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Thread: Engine tooling?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Ft. Collins CO
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    Default Engine tooling?

    I was wondering where all the tooling to make the engines went? Does Rolls-Royce still have its merlin making tools? How about the Radials? Was it all melted down? I assume you guys can see where I'm going with this and I'm sure you have also wondered the same thing.

    Jarrod

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Maui, Hawaii
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    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    This is a very interesting question.

    New tooling is made for new engines of all types. How difficult would it be to reproduce new tooling for, just say, a Merlin?

    Reever

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Dunedin, New Zealand
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    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    that is a damn good question. To throw my 2 cents in, i would think that RR , Wright, P&W etc etc would have destroyed tooling when the last major users of certain engines were retired or they saw demand for spares drying up, (dont quote me, im sure there are more qualified people to confirm or deny this, but did RR not carry out servicing on the Griffons used by the South African Airforce in their Shackleton patrol aircraft until the late 80's early 90's) Although, in this age of technology, im sure it wouldnt be to hard to reverse engineer a merlin/Griffon or R3350 etc and make the tooling from there, im sure it wouldnt be easy or cheap, but then if enough users demanded spare Merlin parts or R2800/R3350's then would it not benefit the entire Warbird/Classic aviation community as a whole as with the new technologies and better metals etc they could make more reliable powerplants?
    Just my two cents on the matter
    race fan, photographer with more cameras than a camera store

  4. #4

    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    Actually with todays CMM's (Cordinate Measuring Machines) and the big CNC mills (Computer Numerical Controled) you could with a little time probably make all the case parts out of billet's with todays technology reverse engineering for the most part isn't that difficult.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    One other thing- the tooling may have been just about worthless. Tooling to make heavy parts like that wears out and has to be replaced periodically- I suspect that the end-of-life for the tooling was probably reached about the time the last production occurred. Sometimes, that's the REASON for the end of production of parts. I was talking with my engine machinist a couple of years ago about the quality of the current crop of parts coming out of a particular vendor. He agreed that it was getting a bit sloppy and suspected that it might be aging tooling. He went on to point out that there was a period in the 80s when GM was holding off on replacing tooling that was used to make the Chevy big-block engine because they were considering discontinuing it, and he named about a dozen measurements that are usually horribly out of spec on engines from that era, and a whole crop of aftermarket parts that sprang up to allow engine builders to fix all the problems. Problems included things like valve lifter bores that were so out of line that the valve timing on individual cylinders could vary by several degrees within the same engine.

    As for making all the parts with billets and CNC.... I wouldn't bet on it. Yeah, you could make 90% of the engine, but how are you going to make a forged, hardened and stress-relieved fork-type connecting rod with standard machine-shop tools?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Pacific Northwest
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    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    I'll jump in here..

    From what I understand, the tooling is all gone.. Don't know if it's in the archives or not but a few years back, there was a group that was going to try to reproduce NEW Rolls-Royce engine parts, eventually complete engines in Romaina.

    Needless to say... it didn't happen.

    As far as the *could* it be done..

    Yes, of course. With today's technology, we could produce reproductions of yesterday's engines with extreme precision and quality.

    As far as *will* it be done?

    Probably never.

    The issue is not whether we could do this, it's the cost of doing it.

    No one in their right business mind is going to expend cubic millions to bring in far less than their investment in sales.

    Sadly, the demand is just not there in volume enough to warant this ever happening.

    Will someone, perhaps, someday, reproduce a brand new Merlin or R-3350.. sure...why not. Guys spend tens of thousands making running model engines, why not extroplate and make a full size "model".. Will it happen in volume enough to affect the warbird/racing community?

    I hate to be the guy who comes in with rain clouds on a really nice thread idea.. but..

    Prolly not gonna happen..


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by AAFO_WSagar
    Don't know if it's in the archives or not but a few years back, there was a group that was going to try to reproduce NEW Rolls-Royce engine parts, eventually complete engines in Romaina.

    Needless to say... it didn't happen.

    And yet amazingly, those of us who kind of looked at the promise of this with raised eyebrows back then (because we understood the huge bite that these people were trying to take) were criticized and flamed for our opinions.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    I am going to answer 440 there are quite a few mold shops doing what is called hard machining where the mold billets are all ready heat treated and stress relieved,roughed then it is machined to finish and they are ready to go, the whole industry is going thru changes.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertrat
    I am going to answer 440 there are quite a few mold shops doing what is called hard machining where the mold billets are all ready heat treated and stress relieved,roughed then it is machined to finish and they are ready to go, the whole industry is going thru changes.

    It might work. But given how much trouble RR had getting that fork rod just right, I'd be amazed if the first few articles made didn't frag and take out entire engines during the testing process.

    I'd love to know more about the development process Allison went through with *their* fork rods. I don't know if they had a better design from the get-go, or if their process just isn't publicly documented like the RR Merlin history is. Or maybe its documented, and I've just never stumbled across it...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    california
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    Default Re: Engine tooling?

    What about this....
    If I had a 1.5 million dollar investment in a mustang and all of a sudden
    there are parts being produced that are the same or better then mine and
    I would imagine that they would be cheaper then the antique parts I have
    and the airframe parts can be reproduced cheaper and at the end of all of this reproduction someone else has a brand new build p-51 and they can sell them for less and flood the market with them where does my value go. I am going to lose money on my investment because a guy down the street can buy the new ones for less...why buy mine. And if i have a mustang i have money, enough money to have my parts produced
    but why there is still enough parts out there to keep me flying and really it seems that racing has eaten more motors them anything else and i include hydro racing in that statement. I would worry later and protect my investment now. If you could build new motors and service them
    i think a few things might happen. I think you would see more race teams
    with modified mustangs and it would make sense to create them cause
    there would be larger fields and more parts to go race with. I believe
    that if the cost of a new build mustang could be in the 800 to 900 thousands dollar range there would be more racers and more demand for motors to justify building them. If you could build and sell mustangs Civil
    mustangs without all of the authentic parts but a stripped down civil weekend flyer i am sure the cost would be cheaper..may not be a true
    warbird but who cares it would look act and sound the same....bending a few pylons. I dont know just my 2 cents worth...
    thrust.

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