First, thanks to the many, many MEN readers world-wide who emailed to express their sympathy for the Australian bush fire victims and to inquire after my well-being. I truly appreciate it. The fire is a tragedy for Australia, but hardly a unique occurrence—I sure recall being shocked at the devastation in southern California not so long ago. As mentioned in last month's editorial, the region had been experiencing a prolonged period of record setting high temperatures, coupled with the driest period ever recorded into the bargain (the rainfall recorded since January is just 3mm, less than 1/8 of an inch). Guess something had to give. But even though the residents were prepared, nobody predicted the ferocity nor the speed of the disaster that followed, showing how nature continues to surprise us. For what good it does, Model Engine News sends sympathy and shared pain to all those impacted, be it directly or indirectly. Let's hope this is not the shape of things to come, but somehow, I doubt it.
There is a chance that the April issue of MEN may be a few days late. Don't Panic! If I can get all my chooks in a row, it will go out on time, provided I can find some way to plug in my laptop in the Pacific North West of the USA which is where I'll be around April 1. Failing that, it will go on-line as soon as I arrive back in Australia, which will be around April 5. The trip will take in places between San Francisco and Vancouver (BC). I wish I could get further south and east to visit with friends, but time is against me. Now. This being March, Members will find a Free Plan set waiting for them in the Members' area. Hmmmm... Wonder what it could be?
Life's Too Short
Seems I need more Mia in my Culpa. Last month, I foolishly patted myself on the back in print over how some of my earlier research had been of help to Malcolm Stride in chasing down the origin of a certain type of cam turning fixture. I sure did not intend that hurried afterthought to be any kind of criticism, veiled or otherwise, of the author of the article in question. But in retrospect, I can see how it could easily be read that way and some apparently felt that credit was not going where it was due. The result was that poor old Steve Huck of the Florida Association of Model Engineers started receiving a stream of rather uncomplimentary emails. C'mon people—get a little perspective here. First, Steve's article on using the Chaddock/Westbury/Shores jig is well written, clearly illustrated, and truly informative. That takes time and effort, believe me! Not everyone has a library of Model Engineer issues dating back to the 1930's to assist in referencing their work, and as Steve's intent was to clearly show how the fixture could be used in conjunction with a spread sheet to reduce the chance of error, you could argue that adding historic references is of limited value. Anyway, with a somewhat sour taste in his mouth, Steve tried to pull down all copies of the offending material from the Web. He also sent me a copy of the article, mentioning that the fee he had received for it appearing in the ME had been donated to a charity.
To make a long story short (-ish), I made a pest of myself until Steve relented and agreed to allow MEN to host his article, which I've cunningly made this month's Tech Tip. So there will be no confusion, we've added a list of cam machining references to the piece, although these just echo those already included with the Feeney Construction Series. Myself, I still prefer the method used on the Feeney as it also forms an accurate nose radius—though at the tiny cam lifts we are dealing with, I have some doubt this makes any great difference. But it really comes down to equipment. Not everyone will have the vertical mill and rotary table required to use the CamCalc approach. The CWS fixture requires only a lathe and if you don't have one of those, you are not making engines!
I try to avoid getting serious in these pages, so let's close this issue by observing that the fraternity of model engine builders is small and those trying to help it grow deserve encouragement. The pioneers on whose shoulders we are standing deserve recognition too and if you feel someone, myself included, has missed some point, by all means raise it, but be gentle—I'm still receiving therapy for last month's red face incident.
PeeWee Price Rise
In one of those timely (and timeless) pieces of serendipity, I got an email from Dirk Tollinear advising of a change in his contact details, and a small but necessary price rise of $5 for the Bob Shores' PeeWee Casting Kit. The new price is US$185.00 and the new email contact for Dirk is DTollenaar@SBCGlobal.net (capitalization not significant). The serendipity bit comes in through the previous item and this month's Tech-tip which uses the camshaft of the PeeWee as the example to show how Bob Shores' cam turning fixture is used.
Super Fury Cylinder
This month's instalment of Gordon Cornell's Model Engine Development series describes how the cylinder design of the original ED Fury was evaluated and improved for the Super Fury. As usual, this part concludes with the plans and information required to build your own Super Fury cylinder and piston. Gordon provides a level of detail adequate for the experienced builder; the less experienced can always find more detail on the subject in other Model Engine Construction Projects on this site. Remember, Gordon's series main focus is the development of a design with a focus on a systematic process of testing, evaluation, and modification. The subject for Part 6 next month will be the crankshaft.
I'll bet a lot of readers cut their model engineering teeth on Maccano. I sure did at a very tender age with a giant pre-war second-hand set that I wish I still had today. When you think about it, making things from Meccano qualifies as model engineering, of sorts (the equivalent in the USA would be the Mysto Erector Set, though Meccano pre-dates it). Although I never saw any here Downunder, Meccano published a monthly magazine between 1916 and 1981. A great deal of nostalgia accompanies these—just like our model engines and related magazines, perhaps even more so because an effort has been made to gather as many issues as possible, scan them, and place the result on-line, and on DVD. You can download individual issues through the link under the image for this news item. If that sounds too painful, the site says that the disc version can be ordered from Meccano World. The full set fits on three DVD's (or 16 CD's) and is stated as costing £74.95, including shipping and cross indexes. But when I started to chase through the twisty maze of links to the order form, the DVD version evaporated. Too bad. Looks like it would be a nice trip down memory lane, but not on 16 CD's thanks very much!
