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Brilliant Mechanical Greeting Card Replicates Radial Engine Workings

Us car guys want to believe our engines are cooler than ones in aircraft, but they're not. I bet that if we grew up flying biplanes instead of family sedans, we'd all be into carbureted radial engines.
Brilliant Mechanical Greeting Card Replicates Radial Engine Workings 1 photo
That introduction has very little to do with cars, but we wanted to make some sort of apology to explain why the article is about an engine only used in airplanes. An artist and innovator by the name of Bradley N. Litwin had the awesome idea of making greeting cards that have a mechanical side to them and mimic the workings of a 7-cylinder internal combustion engine.

He calls his creations MechaniCards and they are essentially hand-operated, kinetic sculptures constructed primarily from paperboard, with a few bits of wood, metal, or plastic. Just turn the crank and the pistons start to move in unison – amazing!

The Radial engine features an operable cross-section demonstration of the crankshaft. It's based on a 7-cylinder radial engine, similar to those found in many propeller-driven aircraft.

The bad news is that these things are very expensive, starting from $50. If you want to build the card yourself, it costs $15 more. There's a PDF file attached at the bottom of this article that should give you an idea of how many parts are involved and how they fit together. It takes a lot of hard work to make something that seems simple.

On the other hand, for $65, you could probably buy a junkyard engine, but that won't fit through the opening of the mailbox, now will it?

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 Download attachment: Radial Engine (PDF)


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