Repurposing old or outdated tech has increased in popularity thanks to the Maker movement. Some of the more creative builds include turning an old Nintendo NES system into a functioning toaster, turning an old iBook and mouse into a decorative clock, and making a rechargeable battery pack from an old cell phone. Repurposing old tech isn’t limited to hobbyists and makers alone as big businesses like aviation giant Boeing are doing the same, albeit on a grander scale and with airplanes or rather airplane parts.
Boeing’s Custom Hangar is a store that went online in December of 2014 (covered here) and has since offered up a unique selection of decorative furniture, artwork and other products made from the parts of decommissioned aircraft, some of which have quite a history to go along. They’ve been featuring some of the product on their blog, revealing the history and craftsmanship behind each piece. Aviation enthusiasts and hobbyists alike can get their hands on everything from an F-4 Phantom ejection seat to tables made from the engine parts from B-52s and 737s.
“This jumbo floor lamp is constructed from a pair of genuine headlights from a retired 747-400. Our craftspeople removed the headlight assembly from the leading edge of the wing; smoothed and polished the metal surfaces; fitted it with a custom aluminum top cap and hot-rolled steel base plate; replaced the electrical transformers and wiring; and added two halogen sealed-beam headlights with adhesive window film on the surface to reduce brightness. The result is a sculptural piece with both practical function and historical significance.”
The creativity Boeing put into the pieces is astounding. One is an industrial-style conference table made from the wing slats of a 727. Another is a headlight lamp made from a 747-400 (shown above). And yet another is an art piece crafted from the propeller blade of a B-17 Flying Fortress.
“Our craftspeople set each blade into a machined steel base finished with a translucent smoke-colored powder coating. The blade actually rotates on a bearing at the top of the base, and the serial number and label from the manufacturer, Hamilton Standard, are clearly visible. An authentic B-17 yoke button in the base adds a custom touch. The assembled piece measures approximately 83 inches high with a 21-inch base and weighs 375 pounds (crated).”
Suffice it to say, there are no other pieces quite like the ones featured in the Custom Hangar shop and while the pictures on their website try to convey each piece in detail, seeing them in person brings out the fine details in the artisanship. Boeing realized that notion and has recently created a Custom Hangar walkthrough at their Boeing store located in their Future of Flight center in Everett, Washington, where visitors can get a closer look at some of the pieces found on their webpage.
Those interested in more information on Boeing’s upcoming and newly released products can find more information here on The Runway. Here are some other products from the Custom Hanger.