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114. Propeller Progress

22/06/2014

Theo took the original Bristol propeller down to Hercules propellers at Stroud. Rupert Wasey at Hercules was able to get the dimensions with his laser scanner in only half a day, enabling Theo to take it back again on Wednesday. Returning propellers to the Shuttleworth from Stroud is a long trip for Theo. Dorset – Stroud – Biggleswade – Dorset is a big undertaking, even in the best of times, but it seems to be cursed. Last time he got caught in the traffic jam on the way back as a result of an accident – for six hours, and this time he hit a stone which ruined his tyre!

Thankfully he shouldn’t have to do it again.

And on Friday Rupert was ready to start machining. He’s put a photo on Facebook.

Our propeller being machined at Hercules propellers

Our propeller being machined at Hercules propellers

You will see that the wood doesn’t look the same colour as the original. That’s because it isn’t. Although the Shuttleworth one is in mahogany, which is a fairly standard wood for propellers, the parts list calls for walnut. As it happens, walnut is easier to find than mahogany, which mostly comes from old church pews these days, new wood being almost impossible to source. But Rupert tells me that it scored much more highly in the brittleness tests that he has to do than mahogany.

Brittleness tests are designed to test how well a material will survive an impact by a fast-moving object, which means that we will have far greater confidence when we open fire through the propeller with our Lewis gun!

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