Scanning the tank test model

Late in 2018, entrepreneur Richard Noble OBE approached the University of Nottingham in order to seek assistance with his latest venture.

Back in 1952 as a small boy he had seen John Cobb’s Crusader water speed record boat at Loch Ness. Days later the boat crashed at over 200mph killing Cobb. What wasn’t known until the publishing of the EVRO biography of Railton, was that Railton was very concerned by the management and failure of the project. In 1953, he spent 8 months designing a second-generation boat using everything he had learned from Crusader – possibly capable of speeds in excess of 300mph.

The design never advanced beyond the National Physical Laboratory tank test model due to inability to finance construction. However, the model survived … and the transport box even has Reid Railton’s name on it. With no drawings and all the design features incorporated into the model, the question was whether the innovative design would be viable. Richard’s plan was to create a radio jet powered model to evaluate the design potential.

With no evidence other than the model, Richard approached to the University of Nottingham Metrology Team for assistance to digitally scan the model in order to generate the drawings for the model build.

Led by Professor Richard Leach, the University of Nottingham Manufacturing Metrology Team focuses on the measurement of form (dimension) and surface texture of manufactured parts, and as such regularly works with research and industrial partners on this type of application.

Working with research partners Addqual Ltd, a Derby-based metrology business led by Ben Anderson, a project was set up for the 3D measurement of the Crusader scale model. Addqual and Manufacturing Metrology Team staff worked closely together on the generation



about The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham was founded on a compelling vision that education can transform people’s lives, has great social and economic value and should be accessible to everyone who can benefit from it.

This vision continues to anchor the educational ethos of our University and drives our strategy. At the heart are our students; ensuring they receive an outstanding research-engaged educational experience has always been and will continue to be the focus of our collective efforts – preparing and equipping them to shape the world for the better.

Faculty of Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering at Nottingham is known for its world-class research, inspirational teaching, and diverse academic community.

  • More than 98% of our research is of international quality, with 85% graded as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (2014 Research Excellence Framework REF)
  • We are ranked 1st for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 2nd for Chemical Engineering, 5th for Architecture, and 7th for Civil Engineering in the Guardian University Guide 2019. We are also ranked 5th for Building in the Complete University Guide 2019
  • We have been ranked second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation, and second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation (Institute for Fiscal Studies data:
  • Our faculty has over 100 years of engineering expertise
  • Our faculty hosts exceptional and highly cited academic staff, often world-leaders in their fields of research
  • Our team of academics are committed to inspirational teaching
The Manufacturing Metrology Team

The Manufacturing Metrology Team is carrying out the fundamental research to enable the next-generation of offline and online metrology tools for advanced manufacturing methods including:

  • precision manufacturing
  • additive manufacturing
  • high dynamic range manufacturing

Breaking the physical barriers of optical measuring instruments using rigorous modelling and manufacturing information, we work across all Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) to deliver bespoke solutions for manufacturing tasks. The team offers a measurement and consultancy service to industry. We ensure traceability of measurements through the use of rigorous uncertainty estimation.

Our research covers:

  • exploiting the concept of “information-rich” metrology
  • dimensional metrology 
  • internal geometry measurement and characterisation
  • mathematical techniques for characterisation of advanced surfaces
  • calibration and verification of instruments in industry
  • precision instrument design

Current research opportunities are shown on the Manufacturing Metrology Team’s website.