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Squint Scale Curtiss Model K Aero I4

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Having done a previous project based on an early Glenn Curtiss engine design (my 2-Bits v-twin), I thought I would return to that well once again. In researching that engine and others since, I have found it interesting to “follow” the development of those early engines.

Starting from singles and v-twins (and one V8) meant for motorcycles, air-cooled and with and intake-over-exhaust layout and atmospheric intake valves, they evolved to inline fours and V8s, still with air-cooling and the same valve train, but meant for dirigibles and winged aircraft. All of these share very similar, if not identical, cylinders, cylinder heads, and cooling fin and valve layout.

As the development of flying machines progressed, the air-cooling and atmospheric intake valves had to give way to water cooling and overhead valves in order to get the power and reliability needed. So the cooling fins gave way to water jackets and a new valve train was developed that used a push-pull rod to activate both the intake and exhaust valves via a single rocker.

I think the final iteration of this design development is the Model O, especially the famous OX-5 V8 of the WWI era, with its concentric push-rod/pull-tube layout and unique rocker design.

I had initially thought to build a version of the air-cooled I4, and got pretty far along in developing a CAD model of that. Part of the appeal was this cool photo of Glenn Curtiss holding one, with it's cooling fan in place.

But then I got intrigued by the push-pull valve train of the water-cooled models, and the challenge of figuring out how that worked. So that's what I'm gonna build.

Work has commenced with the upper half of the crankcase, which I'm piecing together from 1/4” x 1” brass bar stock. Two pieces silver soldered together were needed to get the required width for the top plate. The end plates are attached with brass 1-72 screws and silver solder. Side plates will probably just be soft soldered.

Dave Otto:
Cool research and another fun project to follow along with.  :popcorn: :DrinkPint:


Very neat engine!   :popcorn: :popcorn:

And for anyone in or passing through that part of the world, the Glenn Curtiss museum by Hammondsport/Watkins Glen in south central New York  state is well worth the visit. All sorts of airplane, motorcycle,  boat stuff there.

 :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

Looks like a fun project, Ron!  I'll be following along  :ThumbsUp: :popcorn:



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