The Dash-Hound and the Black Knight

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

While metal is strong, it’s also remarkably versatile. From tall buildings to intricate sculptures, it can be practical or used creatively as integral parts to some impressive projects – even ones that aim to set new world records!

When customer Tony Lovering got in touch with us to tell us about his project – to build a remote controlled car that aims to set a new land speed record and earn itself a place in the Guinness Book of Records – well, we were seriously impressed.

Tony is chairman of ROSSA (Radio Operated Scale Speed Association), which was formed some years ago to run radio controlled (RC) cars for land speed records. The current world record, by the way, is 202.12 mph, which is held by American Nic Case.

Every year Tony organises the ROSSA World RC Speed Championships, which are so popular that they take place in countries all over the world, including Australia and USA. As you would expect, Tony doesn’t just organise the events – he takes part in them.

He’s building two cars for this year’s championships – the Dash-Hound and the Black Knight.

Here’s what they look like:

Dash hound & black knight

The Dash-Hound is 2.4m long and powered by a B300F jet turbine engine, with 320N of thrust (72lbs). Tony tells us that he’s agreed a deal with RAF Cosford to run the car on 28th and 29th May for an attempt at the land speed record. We wish him all the best with that!

The Black Knight is a hybrid rocket car that he’s been running since 2008. It’s reached a top speed of 174.83 mph and was the winner of last year’s fastest vehicle. Tony was able to capture evidence of this on video – and you can get a sense of how fast that really is by watching it on YouTube.

Tony has high hopes for the Dash-Hound. It’s a scale model of the Bloodhound Project (a full size car that’s jet and rocket powered). His goal is to incorporate the rocket engine from the Black Knight into the Dash-Hound, so it has a fully working jet and rocket engine.

The jet should take the car up to 200 mph, which is when Tony will fire the rocket. If all goes to plan, that should see the car accelerate from 200 to 400 mph in around five seconds! At that speed, Tony needs metal that is aerodynamic, lightweight and robust.

We really do hope Tony achieves the success he’s been working so hard for when it comes to race day – and we’d love to hear from him to let us know how he gets on.

The ROSSA World RC Speed Championships will be held in the UK at Shakespeare County Raceway, at Long Marston Airfield in Warwickshire, on 4th and 6th September. Good luck to all that take part, and here’s hoping the Guinness Book of Records has a new entry to write!


Metals in creation and restoration projects

(Last modified: July 12th, 2018)


Creating something from scratch takes vision, skill and – above all – patience. We’re inspired by the level of ingenuity our customers show when working with metal to create things they’re passionate about. Take Ben Talbot, for instance, who is aiming to make a bicycle that’s sustainable, affordable and easy to manufacture on a large scale.

It’s what he calls the ‘Sustainabike’. It’s mostly wooden, but it’s all pieced together using various joining brackets made out of steel. It’s a work in progress – all the brackets are cut and welded according to the design. Now he’s got to finish tapping the holes and then make the wooden components before bringing it all together.



Ben has decided to use larger wheels and based the design more on a road bike – the image above shows this new design complete with forks.

Meanwhile another of our customers, Eric Rawcliffe, is using a flat brass bar and brass angle to restore the droplight window of a first-class carriage, which was built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1880.

The flat brass bar is mounted on a door with a 3/16th spacer and the brass angle is mounted on the underside of the window (which is called a droplight). To hold the window closed, the 1/8th inch angle sits over the flat bar.


To allow the window to be opened, it’s fitted with a leather strap that is recessed into the window frame. This clears the angle from the flat bar, allowing the window to drop into the door casing (controlled by the strap, which is yet to be fitted).

Eric is also encasing a steel tube within a wooden channel, which will form a guide for the passenger emergency cord.

Restoring treasured items can be hugely rewarding and extremely satisfying once the job is complete. Paul Geraghty was able to email us about his restoration project, but once he’s completed it he might have to let us know in a letter!

That’s because he’s hand-building a replacement space arm and ratchet mechanism in 3mm stainless steel for his 1920s Underwood Standard Portable typewriter.


The original space arm was lost to the mists of time, and the machine itself was sold as unserviceable for £20 before Christmas.

Apart from manually advancing each line, he says that the machine works beautifully – so he’s really pleased that he could find short lengths of good steel so easily. His ambition has been to get the typewriter up and running so he can write a novel in the traditional way!

Good luck to Paul, Eric and Ben with their projects – we’d love to see them when they’re complete.

Modified racing sidecar

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

One of our customers, Ginny Bourne, is a competitive sidecar racer. Using our CDS tubing he fabricated custom handholds for his sidecar (talk about putting faith in our products!), which propelled him and his partner to 2nd place in their championship.

To make them even more competitive, a second order of the same tubing was used to extensively modify a new chassis which they’re hoping will deliver the results needed to obtain their ACU National licence, and compete in Camathias Cup Championship races across France, Belgium, Netherlands, the Isle of Man and mainland UK.


