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  • Why choose CalCo to design and create your custom cutaway?

    Posted on March 7th, 2016 admin No comments

    CalCo began creating cutaways and displays in the 1950s and has over 60 years of experience helping hundreds of leading manufacturers expose the internal components of their products in the most professional, presentable and unique manner available.

    CalCo has the ability to cut virtually any material of any thickness. We also finish each product with the highest quality of paint, plating and more to make your product look its best. We work closely with several case makers who provide a variety of customized solutions to protect, carry and display your product.

    We create custom cutaways for all kinds of events including trade shows, exhibits, trainings and sales calls. We have a plethora of product upgrades and options available including 3D printing for scale models, lighting, animation and electronic media, custom stands and bases, custom-built cases, permanent shipping containers, professional photography, custom signage, brochures and other advertising materials, awards and corporate gifts, and plating options. We often get involved in the design and development process of cutaway projects and are open to specific instructions or open designs.

    We not only have a variety of options available to showcase your cutaway in its best light, but we also guarantee on-time delivery. Typical turnaround time is four to six weeks for a medium size cutaway. Whenever physically possible, we will adjust our schedule to meet yours.

    CalCo is innovative, reliable, capable and knowledgeable in all kinds of cutaways so contact us today for any cutaway needs you may have. Our mission and goal is to not only provide great customer service, but exceed our clients’ expectations with the unique and quality products we provide them.

  • CalCo at HAE HELI-EXPO in Louisville

    Posted on March 4th, 2016 admin No comments

    The HAE HELI-Expo is the world’s largest helicopter trade show and exposition. Produced annually by the Helicopter Association International, the HAI HELI-Expo features 1 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space, 20,000 potential buyers, over 700 competitive exhibitors, over 55 helicopters on display, over 100 education opportunities including courses, safety sessions and workshops, and special networking events. Some of the expo’s sponsors included Bell Helicopter, Airbus Helicopters, Think Kentucky, Rolls-Royce and more.


    HAI HELI 6

    HAI HELI 4

    HAI HELI 3

    HAI HELI 2

    Great shot of the Parker Aerospace booth @HeliExpo. Thanks @CalCoCutaways

    It was great to connect with CalCo’s current customers and form new partnerships in an event that brings together exhibitors, partners and attendees in the helicopter industry.

    No matter what area of business you’re in, CalCo’s goal is to create unique, eye-catching models that grab the attention of your customers. We provide tailored solutions depending on individual needs so your product can shine at every trade show you attend.

    Is your display ready for the next trade show? Contact us for help with your trade show needs by calling us at 847.639.3858.

  • CalCo’s PT6A Engine Model Featured In Vector!

    Posted on January 11th, 2016 admin No comments
    vector 2016.1-2.1

    Click the image for the full article.

    Turbine Gas Path Washing

    When it comes to engine health, cleanliness is next to airworthiness. To prevent turbine engine corrosion and sulphidation, you should follow the manufacturer’s washing recommendations.

    Every turbine engine has a maintenance manual that contains rinse or wash requirements to prevent sulphidation. These requirements must be followed, unless an operator has an alternate means of compliance stated in their approved maintenance programme.

    Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) publish recommended time periods between gas path washes based on geographical region. The entire New Zealand region is listed as a “salt-laden environment”.

    “To prevent damage, operators need to review the manufacturer’s requirements and make sure their wash programme conforms,” says CAA Air Transport Inspector (Airworthiness), Steve Shaw.

    “Most manufacturers recommend the compressor (gas path) to be rinsed or washed after the last flight of the day to remove salt deposits when operating in a corrosive environment.

    Vector is using the P&WC PT6A engine as an example here, because it is the most common small turbine engine in New Zealand fixed-wing aircraft, being used in everything from skydiving to air ambulance operations – CAA records show there are approximately 120 PT6A engines of various models in use in New Zealand.