The ACE just won't lie down. My own prototype build is well under way and we received a very nice email from Ken Smith (England) documenting what we now believe to be the first announcement of the engine—April, 1947—and the first release for sale—June, 1947. So the Ace page has been updated again (the page is starting to look rather moth-eaten to me—quite a feat on a computer screen). The build has highlighted some "less than optimum" dimensioning issues with the plan set. Nothing serious as all can be worked out from the numbers provided. But a good plan set should not require the builder to reach for a calculator, so corrections have been made. Roger's pattern for the cylinder machined easily to size. My own pattern for the crankcase yielded a lump of metal that produces more swarf than I'd like. Still, always better to have excess to remove than a casting that requires precise positioning if the putting-on tool is to be avoided.
The construction series for the ACE should begin next month, travel plans permitting. In the mean time, it being my birthday month, Model Engine News Members get a free gift and can download the plan set for the ACE from the Updates and Downloads page.
Just Plain Madness
Sorry. Couldn't resist it and Chris Dunn (Australia), creator of the engine in question shown here would probably agree with me. Chris has coupled a pair of OS FP 40's together to provide a 1.3:1 speed reduction, thus allowing the unit to turn a large diameter prop. This sort of twin was relatively common in small engine size (generally using Cox 049's), but Chris' 13cc monster is in a different class altogether. Although completed sometime back, it has not "flown", but that's only because other projects have got in the way. The engine starts easily and after changing the mesh to provide alternate firing rather than simultaneous, runs well and smoothly. Yes, that's no mistake: even though simultaneous firing provides balance of the reciprocating mass, alternate firing evens out the power impulses and in this case (and the Siato FS 80T), results in smoother running! Top marks to Chris for innovation and having fun. The gears were purpose cut by Chris. The bull wheel gear has 26 teeth machined from 7075 ally. The driver gears were machined from Delrin with 20 teeth each. The unit weighs 1.2kg (2.64 pounds).
Almost Affordable EDM
McWilliams sells serious spark erosion machinery and supplies (aka electric discharge machining or EDM). The front page of their website shows a giant pile of large denomination bills, which is what you need to bring if you shop there. This is rather out of the question for us amateur machinists, but a sound investment for those who make their living producing intricate, precision shapes in metal. They have released a low cost machine aimed directly at the broken tap and drill removal problem at a price that borders on affordable. My own home made EMD effort cost over a grand in parts by the time it was all done and consumed the better part of two months of effort, which puts the McWilliams EDM-DR in perspective. Their page on the machine says, "Dielectric Fluid - Normal tap water". Veeree interesting... You can download an almost readable flier in pdf format from the web page. Sure bears thinking about.
New Books and Magazines This Month
Would you believe, not a single new copy of anything went on The Library shelves this past month? But I did see mention of a new book by Jim Duncan while having a free read of the new Aeromodeller in Borders. Jim has researched the early model engines and pilotless drones made by Reginald Denny, Walter Righter, and others to produce a 207 page mine of information. A copy is on order and we'll have a review here is due course. If you can't wait, ordering details are on the copy of Jim's flier pictured here (click to view it in readable size). By the way, Jim is busily at work on the second edition of his 2.5cc model engine reference book. The database stands at 1,417 engines at this time and will be a must-have for all collectors.
Engine Of The Month
To be different, and preserve some sense of surprise for dramatic effect, our Engine of the Month will not be named here. You should read about it first as a Watzit to test your early engine recognition knowledge (don't despair, I failed too ). From there you can follow the link to the page that identifies it, gives a little of its largely forgotten but significant history, and describes a restoration of one in recent times. And no fair leaping to the Engine Finder to spot the name there first!
Tech Tip of the Month
A new page has been added to the How-To Index which is not much more than a facade leading to some oldies and a newie. The subject is making harmonic cams and as mentioned at the start of March 2009 MEN, the new material is Steve Huck's article on cam forming by offset turning. The photo here is one of the many taken by Steve to illustrate the process and is an incidental Tech-Tip all by itself: look at the innovative way he has fashioned a faceplate drive-dog for his fixture. Obviously, a conventional peg would be in the wrong place and get in the road when turning the cams closest to the headstock. Steve's solution is simple and effective. In fact, I may be using it myself in the next few weeks. MEN thanks Steve for making his work available for us to preserve through this web site, the MEN Only DVD, and the Member's download service.
Bar Stock F2B Engine, Again
Remember the bar-stock F2B (that's the FAI International class for control line aerobatics) engine mentioned here a year ago? Charlie Stone, who alerted us to the engine in the first place, has emailed with the URL for a expanded coverage of the build and what has happened with the engine in the past year. Click the thumbnail pic to go to the web page in question, which includes some nice 3D modeling, progressing towards a full set of CAD plans. What is interesting to me is being reminded that the engine represents an evolutionary step from the Stalker 61RE, a Russian made F2B engine, one of which is dragging my Cardinal around quite well. I have no complaints about it at all in out of the box condition, though trimming the Cardinal has been an ongoing saga and I think I'm about to take the knife to the flaps!