80-Year-Old Mechanic Handcrafts a Charming Flightless Drone
It's nice to be reminded every once in a while that engineering can be utilized for art. Scale model enthusiast José Manuel Hermo Barreiro, or more popularly, Patelo, is a retired naval mechanic doing just that. While he does not technically hold an engineering degree, you cannot overlook his prowess for engineering.
Hallmark style of Patelo includes using only basic tools and a lathe machine. Previously, he was seen building a V16 motor by hand. The piece took 852 pieces, 632 screws, and most importantly, 2500 hours of his life.
Now, he put his effort into building a "functioning" flightless hexacopter. Each cylinder this contraption sports is powered by a pneumatic (air pressure) motor. Each and every tiny component, from its valves, its brass-framed plexiglass windows to the crankshaft, is made with attention to detail in mind and it's simply breathtaking.
Patelo began devising the project on paper and crafted himself a set of hand-drawn blueprints to work with. Unfortunately, though, most of the work was done during the lockdown and as a result, some parts of the process could not be taped. Still, we get to see how he crafted and assembled the crankshaft, flywheel, camshaft, propellers, connecting rods, and the exhaust tubes.
There is absolutely no doubt that Mr. Patelo knows what he is doing. This time, with each of the 265 hand-crafted individual pieces, and 362 screws that holding the machine together, the creation cost him 1560 hours.
Mr. Patelo is now 80-years-old. He lives a quiet life in Galicia, Spain. When asked about his dream he says "My biggest thrill would've been to make an engine room for a transatlantic ship." and detailed further saying, "to make motors, joined by two gears with two variable pitch propellers."
In the interview (which was shot 8 years ago, mind you) he expresses grief that "it's too late" to build such a big project, but his YouTube channel shows he's actually making progress on that. Kudos to you Patelo!