I am a retired software engineer and back a year ago I got the itch to learn how to precisely cut metal. You know, build something that I could actually touch and see. Around mid June I got delivery of my PM-1030V lathe with DRO and a bunch of tooling. This was followed in mid December of the arrival of a PM-727V mill, also with DRO, and more tooling. After dickering with setup, alignment and a making simple tooling, I realized I needed a “project’ to focus the effort. Started with a clock. A simple clock using Steven Conover’s Book “Making An American Clock”. Quickly realized the precision required on small parts was outside my skill set. Thought about a cast kit of a steam engine, but decided on the Upshur Model Farm Engine using Mr. H. Upshur’s drawings. The enticement was that all parts, except screws, were to be make from bar and sheet stock. So, in mid November, I started the effort. Well, I am here to show the results to date (it’s not done and won’t be till the workshop gets above 30’F). Not to show off my work, but to say that it was the perfect first project to learn many different machining skills. Like turning, facing, boring, drilling reaming, taping five different materials (aluminum, mild steel, drill rod, brass, cast iron). I got to use a rotary table with and without its dividing plates, made gears with a gear cutter. The precision required is not that stiff and, yes, some parts were made twice. So, if you are new to the machinist world and need a first project, I highly recommend Mr. Upshur’s Model Farm Engine. Drawing can be had for $20. Materials are around $70 and not hard to get (the glow plug used to make the spark plug is the exception, but it can be found). The tooling is not that extravagant (maybe the rotary table with dividing plates and gear cutter are a bit much, but, hey, its tooling and will get used again.