Interesting Links









The links on this page should open up in a new browser window. To return to this page simply close that window. The following links are members of AMEN (Alberta Model Engineer's Network). This is a very informal group of people with similar interests based in Edmonton, Alberta (although there are members from other locations). This group is largely responsible for my getting as far as I have in this hobby..

Dale Gillespie

Rupert Wenig

John Dammeyer

Clarence Elias

Useful Books

I have a fairly large library of books related to my hobbies. The books listed below are the ones that I feel are the best of my collection and I recommend them. You can try looking for these books from Amazon or Lindsay's Books. Lindsay's will have most of them and if you're reading this I can virtually guarantee they will have other books that will interest you. You may also have some luck finding these at one of the online used book shops such as Abebooks.


Building A Gas Fired Crucible Furnace, Dave Gingery. ISBN 1878087088
Plans for a great little furnace. This is the plans I used for my furnace, there are pictures of it elsewhere on this site. The book and the plans are easy to follow and understand.
Building A Gas Fired Crucible Furnace
Building Small Cupola Furnaces, Stewart Marshall.
While I haven't built a cupola there is a lot of useful information in this book for the hobbyist who is just starting sand casting.
Building Small Cupola Furnaces
Casting Kaiser Aluminum, 2nd edition 1968, Harold Kaehler.
This book is aimed at the commercial foundry but I found a lot of useful information in here, everything from different alloys and their properties to how to make a proper sand mold.
Casting Kaiser Aluminum
US Navy Foundry Manual, US Navy, ISBN 1559180072.
This is an excellent reference book. I found the sections on casting defects particularly useful. It is full of pictures so if you are having a problem you can have a look here and see what is recommended to solve your problem.
US Navy Foundry Manual
Appropriate Technology in the Small Foundry, Steve Hurst, ISBN 1853391972.
A very interesting book on small foundries in under developed countries. Since most of these foundries use low technology/low cost methods it is very interesting reading for the hobbyist and may provide useful information for your shop.
The Complete Handbook of Sand Casting, C.W. Ammen, ISBN 083061043X.
A useful book with some problems. Ammen is not an author but a foundryman. This comes across in the book, there is a lot of useful information here but if you're the type to be put off by the occasional typo or grammatical error this probably isn't your book. If you look past those flaws it is a worthwhile addition to your library.
The Complete Handbook of Sand Casting
Machinery's Handbook, 1914 - present
This book is very useful. It doesn't provide you with much in the way of how to do something but a huge collection of material information, feeds and speeds, formulas, etc. It is stuffed with a huge variety of information of use the the machinist. The earlier versions of the book had information also applicable to the blacksmith while the newer version dropped that information for information more relevant to modern machine shops such as CNC. This means that the older versions may be even more useful than a new one to the home shop machinist. The latest edition has over 2,500 pages!
Machinery's Handbook
The Machinist's Bedside Reader, Guy Lautard, ISBN 0969098022.
A very interesting book that contains a collection of articles with hints on tips and techniques for the home shop machinist. This book is available at the author's website,
The Machinist's Bedside Reader
The Machinist's Second Bedside Reader, Guy Lautard, ISBN 0969098030.
Similar layout to the first book above, just some new tips and techniques. This book is available at the author's website,
The Machinist's Second Bedside Reader
The Machinist's Third Bedside Reader, Guy Lautard, ISBN 096909809X.
Yet again similar to the other two books, just new information. This book is available at the author's website,
The Machinist's Third Bedside Reader
Handbook of Lost Wax or Investment Casting, James Sopcak, ISBN 0935182284.
This book gives you the basics of lost wax casting and provides instructions so you can build your own equipment, such as a burnout oven, and wax injector. It is aimed more at the jewelry size of lost wax rather than sculpture. Well written with a lot of information.
Handbook of Lost Wax or Investment Casting
Iron Melting Cupola Furnaces for the Small Foundry, Steve Chastain, ISBN 0970220308.
An in depth book on the construction and operation of a cupola. While I have not yet built one according to those that have this book is excellent. Steve provides all of the formulas he used to calculate such items as airflow so that if you build according to his instructions your cupola should work, rather than having to perform a lot of trial and error to get all the correct settings.
Iron Melting Cupola Furnaces for the Small Foundry
Build an Oil Fired Tilting Furnace, Steve Chastain, ISBN 0970220316.
An in depth book on the construction and operation of a tilting furnace. I have also not yet built one of these. This book is similar to Steve's cupola book above in that he provides a lot of the theory behind his plans as well as the plans.
Build an Oil Fired Tilting Furnace

