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Air-Powered Whistle Sounds Like A Steam Engine
Seeing all those rigs at truckstops with big, expensive 5-bell horns on them got trucker JR McLaurin Jr., Gibson, North Carolina, thinking about putting one on the 1976 Kenworth W9KW he restored and uses to haul grain.
  "What I really wanted for it was a whistle that sounds like an old-time steam engine," he says. "But anything like that out there right now costs $500 or more."
  So McLaurin went to his shop to make one. He figured if he could design a set of whistles that he could operate with the same 120 psi air source that powers his air brakes, he could just run a line to it from that and keep the cost down.
  He spent hours on the Internet researching the exact tones a steam engine whistle should emit, and then decided a group of four or five whistles would do the trick.
  Brass tubing is expensive, so he used 3/4-in. PVC tubing. He says plastic tubing has a couple of advantages over using copper or brass. "It's much less expensive. And it's easier to work with," he says.
  He recently sent FARM SHOW a prototype that sounds almost exactly like a steam train whistle, with a big full sound. He plans to mount a final version on his truck soon.
  He would also be willing to make whistles for other truckers or even pickups, SUVs, vans or cars. They would have to be powered by a 12-volt air source and small pressure tank. You could even use it on tractors or combines in the field to signal other workers, he says. Or around the farm shop, where you probably already have an air source you could tap into easily.

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1