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Upon completion of the first construction drawings, work in the shop began. Every part was cut from sheet aluminum with the help of computer-controlled laser and water jet cutting machines. Working with the laser allows us to cut sheets of all sizes and shapes; the laser beam melts the aluminum and creates a cut that is a mere 0.5 mm wide. In the case of the water jet cutter, the actual cutting is done with very fine-grained sand, which is transported by a thin, high-pressure water jet. The advantage of the water jet cutter is obvious: the temperatures generated on the cutting surface are very low, which allows us to cut pretty much any part from any material we otherwise wouldn’t be able to handle.
 
After we’ve cut all the parts (including all the necessary rivet holes) we start the process of bending and folding the aluminum sheets. Just like the cutting, this work couldn’t be done without the help of computerized bending machines. Spherical parts like wings tips, oil coolers, air vents or the huge engine cowl are first hammered into shape over wooden plugs and then welded together.
 

 

 


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