Web technology revealing hidden secrets of Rocket!


MODERN technology is unlocking the deepest secrets of Stephenson’s Rocket to a worldwide audience for the first time – and you can build your own model with a 3D printer!

The Science Museum Group has published online a high-resolution 3D model of the 1829-built Rainhill Trials winner, enabling audiences across the globe to examine it in unprecedented detail.

Rocket secured its place in history after winning the 1829 trials for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, reaching a top speed of 30mph.Manufactured earlier that year by Robert Stephenson & Company in Forth Street, Newcastle, Rocket brought together several efficiency and performance innovations, all of which are highlighted on the 3D model.

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Super-detailed 3D images of Rocket are now freely available on the internet. SCIENCE MUSEUM

They included the multi-tubular boiler design and blastpipe, the use of a single pair of driving wheels, with a small carrying axle behind, making Rocket the first 0-2-2, and cylinders closer to the horizontal, all of which helped make it the fastest locomotive of its time. Its ground-breaking design became the basis for subsequent steam locomotive development over the next 150 years.

The 3D model of Rocket has been published on the Science Museum Group Collection website (www.collection.sciencemuseum.org.uk). Audiences can move the 3.3-ton locomotive around with ease on screen, inspect underneath and also explore all its innovations.

The model can also be downloaded from the world’s largest 3D content platform, Sketchfab (sketchfab.com/models) under a Creative Commons non-commercial licence, enabling users to 3D-print their own scale model of Rocket.

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Measuring over 13ft in length, Rocket is the most complex and largest item from the Science Museum Group Collection ever to be 3D scanned. It was created using 22 high resolution LIDAR scans and more than 2500 detailed photographs.

Read more and view more images in Issue 247 of HR – on sale now!

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