Global engineering technologies company, Renishaw helped bring a national treasure back to Gloucester using additive manufacturing to print four sets of unusual cockpit brackets for a Hawker Typhoon aircraft.
Working with the Jet Age Museum, Renishaw’s engineers used original drawings from 1938 to model each bracket from scratch using a computer-aided design (CAD) system. After prototyping in plastic polycarbonate, the company produced the final parts using a Renishaw AM250 additive manufacturing machine, which like the original brackets were created in an aluminium alloy.
“Reconstructing the brackets with traditional manufacturing technologies such as CNC machining was not feasible, so we suggested using additive manufacturing,” explained Joshua Whitmore, Development Technician at Renishaw. “The design flexibility of additive manufacturing allowed us to create and produce the cockpit brackets quickly and efficiently. It was inspiring to see the latest additive manufacturing technology being used to recreate a part of history.”
The Jet Age Museum rescued the Typhoon from a scrap yard in the early 90s and has since been working on the restoration project of returning the aircraft to its original home. The museum was thrilled that the aircraft could be restored, especially due to its increased rarity.
“There are currently no working Hawker Typhoons in existence and complete aircrafts are extremely rare,” Trevor Davies, Typhoon Sponsor Coordinator for the Jet Age Museum. “Renishaw has helped to bring a rare piece of heritage back to the area. We cannot put a price on what the company has done for the Typhoon, the museum and the local community. The aircraft will stand as inspiration to younger generations in the area for years to come. Without Renishaw’s additive manufacturing capabilities, we would not have been able to reproduce the brackets as authentic parts of restoration.”
The Jet Age Museum opened in 2013 and has since attracted around 65,000 visitors. Their project to bring a hawker Typhoon back to Gloucester began in 1998, when the museum saved an almost complete cockpit from a scrap yard in Wiltshire.