W3 – Bespoke Displays Crash landing in Cirque Le Soir

The background

Five years ago we invested in a Zund CNC to help trim out our graphics. It didn’t take long for us to realise that this piece of kit would give us avenues into other areas of work. So when David from W3 Design phoned us to say he had been asked to make a full size aeroplane for Cirque Le Soir in Soho and could we help? We said sure, we will give it a go!
David sourced various plane parts from several suppliers, plus a 3D model of a Cessna. We used the ribs of the aircraft model and adapted them so we could slot everything together. The frames were routed out on the CNC from 18mm & 9mm MDF. The accuracy of the CNC meant that we could get a really great fit, so pre-assembly was a doddle.

The solution

We had to construct the plane in several sections as access to the club was limited and very tight. The fact that they wanted the plane to look like it had crashed played out well for us as we could hide the joining sections in the damage. We applied 3mm foamex to the framework and then with a heat gun, we bent the foamex to form the desired shapes. The wings were clad in a PVC banner material, a sourced wing tip with flashing light was bolted on to the end. We added several fixing points to the wing so we could securely hang it from the ceiling. The propeller was heated and bent, then the lower section cut to support the weight of the nose.

W3 added varnish and paint to get the distressed look needed. Once it had been assembled, the team at Cirque Le Soir added the foliage, smoke machines and lights bringing everything together. We then added the final props and a dismembered pilot!

A really fun project to work on and a great team to work with too.

At a glance

  • 4m wide with a 4.8 wing

  • Foamex

  • MDF

  • PVC Banner 

  • Various parts from the Cessna

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