Unpacking Day!
Wright Whirlwind Radial Engine 5 Bears Home

13 Dec 2004: The project begins! After about 12 days of shipping from Sweden, the package of Whirlwind castings and the gear set arrived. As I had to work over the weekend, I was unable to open the package until today, Monday. When you guys get a package, do you open your new toy(s) in a somewhat ceremonial way, thus increasing the pleasure? Sounds weird, but I do. The camera is prepared, my shop is cleaned (one cannot commence another major project with a messy shop), and generally everything must be "just so".

The components were well-packed and protected with bubble-wrap and newspaper. One by one the components were revealed.

Naming Conventions: I will attempt to use the correct term for parts when I describe them on this site, but occasionally I will end up making up a descriptive name if I can't remember the correct term! Importantly, when I refer to left or right, it is from the pilot's perspective. Front will be towards the propellor. If I preface left or right with front, as in front right, it is as if you are standing in front of the engine and looking to the right or left. Hopefully this won't cause any confusion.

The plans consist of approximately 90 pages of both prints and operational descriptions. The prints are a mixture of CAD prints and hand-drafted prints, with the former comprising perhaps 90% of the total. Thankfully for me, this plans set is in English, and the translation is good.

I normally do not use detailed operational descriptions. For a newer machinist, ops sheets can be invaluable, but a more experienced machinist will have his own ideas on setup and execution. One way in which anyone will benefit from ops sheets is the order of construction. In many cases, one must have a particular part on hand (say, a wrist pin) before machining its mate (such as a bronze bush). In this way, the correct fits can be achieved.

The bulk of the package consisted of cast cylinder heads and rocker-box sets, each individually wrapped. I ordered 20, and that's what I received. All twenty made quite a large pile on my bench.
I was excited when I unwrapped a set. These are precision die-cast of aluminum, and the overall finish and apparent tolerance is excellent. Here, one of the heads is set next to a rocker box and a cover on the table of my CNC mill. Being die-cast, there are very minor seams and a tiny bit of flash. For those of you who have worked with sand castings, you will be very happy. The exterior of these castings will require zero or only the most minor effort to look awesome.
The fin detail is excellent. The head is shown here from the front right quarter, with the spark plug boss area evident.
I was blown away by these rocker boxes and covers. Look at the finish and the clean "Wright" lettering on the top of the cover. The underside of the cover is recessed for the rocker-box body, and the cover fits perfectly!
Rear quartering view of the head. When I first saw the extended rear intake boss, it reminded me of the Hodgson, where both intake and exhaust pipes enter the head from the rear. Actually, in this engine, the exhaust pipe mounting boss is to the extreme left of this photo, and only the right-hand (when viewed from the rear) valve has it's port drilled on this extended rear boss.
"Bag o' pistons". This is one of those items where I debated buying the castings vs. turning them from bar stock. Ultimately, the interior of the pistons is complicated enough to make the castings a wise purchase, I think.
Finally, a very nice impellor!

All of the castings exceeded my expectations.

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