Waterjet cuts Tommy memorials

11 Jul 2018

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

ICEE Managed Services is using waterjet cutting to produce a range of commemorative World War 1 ‘Tommy Soldier’ profiles and outlines from acrylic plastic and mild steel materials.

The work is being done for ICEE’s customer Littlehampton Welding, a leading maker and installer of architectural metalwork and public realm artworks. Littlehampton Welding’s customer is in turn Remembered, a new charity currently running a major nationwide campaign called ‘There But Not There’, featuring the evocative profiles.

ICEE used its Bystronic CNC waterjet machine to cut both plastic and metal versions, and the parts produced for Littlehampton Welding include several 1.83m high solid profiles, cut from 25mm thick clear acrylic plastic, and a 2.8m high linear outline cut in one piece from 20mm thick mild steel plate.

Remembered’s campaign is designed to support the commemoration marking the armistice period and the end of WW1 centenary in November this year. As a striking way to publicise the campaign and raise money for beneficiary charities, life-size and larger Tommy Soldier profiles and outlines, cut by ICEE, are being finished and installed by Littlehampton Welding for Remembered, across the United Kingdom in prominent public spaces.

The Tommy Soldier profiles and outlines represent a rifle-bearing WW1 soldier, standing in contemplation. The silhouette is based on the graphic part of Remembered’s logo, which was itself inspired by a contemporary photograph taken by a pioneering war photographer, Horace Nicholls – see https://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/our-tommy-logo/

To cut out Tommy Soldier profiles from clear acrylic plastic, Littlehampton Welding decided the waterjet method was best suited because it is a cold-cutting process and it cuts cleanly, accurately and rapidly. The cut surface has a fine quality matt appearance that requires no fettling and gives no clue as to the production process. Additionally, without any compromises, the same machine will also cut mild steel sheet and plate.

As one of several subcontractors approached, ICEE was given the job because, as Littlehampton Welding’s Technical Director Martin Norrell says: “We have worked with ICEE before and tend to prefer them for finer quality projects. We know their waterjet equipment is modern and appropriate and they also possess the right expertise.

“What’s more, we like their approach because they listen carefully and are willing to persist with the development process. They will readily make samples and prove-out ideas. This has resulted in right-first-time, reliable and cost-effective production. Additionally, ICEE being relatively close means we can drop in anytime to discuss ideas and progress. Transport costs are less and delivery time is minimised,” he says.

With little or no heat produced during the process, ICEE’s waterjet machine will cut a variety of ferrous and non-ferrous materials, including mild steel, Corten weathering steel and stainless steel up to 25mm thick (a greater thickness for aluminium). Titanium plate may also be cut and stone materials including granite up to 230mm thick, plus concrete (with or without reinforcing bar), carbon fibre composite materials and plastics.

While the Tommy Soldier plastic profiles and metal outlines are processed with the waterjet machine cutting in two-dimensional (2D) mode, ICEE’s machine will also cut in 3D.

Thanks to 5-axis CNC movements, 3D cutting offers great potential for producing a variety of imaginative, three-dimensional forms from thick materials. The 3D process often offers a less costly alternative to milling, grinding or casting.