News on the Do X reconstruction project

News on the Do X reconstruction project
News on the Do X reconstruction project

Here you will find current reports on the status of the project. Information on our public relations work and other news.

3D capture of Do X structural nodes of the Do X wing (May/June 2022)

While researching documents and artefacts of the Do X in Italy, we came across a collection of a professor Gabrielli at the Turin Polytechnic. In this collection are structural parts of the Do X’s wing structure. It is not clear if these parts were cut out of the scrapped Italian Do X machines or if they were specially built. But the fact that the parts are dented and bent suggests that they came from the Italian Do X aircraft.

Three of the five structural parts of the Gabrielli Collection (©Politecnico di Torino)

There is a total of five Do X structural parts in this collection. Three of which obviously originate from the Do X wing structure. Two parts are obviously rebuilding of the original parts. Two of the five parts (middle and right picture) are currently on loan from the Turin Polytechnic in the archives of the Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen.

Since the next stage in the reconstruction of the Do X is to reconstruct the wing structure and the information available here is not as extensive as for the fuselage, it would be helpful to measure these structural parts or, even better, to record them three-dimensionally.

Mr. Nietfeld, owner of the company ncd Nietfeld GmbH, kindly agreed to capture the two structural parts in the Dornier Museum for the Friends of the Do X using laser technology. What was still missing was the approval of the person responsible for the collection at the Turin Polytechnic. The circle of friends received this too. So there was nothing against the 3D scanning.

The 3D capture was carried out by the company ncd Nietfeld GmbH on 18.05.2022 in the archives of the Dornier Museum and took about two hours. The results of the capture can be seen in the following two pictures.

The result of the 3D laser capture (structure node 1)

The result of the 3D laser capture (structure node 2)

The captured pixel data was converted by the company Nietfeld into an STL format, in which surfaces of the structural part are approximated via triangles, and made available to the Circle of Friends at the beginning of June.

The Friends and Sponsors of Do X would like to thank the company ncd Nietfeld GmbH for the 3D capture of the Do X structural parts.

A first analysis of the received data showed a very good usability for the Do X project. Michael Schlieb immediately started to convert the data into a CAD model.

CAD model of structure node 2 based on the scan data

During this conversion, the structural parts were found to be warped and bent. This circumstance supports the thesis that these parts were not specially manufactured, but were obviously cut out of the supporting structure of an Italian Do X. The fact that the cut edges run through the middle of the rivets also supports this theory, because no models were built in this way.

The following picture shows the CAD conversion with the scan data (blue). The illustration shows the deviations of the structural parts from the ideal CAD construction.

Comparison of the CAD model with the scan model

After the CAD conversion was available, the position and orientation of the structural parts in the construction of the Do X had to be found. Since the structural parts obviously originate from the wing structure of the Do X, the available pictures of the wing structure were examined more closely. A match between the structural parts was found in the area of the middle two engine at the centre spar.

A structural part could be inserted directly into the corresponding position of the overall structure and fitted very well. The following two pictures show the corresponding location within the Do X.

Position of structural node 2 in the structure

Detail of the position of structural node 2 in the wing structure

Detail of the position of structural node 2 and node 1 in the wing structure

The structural parts give important information about the dimensions of the materials used. In this case, the structural part shows that the dimensions of the spar in the pre-construction were assumed to be too large and it shows that a cross-connection in the pre-construction is missing.

Node 1 could be identified as the installation point for the supports of the engine nacelles on the wing structure. Unfortunately, the Italian nacelles differ somewhat from the German version because other engines were used. Nevertheless, this component provides information on the dimensioning and the constructive approach of the time.

We are grateful for every piece of the puzzle that enables us to rebuild the Do X even more accurately.

At this point we would like to thank again the company ncd Nietfeld GmbH and Mr. Nietfeld for the 3D capture of the structural parts and the support of the Do X project. We would also like to thank Mrs. Bongiovanni and Mr. Mattone from the Turin Polytechnic for granting us the 3D capture of the structural parts.

Do X Presentation at the Aero 2022 Trade Fair Friedrichshafen (Aril/May 2022)

The Aero 2022 trade fair was the first opportunity to present the Friends and Sponsors of Do X to the public.  Until this occasion, the association had always been held back by the Corona situation. At the Aero 2022 exhibition we were also able to present the foundation stone for the Do X, frame 44, to the public for the first time. The association received part of the exhibition space from the Dornier Museum.

The Do X booth featured the rib 44, a system to display a Do X Virtual Reality Show, a monitor to display a video showing the creation process of the rib from design to production, a large format poster of the Do X as another eye-catcher and a roll-up with the original photo of rib 44 for comparison with the manufactured rib.

The biggest challenge for the exhibition was the presentation of the rib, because this 6 m high, 4.8 m wide and approximately 90 kg heavy exhibit had to stand upright in the hall. So the project management of the trade fair was approached to find out whether it would be possible to suspend the frame from the ceiling of the trade fair hall.  After the most important data (dimensions/weight/suspension points) of the exhibit were sent to the project management, we received permission to mount the rib on the ceiling.

Approximately two weeks before the start of the trade fair, the planning of the trade fair stand was carried out in cooperation with the Dornier Museum. On the basis of a hall and ceiling plan and a CAD draft of the planned exhibition stand, it was determined with the museum how the exhibits and other objects were to be set up.

Two days before the start of the fair, a special company attached the suspension for the frame to the ceiling construction. The height of the suspension was adjusted so that the frame hovered about 5 cm above the floor. The final distance could still be adjusted. On the same day, the frame was delivered from Hungary. The exhibit had been delivered in three partial segments and had to be assembled first. For the division of the rib, the arch of the cockpit roof was removable and the remaining part of the rib was divided in the middle, where the connections to the centre longitudinal frame would later be located.

