Focus on Workshops: Slieve Bloom

Focus on Workshops Slieve Bloom. (Reporter Paul Fetherstonhaugh)

The most unlikely location is not infrequently the destination and place where the best kept secrets are found, and so it was with the workshop of Walter Renno in the foothills of the Slieve Blooms.

A veritable Aladdin’s cave of precision tools, multiple glow engines, workbenches, measuring, calibration and other instruments of a quality and type which completely transfix the mind of the scale builder – scale heaven doesn’t get better than this.

Walter is a prolific and accomplished builder of scale aircraft, and there is but one word which comes to mind – perfection, perfection in everything.

Walter has on his building board the first phase construction of wings for his next project, an Arado Ar 96B, a German trainer produced in 1936. This was started earlier this month, and of interest is the use of aluminium brackets made by Walter and placed beside each rib to ensure a correct 90 degrees angle, perfection. The accompanying photographs clearly show the brackets attached to the building board with a treble pin fix, and the board used by Walter is of balsa construction and supplied by Graupner. Walter hopes to have this aircraft ready for F4C in the near future. Power will be supplied by a 70 FS of the OS stable.

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Considerable work and progress was evident in the building of a Stampe stored in the workshop, and this aircraft is sourced from a Precedent kit. Walter acquired and started the building of this Stampe some time ago, but to his disappointment has found the quality of balsa and materials supplied as average to poor only. As a consequence Walter replaced the supplied wing ribs with others which he fabricated, and further into the build found the fuselage formers were not accurate and which he also replaced. The undercarriage was the final let-down, poor design and of an inferior finish, Walter is in the process of fabricating a sprung undercarriage system. In truth the Precedent kit will be no more such is the extent of replacement parts, and what you will soon see on the field is a first class scale Stampe branded as Renno made. Of further interest is the purpose made exhaust knuckle manufactured by Walter from brass stock, and the clever fixing system to the front of the firewall. The fitted engine is a 200 FS, OS and pumped. The cowl is handmade from a mould fabricated by Walter, and the photographs demonstrate the level of skill deployed.

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The capacity to fabricate and produce all and everything for scale aircraft is available throughout the workshop, from a scroll saw, milling machine, circular saw, stand drill to a lathe made by EMCO of Austria. The truth is your Mr Smith or Joe Soap may well have a scroll saw, probably sourced from Aldi or Lidl, and what we have here in the Walter workshop is a Hegner scroll saw, a precision tool which cuts exactly as you want it. Again, us lesser scale enthusiasts probably have in our workshop a Dremel drill or something near to it from Draper, and in the Walter workshop you will find Proxxon hand held tools for specific tasks, drill, long nose drill, orbital sander and vibrator file.

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The lathe pictured is a formidable piece of equipment, and capable of metal work that most of us probably dream about. Walter secured this lathe some 38 years ago, and in addition to putting it good use has kept it in pristine condition. In terms of what this machine can turn out, look no further than the cylinder head of the glow engine which Walter has fabricated from block aluminium and photographed. Renno glow engines are on the way.

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The entire workshop is purpose built with a comfortable working space from one specialised tool and machine to the next, and dust extraction is catered for by a piped vacuum system around each work area. You will find what you want, and when you want it in the Walter Workshop.

Not only does Walter have the tools for the job, he has also managed over the years to acquire some very fine multi cylinder glow engines. Photographed is the jaw dropping Seidel seven cylinder rotary engine, the OS Sirius FR5-300 rotary engine, and two boxer glow engines from OS, the Pegasus four cylinder and Gemini twin cylinder.

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This article only touches the surface of what is available in the workshop of Walter Renno, a snapshot of what is truly perfect. Thanks to Walter for letting your Scale Secretary have a tour of his theatre of engineering operations, and it was a pleasure to meet him and expand our knowledge of what is enduring and good in the science of scale building.

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