Carpenter builds wood model of 9-cylinder radial engine

Have you ever wondered how a radial engine works?

radial engine demo

A carpenter has built a model of a 9-cylinder radial engine. Ian Jimmerson apparently built this amazing project in his garage or workshop and everything appears to move just as it would in the real thing. But best of all, in the videos he very carefully explains how all of the parts work together.

In the first video he tells us about the design of the engines, and in Part 2 he goes into more detail and animates it with an electric drill.

Most of the earlier air tankers used various configurations of radial engines. For example, the P2Vs had Wright R-3350-26W Cyclone-18 18-cylinder engines. Some of the C-119s also had that same engine, but others had a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major with a large 28-cylinder supercharged air-cooled four-row radial piston engine designed and built during World War II.

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10 thoughts on “Carpenter builds wood model of 9-cylinder radial engine”

  1. Thank you very much. I love to learn and I certainly learned a whole lot in the last 20 minutes. Again thank you.

    PS: wonderful craftsmanship!!!

  2. Absolutely awesome–what a great work of mechanics and art! Congratulations on spectacular work and thank you for an outstanding education.
    (airplane driver for 45 years–unfortunately the only radial time is behind a R985 and R1820.)

  3. I’ve been around radial engines my whole life, operate 5 different radials and never has someone able to explain the operation so simply. I personally could NEVER really explain it, thank you so much. What’s impressive is that it spins at 1500 rpm, stays together and actually sounds somewhat like a radial engine. I don’t even want to go into how many fingers I would have lost trying to build that out of wood! Well done

  4. A beauty! Mindful of the 18-Cyl. R-3350 2500 hp we flew ASAC behind in the AD-5W/EA-1E “Guppy”. Last prop-driven single-engine carrier aircraft…our great love, its 14-foot propeller was awesome. Never failed under our ASW watch. Also flew Nav. in 9-cyl. R-1820 C-54’s and C-118’s. First flight was in the venerable workhorse, the famed “Gooney-Bird” C-47. Nice job, Ian. Needs to be in “The Smith…” or “Wright-Pat” museums.

  5. The skill involved in building such a beautiful, functional model is impressive. But to be able to explain to the layman (or in my case, knucklehead) using technical terminology how all these moving parts interact to make the engine work takes a very rare and special talent. Thank you sir!

    1. Great explanation. Easy to understand and admire. Great job.

      Fred Tieman
      NEAM Engine Restoration Dept

  6. WOW ! Excellent and thorough video and fantastic construction. Could it “run” on compressed air ?

  7. Bravo Ian! Bravo!

    I once studied P&W’s development of their R-4360 Wasp Major (as you pointed out, “28 cylinders” of radial mayhem). The engineers seem to have had to climb ‘the Mt. Everest of engine balancing’ to make such a large and complex rotating mass work as well as it did, relatively speaking.

    But your wonderful 3D creation and perfectly straightforward presentation helped me to appreciate all the more their monumental effort.

    Thank you for all of your hard work and for giving of yourself so selflessly. (Will we someday see a sleeve-valve version so we can be even more enlightened? 😉

  8. I volunteer at an air museum. This link was shared and everyone who saw it was blown away. The craftmanship was extraordinary. Outstanding presentation!

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