Unique business card: diminutive protractor verifies cylinder cross-hatch honing angles

By Freddie Heaney, January 25, 2015 It is probable Total Seal’s Keith Jones exhibited an aptitude for engineering at an early age. Given a knack for simplifying the concept of cylinder sealing, his latest business card is wondrously effective. Representing a flexible, transparent plastic protractor, it confirms cylinder cross-hatch honing angles in moments. Of course there are formulas to check cross-hatch angles, but often the simplest method is a protractor. “Just peel the translucent backing off the card to aid visibility,” says Jones, “and press the card into the curvature of the cylinder wall, aligning its top edge with the deck surface.” To determine the included angle of the cross-hatch honing, simply double the angle displayed on the card—if it reads 22 degrees the true included angle becomes 44. Used on both small-block Chevrolet and Ford engines, the 45-degree honing angle is the most common. Yet some engines like flat-sixes or flat-fours (Subaru) and particularly those with long strokes operate better with a more vertical cross-hatch angle: 60degrees. This promotes oil movement all the way up to the top of the bore. These engines trade a little more blow-by for increased oiling to the top of the cylinder, which results in less wear. As the cross-hatch angle becomes more vertical it increases the movement of oil up and down the cylinder wall. Though it returns oil more rapidly to the sump, it also facilitates blow-by. Most honing troubles are caused by angles that are too flat By contrast as the cross-hatch angle becomes flatter, blow-by is reduced as the oil tends to move left and right rather than up...

Why we struggle: Surprise yourself by adopting the power of parallels

In John Pollock’s latest book “How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas,” he demonstrates a philosophy—a fundamental way of thinking—that can help us all. Thomas Edison famously said that genius requires “1percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Edison’s third criterion for would-be innovators is less well-known but perhaps even more vital: “a logical mind that sees analogies.” To make an analogy is to make a comparison that suggests parallels or similarities between two distinct things and these connections have advanced some of the most important breakthroughs in history. These include the printing press, the airplane, the computer desktop and the assembly line, all of which were developed by the use of key conceptual analogies. How overhead trolleys in a meatpacking plant unlocked the potential of Ford’s Model T  Credit for the moving assembly line is often attributed to Henry Ford, but it was actually the brainchild of a young Ford mechanic named Bill Klann. After observing butchers at a meatpacking plant disassembling carcasses moving past them along an overhead trolley, Klann conceived a similar process by adding pieces to a chassis moving along rails. Overcoming significant management skepticism, Klann and his cohorts built a moving assembly line. Within four months, Ford’s line had cut the time it took to build a Model T from 12 hours per vehicle to just 90 minutes. In short order, the moving assembly line revolutionized manufacturing and unlocked trillion of dollars in economic potential. And while in retrospect this innovation may seem like a simple, obvious step forward, it wasn’t; the underlying analogy between moving disassembly and moving assembly had...
Quarter-mile world record for drag bicycle: 207mph in fewer than 4.8 seconds

Quarter-mile world record for drag bicycle: 207mph in fewer than 4.8 seconds

By Freddie Heaney, October 28, 2014 On November 7, 2014, in the cool mid-autumn air of Circuit Paul Ricard located at Le Castellet near Marseille in the south of France, Swiss cyclist Francois Gissy riding a rocket-propelled bicycle reached a top speed of 207mph (333 km/h) in 4.8 seconds. Designed by Arnold Neracher, the bicycle has no aerodynamic aids, suspension or, seemingly, any effective braking system. To the elongated, ordinary-looking bicycle, Neracher added a hydrogen peroxide-powered rocket with three small thrusters fastened to its frame. The bicycle generates the approximate equivalent of 560hp and 416kW (4.5kN) of thrust. Gissy, the daredevil who lies above the highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide apparatus with legs and feet extended rearwards and subjected to 1.96Gs under acceleration, mentioned that his chief concern was the high wind forces acting upon his head. He and his team are currently focused on establishing a 250mph record. Click here to watch this record-setting...
Something odd happened at Santa Pod

Something odd happened at Santa Pod

By Archie Bosman, December 5, 2015 Earlier this year, on September 3-6, a number of records tumbled at the FIA European Drag Racing finals at Santa Pod Raceway. But Europe’s first permanent drag racing venue, established in 1966 on a former Second World War airbase at Podington near Bedford in England, had more in store. Unexpectedly, the event also included a most bizarre accident when Top Fuel biker Filippos Papafilippou crossed into the other lane, colliding with his rival, Steve Woollatt. The Greek landed fully on Woollatt’s wheelie bars, while his own bike ran on without him. Uninvited, Woollatt had acquired a passenger and dragged him along beyond the finish line. Though it took some time for Papafilippou to free his left foot from Woollatt’s wheelie bar frame, the Greek miraculously suffered only skin abrasion to his foot where the track surface had burnt through his leather boot. Watch the video: Almost 300 teams from all over Europe gathered to compete in 16 race classes including Top Fuel Dragsters, Pro Mods, Pro Stocks and Supertwin Drag Bikes. On the Friday, Norwegian Thomas Nataas, who secured the FIA Top Fuel title at the event, recorded 315mph over the 1000-foot race distance, a 4mph gain on his previous mark set in Sweden a couple of weeks earlier. He then lowered his time and raised his speed in Saturday’s qualifying with 3.949sec at...