The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Paul Knapp

Added to museum: 2008

Engine Craftsman—Engine Collector

Paul Knapp (Left) shakes hands with Joe Martin upon delivering the majority of his large engine collection for display in the Foundation's museum in Vista, California. Paul has also agreed to serve on the Foundation's Board of Directors starting in 2009. (Click photo for larger image.)

A craftsman and his tools

We all know that good craftsmen work with the tools they have available. Now ask yourself, "If a craftsman has more or better tools, does that make him any less of a craftsman?" Personally, I think not because each additional tool requires additional skills to make it useful.

Take Paul Knapp for example. Here’s a man who owns a modern machine shop and then gets interested in model engines. His skills and experience will make him approach building an engine in an entirely different manner than an old time toolmaker who can build anything on a Bridgeport and a lathe. Paul has CNC equipment and knows that once tooling is built and a program is written it’s relatively easy to duplicate parts; therefore, he’d be inclined to build multi-cylinder engines. In the back of his mind he’d also be considering the engine as a possible product and would document what he’s doing better than the toolmaker.

It’s time to ask yourself again about the relationship between a craftsman and his tools. Perhaps it’s a tie. Both of these craftsmen have a great deal of skill and deserve our admiration. They just go about creating their marvelous work with different tools and different goals. As a spectator in the world of superb craftsmanship I’m happy with end results in either case. When I examine Paul’s finished engine and then watch Paul fire up the same engine I know that he is taking his hobby to a new level, and we’ll all be better because of it.

—Joe Martin

Paul built this Challenger V8 engine from a Coles Power Models casting set. The heavy flywheel allows him to start it by hand when it is warmed up. It takes a pretty well-tuned engine to start that easily. It is a water-cooled 90° V8 flathead design with pressure lubrication running on spark ignition and gasoline. (Click on the larger photo to view an 800 pixel still image or click on the small photo to play a 15-second MPG video of the engine being started. Give it time to load.)

About Paul Knapp

Bio to come...

Engine collection now on display

In addition to building model engines, Paul and his wife Paula have built a large personal collection of some of the world's finest miniature engines. The majority of his collection is currently on display in the Foundation's Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA. Paul also hosts the Miniature Engineering Museum. Paul's collection has been displayed in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and the Champlin Air Museum among other locations, and we are proud to be able to host such a fine collection in our own museum. To see each of the engines on display and learn a little about them CLICK HERE.

In addition to his collection, here are a few examples of Paul Knapp's own work:

(Click photos for larger images.)

Bentley BR2 Rotary Aero Engine, 1/4 scale model built by Paul Knapp, Arizona, 1993. The model weighs almost 12.5 pounds without stand. L=14", W=12.5", H=14"

Paul Knapp constructed this model with the help of Lew Blackmore's book, Bently BR2 and computer aided design (CAD) drawings by Bill Mazak of Arizona. The engine is machined from stainless steel with aluminum cylinders and heads. The engine burns regular gasoline on spark ignition, has a pressurized lubrication system and a carburetor like its full-size counterpart.

The rotary engines of World War I rotated with the propeller. The hollow crankshaft that extended from the back of the engine was fixed to the airframe and the crankcase was attached to the propeller. Thus, the crankcase and cylinders rotate with the propeller about the stationary crankshaft.

The Bentley BR2 was produced in England and was the largest and most powerful rotary engine used in WWI. It powered many airplanes, most of them biplanes.

Conley Small-Block V8 Engine, designed (1988) by Gary Conley, Illinois, model built by Paul Knapp, Arizona, 1993. L=15", W=7", H=10"

This methanol-burning small-block V8 was built from a casting kit designed by Gary Conley.  It incorporates a fully functional scale 671 blower with dual carburetors.  It will turn approximately 12,000 revolutions per minute at full throttle.

Model Pratt & Whitney Engine CastingA 4-part casting for a 9-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R985 engine is displayed here so you can see some of the craftsmanship that goes into the design of an engine like this. Much of the fine machine work of the basic engine casting is covered up once the cylinders and other parts are bolted on. This assembly represents many hours of work in pattern making, casting and finished machining.

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