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Post  Ken Cook Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:18 pm

I recently attended the last swap meet of the season. My son and I truly enjoyed ourselves. While my intent was to pass some of my equipment and planes onto others, we did manage to take home some great finds. We've been playing around with diesels for a few years now and this old relic was something we couldn't pass on. The owner of this Drone couldn't get the engine to run. The gaskets were shot and the piston was in backwards. The drive washer was galling on the nose of the case which had to be resolved by sanding down the case a bit.  The paper head gasket was torn.  After lapping the case flat and making a new case gasket I attempted to run the engine. Fire would just come out of the small exhaust port and it would continuously flood out making a small pop now and again. The piston in this engine has a large step in it. This step goes opposite of the exhaust despite what the prior owner thought when he reassembled the engine. These engines has a very long stroke. It swings a pretty large high pitch prop for it's size. I have another fixed diesel head for this engine. These are very cool engines.



                The other evening, we converted the fixed diesel head into glow. My buddy Dan had a fixture to hold the Drone head. A couple of minutes on the lathe and we were in business. The engine runs excellent. It was quite enjoyable to see it run and it makes a good bit of power. I actually have a old time stunt plane that will accept this engine. I don't know the name of this plane. The Drone fit right in between the mounts hole pattern lined up pretty darn close.  I'm quite certain though this is not some scratch built and it was a plane of the era. Just something I noted in regards to the plane. The builder of this model threaded the music wire landing gear for nuts to retain the wheels. This is some hard wire and I was very surprised to see this. The threads are very clean. I really wondered how this was done. I'm just glad to see this old turkey running. I can't wait to fly it.
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Post  Cribbs74 Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:49 pm

I like the glow conversion. Very well done. Can't wait till Ian sees it Wink

Is that needle stock?
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Post  Ken Cook Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:00 pm

Ron, I'm going to say yes. However, I do own another .29 which is left in the diesel format which has an entirely different needle. Of the Drone .29's I have seen just about all of them had different needle valve configurations. The Drone was introduced in 1947 which was slightly different from this version which was the last version and it's also a ball bearing /bushed case. If you look at the case, the front of the case is held onto the rear with 3 machine screws with nuts on the back. This is just one of those fun to run engines. Not a high revving engine but it certainly is a work horse. Ken
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Post  Oldenginerod Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:54 pm

@Ken Cook wrote:Just something I noted in regards to the plane. The builder of this model threaded the music wire landing gear for nuts to retain the wheels. This is some hard wire and I was very surprised to see this. The threads are very clean. I really wondered how this was done.  

Wonder if they used old bicycle spokes to make the landing gear?  Already threaded. Or maybe pre-threaded pushrod wire.
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Post  Cribbs74 Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:58 pm

Ken, It may be strong wire, but I haven't come across any easily obtainable steel that is harder than a die.
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Post  Ken Cook Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:51 am

The gear is certainly not a spoke or was it ever.  Bicycle spokes threads are not cut with a die they're rolled. The reason behind that is that cutting the threads weaken the spoke. These threads are cut.  Ron I took a die to a piece to try on a piece of 1/8' K&S wire,  it wasn't very happy, it didn't want to start and keep cutting. It also didn't cut clean it just wanted to ride off. If one was to heat the wire enough to change it's temper you would have to reheat to put the temper back. This would show discoloration of the wire not to mention strengthening certain areas and weakening others. Talking to my father the other night he mentioned to me it could be done, good quality dies and low heat tempering can make it go easier. He said it's difficult to retain it's strength properties once overheated and  you might as well throw it away . He also mentioned that it's not a good practice at all . Your just causing a stress fracture such as not providing a radius in the bends and a landing gear is going to take a lot of shock. I did notice the original builder left the axle portion of the gear very long so that the wheels themselves are not close to the threads. It's nothing important just something I noted when doing some repair work on the plane. It has some very interesting characteristics like the bolt on engine mounts. It has a very significant airfoil as well for a plane of it's age.
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Post  gcb Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:08 am

Ken,
The Drone .29 is one of those engines I always wanted but never got. If I remember correctly there were three versions...the original fixed head, the variable compression head, and the glow plug version.

Many used a equal mixture of kerosene, motor oil, and ether in the fixed head. Later castor replaced the motor oil. I believe various sizes of props were used to obtain best power (timing). Also, many folks got whacked for using too small a prop.

Of course the adjustable compression allowed a better selection of props.

The glow version I have not read much about, so let us know how it goes. Nice engine!

