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New machine for old designs

By Guest Author,

Added 15 June 2016

Haas CNC VF-5/40XT– a 40-taper vertical machining centre with an extra-long, 60 inch (1524 mm) table helps in machining of cylinder heads for the V12 Merlin aero engine.

UK-based Retro Track and Air has invested in a Haas CNC VF-5/40XT- a 40-taper vertical machining centre with an extra-long, 60 inch (1524 mm) table - to machine cylinder heads for the famous V12 Merlin aero engine.

Installed in Retro's newly built facility, beside the company founder's family home, the VF-5/40XT is a snug fit, towering over an adjacent Haas CNC toolroom lathe, and working long hours under the supervision of Gavin Faulks, Head of Design.

As the company's name suggests, Retro Track and Air specialises in rebuilding and maintaining winged and wheeled masterpieces from a bygone era. Housed in various outbuildings-as well as a hangar at a nearby airfield-are various single-seat racing cars undergoing rebuild and maintenance before the new season. There are also partly restored aircraft and aero engines, some of which are the property of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Speaking on the experience, Faulks said, "The Haas VF-5XT is perfect for machining the Merlin cylinder heads, designed more than 80 years ago by Rolls Royce. With all the parts we make for old engines, we work from drawings that are at least as old, which means we often have to reverse engineer components or best-guess dimensions, etc.

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