View Full Version : Replica Propellers? A good idea or not?

11-29-2007, 02:43 AM
Gentelmen/Ladies, I am new here, and this is my first post. Your input would be sincerily appreciated.

Very basic about me, I have started my own design/prototyping business here in SW Ontario Canada. I use 3D CAD software to create a 3D Model then create a physical prototype of the part using a CNC Router.

Here is my newest venture.
I am very artistic but no matter how hard I try, my hands cannot do the amazing craftsmanship I see in old propellers. Using the computer however, I now have that talent. Like most of you, I too would love to see a huge full scale version of a wooden propeller hanging on my wall. An actual WW1 or WW2 propeller is just to expencive to justify. Any input on the following idea would be great, I am sure I am not the first one to do this, but want to do it right.

I would like to build full scale replicas of wooden propellers from older aircraft, using the exact same woods but not the same building methods. I would find people with older wooden propellers and 3D scan them so I have a 3D CAD model. Then I will machine the propellers on my CNC Router to create a full size, exact replica of the propeller. The whole unit would be mounted on a plaque type fixture (probably in the shape of the front of the airplane the propeller is from), with an engraved history of the plane and a photo.

Some Questions I have...
-Are there any copywrite issues with scanning the propeller and creating an exact replica?
-What would a replica be worth?
-Is there really a market for this?
-Anyone in Ontario interested in marketing such a product?
-Does anyone in SW Ontario have a collection of propellers I can use to scan? (note:Scanning is done on your site. Even if the prop is on a plane, it will not be touched. Scanning is all done by laser)

As an example, I have taken a photo I found on the internet from an Airco DH4, I created a 3D model on the computer loosley representing the photo. I then machined a prototype out of MDF. It is not quite done yet, but it has been carved, and coated in epoxy resin. Next step is to create 'look-alike' woodgrain, and paint the tips and hub area black. The product I plan to create will be constructed from laminated hardwoods. This prototype gives a visual idea of what is possible. I only used MDF for this version to reduce the cost of exploring this idea.

Below are some images of the prototype as described above

The 3D Model I created compared to the original image I found. Please note, The image belongs to someone else, and that is being respected. This model has been created only to explore this idea. Nothing from this image will be sold!

CNC Machining.

Prototype Without Epoxy Coating.

Prototype With Epoxy Coating.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Bob Gardner
11-29-2007, 07:49 AM
Hi Shawn,

Here are some passing thoughts.

There are several people selling replica propellers and their products turn up on eBay fairly often. There is a company in the UK called Spitfire Spares who have a good range. I think I was once told that these were made for them in the Philipines. There are other companies in France and Germany and I noticed a replica Sopwith Camel prop made in the USA on eBay a few days ago, listed under wooden propellers. It's probably still there.

The attraction of an original old propeller, from WW1 for example, is that it is a link back to the dawn of aviation. You can touch the blade where a pilot touched it ninety years ago. Also the laminations of walnut and mahogany can be very beautiful. These aspects are important to the buyer and are the main reasons they are collected. The actual shape is of less interest. With replica props the first two ingredients are missing. This considerably reduces the desirability.

Some replica props are sometimes mistaken for the real thing. I have been offered three or four over the past few years. Whether the sellers were trying to deceive me, or were themselves deceived, I don't know. You might therefore wish to protect your good name by marking your props in some way, or by making them a different size from the original.

Early military props, which are the most desirable, are large, seven feet to thirteen feet and this large size deters many people (or at least their wives) from buying them. A niche you might consider is making a range of scale props, say twelve or eighteen inches in length.

The photo you found on the internet is mine, from my website.

With regards,


03-26-2010, 01:43 AM
Replica Propellers? A good idea or not?
well according to me its an good idea and have alot of sense to verify it.the photos are too good and description all about it is also informative.
thansk for such a valuable post.