[4]

A flathead V-8 engine

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Gentlemen,

For many years I've had a project in mind to build a Ford flathead V-8 engine. The unique thing about the Ford flathead is that the exhaust runners ran through the water jacket and out the side of the block. Actually this was not a good idea as the extra heat from the exhaust added to the cooling woes of this particular engine. That being said I still wanted to try and build one.
For you fellows who follow my work know I scratch build all of my models from bar stock so after many hours of layouts and drawings I just couldn't come up with a way of fabricating this type of engine from solid. The next plan was to make patterns and coreboxes. I had heard from someone that the old flatheads used 23 cores in the casting process. Having come from a Ford foundry where we cast all types of engines at first I couldn't fathom why this engine would use that many cores. A 302 V-8 engine uses 10 cores and 2 molds, cope and drag. Here again after many hours of layouts and drawings I can now understand why they used so many cores.
Now I've put countless hours into engine and model building but to make all of the coreboxes and patterns required for this engine just seemed a little over the top. I had to ask myself if I really went ahead and made them all and took them to a foundry for casting what would be the cost of making all those cores and casting an engine. Furthermore what would happen if some of the coreboxes go lost or damaged.
It was time for an entirely new game plan! I still wanted to build a flathead but the Ford type was out of the question so the next best thing is the Cadillac design. The difference in this engine compared to the Ford is that all the ports, intake and exhaust, come out of the top of the block. There are castings out there for this type. They are for the Challenger V-8 that Cole's sells but here again I like to make my own engines so it was back to the drawing board.
I have the rough Cad drawings made and have converted them into a solid model. I'm presenting them here for your perusal.
With winter just around the corner, I know it's only July but with the way time flies it'll be here in no time so I'm getting a head start on the project.
gbritnellflathead iso top.jpgflathead iso rear.jpgflathead iso bottom.jpg

flathead iso top.jpg flathead iso rear.jpg flathead iso bottom.jpg
 

Don B

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 31, 2014
Messages
607
I can't believe I'm saying this especially after the winter we just had, but now I'm looking forward to the winter to see how you progress, I love seeing your projects, you do wonderful work...!:))
 

dave2176

Active User
Registered
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Messages
908
Let's see.
Popcorn? Check.
Favorite cold beverage? Check.
Hot cocoa standing by if the weather turns? Check.
Okay, I'm ready.:))

Dave
 

GK1918

Active User
Registered
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
Messages
1,596
Yes I think the Cadillac design should be easier. However they both ran well. I just find in my lifetime, people who could afford a Cadillac could afford
real fluids manly anti freeze and the poor Ford got all kinds of farm brew 'junk' from eggs, iron filings, oatmeal to stop radiator leaks. So, many got a
bad rap as far as overheating. Believe me they didnt heat when new. We do a share of these and just about all , water jackets 1/2 full of junk. In
fact there is one now on the operating table that filled a gallon container with rust scale & who knows junk. I read recently someone casting new V8
Ford blocks (of the French design) somewhere around Michigan. Another has already cast Model A blocks. big bucks. They didnt go in much detail as
how, but did show a pic. of the raw block before machining. Thats impressive. Here is a EAB one of the last ones before getting boiled.....
keep up the good work..
sam

118-1805_IMG.JPG
 

Dataporter

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
239
I'll sure be following this thread.
Gbritnell, what software do you use to render those drawings ? Is it expensive?
Thanks in advance. Dave
 

cjtoombs

Active User
Registered
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
728
gbritnell,
I have read about a prototyping method where you would slice the model, machine the slices, then furnace braze the slices together to get the disired internal features. That may be the easiest way to realize a flathead ford. The best way to do that would be to use aluminum that was coated with a brazing compound, but that may be difficult to source. There are sources of brazing paste online, which are much easier to come by. I would also expect a bit of trial and error to get the process down so you have no leaks, but the casting method would probably require some as well. Looking forward to seeing this build.

CJ
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Hi Dave,
I use an older version of Solidworks that my son had when he was taking engineering classes. I haven't checked but I would think it's one of those 'expensive' programs. A lot of fellows use Alibre or whatever the new iteration is named.
CJ, when I was still working in the pattern shop we got an experimental job to do for Ford engineering. The wanted to build a complex cylinder head from layers of aluminum. The layers were all different thicknesses depending on how the slicing through the head fell on certain features. Once cut and cleaned up the parts were assembled using an aluminum soldering sheet similar to sheet silver solder between each layer. The whole affair was then placed in a furnace and brought up to just below the critical temperature of the base metal and everything would fuse together. The idea of the project was if they wanted to redesign a certain feature like a port they could just change a couple of slices and then reweld and have a new prototype. It seemed to work well at the time.
Now on to my design. I am/was good with 3D modeling programs when I used them every day at work but it's been years since so I'm still learning this program as I go along. I have modeled quite a few more parts and added them to the assembly drawing. I created the heads, manifolds, water pumps, oil pan and bellhousing. The heads and water pumps will also have to be fabrications to get water jackets in them.
gbritnell

flathead block assy iso btm.jpg flathead block assy iso top right.jpg flathead block assy iso top.jpg flathead oil pan iso btm.jpg flathead oil pan iso top.jpg
 