    However, the advice contained in this article can equally be applied to other turbine engine models, in both fixed-wing and rotary operations. As you’d expect, the manufacturer’s instructions will differ from engine to engine, so it’s important that you fully understand the maintenance requirements. For example, the Rolls-Royce M250 maintenance instructions specify both rinse and wash regimes.

    New Zealand’s Pratt & Whitney representative, Stephan Heep, says some operators talk about ‘compressor washing’, but fail to realise that the compressor wash, and compressor turbine wash, are separate processes.

    “Typically, you have two washing schedules. The external wash to remove corrosive elements from the engine’s external surfaces, and the other in a broader sense, is the full gas path wash.

    “I like to be a little bit cautious and use the terminology ‘gas path wash’, because then we know we’re talking about washing the entire gas path, from inlet case through to the power turbine. Some operators get stuck on the fact they are doing a compressor wash, and neglect to wash the compressor turbine.

    Washing Advice

    Warren Had eld, another CAA Air Transport Inspector (Airworthiness), is concerned about what a poor washing technique and/or routine can result in. “There have been a number of engines damaged due to a lack of washing, or because the wash has been done incorrectly.

    “Compressor washes should be done after the last flight of the day, followed by drying runs in accordance with the maintenance manual.

    “There is a concern that some of those that are washing, are only washing the compressor part of the engine (the easy part), without washing the compressor turbine.

    “All that does is move the salt into the interior part of the engine.

    “We really want to stress the importance of following the manufacturer’s recommendations, particularly regarding the compressor turbine and vane ring.”

    P&WC’s Stephan Heep says the average PT6A engine ingests more than 8,000 cubic feet of air in one minute. “In flying through a salt-laden environment, you get a build-up of salt deposits on the compressor rotating components, and corrosive elements, throughout the gas path.”

    “If you just rinse water on the compressor side, all you’re doing is washing those salt deposits off the compressor and onto the compressor hot section – exactly where you don’t want them!

    “How often you wash the engine is something you’re going to need to evaluate, based on the frequency recommendations in the maintenance manual, knowledge of your routes, and close monitoring of engine condition,” says Stephan.

    Blenheim-based Craig Anderson, Chief Pilot of Sounds Air, says the airline operates engines on an extended time before overhaul (TBO). They’ve run several engines right out to their limits, but haven’t had any issues with corrosion.

    Craig previously held the role of Chief Engineer at Sounds Aero Maintenance.

    “Our PC-12s (Pilatus) are operating up in the higher altitudes, a lot of the time to Taupo. Even though that region is still classed as a highly corrosive area, it’s completely different to the coastal environment at lower altitudes, where we operate the Caravans (Cessna). However, we still choose to wash the PC-12s on the same schedule as the Caravans.

    “Our engines are washed daily, and our pilots are put through a maintenance training procedure as part of their initial type rating. The pilots certify their own maintenance, under company authorisation.

    “When an engine comes in for a borescope inspection, we can see if it’s been washed regularly.”

    The borescope is an optical tool, used for remote visual inspection. It consists of a tube, usually long and often flexible, a lens on one end and an eyepiece on the other.

    A borescope inspection is required every 400 hours. However, Sounds Aero’s C208 maintenance programme requires inspection every 300 hours – a prudent move given their operating environment.

    “You can see the salt deposits building up on the compressor blades, even in the very early stages,” says Craig.

    Water Usage

    P&WC’s Stephan Heep says the amount of water in the wash is also critical.

    “Once again, when problems occur, it’s normally a case of the operator not thoroughly reading the maintenance manual.

    “I’ve seen examples of both ends of the stick, where they’ve used too much, or not enough, water. If you’re on the ‘too little’ end, you may as well forget it; the wash isn’t going to help.

    “One customer I was working with had significant corrosion on their engine, and he swore up and down they were washing regularly.

