Wire Erosion Project – Restoration

Type of Work:

Restoration – Ottawa 2.5 HP open crank stationary engine

It’s not often that you get to see a piece of engineering history but that’s what happened at Cheshire Wire Erosion when we were asked to help with the restoration of an Ottawa open crank hit and miss 2.5 stationary gasoline engine.

The gasoline engine was built by the Ottawa Engine Company of Ottawa, Kansas, USA in 1912 and it was in the process of being restored back to its original state. We were approached by the owner and asked if we could remove the gib key holding the flywheel to the crank shaft from the gasoline engine.

Client Requirements:

The flywheel needed to be removed but for this to happen our client specifically needed us to set up and remove a seized / damaged key from a shaft.


The crank gasoline engine had spent most of its life in America and more recently in Kentucky USA but when it was sold in July 2016 it was air freighted by UPS and moved to its new home in England. The plan was to restore it to its former glory. This involved having to dismantle it piece by piece right down to its last nut and bolt.

It was while it was being dismantled it was found that the gib keys holding the flywheel to the crankshaft could not be removed. Every option was exhausted and despite the use of gib key pullers and a hydraulic press at a local garage nothing could remove the gib key that was holding the flywheel to the crank shaft. As a result, the restoration work came to a holt. The challenge was not to damage any of the castings in the process of trying to remove the gib keys, so in order to avoid this happening the garage that had been working on the engine suggested that it be brought to us at Cheshire Wire Erosion to see if we had any way of removing it. As a result, the crankshaft with one flywheel still attached turned up at our unit in Sandbach

Work Carried Out:

We machined the piece of metal using one of our EDM Spark Erode/ Die Sink machines As a result the key was removed “sweet as a nut” and the flywheel came off the crankshaft perfectly, you can see the crankshaft with flywheels removed, from the photographs included. The photos also show the flywheel after shot blasting as well as showing the gib key slot at top of centre bore with new gib key ready to be fitted.


Using our EDM Spark Erode/Die Sink machines the original problem has been resolved and our client is now able to continue with the restoration of the stationary gasoline engine.

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