruption.

Our service provider is investigating why I lost access to the site management facilities and once this is resolved, I hope that the situation will not happen again.

Webmaster, 2nd January 2024

Events calendar now available

You may have noticed that the Events Calendar has been blank for the second half-year. This is because of problems with the software we have been using to store and display it. We have now changed the software we use and the second half-year has been populated. There are one or two small bugs still to be ironed out but these should not affect the basic functions; please bear with us while these are resolved. However, we felt it better to have a slightly imperfect but functional calendar than none at all – our apologies for the delay in making this available.

Please send any observations or reports of problems to webmaster@sm-ee.co.uk – it is notoriously difficult to spot all the errors in your own work and comments and suggestions are welcome.

SMEE Publications

You can find information on publications available directly from SMEE on the new SMEE Publications page.

Paper copies of June 2022 Journal

To everyone who receives their SMEE Journal by post…

The reason you have not yet received the June issue is due to a problem the printer had with the supply of the special paper used for the cover. This has now been resolved and they have been sent out, so by the time you read this, you may have received it, but if not, at least you now know why not!

Alan Wragg, Membership Secretary.


SMEE Competition rules

The SMEE competition rules have recently been updated and the latest version can be found here.


Stored copies of The Journal now searchable

Thanks to the sterling work of Mike Tilby and Chris Hammerton, we have now completed the process of making stored copies of The Journal searchable. This means that if you download them as PDF files, you can use your PDF viewer (Adobe Acrobat Reader for most people although other readers are available!) to search for specific words or phrases.

Chris is also looking at possible ways to add an index to the set of online Journals to make them even more useful. 


SMEE activities and the Covid-19 situation

Subject to any new coronavirus restrictions in 2022, Society General Meetings, Rummage Sales and other meetings will be at Marshall House. Where possible we will also live stream the meeting online via Zoom, allowing members the choice to attend in person or to participate online. For security reasons, Zoom links are not online but will be sent via e-mail.

The Society’s Training Programme for newcomers to the hobby will resume this year, with the Basic Training course starting in February. Details are on the training pages.

The workshops are now open, subject to Covid restrictions. Online meetings of the Digital Group and Engine Builders’ Groups are also continuing as normal.

Training restarts

Following a period of restrictions. the Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (SMEE) is planning to run its popular training courses for newcomers to model engineering, in 2022, starting in February. See our training page for more details.

SMEE web site changes

This web site has now been moved to a new server platform, which we hope will fix a number of  the long-running problems that we have been experiencing. In particular, you should now be able to get notifications for new forum postings, and the password change mechanism should be working again. I am optimistic that the other changes will be invisible to you – it should just work! However, this will give us the opportunity to introduce some new features.

It is possible that a few things have been broken during the transition, so if you see anything odd, or you find something that does not seem to be working, please contact me so that I can investigate.

Many thanks,



Back issues of the Journal (1976 onwards)

Thanks to the good offices of Mike Tilby, the online collection of back issues of The Journal now goes back to 1976, and right up to the latest version hot off the press (April 2021). Many thanks to Mike for his work in scanning back copies which are now easily available to all of us via the web site.

The index to the list of available issues of The Journal is available HERE.

WARNING - fake "SMEE" emails

I have had reports from several members that they have received emails which mention “SMEE” in the Subject: line, usually with mention of a general meeting presentation topic or similar. However, the “Sender” address is unknown to the recipient, and the addresses that I have seen have nothing to do with SMEE members.

I cannot see any obvious connection between these emails and the SMEE website, and the most likely explanation is that a SMEE member, or possibly a non-SMEE member who has a number of SMEE members in their email contact list, has had their email hacked and a copy of their contact list taken. How or when is impossible to tell. Scammers will then use these email addresses to send emails which either have malicious content, or which have pointers to web sites containing malicious code and encourage the reader to click on the link.

The best advice for any email that you receive from an unknown source is to regard it as suspicious unless proved otherwise. In particular, do not click on any attachments in the email or on any links to other web sites unless you are confident that you know the real sender of the email. You can also report suspicious emails to the National Cyber Security Centre; more information on how to spot and deal with suspicious emails is available from their web site here.

Brian Neale
SMEE Webmaster

Coronavirus and Marshall House

As you are no doubt aware, Covid-19 (AKA Coronavirus) is causing some changes in the way we live. Current advice from the UK government is to restrict large gatherings, but it is very likely that the government will take the decision to make ‘self isolation’ of everyone over 70 compulsory. Currently they are saying  ‘within weeks’ and for up to 12 weeks.
Even before this announcement, the SMEE Council had debated the effect this virus will have on meetings held in Marshall House. Although the Kemsley Room will only hold about 60 members (and therefore could not be classified as a large gathering), we are nearly all in the vulnerable age range. We also sit quite close together and these are ideal conditions for the virus to spread. Many people come to Marshall House via public transport, which is a potential source of infection. Even one case of the virus in the room would then require all of us to self-isolate for 14 days and a deep clean of Marshall House would be necessary. 
With this in mind, the SMEE Council has reluctantly decided to postpone the lecture programme, rummage sales, courses and other meetings until further notice. We will offer money back to students that have pre-paid for SMEE Courses or, if they prefer, a place when we next run it.
For the moment the Workshop Group will continue to operate, but is likely to be restricted to members under 70 and in good health.
Council will still meet, but they will do this on-line via Zoom. Any important decisions will be communicated vie email, the SMEE website and The Journal.
Members are reminded that they can still communicate with each other via the website ‘forum’ facility. Think of this as a temporary replacement for the Marshall House tearoom!
These are extraordinary times and call for extraordinary measures. The overriding priority is to protect our membership and keep them safe.
Stay healthy and vigilant.
[This message has been posted on behalf of the Chairman and Directors of SMEE]

SMEE Competition results

We now have an area of the web site dedicated to reports of SMEE competitions. The results of the 2019 Annual Competition, along with pointers to notes on the models concerned, can be found via this page. Congratulations to all competition entrants and especially prize-winners. Even if you were not awarded a prize, there’s a good chance that your entry on display has put ideas into the heads of other members and maybe will inspire them to enter next year!