George
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Post  Ken Cook Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:16 pm

George when I flew the diesel Drone last year we were using a 10x9 to get some speed up. We did try a 12x8 and a 13x7 . The 10x9 allowed stunting. We were doing large loops and got in some inverted flying as well. I believe the variable compression head was a aftermarket product offered by Aerodyne. We were using the fixed non adjustable head. The main thing not to do with this engine is flood it. It's very hard to clear and burn off. Essentially I found just getting it to pop on prime through the exhaust and then hook up the fuel line. I hope my glow conversion works well. On the bench it seems quite strong. I've heard mention of how the Drone shakes. I have to admit, it seems pretty good on my bench, I haven't mounted it to the plane.

It just took some finesse and a little time to get it working again. It has a wonderful sound not loud at all. I don't know what rpm's it's turning with glow but using the diesel head I was getting around 6500.
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Post  fredvon4 Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:44 pm

I know nothing about a lot of the grand engines Ken, Ian, Bob, and others profile on CEF

but I have to say

Aesthetically, I have always coveted the Drone engines

I see them occasionally...what a totally cool looking engine

Side story

Ken's fairly annual posting about sucky weather and JUST running engines in the VERY cold...and sometimes actually flying in the finger freezing weather

Got me motivated today
to try a bit of an intuitive insane expedition

I managed to set up a Fox . 35 on the test stand, and flip it  thrice to pop n pop but no joy running.... 15%N 28% castor

To Hell with this...  extension cord\  heat gun\ 25% N 23% oil\  12Vdc Starter\ fired and sang a good tune.... BUT in 23F air the glow fuel soaked hands hurt like hell

NOTE to self

Ken----you and others can have winter fun...Me...NOT so MUch......grin
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Post  Ken Cook Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:43 pm

Fred, Fox's like to start wet. Introduce colder temps and they need twice the amount of prime almost flooded. The key here is the right plug and a good battery followed by lighter fluid. Once you introduce lighter fluid the engine will kick so hard it will almost want to start just from a slow rotation. It can backfire just from hooking up the clip. You won't need to preheat the cylinder. Just prime through the exhaust, a bit in the venturi and pull it through a rotation, hook up and backflip. Don't flip a Fox .35 in it's normal rotation when primed with lighter fluid. If you choose to do so, the lesson learned will quickly make you understand my instructions not to. I have had props break over my finger as a result and in the cold this will make you say words that most don't want to hear. Castor oil becomes very problematic in the cold. A good fitting fuel line on the Fox barb is hard to find. Prather no longer makes the correct tubing and the blue Dubro completely blows. Brodak pink is the closest to Prather but I've found it to develop splits eventually or it swells where it contacts the barb allowing for air entry later. I wire tie the tubing onto the barb a very good practice especially on the plane. I've seen more wrecks happen during maneuvers due to the tubing popping off of the spraybar.
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Post  fredvon4 Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:33 am

Ken, my mentor...Ha... I learned that bark n bite lesson many decades ago with some of my flying buddies Hi Zoot engines*... where I was the starter pit guy

Once got  a seriously fast bleeding nasty gash on the back of my right hand as I put on the glow plug clip... and the engine self started

Thankfully none of the tendon were cut....would have been life changing if we had had the sharp blades today....but the typical blunt wood Rev up 8x8 just beat the hell out of my skin and blood vessels for way too many revolutions

Funny about the Ronson Lighter fluid... happen to have a can of it right here ONLY because YOU mentioned it years ago in one of the winter flying threads

Also did manage to get quite a few Fox engines that Back fire significantly in normal weather..aggravating to find the hardware and re set the prop

I tend to prime...add glow, hand turn to feel for the bump, and back slap the motor into running...works 95% of the time for all my motors* that already have a real close needle setting

Still don' have in my head Nitro relationship with temp... what I mean is I am not sure if Yesterday, moving from 15% to 25% was correct... at the moment I had/have 10%/15%/and 35% mixed

I do know that the motor I fired prefered the 15%N and 28% (23% Castor 5% synth) mix and the 25% stuff was a tad light on oil...so I deliberately limited the run and did NOT peak out the engine

* I deliberately used Motor and Engine just to annoy some folks
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Post  ian1954 Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:19 am

@Cribbs74 wrote:I like the glow conversion. Very well done. Can't wait till Ian sees it Wink

Is that needle stock?

Sacrilege! Taking a diesel engine and converting it to glow! Engine abuse is what I call it! Rolling Eyes

Then, having the temerity to post this in the "Diesel" category!!!!!

