Bob & Ron Lane were Cockneys from the East End of London, they went through the Blitz sitting under the kitchen table, where they were bombed out twice but survived. A distant relative Richard Lane, a bricklayer worked for Isambard K Brunel on the first Thames tunnel in the 1800s, this is also mentioned in the book “The First Thames Tunnel”. Grand Father on their Dad’s side was a lift engineer and made model live steam locos on a foot treadle lathe under gas light and won a prize at a model engineering show pre-war, sadly this engine was lost in the war.
Their dad, was also a lift engineer, made two steam locos, a freelance 2.5″ gauge, and a 5″ Evening Star (the last British Rail Steam Loco made), three reflector telescopes: a 9″ and two 12″ diam. grinding the mirrors himself. He also made two televisions, in the 1950s, and a three wheel car similar to a Reliant Robin with a V twin Jap engine. A very clever dad, they learnt a lot from being brought up in a workshop. Ron was an apprentice tool maker and worked for Mullard Radio Valve. Bob was a lift engineer and fitted lifts in places from restaurants dumb waiters, to mines and ships.
Bob & Ron Lane started Aeromodelling in 1947 when an uncle who was in the Royal Flying Corps as a Rigger gave them a rubber powered plane that they crashed. Their Dad bought them an ED Bee for Christmas. It cost £2.7.6p in old money. They went through gliders, rubber and power free flight, control line, very early home made Radio Control, single channel, Galloping Ghost, then Reeds, and then Propo since the early 70s.
Ron is the lathe expert and did all the machining. Both assembled and tested the engines. Bob made a wood mock up of the Radial to get the idea how they worked. Even with Richard Green’s drawings its not easy. He made fixtures to get all the parts the same and for speed. The crank cases and shafts are all one offs, except the two for the two radial engines that were made. Making the crankshafts and camshafts was very tricky. Fitting the pistons and rings to get good compression was tricky, and the type of glow plugs makes a difference to the performance. The radials both started by hand and on slow speed / tick-over the blades can be seen quite clearly. When the first radial was flown an alloy conrod broke. Luckily not much damage occurred, so fluted steel rods were fitted. The radials needed a lot of oil to prevent seizing. The bottom cylinder plugs tend to oil up and so used an on board glow plug power supply at low engine speeds. The compression improved with running on all of the engines. The Boxer twin has wet liners in alloy fins and will be used in an autogyro, It’s 16cc capacity.
All of the parts for the V8 glow engine were machined from solid. All the barrels, heads, valves, rockers, and pistons on all these engines are 8cc swept volume and all to the same design. The V8 has a reduction gear to drive a 24″ three blade home made prop. This engine would run without a prop. It was used in a 5th scale Hawker Hurricane MK 1 but due to a collapsed under cart the plane met its end—luckily the engine was undamaged.
The 5 cylinder radial is 40cc and has flown in a Eindecker type model; a Richard Green design.
The V8 is 64cc and was used in a 5th scale Hurricane of our own design.
The flat 4 32cc and flat 6 48cc were bench run as show models (Bob & Ron Lane own design).
The Boxer twin 16cc will be fitted in a Wallis type autogyro (own design).
All the cylinders, rockers and valves were identical at 8cc and machined from bar stock—no castings were used at all.
The two singles were repaired and modified stock engines.
All were made using a Myford Super Seven lathe, and a Cincinnati mill.
The Gas Turbine, the HD4 was designed by Harold Denver.
- Thrust 50 Newtons at 100,000 rpm.
- Pressure ratio 2.1 at 100,000 rpm.
- Weight 1.4 kg.
- Centrifugal compressor.
- Axial turbine.
- Ceramic bearings.
- Rear bearing preload.
- Starts on gas, runs on Kerosene.
- Total loss oil lubrication system, using 20cc per min.
- Fuel consumption 100millitres/minute at 80,000 rpm, and 200millitres/minute at 100,000 rpm.
Two extraordinary model makers who have made a huge contribution.