Because a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a video that shows—with perfect clarity—the basic operation of a radial engine. It’s fun and fascinating, check it out.
Our recent story featuring a homebuilt radial engine constructed from Volkswagen components sparked some great discussions on various social media channels around the web. What are the ins and outs of radial engine design? How do radials differ from standard four-stroke engines, and how are they similar? What’s going on in there, anyway?
So we’re following up with a video that shows, simply and clearly, the basic mechanics of a radial engine—in this case a Jacobs R-755, a conventional single-row, seven-cylinder unit. The cutaway will make several aspects of radial operation beautifully evident, for example cylinder number and firing order. A true four-stroke radial has an odd number of cylinders, and it will fire every other cylinder in order of crankshaft rotation, odd numbers first, even numbers second. Watch for the electric lamps in the cutaway model that provide simulated firing events.
The cutaway’s motion at multiple speeds also provides viewers with a feel for the basic dynamics and balance of master-and-slave rod operation. As we demonstrated with our recent video on driveshaft angle and phasing, we’re big fans of simple, clear technical presentations without needless complication and technobabble, and your response tells us that you are, too. Please enjoy the video.