The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Young Artisan's Scholarship Program

The Machinist's Challenge Contest

A contest sponsored by Sherline Products rewards metalworking craftsmanship at the small end of the size scale will be utilized to help determine the Scholarship Award winner

Each year at the annual North American Model Engineering Society (NAMES) Show in Toledo, Ohio, Sherline Products sponsors a contest to encourage quality machining projects that are small in size but large on imagination and skill. The purpose of the event is to give new meaning to the phrase "Home Shop Machinist", to encourage the use of miniature machine tools and to develop new projects that can be built on miniature machine tools. This contest will be used as well to help select the winner for the Young Artisan Scholarship to be presented by the Joe Martin Foundation starting with the April, 2008 show and contest. Entrants participating for the Young Artisan Scholarship Eligibility may also win prize money as part of the general contest.

The 2007 contest winner, Iqbal Ahmed (center) came all the way from India with his winning entries. The center photo of Mr. Ahmed accepting his award from Joe Martin and Craig Libuse is flanked by photos of his first place entry (left) and second place entry (right). (Click on any photo to view a larger image.)


You may call or e-mail to request a copy of the rules and an entry form. Directly below is a link to a .pdf file that is the same form we would mail you if you'd like to save yourself some time and us some postage. If you are going to the contest, you may also enter there at the Sherline booth on Friday all day or Saturday morning prior to the 10 AM start of the contest. If you are not going to the contest, entries may be mailed to Sherline and we will take them to the contest for you and return them along with your prize money after it is over. For an entry form, call (800) 541-0735, e-mail or download the .pdf file. A copy of the rules is provided below.


Download a .pdf version of the 2008 rules and entry form



The purpose of this event is to give new meaning to the phrase "home shop machinist", to encourage the use of miniature machine tools, to develop new projects that can be built on miniature machine tools and to enhance awareness of miniature machining.


Entries are to be a mechanical object that you would want to display on a coffee table in your home. It should be a device that you believe observers would enjoy and find interesting. Entries must be a working mechanism made up of several interrelated working parts. It may be an engine, a model of an existing or imaginary machine or any object, practical or impractical, from your imagination. The general construction should be of metal, but rubber, plastics, wood, or other materials may be used as seals, supports or parts. If entry is a scale model, materials should be duplicated wherever possible. The use of kits is discouraged. If a part or subassembly used is from a kit, it must be so identified on a card accompanying the project exhibit.


None. Entry is free. Pre-registration using the form below would be appreciated, but is not mandatory. A contestant may enter up to a maximum of two projects, each to be judged individually.


Contest is to be held during the North American Model Engineer Society (NAMES) show, the Seagate Convention Center, Toledo,Ohio (USA). Judging will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2008. Prizes will be awarded at approximately 11 AM on Sunday, April 21, 2008. Entries will be accepted in person on Friday or Saturday morning at the show or they may be shipped to Sherline Products and we will transport them to the contest. Since voting takes place starting shortly after opening time on Saturday morning, it is recommended that your entry be ready to display as early as possible in order to obtain the most possible votes. Mailed entries must be received one week prior to judging. They will be returned after the show. Entries that are seeking recognition for the Young Artisan Scholarship Award must be so identified.


The "Novice" Division is for those entering projects built during the first two years since they started machining. Novice entries will be judged along with all other entries; however, a special plaque will be awarded to the winner in this division. In addition, the top novice finisher will have his/her prize money doubled. For purposes of experience, start counting the two years from when you began making your first project which was assembled from a number of fitted, machined parts, not necessarily the first time you ever used a lathe or mill. Former Novice winners are not eligible for this division even if still under two years experience.


The project must fit within 64 cubic inches (1049 cubic cm) of volume or approximately a 4" (10.2 cm) cube. Cubic shape limits are not strictly required, and a single dimension of up to 6" (15.2 cm) is allowed as long as the volume requirement is not exceeded. A display base may be provided in addition and is not included in these dimensional restrictions. The display base, if so desired, should enhance the presentation or may enclose and protect the project.


It is strongly recommended that you attach your project to a base of some sort. On the project or base, provide a 1/4" or larger diameter through hole, ring, U-bolt or short length of chain so that a security cable can be passed through. A steel cable will be looped through all entries and locked to the table for security.


To encourage more people to get into miniature machining, if you have plans for your project which you would like to offer for sale you may market them on a sign up to 6" x 6" which will be displayed behind your project. We will also publish the availability of your plans at no charge on our World Wide Web site.


