The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

William L. Gould

Added to museum: 2/21/07

Industrial Archeologist reverse engineers the past with his scale and virtual models

Bill Gould with a 1/12 scale model on the desk and a 3D CAD model on the screen, both illustrating a telescope by Joseph von Fraunhofer that in 1823 was the largest telescope in the world. Bill's craftsmanship inhabits the world of the real and the virtual world as well. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

About William L. Gould...


Bill Gould has successfully turned his childhood passion for “making things” into a lifelong profession as an artist, product designer and professional modelmaker. Self-employed for over 34 years, his clients have included Pacific Fast Mail, Kemtron, Texas Instruments, Mattel Toys, WD-40 Company, CBS, Revell Models, Monogram, General Telephone, Polaroid and Fallbrook Engineering.

Bill has always been drawn to all things mechanical. Born in 1946, both parents were artists, his grandfather a noted architect and his great-uncle, Frank Crowe, was Chief Engineer of the Boulder Dam construction project.  He repaired their neighbor’s typewriter at five, discovered model railroading and was winning awards by twelve, and while a Cub Scout manufactured kits of the Nike missile and “lectured” at the local library. By fourteen he was machining brass patterns for model railroad manufacturers, eventually creating some 500 patterns over a thirty year period.  During high school summer vacation Bill worked in a precision machine shop, operating a tiny Levin turret lathe, investing his earnings in machine tools.

Oddly enough, Bill’s primary interest at that time was technical theatre, studying it throughout high school and at California State University, Los Angeles, and working professionally for several years. Bill started his first business while in college, making gift products and custom furniture, as well as continuing with patternmaking and kit design. He well remembers a period during which he was juggling college, his business, stage managing two shows and working with Richard Dayton on the models for the Petticoat Junction television series—all at the same time on four hours sleep a night!

It was at Cal State that Bill’s first love of modelmaking became his “second love” when he met Geri Jimenez, an aspiring actress in the theatre department. He proposed to her at a model railroad convention and they were married in 1969. They are celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary this year (2007). 

Being ‘burned out’ in theatre, Bill decided to become a modelmaker full time, joining the modelshop at Hughes Aircraft Company in 1971. The Hughes shop was primarily woodworking, with a 96" swing ‘T’ bed wood lathe, 24" jointer, 48" planer, 20 HP table saws and two huge bandsaws. Although a skilled woodworker, Bill’s job was precision machining and there were few metalworking tools in the shop, so he was allowed to request “anything” he needed.  Naturally, he asked for a Tree knee mill and a fully tooled Monarch EE metal lathe, the “Rolls Royce” of precision machine tools!  Bill worked on the TOW, Phoenix, Falcon and Sidewinder weapons systems, as well as Intelsat, Anik and OSO satellites, receiving commendations for his work.

In 1973 Bill left Hughes, and he and Geri started Gould Studios with only $500 and no clients. Needless to say, it was a tough beginning to the business they still share together some 34 years later. He worked part time as an engraver during the first year, but became very busy prior to the Bicentennial, sculpting models for commemorative medals and coins. He also sculpted the Rancho San Rafael Memorial in Montrose, and an heroic figure of Justice for the Orange County Court House. Of course, prototype and museum modelmaking continued, with a growing client list.

In 1977 Bill added plastic injection molding to his arsenal, and soon launched The Gould Company line of plastic model railroad kits, which rapidly became known as the quality leader in the hobby industry. Bill and Brian Leppert, a fellow model railroader and exceptional engraver, made all of the tooling, and plastics became their primary focus. They soon outgrew their facility and moved to a large industrial building, added more plastic machines and a packing line, while Geri managed the office. The line was sold in over 1500 retail hobby shops in nine countries. In 1987 Bill sold the kit line to Tichy Train Group, and it is still on the market.

Geri and Bill moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he turned entirely to product design and prototype modelmaking for consumer products and medical devices, while Geri focused on her sculpture. Tired of the snow, they returned to California in 1997 to be closer to his primary medical device clients. 

