Baker Ball-Hopper Monitor Engine Castings

Discussion in 'Model engines' started by PatJ, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    I have been toying with the idea of casting a Ball Hopper Monitor hit and miss engine, like the one Myfordboy cast, but larger.

    Here is a guy (UncleBarn) who has apparently cast a full-sized Ball Hopper Monitor muffler and hopper.

    In the first video, I would have used perhaps two gates, and made them wider, almost like knife gates, with perhaps a U-shaped runner (with dead-ends on each runner) around the part at the centerline.
    His sprue and gate look way too small.

    In the second video, he mentions that he made a "mold" for the water hopper, but I think what he meant to say is he made a "pattern" for the water hopper, or perhaps he is pointing to the original hopper on the left side?
    His verbiage at that point in the video makes no sense.

    The above videos sort of beg the question "Could a full-sized engine be cast in a backyard setting?"

    Here is a portable boring machine that was used to bore his engine.

    This would solve the problem of not having a lathe large enough to bore a full-sized engine.

    Myfordboy's Ball Hopper Monitor pattern and casting videos are here:
    (I watched these videos randomly for several years before putting two and two together (yes, I am a little slow) and figuring out that he had made a Ball Hopper Monitor (from scratch; quite an achievement). A bit of a needle in the haystack, but perhaps I have links to them all ?

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Part 3:

    Part 4:

    Part 5:

    Part 6:
    Related to green sand conditioning only.

    Part 7 (is this part of the Ball Monitor Engine?):

    Flywheel (I am assuming this is one of the flywheels for the Ball Monitor, or perhaps not):

    Cylinder (Boring the cylinder):


    A 12" flywheel pattern for another engine, but perhaps the same procedure that was used for the Ball Monitor flywheel pattern:

    The engine running: (What a fantastic engine/pattern/casting build !):

    Did I miss any videos?
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  2. OCD

    OCD Silver

    What’s that contraption used for or in specifically?
  3. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    Baker Ball Hopper Monitor:

    It is just a hit-and-miss gasoline engine that was used on the farm to power equipment such as water pumps, hay balers, corn processors, saw wood, grind grain, you name it.

    It's distinctive water hopper shape makes it unique in the hit-and-miss world, and they seem to be quite rare, as I have never seen one for sale anywhere.
    It looks very much like something from outer space, but unlike its cousin the "VJ Monitor" which has more of a funnel shaped water hopper, this engine has a separate (not cast integral to the head/water hopper) bolt-on combustion chamber with the intake and exhaust valves, plus the spark plug, which makes those parts easy to machine and replace if necessary.

    Any time I show a photo of one to anyone around here, they immediately say "coffee grinder", and I say "Nooooooooo, not exactly a coffee grinder, similar, but not exactly".

    It also makes for an interesting lesson in pattern and core box construction, and also engine parts castings.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  4. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    Here is a Baker VJ Monitor with the typical water pump attachment seen with these engines.

    And one for sale on ebay if you need one.
    The VJ seems to be more readily available then the Ball Monitor, and I have seen a few for sale.

    The gas tanks on both engines were cast iron, and quite the "Sherman Tanks" of gas tanks; very heavy too.
  5. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    And a question: How to get the "Monitor" logo on the curved gas tank? (not a CNC or a 3D printer solution though, but rather an old school method).

    OCD and Mark's castings like this.
  6. myfordboy

    myfordboy Silver

    Yes my engine was built from scratch.
    The logo on the curved tank was cut out from plastikard and glued on. The brass nameplate was mde using decal paper stuck to a brass plate.

    You can see the tank in this video
  7. PatJ

    PatJ Silver


    You should consider writing a book about how you made this engine.
    It is a significant achievement on so many levels; pattern making, core making, molding, casting, machining, engine building, and just downright artistry.
    Not only is it a highly functional machine, it is also a work of art; the best of both worlds in my opinion.

    If someone can cast one of these engines from scratch and make it run flawlessly (as shown in the video above), then they have sort of climbed the "Everest of Backyard Casting" to coin a phrase.

    If you can make one of these, then the sky is the limit for what you can do (so much talent in one individual; its shocking).
    Its one heck of a achievement.
    All I can say is "You da man !" (as they say in these parts).
  8. _Jason

    _Jason Silver

    Thank you for being active on forums like this and being generous enough to share your knowledge. I've been watching your YouTube videos for years and they're an inspiration.
  9. myfordboy

    myfordboy Silver

    If anyone is interested this is the playlist for some of the engines i have made from scratch.
  10. _Jason

    _Jason Silver

    I have sometimes pondered what it would take to cast a listeroid type engine. You can't really buy new engines any more because the government outlawed importing them a few years ago due to emissions concerns. Perhaps some day, if I'm ever able to get out of the apartment and into somewhere where I have room to work, maybe I'll figure it out.
  11. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    Here is a video of a guy who had made a model Lister diesel.
    It seems to run well.

    Someone gave me a non-functional Lister diesel to use for measurements (photo below), in order to use and modify the parts/dimensions to make an old-style Lister diesel model.
    I have not disassembled it yet; it is pretty far down my list.

    But I think the engine could be cast in full size.
    I would be more worried about making the crankshaft and ancillary devices than making the engine castings.

    There are some old-style Listers still available.
    Here is one for sale:
    I would buy it, but the wife would balk at the drive to pick it up.

    There were a number of old-style Listers available online just a few years ago.
    I did not buy one because I did not have a need for one.
    It is my understanding that every so often they have to be disassembled and the carbon cleaned out of them.

    My dad use to have a twin air-cooled Lister that drove a lumber transfer cart, and I remember hand-crank starting that and driving the cart up and down the tracks.



  12. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    That is quite an accomplishment to make so many great looking and highly functional engines.

    I have a long way to go before I can begin to think about getting an IC engine cast and running.
    Maybe one day I will get there.
    Great videos; thanks for those.
  13. I discovered these engine types after making a brass name plate for one of them, it's probably the first thing that gets souvenired from a defunct engine. Making your own etched data plates is doable with minimal equipment in the home workshop. If anyone is interested in making their own, let me know and I may be able to help out.

    IH Hopper Cooled 2.jpg
  14. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    I need some nameplates.
    I will post some stuff here when I get a minute.
  15. Negativ3

    Negativ3 Silver


    I've been playing with etching brass with FeCl3 and even when using photo etch resist, I can't seem to get the sharp lines you have there.

    Very interested in your method.
  16. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member

    Please Post!


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