SMEE discussion forums

We now have a number of discussion forums on the web site, available to SMEE members. As well as a couple of “special interest” forums for the Engine Builders’ Group and Digital Group. we also have a general discussion forum (ask questions, make suggestions, answer other members’ questions) and a buy/sell/exchange forum where you can post details of items for sale or wanted, or just to give away to get them out of your workshop!

All forums are open to all SMEE members and everyone is invited to participate. This is a way for members who are unable to get to Marshall House on a regular basis to participate a little more in the activities of the Society.

Just go to the “Members” drop-down menu above (just under the title bar on every page) and select “SMEE Members’ Forums” to see a list of all forums, or click on the links above. Look forward to seeing you there!

SMEE website reliability problems

Some of you might have suffered because of the website problems we have had a couple of times in the last month or so. It seems that it is nothing to do with our site, but the hosting service we use has had some issues that have affected us. They believe that they know where the problems are, and are looking for a suitable solution.

In the meantime, if you go to one of our pages and get a “404 Page not found” error, don’t worry about it, and try again later. I try to keep track of the site but you can always drop me an email just to warn me that something isn’t right. Emails to webmaster@sm-ee.co.uk, please. As soon as I see or hear of a problem, I shall chase the hosting service to fix it as quickly as possible – unfortunately I cannot fix it myself.

Thanks for your understanding,

SMEE Webmaster

A further episode in "Building a Desktop CNC Milling Machine"

A further episode (part 23) of this series on a home-built CNC-milling-machine-from-scratch has now been added. Take a look and see how the project is progressing.

3D CAD and Fusion 360 tutorial series

The 3D CAD and Fusion 360 tutorial series has now started running online. The first session was held on 4th March with more to come and was presented via a live video-conferencing link to around 15 participants.

All sessions are being recorded and are available to all SMEE members. If any member is interested in taking a look or even joining in, the recordings are available via the Digital Group programme page. Just click on the date of the session in the programme grid to run the recording. There is also a support forum on the SMEE website where participants can post questions or discuss techniques. They can even find their homework there!

If you would like to know more about these tutorials, please contact the Digital Group Coordinator via digital@sm-ee.co.uk. If you were unable to see the initial sessions live but have been watching the recordings, you are also welcome to join the forum to ask questions and see all the discussions to date. Again, contact the DG Coordinator to get access to the forum.

Library List updated

Please note that the Library List is now updated to January 2019. There is a pointer to the latest list on this page. Note that the Library List is on several spreadsheet pages; the first page lists new additions to the Library.

Please contact the Librarian if you have any questions about the library and access to its collections. 

New SMEE Members' Forum capability added.

We are currently experimenting with a new “forum” capability on the SMEE website. This will only be available to SMEE members, and is intended to allow discussion, questions and answers, and general debate. At the moment, during the trial period, only a few members are allowed to post entries so that we can look at how it all works in practice before we roll it out to everyone. We are actually using it to provide a “support” mechanism for the Digital Group 3D CAD tutorial sessions. The forums are accessible via the “Members” menu for the convenience of the test user group but please do not be surprised if you try it out but are not allowed access! 

Important information for travel to Marshall House by car

Please note that the London Ultra Low Emission Zone changes that happen in April 2019 might affect your journey to Marshall House by car. These changes directly affect Central London (Marshall House is outside this area) but if your journey passes through this area, you might need to check on the TfL website

There are further changes happening in October 2021 which will bring Marshall House into the Ultra Low Emission Zone and so will directly affect everyone travelling to MH by car. Again, details are available from the TfL website.

The online library of SMEE Journals.

The online library for members has now been extended to include all Journals back to the beginning of 1996.  All these Journals with articles covering many model engineering topics are available to read on line or download by members. 

The library can be found by clicking this link.

Videos of talks now on the website!

We are delighted to be able to provide an additional service to members who are not able to attend Marshall House.  We are now recording meetings (where the speaker agrees) and the video of the talk can be seen by members – whether near or far – by logging into the members’ area of the website.

Are you a clock maker?

The clock page in the members area now contains links to websites of interest to clock makers and a downloadable spreadsheet to enable the calculation of the details of deadbeat escapements. 

The Library Catalogue is now on the website

The Library catalogue is now available as an Excel download for members.  See the new Library page in the member’s area. 

An end to ConFusion360 - we hope!

The links to the recordings of Fusion360 demonstrations on the Digital Group pages had ceased to work leading to understandable frustration for those seeking to access them. These have now been edited and each link should lead you to a recording of the appropriate demonstration. Sorry about that.

Polly course gets positive review! Details.

The Polly course has been reported in the model engineering press on many occasions but a new review has just been published on http://modelengineeringwebsite.com/SMEE_Polly_course.html

If you are thinking of joining this course, take a look.  Join us on this course for an enjoyable insight into the hobby of model engineering.