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5-Axis           Wizardry
 

from a MASTER fabrication group with forty years of experience in VIP aircraft.

Getting "one-off" extremely custom interior components fabricated - can be challenging and often come late in the program. Many such requirements simply lie beyond the capabilities of some firms, while others are reticent in taking them on because of the unknowns. Yet one firm has built a reputation on precisely such projects over four decades.

Fain Models was originally founded in 1984 for the purpose of fabricating prototype housings and consumer products for engineers and industrial designers. But over time their market segments have greatly expanded and in directions the firm's owner, Jerry Fain, couldn't have imagined. Today aerospace is the largest of those segments - and interior related projects are a specialty for the firm. In that time, their investments in machinery, computers, state-of-the-art CAD/CAM and an extremely talented workforce have allowed them to meet virtually any requirement thrown at them.

In the early years for the company Mr. Fain realized his own personal desire to be challenged by difficult and unusual projects - and therefore has tailored his firm to meet those requirements. To be sure, Fain has helped many aerospace companies develop very complex high-tech functional components for both civilian and military aircraft. But just as many projects have come from designers and completion centers needing very specialized one-off aesthetic components for VVIP interiors. 

In fact today, Fain Models is so renown for these challenging decorative components that somewhere along the way, they picked up the handle 'The 5-Axis Wizards'. During a project meeting at the former Dallas based Associated Air Center, I overheard their design director remark "It doesn't seem to matter what we pitch at them, they manage to build it for us - and with zero defects." Almost anyone else in the industry having utilized their services will agree. In the world of highly custom aircraft interiors, firms like Fain are not only needed, but essential. The business of getting such projects built and installed per their demanding specs is often extremely challenging - especially given the contractual schedules of such completions. And at the end of the day, it's these very complex, highly custom aesthetic components that threaten to stall projects and throw them weeks or months behind their delivery dates. 

But this is the sweet spot for Fain Models. "It doesn't mean that such projects don't give us fits sometimes." says Mr. Fain "It just means that along time ago, I decided we'd rather be challenged on each new project rather than be bored building widgets over and over." 
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"I know one of the big sectors for Fain Models over the years, has been VVIP and business Jet aircraft. Can you tell us how and when that came about?"

"Yes, we have extensive experience and capabilities in manufacturing head of state aircraft interior components. We work closely with interior designers and completion centers in developing often difficult aesthetic components that will go in the interior spaces - be it ceiling features, sidewalls, art pieces, lamps and what have you. So yes, we have helped modification centers complete many special, one-of-a-kind projects. Our many customers include L3, Comlux, Lockheed, Boeing, Robinson Aircraft, Triumph Aero,  Sikorsky, Raytheon, Bombardier Aerospace, Gulfstream, Ozark Aircraft Systems and Associated Air - to name a few.

I knew Fain Models did virtually all their own engineering so I asked Mr. Fain about their in-house capabilities.

 

“Like every division in the company, we take pride in our ability to create and manufacture some of the world’s most complex components. That requires a robust engineering department and we’ve always placed a strong emphasis on that” says Mr. Fain. “Plus, one of our edicts is that we offer our customers the confidence of knowing that we will complete their projects on time and within budget, even when the data is either incomplete or non-existent. Many of our customers come with less than complete data, and we don’t want that to be a stumbling block for them in attaining their goals.”

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"Our CAD/CAM department can design just about anything you can dream up." says Fain. "We use state of the art computer hardware and software. Our abilities span the engineering market with products like SDRC IDEAS, SolidWorks CAMAX, and MasterCam. We can design and manufacture from 2D layouts, 3D surfaces, and 3D solid models. Our two Laser systems can verify our customers products to within thousandths of an inch and completely reverse engineer anything within a 100-meter cube. The process of data exchange, both import and export, is seamless. We the ability to handle the standard data formats like IGES, DXF, and DWG but can also support CATIA, VDA, STEP, all graphics formats, and several others. We can also import blueprint and mylars for data creation.
"I know one of the big sectors for Fain Models over the years, has been VVIP and business Jet aircraft. Can you tell us how and when that came about?"

"Yes, we have extensive experience and capabilities in manufacturing head of state aircraft interior components. We work closely with interior designers and completion centers in developing often difficult aesthetic components that will go in the interior spaces - be it ceiling features, sidewalls, art pieces, lamps and what have you. So yes, we have helped modification centers complete many special, one-of-a-kind projects. Our many customers include L3, Comlux, Lockheed, Boeing, Robinson Aircraft, Triumph Aero,  Sikorsky, Raytheon, Bombardier Aerospace, Gulfstream, Ozark Aircraft Systems and Associated Air - to name a few.
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"As for when it started, gosh that would go all the way back to the late eighties I guess - when we were contacted by the former Reese Design studio in Austin, Tx. Michael Reese, the firm's owner had contracted to do a large aircraft for Adnan Khashoggi, a middle eastern businessman - at the time one of the wealthiest men in the world. The design was crazy complex and with unusual design details throughout; the kind of things that just weren't seen on aircraft at the time. Literally everything was 'one-off' and we had to buy double materials because of the necessary trial and error ahead of the finals. It was a brutal project but we learned a huge amount in terms of what our capabilities actually were. Rather needless to say. . . it brought other opportunities - including multiple large aircraft for the Sultan of Brunei - also by the same designer."

"One of the more recent VVIP's we did was a B-747-8 for the Sultan of Oman. This also proved to be a very challenging project because of the design's continuous array of compound curves almost completely throughout the aircraft. L-3 was the completion center and Robinson Aircraft was their primary for the cabinetry. But in between were these really complex details and inlays with very complex geometry. For this part, we were hired and yet again, it took us to the edges of our capabilities. But it turned out beautifully in the end. Sadly however, the Sultan passed away only one week before the aircraft was delivered."
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Things are hard enough when projects go as planned...no need to invite more, right?

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"So Jerry, in prior conversations I remember you telling me that you periodically take your entire staff down to the local theater to see the latest Star Wars movie or whatever. Is that something you've been doing for a long time?"

"Yes, I don't remember exactly when we first started that - but it's something I enjoy and I think our staff does too. I mean we all work really hard around here - especially them - and so it's good for us to all get out together once in a while for some fun. And of course Star Wars movies are always fun so I guess it's just one of those things that's stuck and can look forward to. I also know in a practical sense, that personnel problems can often be avoided by maintaining a tight team that can enjoy each other. I mean things are hard enough when projects are running smoothly. . . no need to invite more, right!?, he laughs." 

"Sounds like wisdom to me! So let's stay with that for a second. . . what would you say has been your biggest lesson over the last four decades""

Again he smiles. . . 

"Have a good time, and try to learn something valuable from each new project."




To learn more about Fain Models LLC, visit:  fain.com



 
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