Case Study: Arcadia at Glastonbury Festival

(Last modified: August 8th, 2017)

The British music festival season may now be over for this year but the 5th October sees the return of the annual Glastonbury ticket sale for next year’s event.

73688Last year over a million people applied for 150,000 tickets which sold out in record-breaking time. Dolly Parton, Kasabian and Metallica all took to the Pyramid Stage during the summer and it would be no surprise to see a greater demand for the event in 2015.

For those who haven’t witnessed Glastonbury Festival first-hand, one of the most spectacular aspects of the site is the area hosted by Arcadia. The Bristol-based company combine sculpture, lighting, special effects, music and pyrotechnics to create of the most extraordinary audio-visual experiences you will ever witness.

Created using welded metals from recycled military hardware, some of the world’s biggest DJ’s have played the spider-like stage and Metals4U spoke to directors Pip Rush and Bertie Cole regarding the process of sourcing the metals, the importance of recycling…and dancing policemen!


According to Pip and Bert, the creative process is very much a “chicken and egg” scenario were the materials they come across can often steer a creative idea in an all-together different route. Alongside the duo are a team of other creatives ranging from artists, technicians and performers (some from different companies) to feed into the process and make it what it is.

Experts such as Sir Henry Hot provide the know-how for the fifty-foot flames using computer-controlled techniques…and cause the ground to rumble! BlinkinLAB create the most incredible UV video mapping content for the spider legs, whilst overall the collaboration between the different disciplines is seamless.

Arcadia use a variety of materials to create their stages and these are all recycled parts from jet engines, helicopter blades through to customs & excise scanners.

“We go on a ‘scrap tour’ once a year, which consists of a UK wide motorbike journey taking pictures of everything we find that looks useful. Then we send a lorry round to pick up the good bits at the end (hoping they haven’t reached the crusher yet). We use a bit of everything… plastics, wood and all sorts of metals”


Material testing is a vital part of any engineering project and Arcadia are no different. Ensuring the materials are safe with structural integrity is essential and Bertie further explained the process:

“Arcadia work with structural engineers to assess the type of metal the structural components are made from and then use computer modelling to calculate the structural strength of the components assembled into complete structures.”

With upcoming events in Thailand and New Zealand, the crew at Arcadia are continuing to push boundaries and create new ideas for the future. When asked whether they had any future creations in the pipeline the duo stated: Always… the world is full of scrap and we’re starting to travel further afield.”




Many well-known DJ’s have graced the Spider.

Mary Anne Hobbs, Fatboy Slim and Norman Jay MBE have all claimed that it is one of the best and most bizarre stages they have played, which hosts the finest Funktion One sound system in the world. Pip and Bert don’t have a favourite act but they have many stories to tell, with dancing policemen being a particular highlight.

“We had a couple of exited policemen climb on it for a dance once which was pretty funny…not sure if they still have a job though!”

The 2014 event saw Arcadia claim their very own area adjacent to The Park which attracted an estimated 70,000 people for the main acts. Alongside the Spider stage, Arcadia built on their creative recycling ethos with a number of interactive structures in the Mechanical Playground.

Developed by American sculpture and artist Christian Ristow, ‘The Hand of Man’ is a 26-foot long interactive piece which is capable of picking up old cars and crushing them. Operated by a cyborg-like hand glove, the creation is open to the public and is one of the many mind-blowing creations which take the evolving world of creative recycling to a whole new level.

To find more information about Arcadia head to:

More information about Glastonbury Festival can be found at:

(Images supplied and used with kind permission from Arcadia. Many thanks to the team at Arcadia for their time and help)

Animal Skeleton mounting

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

Chrissie has been using our metals to mount animal skeletons, one of the more unusual tasks our materials are used for.

Here are her project photos. In the first picture Chrissie has used brass rod threaded through the spinal canals of the Great Dane and the Alligator.

Skeleton mounting 1

She quickly left acrylic rod behind after these two, and in the second picture an Alpaca you can see brass uprights with mild steel sheaths attaching the uprights to the brass spinal support rod.

Skeleton mounting 2

This picture is Chrissie’s current project, a Swan using the same materials. the biggest hold-up to her work is having to wait for someone to come along and weld the uprights to the spinal rods.

Skeleton mounting 3

And here it is finished

Swan Skeleton

In all cases Chrissie starts by using a mild steel rod to bend into a ‘pattern’ for the final brass rod and, if the animal is large enough, she will re use the mild steel on decreasingly smaller animals until there isn’t a straight bit left.

Scale Model Landrover 90

(Last modified: November 20th, 2017)

We recently received this email from Jonathan Fewings.

land rover 1








My project is a 1/4 Scale 1984 Landrover 90 – for my Nephew to enjoy on the farm. Based roughly on a ‘Toylander‘ style design, however, only the basic Plywood shell has been used (with a multitude of alterations).

