An email from Aniket Vardhan arrived a few days ago with an update on the Musket. Attached were photos of the just finished casting patterns for the cases of the big twin version of his Royal Enfield Musket V-Twin. His first Musket, based on the 350cc single generated a huge response from around the world, but it wasn't long before everyone began asking about a twin based on the 500. Combined with the appearance of the ACE Fireball high performance kit, how could he not do it? All he had to do was design an entirely new crankcase based on the bigger cylinders, decide how best to cast the pieces, create the intricate patterns necessary, cast the parts, finish the parts, build the engine, test the engine, fit it into the modified frame and test the finished bike. In other words, he had to create a whole new Musket! Once everything works as planned, he'll be able to go ahead in whatever direction he chooses.
Wood working and metal working are usually viewed as different branches of the "hands on" family tree, obviously related, but each group keeps to itself at reunions. Conversation in the wood family is about saws, planes and grain while the metal men speak of milling, welding and grinding. It's only when their pattern making cousin shows up that the two sides spend much time together, and when they do, the result is engineering art, wooden pieces that take on the appearance of a finished, engineered metal part, after all, that's why they exist, but with the warmth of the wood from which they're created. Some of us could put those patterns up on the mantle and leave them as is, parts worth looking at in their own right, but we would be interfering with their mission, to form the molds for the molten metal that will eventually become a functional machine.
Creating the patterns is slow and painstaking work, but, as you can see, they look gorgeous. They reflect the care and craftsmanship Aniket brings to this entire project, plus the eye of someone who knows what will look just right, the cooling fins on the timing cover are sweet.
Here's Aniket to describe the process:
Just finished sanding the new casting patterns, have sort of been 'dead to the world' for the past several months.
Things which caused delays - biggest one was a modification which will allow *left side shift* with the newer 5 speed transmission. I had never seen one of those transmissions up close until I saw Chumma's.
Discovered that the left side shift lever is mounted on a shaft that runs through a hole drilled right through the crankcase. This, of course, needed a new boss to be accurately located and placed right where this drilling would be. Don't ask me how annoying that was and how long it took 🙁
Then there was a change in the timing cover for machining reasons, had to completely remove and rethink the bosses for the oil feed banjo bolts. Better now in wood than later on the castings.
Some of the features of the new design:
1. V angle is now 59 deg. This was arrived at after considering feedback on the original Musket engine, making it more compact, reducing length and making frame fitment much easier while allowing both 350 and 500 top ends. The narrower angle looks nicer too, though this is a matter of taste.
2. The oil filter is now housed in the timing cover- the smaller and lower of the two holes visible. This needed a lot of relocation of the internals but simplified the oil circuit (the original motor has an external filter housing which needed more plumbing). The larger and upper hole, at the 'peak' of the timing cover is the ignition/points housing, which is now a part of the casting, as opposed to the bolted on housing in the original engine.
3. Cooling fins sculpted onto the timing cover. Just HAD to do this 🙂 Pretty! The timing cover is much more in keeping with classic air-cooled aesthetics. It is overall a much more sculpted, smoothly radiused form which recalls fondly the beautiful castings from our favorite vintage engines. Took a LONG time!
4. New motor will allow left side shift with the 5 speed gearbox.
Let's see how CNC machining goes. Quick, I hope!
Some people believe an engineered piece can look only one way, dictated by the function it performs, but seeing the process of an engine like this coming together and hearing Aniket's thoughts behind it, we see that there is much art involved, there always has been, and those who try to say that engineering is cold simply don't understand.
Aniket, you never fail to impress. Beautiful work, and there are followers of this project around the world that can't wait to see and hear it fire up.
Link: Musket V-Twin