ALLEN SOLVES MAST TAPERING PROBLEMHOMENEWSAFTERMARKETMASTS, SPARS, SAILS & RIGGINGALLEN SOLVES MAST TAPERING PROBLEM24 Jun 2021EmailShareFacebookLinkedInTwitterPrintA new mast being formed at Allen’s workshop in Essex Photo: Allen BrothersINDUSTRY DATABASEALLEN BROTHERS (FITTINGS) LTDSailing hardware company Allen Brothers has used 3d model technology to solve the problem of inconsistencies in masts for the Dragon keelboat.Mast tapers are needed to get the best shape and performance from a sail. The process for creating them is straightforward but it is difficult to achieve a consistent result. Sailors and boat builders were noticing that the bend characteristics differed between each mast, meaning that, if one needed to be replaced, the tuning and set up measurements would no longer be valid.Allen set about determining what was causing these slight variations, using its 3d CAD and machining expertise to produce a scan of the desired taper which could then be used to reverse-engineer a 3d model for repeated use.ConsistencyDarren Elwell, design manager at Allen, said the aim was to produce a consistent tapered mast. “One that would result in the same bend characteristics and make rig tunning easier between the different boats,” he said.Using the 3d CAD data the design team was able to manufacture a set of forming tools that repeated the profile of the taper. “We had surmised that the forming operation was going to be the most difficult operation to achieve and quickly realised we would need to somehow form the taper from top to bottom to allow us to control the sizes of the taper,” said Tom Clayton, product designer at Allen.The company has perfected the technique, producing 20 masts so far. “I believe we have certainly nailed the brief. The taper is identical across all the sections and looks much neater than the previous version,” said Mr Elwell.