    “It turned out that he was using a five-litre garden sprayer bottle that probably put two litres of water through his engine in the 30-second motoring cycle. If you look in the maintenance manual, you need a ow rate of 7.6 to 11.3 litres per minute to effectively rinse the corrosion, including elements, from the gas path surfaces.

    “Conversely, we’ve had operators who overdo it, and end up with contamination in the fuel control unit (FCU) because they’ve put copious amounts of water through without adequately isolating the P3 unit air to the FCU. That’s why it’s so important for the customer to review the maintenance manual, ascertain their wash rate, determine how to produce that amount of water, check the recommended amount of water is actually going through the engine, and most importantly, isolate the P3 line to the FCU,” says Stephan.


    Stephan Heep continues, “In the drying run, your aim is to get rid of any moisture sitting in joins and cavities to avoid corrosion.

    “We see some operators following the washing process very well, but never doing the drying run, or taking a long time between the wash and drying run.

    Craig Anderson from Sounds Air describes such an experience

    “I did some work with a Caravan operator in Dubai who had a lot of corrosion issues. It turns out they were washing the plane at night and then giving it a drying run in the morning. You don’t want that salty water, that’s mixed with sand, sitting in the engine overnight.”

    The Devil’s in the Detail

    “It’s just as important to record what you’re doing, as actually doing it. They go hand in hand,” says Craig.

    “Sounds Aero has an approved maintenance form for release- to-service that pilots can use to record their washing activities.

    “At one stage, our pilots were doing the washes, but weren’t recording them. If we have any issues downtrack, we need the ability to go back and identify why we’re seeing what we’re seeing.

    “We used to record the wash on the flight or maintenance log, but that’s very time-consuming and tedious for a job that’s required daily.

    “We’ve got an approved form now (the wash is a maintenance requirement so it needs to be released to service), so all the pilot has to do is write the registration, record their name and approval number, then sign it. That makes the paperwork very quick and easy.”

  • What are oil filter cutaways?

    Posted on November 5th, 2015 admin No comments

    Oil filters are used in all sorts of products including motor vehicles, hydraulic machinery and jet aircrafts, and they’re designed to remove debris from engine oil, transmission oil and more. Because machines produce a lot of internal debris, an oil filter cleans the oil and removes as much waste as possible so machines can run smoothly.

    There are a lot of internal elements to an oil filter and the best way to see its different features is with an oil filter cutaway since it will show a filter’s exterior shell but also reveal how the guts are stacked inside.

    Some of the most important components an oil filter cutaway are:


    The filters consist of tiny fibers made from cellulose or synthetic materials to increase the efficiency of oil cleaning while keep an oil filter stiff and durable.


    The antidrainback valve blocks oil from draining back into the filter when a machine’s engine is off. This prevents oil pressure buildup once the engine is turned back on again.

    The relief valve allows unfiltered oil to pass through if the pressure builds up because the oil is too thick. This prevents damage to the engine from oil starvation.

    Tapping Plate

    The tapping plate is the entry and exit point for oil to flow in and out of an oil filter and into a container that is attached to the engine. There are small holes around the plate’s edge to allow free flow of oil into the container.

    Center Tube

    The center tube ensures unrestricted oil flow through various holes sizes and numbers, and it lets filtered oil go back to the engine.

    Oil filters have several components and they can vary a bit depending on what kind of machinery they’re used in, but the four elements listed above are generally the most important ones to see in an oil filter cutaway.

    For more information about oil filter cutaways, call us at 847.639.3858, email us at or fill out our form here.

  • How cutaways help in training employees

    Posted on October 5th, 2015 admin No comments

    Did you know cutaways are first-rate training tools that educate and empower your team?

    Although modern technology and digital software help employees-in-training envision the internals of manufactured products, cutaways surpass digital tools because they are tangible and provide firsthand instruction.

