Islamic Voice
Jamadi-Ul-Awwal 1422H
August 2001
Volume 15-08 No:176

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Micro Victoria
Solar Powered Car

Micro Victoria

A Nagpur machinist has come up with a thumbnail size model of steam engine. And it works too.

Micro Victoria

Manzar Khan in Nagpur

Iqbal AhmedIqbal Ahmed, a machinist from Nagpur is all set to enter Guinness Book of World Records by making a steam engine of thumbnail size. The lilliputian model works on steam which is generated by a boiler and alcohol burner.

It is a little beauty chugging for real. A minute after four cc water is injected into the boiler and is fired, the matchbox size engine gets set in a motion. Hiss and chug and hiss and chug. As more steam becomes available, the engine cranks up and the beauty is raring to go.

It is difficult to take your eyes off. Maybe you are watching the world’s smallest steam engine at work. Words are not enough to describe the wonderment the sheer sight evokes. For, in the world of working steam engines created by Iqbal Ahmed, an expert machinist who runs a lathework in Sadar locality of Napgur.

It is only natural that the Limca Book of Records has accepted Ahmed’s claim to be the creator of the world’s smallest model of stationary steam engines. With the formalities over, Iqbal name is slated to feature in the 2001 edition of the book.

Micro Victoria

Egged on by the insatiable desire to go for smaller and smaller models, Iqbal creates amazingly perfect and very small working models of steam-driven engines. Curiously, all parts of these minute — save the nuts and the screws — are made by Ahmed on a single lathe machine. The perfection of these working models speaks of the concentration and zeal on the part of the craftsman. Ahmed did not even finish his high school and had no formal technical training.

Take a look at the smallest model Ahmed has created. The ‘Micro stationary steam engine is just about size of a matchbox. That is about 65 mm length, 30 mm width, 36 mm height, 6.5 mm piston, and flywheel diametre 28 mms. Intake pipes are of one mm inner diametre. Naturally, the engine weighs 90 gms. This model is a 1:80 scaled down version of the original Victoria stationary steam engine, in vogue in the 19th century. That the model is unbelievably small is beyond doubt. Ahmed has also created a minute boiler required to provide for this micro engine. The boiler is so small that water has to be literally injected into it. Once fired, steam passes to the engine through a pipe that as slender as a wire.

The model-making book from England suggested him only a one-tenth version of actual Victoria, but he scaled them down to one-20th, one-40th and finally to 0ne-80th of the original which sits on a thumbnail.

Micro VictoriaAt the outset, you are convinced that the system would never start. But then suddenly the minute engine goes to work. Chug, chug. Then it gathers speed and you feel like watching a giant engine that probably went through a shrink machine. Ahmed claims that the minute engine can keep running for ten minutes on steam generated from 10 cc of water. And having watched his demonstration, you believe him instantly.

Apart from this micro beauty, Ahmed has created 1:20 and 1:40 scaled-down versions of the Victoria steam engine, a 1:20 working model of the 19th century ‘Mary’ stationary beam engine, a working model of 0-6-0 tank locomotive (train engine) with the dimensions of 76 cms by 25 cms by 36 cms and a working model of steam road roller of the size 36 cms by 14 cms by 22 cms.

Though he took tips from some model making books for creating his stationary steam engine models and the locomotive, the steam road roller is his own creation. One-16th of the original size, Ahmed measured an actual model by using his bare hands and feet. He then scaled down these measurements to unusually small size to create a perfect working model. This unusual hobby of miniaturization of working models took shape since his childhood. As a kid he created a miniature version of a Swiss locomotive, inspired by a toy his grandfather gave him. In the later years, the imaginative boy went through set of model-making books his friend got him from England. These books specified models of the one-tenth version, but Ahmed decided to go still further. That is how he created the one-twentieth, one-fortieth and finally the very very minute one-eightieth scaled-down versions of the engine. The micro (1:80) was completed only in June last year.

Naturally, this hobby takes up a lot of time and money - both of which are not in short supply in case of Ahmed. But for him, the ultimate satisfaction lies in watching those miniature beauties work perfectly. “That is worth all the pain that goes into creating them”, he says.


Solar Powered Car

Solar Power CarHyderabad: Four student of Mufakhkham Jah Engineering College have developed a prototype of solar powered car. Final year mechanical engineering students Parvez Khan, M. Ravi Kumar, J. Afreen and Shaheen have designed the 80-kg, single seater solar powered car under the guidance of Prof. S. Nawazish Mehdi. The project was sponsored by the Andhra Pardesh Council of Science and Technology. The car can attain a maximum speed of 80 km per hour. The car is pollution-free and is highly economical. According to college sources, with slight modifications the performance of the car can be enhanced. According to students, encouragement from principal Prof. Syed Bahauddin, Head of the Department Prof. V. M. Shayamraj and S. A. Wasey was the major contributing factor.


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