Guided System for Restricted-Access Machining

Enabling accurate profile control for in-situ/in-service machining operations.


Maintaining the profile of all elements of an engine on the wing is essential to the aerodynamics of an aircraft. This includes the vanes of the tail-bearing housing, which support the rear of the engine behind the turbine.

MetLase was asked to produce a method for on-wing machining vanes to a controlled aerodynamic profile.


The profile of the vane is complex; MetLase was able to design, produce and iterate a bespoke pantograph, precisely engineered to be attached to the vane to produce the required form when re-machining.

Created using MetLase’s precision laser cutter and proprietary joining technologies, the pantograph could be used on the vane in situ, precluding any need for engine disassembly.


The pantograph’s ability to be used in situ, despite a complex environment with poor access, resulted in significant savings in both time and cost. Additionally, the ease and precision of its tooling de-skills its operation, reducing the need for only highly-trained engineers to use it.


Cost: In situ machining operation does not require engine disassembly saving time and cost.

Fast Make: MetLase was able to rapidly iterate the development of a bespoke pantograph machining tool to produce the required form.

Solution: Tooling de-skills operation and enables the machining process in a complex environment with poor access.

The MetLase fixture, in a flight-case, ready to be deployed into service.
Left: jet engine from behind, showing the support vanes. Right: Rolls-Royce engineers testing an early version of the MetLase tool on the same part, when not in the engine.
The reprofiling tool, aligned, clamped, and ready to use. MetLase ingenuity makes this operation reliable, repeatable, and straightforward.
An engine repair technician uses the MetLase fixture to re-machine the profile of the mounting vane.