34_40

Just a beginner
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
780
If you love the flathead ford, you'll like this. http://flatheads-forever.com/

This looks like it'll be a neat project to follow along. Thanks for sharing it.
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Gentlemen,
Sorry for the absence but with the short summers a person has to take full advantage of them. Along with that I have had a few other projects to complete, some for myself and some for others.
The overall dimensions of the engine block required that I buy a large round chunk of aluminum, 6" diameter x 7.25" long. Not wanting to mill all the extra stock from this large piece I went to my buddies shop to slab off part of it on his cut-off saw. With that done I started milling the block into parallel surfaces leaving extra stock for future cleanup and truing.

IMG_2829.JPG IMG_2648.JPG IMG_2649.JPG IMG_2655.JPG IMG_2827.JPG IMG_2828.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Once the block was close to the overall dimensions the first necessary operation was to put the cam hole in. As with castings and the way some fellows approach this it's very hard to put a true diameter through a piece with intermittent pockets so I prefer to do this first. This hole would be for layout and clamping for all future steps. The machining consisted of drilling, first from both ends then eventually only from one end to keep everything in line. The final step was to ream with a helical fluted reamer all the way through. Luckily the total reamer length was just long enough to accomplish this. With the cam hole complete the part was layed out to find out where I had to remove extra metal to get the sides and edges parallel to the cam hole. I minimal amount was removed and then the part was reading for some real machining. I made up a fixture plate to mount to my angle table. This would have a set of dowel holes for locating the block both from the top and bottom surfaces. In addition 2 brass plugs were turned up to insert into the cam hole for clamping. This was done by machining up a couple of aluminum blocks that would slide onto the plugs and have through holes to bolt down to the fixture plate.
gbritnell

IMG_2854.JPG IMG_2851.JPG IMG_2847.JPG IMG_2836.JPG IMG_2833.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Now that the weather in this part of the world is headed to the cold side it will provide more shop time. I'm finished with the block except for installing the cylinder liners and valve guides. Oh yes, and filing and finishing all the tool marks. I usually do this after completing each part but figured I'd wait until I get them all done that way I wouldn't have to take the burrs, stones and files out more than once.

IMG_3079.JPG IMG_3082.JPG IMG_3088.JPG IMG_3094.JPG IMG_3097.JPG IMG_3103.JPG
 

18w

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
285
Absolutely magnificent work!


Regards
Darrell
 

rafe

Active User
Registered
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
528
That's an amazing piece of Aluminum you have going on there! Great thread ....you should have video !! Ha, like it's not enough work just doing it , but I'd watch it for sure!
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
7,899
Gunrunner you need to order a set of these for the Z axis hand crank. Bill did you just spit coffee on your monitor? :rofl:

View attachment 253356
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The next pieces of the project were the heads. As with the block they needed some special design work to get water jackets inside them. I laid out a design where one half would have a picture frame around the outside and the bosses for the head bolts and spark plugs would provide the necessary support internally.
I started by cutting the stock to size but always leaving a little for later cleanup. The inside shapes were cut first and then the combustion chambers were roughed out, first by plunging an end mill into the material to provide a witness to cut to and then stepping out the remaining shape with a ball mill. In the last picture the combustion chambers aren't finished, there is another setup to do.

IMG_3136.JPG IMG_3139.JPG IMG_3142.JPG IMG_3145.JPG IMG_3148.JPG IMG_3151.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The other half of the heads was started. For the finning operation and other subsequent machining operations a fixture plate was made. This had the matching head bolt holes with the end two reamed for setup dowels. After the fins were cut the pieces were flipped over and the recessed pocket was cut on the other side.

IMG_3165.JPG IMG_3166.JPG IMG_3171.JPG IMG_3173.JPG IMG_3177.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
These two pictures show the inside of the halves that contain all the bosses.

IMG_3189.JPG IMG_3190.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The final operation on the combustion chambers was to cut the valve pockets to size with an endmill that had the proper radius on the corners. When these were spotted the deck area from the pockets to the combustion chamber were then finished.

IMG_3178.JPG IMG_3181.JPG IMG_3184.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
On the upper corner of each head are the water outlets. Stock was left on this side of the head to cut them to shape. Once cut the heads halves were bolted together and the area was filed and sanded smooth.

