Author Topic: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine  (Read 45088 times)

Online b.lindsey

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Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« on: January 11, 2013, 02:09:39 PM »
Even while still working on the Briggs engine, I had occasion to meet via email and through another forum a gentleman by the name of Larry DuFour. It was Larry's father who had spent years researching Charles Taylor as well as the Wright Brothers and co-authored the book Charles E. Taylor: 1868-1956 The Wright Brothers Mechanician. At the same time Larry had access to copies of the engine drawings commissioned by the National  Air and Space Museum and graciously offered to make copies of these for me for the purpose of making a model of this engine in 1/4 scale.

The process of making the working model drawings has now begun and the first few chips made and I hope to document the build here on MEM. 

This is not the first such model made however. Another 1/4 scale model shown here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15794235@N06/5338320658/in/set-72157602933346098/ was build By Lloyd Butler of Ohio sometime during the 1980's.  In addition a full size replica was built prior to the centenial anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC and can be seen here in in a short you tube video:


There are many unusual features to this engine including: 1) One of the first uses of an aluminum casting for an engine crankcase (presumably to lighten the weight), 2) The use of igniters in each cylinder (spark plugs of the time were not seen as reliable enough), 3) lack of any type of carburetor, 4) Tubular connecting rods (again for weight savings I assume), and 5) combustion chambers fitted onto the ends of the cylinders rather than an integral part of them.

In 1903 of course, this was all "new ground" at least so far a adapting an IC engine to powered flight. At the same time, and given the Wright Bros. underlying business of bicycle making, many of the chains, sprockets, and thread types were gleaned from what they had available in the bicycle shop. The wonder of this engine is that Charles Taylor built it in in about 10 weeks, in time for the brothers to ship the airframe and engine from Dayton, Ohio to North Carolina's outer banks where the first flight took place when weather conditions were more favorable.

With that as some of the background, so begins another journey in model engineering and one which will no doubt be filled with new challenges. As much as possible, I hope to be faithful to the original design and materials though certain compromises will be made as required of necessity. The crankcase will be aluminum but not cast for example. The basics of the model will be: 4 cylinders in a horizontal configuration, 1" bore and stroke.

More to follow.....

Bill

Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 03:22:33 PM »
I began with some of the more straightforward parts like the fuel tank which was mounted on one of the wing struts and fed via gravity to the engine below. The design was a bit odd in that there is an inner cartridge which fits into the outer casing. the drips down through the funnel end to a petcock valve and then to the engine.  After making these, the single hole in the bottom of the cartridge is not condusive to the flow of fuel since there is no vent hole in the top end. This is something that will have to be added in order for fuel to flow properly. Still to be made and added to this small sub-assembly are a handle for the top of the cartridge to lift it out or insert it into the outer casing, as well as clips on the side and hangers which would have been used to attach the whole thing to the wing strut. Its a meager beginning but a start none the less :)


Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 03:38:19 PM »
The second part thus far was the cast iron flywheel which as can be seen in the drawing has only a .047" cross section at the thinnest point.  I fudged a bit here and left it closer to .056" or so just to give it a tad more meat and strength. The pictures show it just machined so it will need a bit of sanding/polishing as well as a 1/16" keyway added to the bore as soon as I get a broach and bushing.

That's it for now...the next part will be making one of the four combustions chambers which screw onto the ends of the cylinders and also incorporate the valves and cages for both the intake (top) and exhaust (bottom) as well as the igniter fixed contact and the arm and lever for the moving contact...all in a space 1.25" high and less than .750" in diameter.  If that can be done then the whole project can proceed, but the combustion chambers are a central and critical feature of the engine and scaling down the threads (and everything else for that matter) is going to be a challenge for these aging eyes!!

Offline Don1966

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 03:50:53 PM »
Bill that sounds like a fascinating journey and I will be standing by you from here on, no matter how long it takes.

Don

Offline NickG

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 04:33:56 PM »
Sounds really interesting this Bill, I'll certainly be watching!  :ThumbsUp:

Online Jo

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 04:41:02 PM »
Interesting, I will be reading and watching with great interest 8)

If any one is interested NASA did an animated computer reproduction: http://wright.nasa.gov/airplane/eng03.html

Jo
Usus est optimum magister

Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 04:59:40 PM »
Thanks Nick and Jo.  Jo, the NASA link has been useful on several occasions in working on the drawings so thanks for posting that as well.

Bill

Offline tvoght

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 06:15:22 PM »
Extremely interesting. I'm here watching Bill. Thanks Jo for the NASA link!

--Tim


Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 06:23:57 PM »
Thanks Tim...if you also look down the page that Jo linked to there is a link to "Another Page"  that provides even more info. and additional animations.

Bill

Offline Tennessee Whiskey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 07:20:45 PM »
Bill, being a liscensed pilot and a big Harley nut "1903 does it for me" I will be drooling : : :P all over this one. You know what is funny is every time we think we can't do something or have to wait for the UPS truck we should think about these guys.
Eric

Offline ScroungerLee

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 08:28:22 PM »
What an interesting project.  Looking forward to following it.
Mmmmm.... Shiny!

Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 08:43:48 PM »
You got that right Eric!!  Thanks for checking in also Lee. I'll try to keep some steady progress going on this one.

Bill

Offline vcutajar

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 11:37:19 PM »
Bill

Looks like this is going to be interesting.  Will be following you along.

Vince

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2013, 12:14:54 AM »
Caught this thread at work and couldn't wait to get home.

"I want to see! I want to see!"

Looking forward to this build.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Online b.lindsey

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Re: Wright Brothers 1903 Engine
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 01:03:23 AM »
Thanks Vince and Zee. Its not what i would call an attractine engine...not like the spinster project...more like a let's see if i can do this kind of thing...and i figure the eye doc can probably use the business which he will likely get given the size of many of the parts.

Bill