Piano wire can be threaded with a die but like anything - there is piano wire and piano wire. Some piano wire that I have is too brittle.

Likewise dies are made of different materials. The more common (and cheaper) carbon steel dies are relatively soft but they too appear in different states of hardness.
For piano wire, I use HSS (High Speed Steel dies) but with plenty of lubricant (tallow). Slow and steady with plenty of backing out to clear swarf.

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Post  fredvon4 Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:50 am

Ian brother I feel your cringe

Mostly becaus every time I see a Cox glow engine converted to diesel I get the same tingle of WHY!

Ha... not really busting your chops...just sayin I get it

I suppose to widen my horizons I need to find a safe, reliable and (cheap) diesel motor to play with

That said I have a question about the fuel and a question about a engine
Back story... sort of

I enjoy the challenge of blending fuel, and not much tolerance for waiting on some blend to come in the mail....( I know the common wisdom first play with diesel is to use premixed fuels)
I also do NOT have a John Deere (NAPA) source nearby to get the PREFERED JD starter fluid.
But I do fully understand the process of decanting the Ether into an airtight container for eventual mixing with other easy to source components

I use a lot of Ether starting fluids ....mostly from WalMart, and I have a strong suspicion that MOST of these "starter in a can" products are very similar in blend of propellent, the ether, and some small percent of top lube

All that said, is JD starter fluid the ONLY good way or are these off brand variant acceptable?

If you just wanted to play with ONE Diesel engine.... and you were a frugal (tightwad) which one is readily available and good to start with?

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Post  Ken Cook Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:49 pm

Ian, my son just loves diesels. He's a natural at getting them running. That being said, he bought another Drone in very good condition with the fixed head still intact. We do have the aftermarket adjustable as well. I started out with the Cox conversions and I have had good luck once I started using smaller props. 5X4 and 6x4 props turn up the rpm's needed for control line flying. I made a mistake early on using the larger 7-8' props. They ran but they were lacking. I've been running them on Davis Diesel 1/2A blend and they love it. Easy starts and reliability but the small props in my experience have been tremendous. I do enjoy playing with them. The problem is getting back to back runs. In stunt, you get penalized for over runs which is easily done with the slightest turn of the Tommy bar or needle. I converted to glow because I can get my times easily dialed in using glow over diesel.

              Fred, if one was to try diesel, the PAW diesel would be very easy and reliable. However, if one was to go the inexpensive route, the Chinese Silver Swallow ( Yin Yan) is a good choice as well. Both readily available in the states. I recently picked up a Enya .15 for quite a deal.  It was my first diesel and it starts very easily once broken in. It's a .15 and it worked great on my Akromaster.

Some of the club members still have Red Max diesel in storage. That stuff works better than any others I have witnessed. It smells extremely strong (Ether) over the other commercially available fuels like Clutton fuel or Davis. That being said though, I have had good success using Davis Diesel which is available through Tower Hobbies.
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Post  wha-tah-hey Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:55 pm

@fredvon4 wrote:
I use a lot of Ether starting fluids ....mostly from WalMart, and I have a strong suspicion that MOST of these "starter in a can" products are very similar in blend of propellent, the ether, and some small percent of top lube

All that said, is JD starter fluid the ONLY good way or are these off brand variant acceptable?

Fred, it's my understanding the JD is 80% or more ether compared to 40-60% in everyone else's.
But, lubricants aside, ether is ether (in this situation) after the propellant is released, so decanting the remainder into a measured container will tell you how much ether bang you get for your starter fluid buck.
If you want to know more precisely, then allow the ether to evaporate also to see how much oil you're buying.
Remember to open all the windows!! lol!
(Actually - do it outside!)
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Post  ian1954 Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:58 pm

As Ken mentioned - a PAW is a good starter but don't go below a .10 or above a .19 to learn how to play.

A small diesel is easy to hydraulic lock and a larger one reply is a finger biter. The best size is to get familiar with is a .15. (The first engine I ever started was a PAW15 at the ripe old age of eight! - first flick!)
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Post  Ken Cook Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:49 am

The Drone can really be a finger whacker. The fixed head is a real pain in the rear. In the cold which is usually when were trying to run these, we sometimes preheat with a torch. I just found that repeated and fast flipping usually results in a few pops as well. Once you get a few cycles of short bursts, it gets enough heat to sustain running. You just don't want to have the fuel line hooked up when doing so. These flood and once that happens it takes forever to clear. This can take as much as 20 min of continuous flipping to clear it.
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