In these days of computer animation, young people don’t see real engine cutaways as often as we once did. When you can peel away the layers with the click of a mouse, the old art of machining away metal to reveal the moving parts underneath is rapidly giving way to CAD software and 3D rendering. The young are likely convinced they’ve seen what they need to, but there’s something qualitatively different when you can touch the moving part and when a 360 degree view is generated by walking around or turning the display. Even more impressive, though, is when someone makes their own cutaway starting with a bandsaw and time.
Matt Thurman of Action Motorsports had some old, non-running engines that followed him home. You know how it goes, swap meets, deals too good to pass up, boxes of parts and all of a sudden there they are, in all of their useless glory, but Matt decided to make something of it all, so why not a cutaway? Sure, you can do a lot of this on a computer screen without getting your hands dirty, and if you “cut away” too much with the software you can always put it back on and cut somewhere else, but in the real world you have to take your time and plan your cuts because once it’s gone, there’s no going back.
Matt’s done a couple of these which he details on his website, the latest is on display in his office. I think it came out really nice, but I’m beginning to suspect we’ll be seeing fewer cutaways like this in the future. If your first look inside an engine occurred when you took a wrench, unbolted the head and saw the piston down in the cylinder, you’re from an earlier time. Now, a quick Google search or YouTube video shows someone else doing the work and a few moments later, it’s off to something else, which is too bad because real life and real learning are more than an unending stream of virtual images on a computer screen.
In the meantime, some guys are still out in their shops making metal shavings and turning out nifty projects like this. I think it looks pretty cool. Nice work, Matt.