    Cutaways are real physical models that are great for employee training because they provide hands-on experience and help visualize how a product’s internal components will look and fit together. Cutaways are especially useful to engineers and repair specialists since they show how the actual product parts will function. Cutaways promote tactile learning as employees are educated and proficient on the unique mechanisms and factors through physical models. The functionality of a product is real, visible and much easier to understand verses a digital visual since cutaways nicely showcase and demonstrate the internals of a product in a tangible and digestible way.


    Below are examples of what cutaways can demonstrate and accomplish for a variety of products:

    With valves, seeing the type of packing and quality of the seal are critical.
    With electric motors, studying the fasteners is essential.
    With engines, examining the pistons and crankshaft are crucial.
    With transmissions, observing the strength and durability of the gear sets are vital.
    With gearboxes, detecting the internal design of the gears is important.
    With pumps, spotting the impeller design is key.

    Let’s take a look at how firefighters use cutaways. Firefighters learn about the internals of a fire hydrant or pump through fire hydrant and pump cutaways. By studying a hydrant or pump cutaway closely, firefighters increase their knowledge on the two most important tools they use on the job, develop a better understanding of how each product works, and strengthen their efficiency in the field.

    Cutaways are unparalleled for employee training because they highlight some of the strongest human senses—sight and touch. Because people are visual beings, using cutaways as a teaching method increase knowledge and understanding in manufactured products and boost confidence in employees. Through cutaways, employees attain a vast amount of valuable information that is only possible to gain through physical prototypes. To view our work, check out our gallery of cutaways.

    For more information about training cutaways, call us at 847.639.3858, email us at or fill out our form here.

  • Get Your Trade Show Customers Animated About Your Product

    Posted on April 9th, 2015 admin No comments



    Grab your customers’ attention with a colorful and informative animated video presentation. Sometimes it’s hard to make your booth stand out during a trade show so let CalCo help you attract customers in an exciting way. We can create a presentation that will captivate and educate your audience. From a small filter to a full oil rig and from one product to a full process, CalCo can help your customers understand the importance of your product and how its unique characteristics create market advantages. Whether you need a 5 second animation of the product to demonstrate how it works or a 30 minute marketing video covering your entire corporation,  we can create a customized presentation for your product or company.

    Once complete, the video can be used for trade shows, investor presentations, website videos, You Tube promotions or any other purpose you can imagine.  These animations can easily be scaled throughout your entire organization at multiple levels.  They can be used alone or in conjunction with cutaways or other displays to highlight your product.

    Contact CalCo at 847/639-3858 to discuss ways video animation can help you!  More examples are located on our website at


  • CalCo: Cutaways and so much more

    Posted on March 18th, 2015 admin No comments


    Since 1953 our reputation has been built on our cutaways and displays. But, over the years, in order to accommodate our customer’s requests and give them one place to fulfill all their display needs we have continuously added services. You may be surprised by all the ways that CalCo can help you in 2015!

    Click on a link to go to our website and see examples:

    Cutaways – We are experts at cutaways and can help you to show your product and it’s unique features

    Displays – Painting and Plating can take a product from dull to dazzling

    Working Models – Want to show your product or process in motion? We can make it happen.

    Lighting – Attract customers to your tradeshow display with unique lighting

    Animation – We offer any length or kind of animation, from 5 second animation showing a product function to 30 minute long promotional videos including complex product animations

    3-D Models – From a simple product to a multicolored exploded view or even a whole linking system with small and complex parts we can make a model to meet your needs.

    Stands/Bases – We have many solutions and are always willing to try something new

    Custom Cases – We offer all kinds of cases with custom foam for sales or tradeshow use

    Shippers – Our shippers are custom made to fit and protect your display

    Point of Purchase Displays and Signage – Tailored to your needs

    Custom Awards – From 1-1000 we have made many custom awards

    Giveaways – Many gift options for your tradeshow, corporate retreat or golf outing

    Professional Photography – Use our professional photos for your brochures, tradeshows, etc,

    Embedded Products – A unique way to display a small product or one that comes apart easily

    Plating – We offer all kinds of plating

    Reworks – We will rework/refresh any display whether we created it or not

    Display Storage - We will store and maintain your displays when not in use

    At CalCo every job is a custom job because every product and company is unique. We work with you to make sure you get the results you desire so that your product is shown in its best light.
    For a free quote or to get more information about our services call us at 847/639-3858 or visit our website at .