Power is provided by an Electric-Start 344cc Vertical Crank Briggs & Stratton Engine with a belt driven rear axle – incorporating a braking system. The exhaust system is made from Mild Steel Tube (Metals4U) sections (Lobster Back Style Bends) into a silencer from an Aprilia RS50 that was in the garage – and is pretty much an exact scale replica of a standard Landrover Part (who would’ve guessed?). The chassis is completely designed by myself and is made up of Rectangular Section Steel, Flat Bar and Tube purchased from Metals4U. The steering rack is borrowed from a Micro-car but heavily modified to suit its new use and the front Stub axles have been machined from EN24 – the steering system even includes Toe-in/Toe-out alignment! The body was originally going to just be painted ply, however, I chose to rivet an Aluminium sheet skin onto the ply in classic Landrover production style (originally riveted to a steel frame). The Aluminium was shaped by hand using a length of steel tube and a lump hammer……oh and a fair amount of elbow grease. Once this body had a touch of filler and a coat of paint the look was complete – especially the dipstick poking out the bonnet, or the OVH (overhead valve) sticking out the grill.

Things to complete:

  • Fit Fuel Tank
  • Fit Correct Rear Wheels
  • Paint Wheels
  • Interior
  • Lighting
  • Final Coat of Paint
  • TEST DRIVE!!!!

land rover 1


Inventing The Modern Car

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

The design and stylings of the humble car is an area which is in constant change, with innovations within the industry coming around all the time.

As science and technologies continues to advance it is inevitable that the auto-mobile will follow suit. Whether purposefully designed for use in the car, such as air-bags, or if it was an indirect inclusion after being developed for other markets, such as the stereo, the modern car has taken influence from many different sources.

The car industry is truly global with different brands of manufacturers being present in 47 countries worldwide. In the year 2013, this combined creates an industry which is worth approximately $888.5 billion.

The success of the car industry can be attributed to the innovators and creators who were pioneers in their field. With a number of projects sent in and gratefully received from customers at Metals4U who have worked with cars, we thought that we would pay homage to the industry and its innovators with a timeline of the landmark breakthroughs!

Inventing the Modern Car Infographic


Guide to UK Engineering – Hints, Tips, and Job Opportunities

(Last modified: August 8th, 2017)

Over the last few years there have been a number of articles that predict a shortage in the number of engineers in the UK. Speaking in the annual Engineering UK 2014 report, business secretary Vince Cable stated “The UK will need around 87,000 graduate level engineers per year over the next ten years: 2013 was 36,000 short of this”. This forecast is said to result in hindering the recovery and growth of construction, manufacturing and associated industries, as well as the wider UK economy.

Attempting to find a cause, an article written in The Engineer suggests that the shortage is caused by the previous generation of skilled workers gradually retiring, Cameron 12leaving behind a talent vacuum. There has been comment from key figures implying that the solution to this lies in the investment of time and money in the education of key engineering skills at school level.

However, a report for the Royal Academy of Engineering, ‘Thinking like an engineer: Implications for the education system’, states that the problem is not at higher education level but rather at primary and secondary education levels.

Continue reading

Scale Model Aircraft Handley Page H42 Airliner

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

Model Handley PagH42 metals4u

This project blog entry comes from Peter Bruce who has restored a twenty year old wreck of a Handley Page H42 Airliner model, to full flying condition. Mr Bruce used our aluminium flat bar to repair the struts and the undercarriage. This model is 94” and powered by four 8.72cc two stroke engines.

Mr Bruce has also provided some background information on the Handley Page H42, that inspired him to undertake the task of rebuilding the model. The Airliner was named “Hannibal” and was handed over to Imperial Airways at Croydon Airport in 1931. This aircraft was massive even by today’s standards with a wingspan of 130 foot. The H42 was the first one million mile airliner in the world and was used on the far eastern route on the first schedule airline service in the world. Below are two photographs of this impressive model on the ground and in the air. The final photograph is of the original plane.

Scale Model Handley Page H42 metals4u

H42 Handley Page metals4u

Vintage Car Restoration

(Last modified: June 27th, 2017)

We recently received a wonderful letter of thanks from H.Horsfield & Son in Halifax who specialise in services to the vintage and classic motoring industry.












“H.Horsfield & Son is a small firm offering services to the vintage and classic motoring industry.

Established in 1948 the firm now covers all areas of restoration from the sourcing and production of small hard to find parts to complete bespoke body design. Horsfields are very pleased to have the services of metals4u as they enable us to obtain the materials needed in affordable quantity. The web site is clear and simple to use and with their speedy delivery our work can be done with confidence.”















We are delighted to supply Aluminium Square Bar and other materials to firms like H Horsfield and Son, when they restore such incredible vehicles, as shown below.