A major turning point occurred in 2001. Bill had seen a steady decline in sales of his prototype modelmaking due to the impact of CAD design on the product development cycle. Simply put, hand fabricated prototypes were seldom required now that designs were created on the computer and sent out for rapid prototyping. Knowing he had to ‘join the crowd’, Bill consulted with his clients, and chose SolidWorks®, considered the industry leader for product design. To fast track the learning curve, Bill enrolled in the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) at Palomar College, a (CA) state funded program to retrain working professionals into new job sectors. Being a “T-square and drafting board” guy, with no CAD experience, it was a frustrating start, but ‘the lights went on’ after about three weeks, and he finished with an “A”, then did the same with the advanced SolidWorks class. CAD design now accounts for some 70% of his work. 

Bill is an award winning CAD designer, with an unusual twist, combining his expertise in SolidWorks with his lifelong passion for the History of Technology, and much of his work now is focused on the field of Industrial Archeology. Bill’s SolidWorks model of the Mason Bogie 2-6-6T narrow gauge locomotive, requiring over 400 hours of research and computer time, was awarded 2nd Runner-up in the SolidWorks 2006 International Design Competition, chosen from hundreds of designs by major firms from around the world. A feature article on this project was published in the May, 2006 issue of Cadalyst Magazine, a leading CAD trade journal, and Bill has been interviewed for podcasts and featured on numerous websites. Full color lithographs and digital blackline scale drawings of many of his projects are offered on their website and soon through museum gift shops.

Bill not only models in CAD, he makes the real thing too. On the left is a SolidWorks ® 3D CAD rendering of a telescope built in Estonia in 1823 by Joseph von Fraunhofer. On the right is a 1/12th scale model scale model Bill constructed for the National Geographic Society’s Centennial Celebration, at Explorer’s Hall, Washington, DC. The model is now on permanent display at the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA. (Click on either photo to view a larger image.)

Increased focus on CAD design has allowed Bill to downsize his modelmaking business. He now makes models only for very select clients and is actually finding time to work on his many unfinished personal projects including a skeleton regulator clock, 3 ½" scale live steam locomotive and a Coventry compound launch engine, all started some 30 years ago, but set aside due to time constraints. His well equipped shop includes a Bridgeport and a high precision Aceria (Swiss) mill, three lathes including a fully tooled Peerless watchmaker’s lathe, a 1907 belt-driven Potter 7" x18" Instrument lathe (his favorite!) and a large 13" x 40" engine lathe. He eschews CNC (farming it out) in favor of manual machines better suited to one-off and prototypes, including Deckel 2-D and 3-D pantographs perfect for his miniature work. 3-D templates are often cut for him by others on CNC from his CAD model. The advantage is that the template, say at 10:1 ratio, can be rapidly cut in acrylic with large (1/8" diameter or less) cutters; he then machines the final product or mold cavity with a .012" diameter (down to .004"!) four-sided cutter at up to 30,000 RPM. His hand engraving tools (gravers) were given to him 35 years ago by a close friend of his dad, who had used them as an engraver at Tiffany in 1917. Many of Bill’s hand tools date to the late 19th Century.  Bill is an accomplished writer with many articles in national magazines, including Sky and Telescope and Live Steam.

He also crafts musical instruments and Native American style flutes, creating over 250 to date, most for recording artists and performers. Many are constructed in the “traditional” manner; hand-carved from split branches, often willow or elderberry from his own property, as well as cedar, walnut and exotics. Also musicians with a well-equipped recording studio, Bill and Geri (who is Native American of the Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribe, or San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians), along with their friends, record together as often as possible and hope to release their first CD in the near future.

More of Bill and Geri’s work may be seen at Bill is now offering limited edition, high quality art prints of some of his work using CAD renderings done in SolidWorks® and a sophisticated surface rendering program called Hypershot®. In addition to his locomotive and stationary steam engine renderings, Bill's latest project is to develop a series of renderings of classic hotrods and racecars.


An Essay on Craftsmanship

by William L. (Bill) Gould

Click on the above linked title to read Bill's thoughtful essay on what craftsmanship is and how important it is to the survival of a culture.

Here are some of Bill Gould's projects:

(Click any photo to view a larger image.)

