Restoration: 1936 Jaguar SS Airliner

Combining the technical abilities of CNC machining with 3D digital scanning extends the capabilities of both technologies. An excellent example of this is the project that Styrotech and FormScan 3D worked on in January 2014, namely the re-construction of a 1936 Jaguar SS Airliner car. The car, built in the 1930's, epitomises the style and grace of the era and is now recognised as one of the 'classic' cars of the era.

The car at the centre of the project had been modified from its original saloon shape to that of a convertible. To do this involved removing the roof from the top of the windscreen back, and cutting the sides of the car down to the top of the doors.

However, after being sold to its new owner, the car was to be restored to its original condition: in other words it was necessary to re-create the saloon roof as per the factory specification.

The problem was, plans of a Jaguar SS Airliner no longer exist - reference material constituted of other, original condition cars that still exist and photographs. Adding to the complex nature of this job was that the owner was looking to replace the remaining, original, wooden structure in the car with new parts made from American Ash. 

Without plans and drawings, the most economical way to make this project possible was 3D scan and digitise the relevant structural parts in a SS Airliner, thus generating the external shape (the body) and internal frame that would support it. To ensure as accurate a shape and finish as possible, an original SS Airliner was used as the scanning model.

Once the external shape was confirmed, it was possible to design the interior structure to fit and support the external shape.

Once the initial CAD model had been completed, a 'prototype' set of frames were CNC machined using MDF.
These frames were sent to the client for comment, evaluation and test-fitting. Based on feedback and requests from the client, some changes were made to the CAD model, which was passed to Styrotech CNC for CNC manufacture of a 'new' frame for the car.

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Having toyed with product design for some years I entered the Formica Formations competition to test my blue sky design process, and was delighted to have won and had Beehive fully realised.

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Graham Roebeck - Structural Integrity


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