10 thoughts on “Now Ya Know

  1. The master rod (which usually is connected to the lowest piston) is the only one where the big end of the con rod moves in a circle, the slave rods move in an oval path so the cam in the magneto that opens the points has to be “compensated” with an an asymmetrical cam for the master cylinder.

    For a really complicated engine look at a cutaway of the Bristol sleeve valve radials. They were harder to manufacturer than the Rolls-Royce Merlin. There were 56 gears to drive 14 sleeve cranks, and each sleeve rotated and reciprocated to open and close the intake and exhaust ports. There’s some drawings here.


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    • Good Lord, the amount of math that had to be done to figure all that out without even a hand held calculator is ind boggling. Looking at one of the pictures, I counted AT LEAST, 26 gears that are all meshed together to make that thing run.


  2. The earliest ones (WWI) had the crank fixed to the fuselage and the cylinders spun. That’s how they cooled them. The drawback was the gyroscope effect limited the ability of the aircraft to maneuver properly.

    I saw one with the cylinders rotating at a model makers’ show. Really impressive. The model requires a lathe with 9″ swing and I think that’s just beyond what I can handle.

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  3. My dad was a mechanic/crew chief on B-17’s, B24’s, and B-29’s, and he had a lot of the old Wright-Cyclone manuals in stacks in the basement, which I read as a 10- to 15-yr-old. At the time, I thought they were complex, but now if I were to look at ’em, all I would probably think would be, “What a lot of monkey-motion!”
    I used to do that with electronics (in the same time frame), but now I look at circuitry and think, “I could spit a better design than that!!”. Man, how things change when you get older (but not necessarily WISER, bud…)
    Yeah, those old guys were frickken’ geniuses, doing what they did with what they had. We stand on the shoulders of GIANTS, Phil!


    • Looks like I’m mistaken. I disassembled and reassembled a smaller seven cyl radial eng in aircraft mechanics school. I think it was a Warner.THAT smaller engine had a star rod.


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