Photos from Bill's Shop

This view of Bill’s shop shows his Bridgeport knee mill and Deckel G1-L 2-D engraving pantograph. On the wall is one of his full color lithograph prints. 

A 13 x 40 gear-head engine lathe and 1907 Instrument lathe.

This Aceria F-1 precision universal milling machine from Switzerland has an interesting history. Bill acquired it many years ago from Clifford Grandt, a Master toolmaker and founder of the famous Grandt Line Products line of model railroad parts.  Cliff had used it to machine many of the parts for our earliest satellites while employed by the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley in the early 1950’s.

Bill’s favorite lathe is this1907 belt driven Potter 7" x 18" Instrument Lathe. With cone bearings it is still capable of .0005 tolerances. It is fully tooled, including double tool cross-slide, turret tailstock, full collet set and the usual chucks. Note that Bill fits all of his machines with either dial indicators or digital readouts.

Model Projects

Skeleton Regulator clock, a ‘work-in-progress’ since 1973! To a design by Claude Reeves, Bill re-designed it from a gravity escapement to a Graham Dead Beat (yet to be made), which has been moved to the front of the clock. Bill plans a new dial, and, being unfinished, the works have not been polished or lacquered. All parts, including gears, are made by Bill.

Classic Coventry Twin Compound Steam Launch Engine back on the workbench after a thirty year hiatus! Bill was inspired by the SEAL Engine project. Note the alignment fixture for locating the many loose parts during machining.
Line drilling the cylinder block, with alignment fixture in place. Bill has a policy of moving his mill vise 6" to 9" left or right of center, or on center, every year to equalize wear on the saddle ways. That, plus a shot of way oil and two shots of spindle oil every day, along with “deep cleaning” once a year keeps his machine tools in mint condition.

1/12th scale model created for the National Geographic Society’s Centennial Celebration, at Explorer’s Hall, Washington, DC. Bill’s model was featured in the March, 1989 issue of Sky and Telescope, and was chosen for Fine Woodworking Design Book Five as one of 259 (from 1600 entries) of the “World’s Best Works in Wood”.

    The original was made by Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), who discovered the ‘Fraunhofer Lines’ in the spectrum, and considered the “Father of Astrophysics”.  It was the first application of his invention of the ‘equatorial mount’ and ‘clock drive’. At 9 ½" f15, it was the largest telescope in the world in 1823, and still considered one of the most important scientific instruments in history. The original is on display at the Dorpat Observatory Museum in Tartu, Estonia.  Bill researched the original with numerous museums and libraries which provided copies of the maker’s drawings, and directly with the curator of the Dorpat Observatory who provided many detail photos and measurements.

(See 3D CAD renderings of this model in the section below.)

Equatorial Mount and Clock Drive, also showing the tapered tube/ball counterweight system to minimize flexure of the telescope tube at various positions.  Oval counterweight controlled the thrust bearing of the Polar axis shaft. Bill used Ramón, an extremely hard, fine-grained wood from central Mexico, stained with Tandy brand leather dye to represent the oak and mahogany of the original. Model is fully functional excepting the optics.

Setting Circle” with engraved lettering only .025" high!
Dorpat Telescope model, shown with a few of Bill’s tools; many, including the bow compass and ink drafting pen, were used by his grandfather, a noted architect.
Franklin Printing Press model, 1/12th Scale. Also exhibited in the National Geographic Society Centennial Exhibition, along with the telescope, it was acquired for the permanent collection of the Kansas City Miniatures Museum. It is fully functional, and actually used to print the pages on the model from photo-reduced, etched and machined type.

120 ton Industrial Brownhoist wrecking crane, the first injection molded plastic HO scale kit by The Gould Company, it is still regarded as the finest kit ever produced. It contained over 200 precision plastic parts, each of which fit perfectly!

Some more of The Gould Company HO scale plastic kits, including the 120 ton Industrial Brownhoist wrecking crane.
Just a sample of many thousands of prototype plastic injection molded parts for commercial clients.
High speed automatic assembly machine designed and fabricated by Gould for a medical device client. Intended as a “proof-of concept” table-top machine, it is still in production, assembling 60+ parts per minute.