  • Looking to conquer foreign markets?? CalCo’s army of professionals is at your disposal

    Posted on February 25th, 2015 admin No comments


    While we don’t suggest CalCo can safeguard the world from alien invasion, we do promise we can “transform” any concept into reality regarding your ongoing quest to grow your foreign market opportunities.

    Whether it’s interactive displays, technical web animations in multiple languages or country specific content CalCo is your winning partner, ready to go to all ends of the earth to make sure your global business initiatives are victorious.

    Take for example the case of our “friend” above, a fully functioning 9 ft robot MC capable of speaking in several languages, designed and built at CalCo. He was created to introduce a new product launch/ joint venture at a high profile Asian trade fair, and he made an impression to say the least. He even ended up with his own Facebook page!!

    CalCo is armed with the country knowledge only 65 years of global marketing experience can bring. Let us help you with your next foreign market initiative. Call us at 847-639-3858 to get started today.

  • Pratt & Whitney PT6 Engine Cutaway of a Mainstay Available Now

    Posted on February 4th, 2015 admin 16,291 comments



    The Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine in the one of the most popular turboprop engines in history. The PT6 was first put into use in 1964 and is still in production today. This versatile and stable engine design can be found in turboprop airplanes, helicopters, amphibious planes, military aircraft, aerial application planes, Short takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft and many more.

    The versatility of this engine and the extremely high reliability has made the PT6 a mainstay in the design and manufacturing of small aircraft the world over. The concepts and characteristics of this engine make it a perfect tool for explaining the general concepts and component design of a turboprop engine. A limiting factor historically with creating display engines for use in the classroom or on the show floor is that the engines last so long that a full engine, out of service, is very difficult to find. Parts are reused on further engines, and the lifelong journey of various production parts can span decades.

    CalCo, in conjunction with Aerovision International, a leading aircraft and engine service provider, have produced a full cutaway version of the legendary PT6 engine as shown here. The fully exposed engine system shows everything from the 3-stage axial and single stage centrifugal compressors, to the turbines, gears and burners. Color coding is used to help clarify heating and cooling zones through the engine phases.



    Explaining the properties and functionality of the PT6 as well as overall turboprop design concepts is easy with this fantastic tool. Cutaways like these are as rare as the availability of an out of service PT6, and require the expertise of skilled craftspeople to bring into reality.

    For a limited time this exact engine is available for purchase, and with the high demand and low availability of a PT6 cutaway, it will surely be gone in a hurry. The cutaway includes the texture black welded steel rolling engine stand shown, as well as a steel framed shipping container with hinged steel drawbridge style ramp.

    If you or your group is interested in owning this high quality example of solid engineering and aircraft muscle, please contact CalCo at 847-639-3858 for more details.

  • Local youth robotics competitions….we have come a long way from the old soap box derby!!

    Posted on January 27th, 2015 admin No comments

    Crystal Lake Robotics 1

    Crystal Lake Robotics 2


    CalCo recently attended the McHenry County Economic Dinner, and was blown away by the innovation being showcased by manufacturers in our own back yard. Equally as impressive was meeting the students who make up the Crystal Lake Robotics Club. They compete against teams locally and nationally in specific “functionality driven competitions”, showcasing their design and engineering skills on a number of fronts. The robots are put through their paces (and on the courses), using specific construction material guidelines, including wheel composition and power limitations, with limitless fun had by all.

    Ask your company if they are active in supporting their local communities group in these areas. Not only is it a great way to compete and have fun, but it helps educate the next generation of skilled workers, for both your firm and CalCo!!