Intro to Expander Tools for Aircraft Shrouds

The term “aircraft shroud” can refer to a variety of parts within an aircraft. However, it is generally a non-structural protective panel that is used to block something from view or protect it from heat, internal flow disturbance, or another potentially damaging compound or condition. Examples include an engine exhaust shroud and shroud panel, both of which are vital to keeping sensitive aircraft components safe from damage.

Given the important function aircraft shrouds perform, it is essential to manufacture them carefully to ensure they fully meet the necessary specifications and standards. One process commonly involved in the fabrication of a shroud is expander forming. It requires specialized tools known as expander tools.

What Are Expander Tools for Aircraft Shrouds?

Expander tools are used in forming operations to alter the size and shape of a hollow workpiece. They allow a manufacturer to increase the circumference of the workpiece as needed while maintaining a continuous cross-section. 

The aerospace industry is subjected to numerous regulations regarding the design and manufacture of equipment and their components. As such, expander tools used for aircraft shrouds must be built to high levels of accuracy and precision to ensure they produce the desired parts correctly.

Machining Expander Tools for Aircraft Shrouds

At Trade Tech, we are a full-service machine shop specializing in large machining and fabrication. Throughout our over 30 years in business, we’ve provided manufacturing solutions to customers across a wide range of industries, including an expander tool for a metal forming house focusing on the aerospace industry.  Expander Tool with Lathe

The company approached us with a request for a large-scale expander tool suitable for use on a large aircraft engine shroud. After consulting on the tool design, we manufactured all of the necessary tools for the project and completed the tool at the highest level of accuracy possible within a fast turnaround time. 

The base material for the tool was A572 plate. We used state-of-the-art, high-precision machinery to manufacture the tool from the material, including a CNC vertical turret lathe, horizontal machining center, and vertical band saw. The process of making the tool involved cutting segments from forged rings, rough and finish turning the components, large vertical band saw cutting, and thick plate fabrication. 

The result was an asymmetrical tool that had individual segments with unique surface profiles. It was 25 inches in diameter and 39 inches in height. We were able to produce it to tolerances of ±0.001 inches and deliver it in just six weeks. 

Trade Tech — Your Full-Service Machine Shop

Making expander tools for aircraft shrouds can be tricky. However, the experts at Trade Tech are more than up to the challenge. We have the experience, expertise, and equipment needed to provide precision machining solutions for large-scale projects in some of the most demanding industries. If you need an expander tool for your aircraft shroud manufacturing operations, we’ve got you covered. We can also help with other CNC machining, large machining, and fabrication projects within the aerospace industry and beyond. 

To learn more about how we serve the aerospace industry, check out our aerospace machining services page. To discuss your project specs with one of our representatives, request a quote


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