Selection of handcrafted musical instruments. The “Apache Violin”, right, after examples in the Heard Museum, was made from a dead agave cactus stalk and features a single string. Bow is from willow with horsehair. Not well known is that famous warriors Geronimo and Cochise were both known for making and playing the Apache violin.  Small rattle is a Hopi design of gourd and tiny seeds, while the large rattle is typical of those used by Geri’s tribe, the Gabrieleno/Tongva, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles Basin.

AYOTL, a most unusual instrument of Maya origin. Usually a single large shell from a sea turtle, hung from the neck, Bill’s concept is perhaps the first ‘multi-shell’ ayotl made, according to a musician friend and authority in ancient meso-american music. Each shell “plays” three notes; Bill sorted through hundreds of shells to find these, which play a progression of nine, naturally tuned, notes. It can only be played with deer antlers!

Three of Bill’s Native American Flutes, which he makes under the AHõKEN name, meaning “soft wind” in the language of Geri’s tribe. Bill crafts from Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, cherry, and exotics. The center flute, Bill’s personal performance and recording instrument, is redwood burl inlayed with maple, entirely hand shaped, as the burl is too ‘chippy’ for lathe turning.. This style of flute is “concert tuned.”
“The Old Ones”. This style is crafted in the traditional style, hand split, carved out, and reassembled with natural hide-based glues, often with sinew bindings. They are to “anatomical” dimensions and tuning; the length is from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow for an “A” key, or to the shoulder for an “F” or “F#”, with all other dimensions taken from the width of the palm or thumb. The bottom is a replica of a Klingit Owl Whistle, and plays ‘bird calls’ in addition to the traditional ‘hoot’ of the owl.
“Tocan”. A most unusual flute to Bill’s original enharmonic tuning concept and design. It is a ‘double’, with the playing holes on one side, while the other bore is a drone. Crafted from Chotke-coc, this is the natural color, and embellished with a glyph set depicting the entire span of the Mayan calendar from 3113 BC to 2012 AD. A very powerful small (only nine inches long) flute, it takes considerable skill to play.
Toy Fire Engine. Bill found a set of antique toy wheels in a junk shop, and crafted this ‘steamer’ in 1964, complete with an aged crackle finish created with a blowtorch. Numerous collectors have wanted to purchase it until Bill tells them ‘the real story’.
Lost wax brass castings made from almost 1000 fabricated and machined brass patterns Bill created for model railroad manufacturers, including Pacific Fast Mail, Backshop, CalScale and Kemtron.

HO Scale kit of the Santa Fe coaling tower in Lamy, New Mexico. Bill designed and tooled this plastic kit for The Tichy Train Group.

Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) Projects
SolidWorks/PhotoWorks image of design for a live steam model of a Pinnace Launch Engine. ¾" Bore x ¾" stroke. Construction blackline prints available soon on Gould’s website. Would make an interesting kit!

Shown during design process, with cylinder block hidden. Slide Valve Nut pink indicating to Bill that is an “unfinished” part.

Exploded view of the Cylinder Block Subassembly, showing how each part is created individually.
SolidWorks/PhotoWorks model of 12 x 60 Engine Lathe, circa 1879. Everything except the landscape was created in CAD.

CAD model of the lathe headstock.

7" x 7" Twin Simple Steam Launch Engine, modeled to actual size and sectioned to illustrate assembly and function. CAD model created from Machine Drawing and Design, by Ripper, published in London in 1879 as a “drafting exercise handbook” for students. It is likely this lovely engine has never been actually made. Bill found that all the parts fit perfectly; the cyber-model is fully functional and animated. It must have been adjusting the valves on this “inside valve chest” design concept!  Bill plans to offer a complete blackline plan set and a full color poster in the near future.
Detail view of the Twin Simple. Note the “textures” in the CAD rendering!
Allen Engine Works Mill Engine with Porter’s Governor, 12" x 24" single cylinder. CAD model from original builder’s catalogue, about 1888. Created in SolidWorks, using the PhotoWorks photorealistic imaging add-in. Bill plans to offer this as a blackline plan set in the near future.
Fraunhofer’s Dorpat Telescope, 1823. Bill created his CAD model in 2006 from the research and drawings he did in the mid 1980’s when he made a 1/12th scale model for the National Geographic Society’s Centennial Celebration.  The original was made by Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), who discovered the ‘Fraunhofer Lines’ in the spectrum, and is considered the “Father of Astrophysics”. It was the first application of his invention of the ‘equatorial mount’ and ‘clock drive’. At 9 ½" f15, it was the largest telescope in the world in 1823, and still considered one of the most important scientific instruments in history. The original is on display at the Dorpat Observatory Museum in Tartu, Estonia.

