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This page contains details of upcoming SMEE events for second half-year 2018.  Talk summaries will be added as they become available


19th May 2018

14:00                Using the Clarkson T&C grinder 

Owing to high demand, arrangements for this course have now changed and it will be run in several small-group sessions.  If you have registered interest then you should be contacted soon.  Otherwise please contact the workshop group for further information.

 SMEE has been running a popular course on tool grinding for a number of years now, with great success. This covers the choice, setting up and use of a simple offhand grinding machine. 

We’ve had a number of requests for discussion of more specialised grinding techniques, especially tool and cutter grinders. In response, we are proposing to hold an afternoon session at Marshall House, “Using the Clarkson T&C grinder”, led by Dean Forbes.  This will be an interactive session around the actual machine.  Thus we can only accommodate a relatively small number of people, who, for insurance reasons, must be Society members.


26th May 2018

10:30   Digital Group online


2nd June 2018

11:00 Council Meeting – CANCELLED

14:30 Society General Meeting

Talk – Monorails of the Early 20th Century by Adrian Garner

As well as his interest in clocks Adrian Garner has had a lifelong interest in monorail railways.  His talk will cover the development of these railways from 1900 to about 1950.   Three of the railways he will cover were kept upright by gyroscopes and he promises to outline some of the engineering difficulties of these machines.  He will also include a line across the desert in Death Valley, a proposal for the London Underground and the well known Bennie Railplane.  And if time allows he will include some of the proposals that luckily got no further than the drawing board


9th June 2018

09:00   Day 2 Polly course


16th June 2018

10:30   Digital Group online


23rd June 2018

14:00   Model running, including Gauge 1


30th June 2018

14:00  Rummage Sale (viewing from 11:00)


7th July 2018

11:00 Council Meeting

14:30 Society General Meeting

Talk – 3D-Printing in the Engineering Workshop by Neil Wyatt

The last ten years have seen a huge increase in the quality and capabilities of inexpensive 3D printers. Neil Wyatt, editor of Model Engineers’ Workshop magazine is a keen advocate of 3D printing and believes that we ought to find space for one in every workshop. As well as producing finished parts, they can be used to make jigs, test concepts and produce patterns for castings. It’s also possible to print improved replacements for worn, broken or substandard components.  Unlike most of our engineering materials, there is a dearth of practical experience in applying 3D printing to working mechanisms, rather than simply producing decorative items and what information is available is scattered over the internet mixed with misinformation and myth.  Neil has attempted to fill this gap from a combination of research experimentation and practical experience. The result is that this summer his new book 3D Printing for Model Engineers will be published by the Crowood Press.  For this talk he will review some of the highlights and hiccoughs of his 3D printing journey and share many valuable insights that can help ensure your affordable 3D printer earns its keep as  a valuable workshop tool.


14th July 2018

09:00   Day 3 Polly course


21st July 2018

10:30   Digital Group online


28th July 2018

14:00   Model running, including Gauge 1


17th – 19th August 2018

SMEE at Bristol MEX


1st September 2018

11:00 Council Meeting

14:30 Society General Meeting

Talk – Rise and Fall of King Cotton – an Engineering and Family History by Roger Backhouse

Roger will need no introduction to SMEE members, having been a member of the Society for many years and currently doing a great job in managing our publicity efforts. He has given previous talks which were very well received, combining his interest in engineering and history.  Three generations of Roger’s family worked in the cotton industry, including his grandfather as Engineer in Charge at a weaving mill. In this talk he will mix an account of the rapid rise of the Lancashire cotton industry with some of the engineering involved before describing its catastrophic decline. 


8th September 2018

09:00   Day 4 Polly course


15th September 2018

14:00   Model running, including Gauge 1


22nd September 2018

09:00  Milling Course


26th September 2018

11:30  Society Autumn Visit to the Postal Museum and Mail Rail

The autumn visit will be to the Postal Museum in London.  We have a self-guided Galleries visit from 11:30, followed at 12.55.by a ride on the Mail Rail.

The museum is located near Mount Pleasant (Farringdon). It is the public identity of the Postal Heritage Trust, a charity that took over the management of the heritage of what was then Royal Mail in 2004 and looks after the heritage collections of the Post Office. 

Mail Rail is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge, driverless underground railway built by to move mail between sorting offices. The line ran from Paddington Head District Sorting Office in the west to the Eastern Head District Sorting Office at Whitechapel in the east, a distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km). It had eight stations, the largest of which was underneath Mount Pleasant, but by 2003 only three stations remained in use because the sorting offices above the other stations had been relocated.  We get a 15 minute ride.

The (group rate) cost of the visit is £13.50 payable at time of booking. Numbers are limited to 20 people.

To book a place please contact Norman Billingham.

Please note there are some cautions.  Below is an extract from the Mail Rail web site:

Emergency evacuation. In the event of an emergency, carriages may have to be evacuated in the tunnels. All visitors must ensure that they are comfortable walking without assistance on uneven terrain, in a confined space and with low lighting levels for approximately 100 metres (328 feet).

  • Descends to 21 metres (70 feet) underground through tunnels no wider than 2 metres (7 feet) at their narrowest point.
  • Contains pitch darkness, loud noises and flashing lights. The use of these effects are limited.
  • Maximum speed of 7.5mph (12 kph).
  • Carriages are small and may be unsuitable or uncomfortable for some visitors. The carriages’ measurements are: floor to canopy (130cm or 51 inches); seat to top canopy (87cm or 34 inches); door to door width (80cm or 31 inches); and distance between seats (43cm or 17 inches).


29th September 2018

10:30 Society visit to Guildford MES at Stoke Park




  • 11:00 amCouncil Meeting
  • 2:30 pmSociety General Meeting
  • 9:00 am“Polly” Course Day 1
Current Date
  • 10:00 amDigital Group Online meeting