Gerlinger Steel & Supply is Northern California-based company that provides everything from metal and industrial supplies to used machinery and prefabrication services.
Being a smaller, regional operation with about 70 employees, the company doesn't really attend a lot of tradeshows. But when they do, they're looking to turn heads. For inspiration, they turned to the dark side. They built a TIE fighter, the craft that was the symbol of the imperial fleet in the original Star Wars.
Brainchild of Gerlinger manager Jason Bahr, the stainless-steel aircraft was modeled in SolidWorks and took exactly a month for a team of six to build in their spare time. It's nearly 10 feet tall, and weighs approximately 2,100 pounds.
The company wanted to show off its in-house capabilities, so they only used processes that they had on hand. The stainless-steel parts were cut out of sheet metal, and then roll formed and laser cut before they were welded together. Bahr did note that while everything came together just fine, it did take a little hammer finesse to fit some of the more stubborn pieces together.
The TIE fighter is currently turning heads at the company's facility in Redding, CA, though it could soon make an appearance at a Star Wars-themed dance at a local school. It beats the traditional floral archway, though I suppose that depends on who you’re asking.
Next, the company plans to bring a bit more balance to the Gerlinger force, and could soon begin work on a massive X-wing fighter.
This is IEN Now with David Mantey.