(See the photos of the physical model Bill built in the section above. The furniture rendered into this version gives you an idea of the size of the original telescope.)

Dorpat Telescope, detail

Dorpat Telescope, detail

Dorpat Observatory, Tartu, Estonia (former USSR). Gives an idea of size. The telescope tube is fifteen feet long!
Ferguson’s Mechanical Paradox Orrery. Demonstrates the position of the Earth and Sun at various times of the year. From a contemporary illustration by James Ferguson published in 1779. Bill plans to offer drawings for those interested in scientific instruments. CAD model is fully animated and geared to demonstrate function.

Orrery, detail

Orrery, exploded view

D&RG Class C-16(60) Narrow Gauge 2-8-0 locomotive, as built, 1881. Bill created the CAD model from his collection of copies of almost all the original builder’s drawings, so it is likely the most accurate assembly available today, and a vital resource for historians. Bill offers both a full color lithograph and large blackline plans on his website

C-16 Blackline Plan, an example of the capabilities within SolidWorks. See
Bill’s “CAD Masterpiece”, the famous Denver, South Park and Pacific Mason Bogie, as built in 1879. Bill was awarded 2nd Runner-up in the SolidWorks 2006 International Design Competition, over hundreds of entries by major firms from around the world. It was featured in the May 2006 issue of Cadalyst Magazine, and on podcasts and numerous websites. This cyber-model is the first time this loco has been ‘seen’ in correct colors since the original was scrapped in 1881! It required over 400 hours of research and design, in cooperation with experts including David Fletcher, in Australia, and Jim Wilke, a noted railroad historian and color authority to many museums. Bill offers a three-page large scale plan set and is planning a limited edition full color gicleé digital print.
A closer view of the Mason Bogie backhead.
Close-up of the unique Mason Bogie valve gear.
Another view of the Mason Bogie from a higher angle.
Rio Grande Southern 2-6-0 #11, 1891. Available as a large scale blackline plan.
Stephenson’s Patent 2-2-2 Locomotive of 1836, Bill’s latest SolidWorks project. Complete down to the last ‘nut and bolt”, it will be offered soon as a plan book and full color print.
Stephenson Boiler and Frame sectioned, showing the amazing amount of detail incorporated into the CAD model. Remember, each part is individually modeled!
Stephenson Frame and Running Gear details. Cyber-model is fully ‘functional’; moving the reverse lever also adjusts the “Gab” valve gear.

Another view of the Stephenson loco. CAD model may be rotated to any position, parts or assemblies hidden, or parts made partially transparent for viewing.

Steam Launch Engine Poster, 18" x 12".
From plan to a rendering so photograph it is hard to believe the engine doesn't actually exist. Here it appears to sit in a well-lit shop on a granite table, but it is all done in SolidWorks.


One of Bill's latest projects is to 3D model classic race cars in high detail and offer them as quality prints. The Miller 91 was a popular race car of the 1920's and 1930's. It is seen above in raw, unpainted metal and to the left in several famous paint schemes. They are the:

#18—1929 Packard Cable special

#3—1928 Perfect Circle Piston Rings sponsorship


These drawings were also used to produce a 1/4 scale model of the Miller racecar for a video that demonstrates  the ability of several different kinds of 3D printers to make larger parts. CLICK HERE to view the YouTube video.

This 1/4 scale model of a Chevrolet racing engine is an example of 3D printing or "rapid prototyping." It was produced using a FDM method (Fusion Depositon Modeling) that builds up the object by depositing small drops of ABS plastic. The gray base was also made using the same method. Note that details as fine as the ignition wires and linkages have been reproduced. The model was donated to and is now on display at the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA.

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