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By John Schultz

Machining a Flywheel

The Stuart Major Beam engine calls for a 13-7/8” (finished) diameter flywheel. Of course, this was too big to swing on my 13” South Bend lathe.

I began by very carefully drilling a 1/2” hole in the center of the flywheel, using the drill press. I then mounted the flywheel on my 6” rotary table with some scrap plywood and used a No. 2 Morse taper arbor with a 1/2″ extension to center it (Photo 1).

This setup was rotated around a sanding drum spun by a 1750 rpm motor mounted on an old shaper ram. The result was a very accurate diameter that required little finishing on an open gap 15” wood lathe.

Machining a Flywheel

After the periphery was machined, the hole was bored and reamed to 3/4” diameter on the
same wood lathe.

Additionally, the print called for a fancy hub on each side of the flywheel. So, using the same setup with the same rotary table, I used an inexpensive carbide wood router bit, again, spun by the same motor (Photo 2). Incredibly, the bit survived the operation and is still usable for woodworking!

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