Bentley shares intricate process of crafting ‘Flying B’ mascot

bentley flying b

The Bentley Flying B, the bonnet mascot of the British luxury car brand, is as iconic as the nameplates that wear it.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • From what kind of stainless steel material is the Flying B mascot made from?

    The Flying B mascot is made from 316 stainless steel.
  • How many weeks does it take to make the Flying B mascot?

    Per Bentley, the Flying B mascot takes 11 weeks to make.
  • The Crewe-based company recently shared the intricate process it takes them to build the sixth iteration of the famous mascot.

    Per Bentley, the Flying B mascot is cast as a single piece of 316-grade stainless steel. This material is known for its austenitic crystalline structure that’s both very tough and capable of withstanding extremes of temperature. The addition of molybdenum also gives it corrosion resistance, vitally important for a component that’s exposed to the elements all year round anywhere from the arctic circle to the equator.

    It is then subjected to lost wax casting process, a technique usually reserved for precision components such as gas turbine blades. Bentley explained that this form of casting — though time-consuming — is typically used for making complex-shaped components that require tighter tolerances, thinner walls, and a better surface finish than can be obtained with sand casting.

    bentley flying b 1

    The process begins by injecting molten wax into a die. A water-soluble core occupies the cavity where the two acrylic crystal wings will sit, while a ceramic central core creates a passage within the wax molding for the illumination wiring. The wax emblem is then removed from the die and the soluble core is dissolved to create a perfect Flying B in wax.

    Next, the wax emblem is encased in multiple layers of a fine ceramic solution containing colloidal silica and alumina; once these layers have set solid, the wax is melted in a steam pressure chamber to leave a ceramic mold with a hollow cavity in the shape of the emblem.

    At this point, the molten 316 stainless steel — heated to 1,600 degrees Celsius (C) — is poured into the ceramic mold. Once the steel has cooled and set, the ceramic outer skin is removed. The ceramic core is then dissolved under pressure using a caustic solution.

    The stainless-steel Flying B emblem that emerges is then ready for the next stage; shot blasting removes any minute traces of ceramic material and a process called “extrude honing” ensures that the internal passage within is smooth enough for the wiring that will pass through it.

    Only after every trace of ceramic material is removed, and the component carefully measured to ensure it meets the precise tolerances required, will the Flying “B” be sent for hand polishing. This final touch of hand craftsmanship brings out the deep luster of smooth stainless steel.

    The entire process takes 11 weeks from start to finish, said Bentley.

    Photos from Bentley

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