Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, today unveiled the ground-breaking interactive sculptures featuring in its upcoming charity sculpture trail, Gromit Unleashed 2.
In a first for sculpture trails around the world, three of Bristol’s world-leaders in engineering – Renishaw, Rolls-Royce and the University of Bristol – have harnessed pioneering technology to create trailblazing, interactive sculptures which showcase Bristol’s diverse creative and tech industries. The sculptures were unveiled at the iconic Brabazon Hangar at Bristol’s Filton Airfield.
Gromitronic – Renishaw
Combining multiple technologies including mechanical engineering, electronics, software and metal 3D printing, Gromitronic has been designed and built by a young team of Renishaw engineers to bring fun, interactivity and education to the trail.
From the tip of its plasma ball nose to its waggling 3D printed tail, Gromitronic is packed full of features that will entertain the young and young-at-heart, whilst aiming to stimulate discussion about the engineering technologies that lie behind its creation. Look closely at the iconic collar and you may also recognise a few Bristol landmarks – all 3D printed in miniature.
Chris Pockett, Head of Communications at Renishaw: “We employ around 2,800 people in the catchment area for the Hospital, so we very quickly accepted the invitation to become a Trailblazer and help raise funds for The Grand Appeal. Our young team, which includes apprentices and graduates and is mentored by a senior engineer, set out to create a special Gromit that would give visitors a fun, interactive experience and support Renishaw’s STEM education programmes for younger children. We are truly proud and excited to be part of this incredible event.”
Gromjet – Rolls-Royce
Recognising the importance of engineering and aviation in Bristol’s past, present and future is Gromjet, the high-flying Gromit brought to life by industrial technology company Rolls-Royce.
Using the same technology reserved for its Pegasus engine on the Harrier and the LiftSystemTM on the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, the engineering team behind Gromit also equipped him with hybrid-electric engines which take him to new heights – literally! Rising up to one metre, Gromjet is the result of advanced processes and technologies such as 3D scanning and 3D printing.
Paul Craig, Defence Services President at Rolls-Royce: “When the opportunity to be a Trailblazer for Gromit Unleashed 2 was offered to us, we jumped at the chance to be involved – developing our own, very special design. To continue to support The Grand Appeal and be part of this now world-famous arts trail is a unique opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities as a leading industrial technology company and more importantly, to raise money for the world-class hospital we have on our doorstep.”
A Grand Gromplication – University of Bristol
Named after a watchmaker’s most complex design, A Grand Gromplication was designed and produced by three second-year engineering students – Christine Braganza, Ella Allan and Octavia Clark – after their design won a competition by the Faculty of Engineering. Inspired by steampunk culture and its connection with gears and cogs, A Grand Gromplication is a play on the term ‘a grand complication’, used by watchmakers to describe the most intricate and highly complex watch designs. The term is also a nod to the historic Bristol time, which saw Bristol 10 minutes ahead of London before the introduction of Greenwich Mean Time in 1884.
With help from the Faculty’s technicians, the students spent over 350 hours installing over 700 cogs on Gromit, using a range of engineering techniques such as Computer Aided Design, 3D Printing, gear ratios and soldering to truly make trail fans tick this summer.
Colin Dalton, Undergraduate Education Director in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol: “Creating such a special and innovative Gromit with the Grand Appeal has been a brilliant opportunity for our students, allowing them to develop their skills in a real-world context. We’re really excited to be part of what promises to be a truly innovative trail, working alongside partners in the city to help raise vital funds for the Children’s Hospital.”
Nicola Masters, Director of The Grand Appeal: “Watching Gromitronic, Gromjet and A Grand Gromplication slowly come to life over the last six months has been the most exciting wait of our lives! We are absolutely delighted with the incredible results and are so grateful to every single person involved for helping us take Gromit Unleashed 2 into totally new territory.
“To quote a certain inventor, ‘We’ve tested this on Gromit – haven’t we lad?’.”
As well as commissioning the unique Trailblazer sculptures, The Grand Appeal has also partnered with global payments technology company Creditcall, the final Trailblazer, to provide contactless payment technology and help drive fundraising for Bristol Children’s Hospital during the trail.
This year’s trail will continue to take fans to unprecedented places, so watch this space, it’s going to be a cracking summer.