IMG_3200.JPG IMG_3202.JPG IMG_3205.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The mating surfaces are machined close enough that sealer shouldn't be necessary once they are bolted in place. If need be a thin layer of non-hardening motorcycle sealer will be used. It's grey in color so it won't be noticed at all. Finally some shots of the finished heads sitting on the block.
gbritnell

IMG_3211.JPG IMG_3214.JPG IMG_3219.JPG IMG_3222.JPG IMG_3223.JPG IMG_3228.JPG
 

18w

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
285
I really enjoy this thread. Stunning work.:worship: After you step milled the combustion chambers did you finish them all by hand with a die grinder? If you don't mind my asking, how many hours up till now just in machine work? What scale are you building this in? Looking forward to the rest of your build.

Regards
Darrell
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
18w,
Yes, after the milling was done I used a Dremel handpiece on a flex shaft with small burrs and mounted stones to get close. I really don't like using burrs anymore than I have to. They're very unforgiving. I then went in with various riffler files to smooth everything out.
Hours? That's a good question. In machining alone on what you have seen so far, the block and heads I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 475. That includes making special tooling, odd-ball setups etc.
In the drawings I probably have another 250 hours.
The scale is approximately 3 tenths. I started by getting all the dimensions I could for a Ford flathead and made initial drawings to full scale. After I realized I couldn't make a true Ford flathead some dimensions were altered to suit the new block style, bore spacing etc. Once I had a plan of attack I used the overall dimensions from the Ford block and scaled everything by .3.
 

SuKi

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Messages
26
:man:

I hope to be able to complete a project like this one day.
Great looking work!
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
I got an email from a fellow asking about what type of mounted stones I used for working with aluminum. I figured it would be good to share the information here also. Here's a copy of the answer that I sent him.

Hi Darrell,
These mounted stones are all on .125 shanks. They come in 3 grades that I know of, coarse, medium and fine. They are categorized by their colors, brown, blue and white. Generally I use the blue grade. They also are made with varying shapes, cylindrical, conical, disc type etc., and they also come if a multitude of sizes. For instance you can get the conical ones starting at about .125 at the tip and .187 where they are bonded to the shank. They go up form there in many different steps. I have a single point diamond dressing stone that I use for my bench grinder and if I need a certain shape I just spin it and reshape it with the dressing stone.
Most of the tool suppliers, Enco, Travers etc carry them. Most of the time I buy mine from a local tool and die supply business.
For cutting aluminum I have a stick of cutting lubricant. It's a green waxy substance that keeps the aluminum from sticking to the stone. The piece I have I've had for years. You just spin the stone and rub it on the stick. Once the grains are coated you can grind quite a bit of material.
I hope this answers your question.
George
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The next piece I started was the front timing cover. As with the others I started with a piece of 6061 aluminum.

The stock was squared up and the mounting holes drilled. some for the eventual clearance size and some were tapped to hold the piece to the fixture plate. The back cavity was drilled and bored to size and then the distributor hole was put in.

I made step-off charts for the various shapes, distributor boss, central housing etc. The piece was then screwed to the fixture plate and the cutting begun. First was the outside of the distributor flange.

IMG_3240.JPG IMG_3242.JPG IMG_3247.JPG IMG_3248.JPG IMG_3251.JPG IMG_3254.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
The original intent of mounting the part and fixture plate to the rotary table for cutting was twofold. First, once the part was mounted and indicated square with the axis of the mill I could then rotate to the required angles without having to reposition it like if it had been clamped directly to the mill table. Second was for cutting the groove with a Woodruff key cutter. I used a standard thickness cutter, (.062) but had to offset the position to get the proper radius for the eventual O ring seal. The final step was to stand the part up and using the boring head in reverse, cut the diameter of the distributor flange. View attachment 92023View attachment 92024

IMG_3264.JPG IMG_3260.JPG
 

gbritnell

Active User
Registered
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
188
Here are a couple of pictures of the finish machined piece bolted to the front of the block.
gbritnell

IMG_3272.JPG IMG_3269.JPG
 

mgalusha

Active User
Registered
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
160
I am so enjoying this thread, stunning work. Please keep posting!
 

bpratl

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
940
Gbritnell, I am extremely, impressed and fascinated with this project. I always had a soft spot for flatheads because my first car was a 41 ford coupe which had a flathead. I only wish that I had the time and your patience to complete such a project. Thanks for sharing. Bob
 

savarin

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
2,279
I have insufficient superlatives to describe this thread.
:man:
Hanging on for the next installments.
Thankyou for sharing.
 
[5] [7]
Top