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Engine Air Scoop Scan & Modeling Project for Halifax 57 Rescue Canada

Updated: Mar 22

Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) is restoring and building a Halifax bomber for the Bomber Command Museum of Canada (BCMC) in Nanton, Alberta. The Organization is dedicated to preserving the Handley Page Halifax bomber aircraft, used during air combat operations in WWII. Rapid3D was contacted by Karl Kjaarsgard, the Curator of the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, to help with a scan and modeling project to help recreate and reproduce the engine air scoop.

The air intake, or air scoop, of an aircraft is a component which takes in air during flight to provide ventilation.

Figure 1: The air scoop on a Halifax bomber engine.

The story behind finding the air scoop is a serendipitous one. Scott Knox, the chief engineer for the rebuild of the Halifax heavy bomber, recently logged onto Facebook to surf around, ultimately finding himself looking at an aircraft parts page. He saw an interesting post with a familiar-looking part and immediately called Karl, asking "What does this look like to you?" Karl recognized the part as the same as the one on a Halifax bomber and verified using his own photos and cowling.

He immediately called the Facebook post owner, a man named Steve in Northern California, and asked him how he had so many leftover parts from a Short Solent giant flying boat, with Hercules 637 radial engines, when they were built in Ireland... in the 1950s!

Steve told Karl there were 2 Solent flying boats scrapped many years ago in Oakland, California and the only thing left was a single, solitary air scoop.

Figure 2: The air scoop in question highlighted by the red dots on the Solent flying boat.

Karl did not hesitate and bought the air intake to have it shipped right away to the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, AB. The part fit exactly onto the Halifax bomber.

Figure 3: The new air scoop fitting perfectly on the Halifax engine.

Now, the next tricky part of the project was being able to make four of these air scoops for four Halifax bomber engines. This is when Karl reached out to Rapid3D. He wanted us to 3D scan and reverse engineer the air scoop into usable CAD files so that four scoops could be manufactured consistently. The air scoop has complex curvature, and no drawings for the component have ever been recovered - so the part was dropped off at the Rapid3D office for scanning and modeling.

Figure 4: James Jenkins, a scan-to-CAD modeling wizard at Rapid3D, standing with the original air scoop.

Using Creaform's impressive MetraSCAN BLACK Elite scanner, we were able to scan the air scoop at high detail and accuracy, which was about 0.078mm or 0.0031" across the whole piece. The MetraSCAN is a shop-floor scanning solution designed for medium to large parts, and requiring high scanning speeds and high accuracy.

Figure 5: Original air scoop.
Figure 6: Scan data of air scoop.

Figure 7: Another angle of the original air scoop.
Figure 8: The clean, merged scan data of the scoop.

Once the scans were complete, the data was imported into Geomagic Design X. This software is a scan-to-CAD modeling software, designed specifically to work directly with scan data to create CAD models and feature trees that are transferable to most major CAD packages.

Using the Mesh Sketch function in Design X, our team was able to extract a series of scan data profiles to loft the majority of the surface of the air scoop. Without this powerful feature, it would be very difficult to recreate the air scoop with such high precision.

Figure 9: The reverse engineered CAD model overlaid with the original scan data.

Since the original air scoop was imperfect, our team took some CAD-correction liberties to help smooth out the surface, make the scoop symmetrical, and create a solid model worthy of remanufacturing.

Figure 10: The final reverse engineered CAD models of the air scoop sent to Halifax 57 Rescue.

Contact Information:

Bomber Command Museum of Canada:

Halifax 57 on Facebook - REBUILDSHOP showing the Halifax Bomber shop

To Donate:

The Halifax 57 organization runs on donations to sponsor these historic projects. To keep these Halifax restoration projects active, you can support the team here:

On Fundrazr - Fundrazr 417498 - Support the Recovery of a RCAF Halifax Bomber

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