PTC Awards Entry

Mitsubishi Zero Fighter

Mitsubishi Zero Fighter


Team Members:
Maggie Murphy, Dermot O'Sullivan, Ruth Kelly-Walker, Niall O'Sullivan, Tony Furey



Education, College and University

PTC Product(s):
PTC Creo Parametric

Each member of the team is a student at the University of Limerick. Our design project of the A6M Zero Fighter was a 3D CAD modelling project that was undertaken as part of a Pro/ENGINEER module in our final year. In order to complete the module successfully each team was required to submit a 3D model of an ‘aircraft’ either passenger carrying, military, or fictional. Each team consisted of five members and was given a total of twelve weeks to complete. The work was divided evenly among the five members and it was clear from the beginning that motivation, teamwork and communication would be the key skills required to complete this module effectively. The A6M Zero Fighter was the finest shipboard fighter in the world during the first year of the Pacific War. It was superior to all current Allied fighters in the Pacific and remained unchallenged until early 1943. The Zero Fighter was used in nearly 2,000 kamikaze attacks, including the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Our design entry was a 3D CAD modelling project and as such made it quite difficult to predict the possible and numerous benefits our design would have to an aeronautical company. Although based on the time saved during the modelling process we feel confident that our innovative design would significantly decrease production time. As a result of this, the company would find that as the production time decreased productivity would increase dramatically. Thus leading to an increase in capital and vast profits for all involved. PTC products also has the added benefits of eliminating costly rework by utilising accurate representation of the model and the manufacturing department can thus use these models to define production and assembly and process plans to ultimately build the final product.

Huge improvements were made to target specific areas of the A6M Zero Fighter to enable it into have a competitive edge in today’s market. The plane nose was shortened to aid visibility during flight, which also serves to improve the pilots’ visibility for take off and landing and allows for maximum maneuverability. Changing the angle connection between the wing and the fuselage ensured that the gull wings achieved optimal aerodynamics. The addition of a transparent panel underneath the pilots’ seat ensured that an on-coming attack could easily be seen. The back landing retracts into the bottom of the plane to improve aerodynamics. To achieve optimal speed the plane is fitted with additional riveting and spot welding to prevent protrusion into the air stream. We relied on improving on one of the worlds greatest aircrafts. These improvements only enhanced the aircrafts original capabilities. The plane is fitted with eight rockets, six machine guns, two mounted in the upper fuselage decking and four wing mounts. To add to the planes competitive edge two drop tanks; each positioned with a bomb attachment shackle on the under-wing of the inner section and each containing a 1,000 lb bomb on each side.

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