Amazing machine work

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Cary Stewart
Posts: 514
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:54 pm

Re: Amazing machine work

Post by Cary Stewart » Sat May 18, 2019 5:58 pm

Those gears are not the same as the ones that my father inspected during WWII at Lockheed but they are of the same quality. He was a precision parts inspector on the P-38 line. His responsibility was for the turbo charger gears for the P-38. The shop was having trouble meeting the prints requirements and the shop foreman went to my father and asked him to start passing more of the gears coming out of his shop as he was getting behind in deliveries. Apparently the shop was manned my non machinist machine operators and as the gears were made of stainless their out put was not to spec. My dad told him to do one of a few fixes. Get his workers to learn to machine to print, go to the engineer who signed the print and get changes to the tolerances, or continue and make more scrap. The foreman stormed off after telling my dad that he would get him. I never heard a name mentioned but this was a very good lesson in honesty and integrity that my father told me in about 1946. I was 10 years old then.

Cary Stewart
Posts: 514
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:54 pm

Re: Amazing machine work

Post by Cary Stewart » Sat May 18, 2019 6:05 pm

There were two engines that were based on the Merlin. The Allison and the Packard. The first P-51s had the Allison. They flew well but were underperforming. The English got a batch of 5 or 6 of the early ones. A test pilot thought that the plane flew well but was under powered. He suggested that a Merlin be installed in one of them and test flown. With the Merlin the P-51 became a world beater. It took a year before the Brits could convince the USAAF to change to the Packard. Then the Germans discovered that we had a better airplane than theirs. It's coke bottle shape is what made it much more fuel efficient than the Spitfire, P-38 & Thunderbolt.

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Re: Amazing machine work

Post by GlennW » Sat May 18, 2019 7:30 pm

The Packard wasn't based on the Merlin, it is a Merlin and was built by Packard under license from Rolls Royce to keep up with the high demand. British built aircraft were supplied by Rolls Royce and production built aircraft built on the North American Continent were supplied by Packard. Continental also made a small batch of Merlins under License.

Other than being a twelve cylinder inline engine, the Alison was built by General Motors and is a completely different engine.

Operating machines is perfectly safe......until you forget how dangerous it really is!

Glenn Brooks
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Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Amazing machine work

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:15 pm

Glenn, indeed, in the mid 30’s Crystal Lake Grinders produced a cylindrical grinding machine capable of grinding parts to .000015”. I have one in the shop that I hope to find belts for and put to use one day.

When I crank the handle a few times to move the ways, can’t even tell the bed is in motion! Their first line of grinders was produced around 1910 or so - making small watch and typewriter parts.

Might be that early 1800’s machine tools suffered precision problems, but I think early day machinists were mostly limited by the capable of metrology tools available to them. Certainly 1/million” tolerance parts production was available prior to WW II.

Found this photo of my CL grinder, sitting forlornly in the corner of my shop. Still a cool old machine. The little roof over the top houses a fluorescent lamp and the motors and shaft. CL found that mounting the drive and grind motors a few feet above the ways reduced vibration a great deal. Then then connected the grinding wheels with the shaft with a very thin and flexible flat belt. Something like 1/8” thickness or less. Apparently innpart this enables the high tolerances the machine is noted for.

Glenn B.
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

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