GENERAL ENTRIES: Spectators at the NAMES show will judge the projects based simply upon which ones they find the most interesting, attractive and appealing. When designing your project, keep in mind that some of the judges may be engineers and model builders, but many will not. Each judge may define "interesting" in his or her own terms. Think of what a friend coming to your house might find amusing, attractive or interesting, keeping in mind this friend might not be an engineer.

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM ENTRIES: In addition to any prize money awarded by the spectator judges, the entries submitted for potential award of the Young Artisan Scholarship for 2008 must include a statement regarding the participant's background, experience, plans and goals regarding use of the scholarship funds should they win the award. This will be submitted directly to Craig Libuse at the Joe Martin Foundation before or at the contest.

PRIZE MONEY: Each show spectator who wishes to judge will be given five votes. Near each entry will be a container. Spectator/judges will be instructed to drop a vote in the container corresponding to each project they find among the five most interesting. They may not award more than one vote per project, but must award one vote each to what they believe to be the five best projects.

The number of possible votes will be determined by the number of entries. For each project entered up to 25 projects, 100 votes will be available. The maximum total votes will be 2500 if 25 or more projects are entered. For example, if 19 entries are received, 1900 votes will be available. Each vote received by a project will be worth $1.00 (one dollar) in prize money. Therefore, if a project received a vote from every voter, it could win a maximum of $500 if 25 or more projects are entered. (In the event not enough spectators participate to allot every possible vote during the voting period, the votes cast will be factored to give a higher value to each vote so that all the prize money will be awarded proportionally.) Each entry is likely to win a portion of the prize purse, as it is unlikely there would be any entry that at least some judges wouldn’t find in their top five. Though we cannot guarantee every entrant will win prize money, in all previous contests no entry has ever gone unrewarded.

Counting of the votes will take place after the close of the show on Saturday. Prizes will be awarded Sunday morning in the form of cash or check to winners who are present at the show. If the contestant is not present, a check will be mailed. Only the special objects provided by the sponsor will be counted as votes. Votes will be counted by a representative of Sherline Products, Inc. Any contestant or member of the public who so requests may be present at the counting.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD MONEY: See the page detailing the Scholarship for details on distribution of awarded funds.


Contestants can be from any part of the universe. Age, race, sex, or religious preference will not have a bearing on the outcome of the winning entry. A team entry will be accepted, but all members of the team must have actively participated in the entry’s construction. Contestants need not be present to win, but must sign an entry form stating they are the builder of the entry. Employees of Sherline Products Inc. or any sponsor of the contest are not eligible.

Previous entries are not eligible for prizes, but we encourage you to submit them for display for the enjoyment of the spectators at the show. They will be displayed alongside but separate from the new entries. Also, if you just don't like entering contests but have an appropriate project you would like to display, we will be happy to display it alongside the contestants as long as it meets the entry requirements and we have the room.


The judges, sponsors, and staff will make every effort to protect and return all entries to the contestants in the same condition they were received; however, we cannot be held responsible if they are stolen or damaged while on display. If you believe this constitutes an unacceptable risk, you may personally watch over your entry while it is being judged and on display, or simply don't enter.

Contestants who wish entries returned to them should supply return shipping labels, method of shipping preferred, and shipping costs in US dollars. Foreign entries should include all necessary customs declarations, in English, to avoid any delays in the US postal system.


Young C. Park of Honolulu, Hawaii has donated $1000.00 to the Joe Martin Foundation to be used for the purpose of getting young people interested in machining and model engineering. $500.00 was awarded in the 2003 and 2004 contests. Mr. Martin decided to continue to fund the award in Mr. Park's name in this and future contests.


Any entrant who is 19 years old or younger on the day of the contest will automatically be considered eligible for this award. Previous winners of the Novice Division are also eligible if under 20.


Distribution of the $500.00 award will depend on the number of entrants. It will be distributed proportionally based on order of finish with the largest portion going to the top finisher. Award of the Young C. Park special prize money is in addition to any money due as a result of the regular voting. Should the Youth Division winner also be winner of the Novice Division, his/her regular winnings will be doubled as noted in the rules above, but the Youth Division award will not be eligible for double prize money.


Select a project that is appropriate for the builder's skill level. It is asked that the entrant do all the actual setups and machining operations with only verbal assistance from a mentor. The purpose of this prize is to encourage participation and learning, not to have them watch Grandpa build it for them, so please resist the temptation to "help". Entrants may be asked to describe how a part was made to assure that they understand the processes involved.

Good luck and have fun!

If you are unable to download the form, you may call our toll free number and ask for an entry form to be mailed to you.


We would like to thank Home Shop Machinist magazine for donating a page in their magazine each year to help us publish these rules and promote this contest.



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