Yahoo Groups
Yahoo! Groups is a free service that allows you to bring together friends and associates through a web site and email group. Yahoo! Groups offer a convenient way to connect with others who share the same interests and ideas. You can use the Yahoo! Groups service at their web site or through any email program. The descriptions below are how the list owners describe the group.
CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO This list is for discussion of CAD, CAM(CNC), EDM and DRO ONLY. The list is aimed at the construction and use of this equipment in a Home Shop Machinist environment. It is not moderated normally, but can be, especially for content. I would hope that the discussion will consist of Links, sources, progress reports, challenges, innovative solutions, and things of this nature, on the above four subjects. It not aimed at the commercial professional systems, and their users in a commercial setting.
Hobbicast Hobbicast is a metal casting discussion list sponsored by the Home Foundrymen's Association with the purpose of sharing information and knowledge between group members and helping to solve casting problems, etc.
mach1mach2cnc This is a daughter group to the Master5 list. Membership is open to anyone interested in the CNC Controller software "Mach1 and Mach2" developed by Artsoft. (Artsoft is a registered trademark) The purpose of the group is for discussion of Mach1 and Mach2 machine controller software. Questions regarding Master5 should be asked on the Master5 group.
Metal_Shapers Group dedicated to Metal Shapers, such as used in small shops and home shops. These include Logan, Porter-Cable, Broadhead-Garrett, Atlas, South Bend, Ammco and others.
Master5 This group is for exchange of information on the use of the Master5 CNC control Program. It is handy for questions that the users as a whole may be able to answer better than I.
Taigtools A list for the owners and users of Taig tools. Others may find useful information here as well since the projects and techniques should work with a variety of equipment.
turbocnc Discussion forum for TurboCNC and other products by DAK Engineering (
CNCPro is a popular DOS based program, originally from Yeager Automation but now open source (free), for controlling CNC machines.This is the program I initially currently using as the computer I had to work with in the shop was only a P100 and didn't have the capabilities required by Mach1. I also used Turbocnc prior to switching to Mach1.

These next links are for sites that I find useful, either for information or supplies. I try to keep these links up to date but if there are any problems, either with a broken link or a link that the site owner doesn't want here, please let me know and I'll fix or remove the link.

CNC and Machine Tools

Blue Ridge Tools BlueRidge Machinery is the North American distributor for EMCO machine tools. Even though my lathe is no longer in production it is possible to get some parts for it from them.
Camtronics Camtronics sells stepper and servo driver kits for those interested in converting their milling machines and/or lathes to cnc control. I'm working on his 3 axis 5 amp stepper kit for the cnc router project.
Carter Tools Nick is a dealer for Taig tools. I bought my mill from Nick and was very happy with the service and price.
Gecko Drives Gecko Drives sell stepper and servo drivers for those who are less electronically inclined, like me. With these drivers you just need to wire them up, not assemble any circuit boards. Camtronics, see link above, sells these drivers as well as all the extra bits required to put a complete system together.
Art of CNC Mach 1 Mach1 is a Windows based program for controlling CNC machines. From what I've seen of this program it is very promising, however the old notebook computer I'm currently using to control the machine doesn't have the resources to run it. As soon as I upgrade the computer I will give it a try.
DAK Engineering Dak Engineering has a CNC control program that I'm starting to look at. It seems to have mare capabilities than CNCPro and is still under development (CNCPro seems to have stopped development).
Sherline Sherline is a manufacturer of high quality, small scale lathes and milling machines. When I was looking at buying a small mill to convert to CNC I was comparing the products from Sherline and Taig, see below. I felt that the Taig mill was a little more robust, although I do prefer the Sherline lathe. A lot of the accessories for the Sherline and Taig are interchangeable.
Taig Tools Taig is a manufacturer of high quality, small scale lathes and milling machines. The milling machine I converted to CNC is a Taig 2019. I felt this mill was a little more robust than the Sherlines I looked at, although I prefer the Sherline lathe. A lot of the accessories for the Sherline and Taig are interchangeable.

General Metalworking

Matweb MatWeb is a great web site to look for information on all types of materials. You should be able to find the information you need on most any material here, not just metal.
Metal Web News Metal Web News has a lot of useful information. There is a collection of projects as well as lists of suppliers and educational web pages. A site worth checking out. is the website for rec.crafts.metalworking newsgroup. It was setup to provide a place for people to post pictures which are not allowed on the newsgroup. There is also links for metalworking clubs, publications and educational sites. Don't miss this site.
Ron Reil Ron's site has a lot of information on blacksmithing, including the construction of forges and propane burners for them. It is a variation of the burner from his site that most of the members of AMEN are using for their foundry furnaces..
Stewart Marshall Stewart sells a book and a CD that are very interesting. The CD and the book mainly cover cupola construction and use but there is a lot of information there for anyone interested in metalcasting, whether with a cupola or crucible furnace.


Dogpile Dogpile is my preferred web search engine, I like it as it will search several engines at once.
De Zonnewijzerkring Fer de Vries has written an excellent freeware program for the design of sundials, well worth checking out if you find sundials interesting.
North American Sundial Society The North American Sundial Society has a lot of information on sundials on its site, as well as links to software which will help design your own dial.
Opera Software Opera is a great web browser, I prefer it to either Netscape or MS Internet Explorer. One of the great features is that it allows you to disable popup windows. The downside is that some websites don't display properly, usually a result of a poorly designed website.
EasyDNS domain name I was moving a lot and changing ISP's so my website location was changing. I decided to register my own domain name so that it would stay the same and be easier for others to find my web site. Of the companies I looked at EasyDNS seemed the best for me.

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