The assembly of the rib was carried out by members of the Do X Circle of Friends according to assembly instructions from the manufacturer and took about an hour.

The rib is provided with two suspension eyes at the level of the cockpit floor to enable the rib to be suspended. To raise the bulkhead, ropes were passed through the eyelets of the suspension to the suspension eyelets of the bulkhead and fastened there. By pulling on the other end of the rope, the rib was slowly raised. After the rib was upright, the eyes of the rib and the suspension were connected by shackles. The frame was also fixed to the ground with a solid metal plate so that it could not swing.

One day before the opening of the fair, the remaining booth components (TV monitor, virtual reality system, poster and roll-up) were set up. The virtual reality system consisted of two VR glasses and a VR server.

The VR system presented several Do X scenarios to the viewer. On one pair of VR glasses, the Do X was permanently shown from the outside, in 1:1 of course. In this scenario, the viewer can walk around the Do X and also climb it up to the engines.

On the second pair of VR glasses, the interior of the Do X was shown, such as the cockpit, engine control room, auxiliary engine room, the passenger cabin or the structural framework of the aircraft.

At the end of the preparations, the functions of the VR system were tested again.

The final exhibition booth

During the days of the fair from 27 to 30 April, many people visited the booth and were impressed by the size of the rib as well as thrilled by the VR show. None of the visitors had seen the Do X like this before.

Here are some scenes from the VR show:


Engine and upper deck


Engine control room

Auxiliary engine room

View to the engines

Here is the comment of Nelson Vaz (Head of Marketing and Sales of Dornier Seawings) : „The VR experience is remarkable. The level of detail and sense of reality is truly outstanding. By walking around the Do X one could have an enhanced perception of the extraordinary physical dimensions and unique design characteristics of this dream machine. For a few minutes I was transported to another place and time, really enjoyed it.”

All in all, the participation at the Aero 2022 was a great success for the Freundeskreis Do X. Thanks to the Dornier Museum, which made this participation possible.

On 1 May, the stand was dismantled again. The frame was dismantled into three segments to make it easier to transport and store. Unfortunately, there is no better place for the frame than in the garage of a member of the Do X association. 

It’s a shame

————————— The foundation stone for Do X is ready —————————

The first component for the replica of the Dornier Do X airship is ready. It took a good 8 years to produce the first component from nothing, as there were no more detailed design plans. The reconstruction of the Do X began in 2014. Since then, a total of 112 students from the Cooperative State Universities in Friedrichshafen, Mosbach and Lörrach have worked on the Do X project, putting in 33600 hours.

In the three phases, strak creation, pre-construction and detailed construction, construction plans were created again from a few general drawings and pictures from the construction phase of the airship. These blueprints are as accurate as possible to allow an original replica of the Do X.

The now completed rib 44 underlines this originality and the claim of the Freundes- und Förderkreis Do X e.V. to rebuild the legendary flying ship Do X as true to the original as possible. The component corresponds 99% to the original rib of the Do X. Deviations are only caused by inaccuracies in the measurement of the used general arrangement drawing or pictures. And the rib proves impressively that a reconstruction of the Do X is no longer impossible.

The rib 44 was built by Ali Storiche 57, a company that already built the Dornier Wal and the Dornier Merkur aircraft.

The used general drawings and pictures from the
construction phase of the Do X would be kindly provided to the association by
the State Archives St. Gallen.

Do X Rib 44 with the Ali Storiche 57 Building Team

————————— The building phase of rib 44 from September to November 2021 —————————

The first component for the replica of the Do X will be the fuselage frame 44. This gigantic component, measuring 6 x 4.60 m, is the cornerstone for the replica of the legendary Do X.

In addition to the pure presentation of the component, the rib is intended to prove that a replica of the Do X is possible in principle and true to the original. The first rib produced underlines this originality and the claim of the Freundes- und Förderkreis Do X e.V. to rebuild the legendary flying ship Do X as true to the original as possible.

Rib 44 with Michael Schliep, the lead of the construction, to illustrate the size of the component

Rib 44 was ordered in August 2021 and will be built in Hereg, Hungary, by Ali Storiche 57 kft. This company has also already produced the Wal aircraft and the Merkur aircraft for the Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen.

Before building Do X ribs, a new integration table had to be built for assembling the components due to the dimensions of the ribs. The table has the dimensions of the largest Do X rib (6.5 x 5 m) and is constructed from two partial tables.

The subcomponents (profiles) are largely manufactured by hand. As these are individual items and not series production, machine production of special profiles, for example by rolling, would be uneconomical.

Various types of profile, such as U-profiles, U-profiles with board, L-profiles, T-profiles, square profiles and A-profiles, are required for the production of frames. In the case of A-profiles, a distinction is made between normal A-profiles and A-profiles with adjustment to the shape of the fuselage.

The production of A-sections proceeds as follows. First, an approximately 150 cm long steel master mold is made for the outer rounding of the A-section. This master mold is placed in a press. A cut-to-size strip of aluminum is first placed on this master mold, followed by a steel tube for the inner rounding of the A-section. Then the press is used to press the steel tube into the master mold by means of a wooden board, thereby shaping the aluminum. Next, the shaped aluminum is clamped in vices and the two tabs are chamfered by hammer blows. To finish, the A-profile is straightened if necessary. If longer profiles such as the parts produced in this way are required, then several elements of the A-profile are riveted together.

Production of A-Profile outer rounding

A-Profil outer rounding

Mark of the Straps

Production of the straps

Justify the Profile

The finished A-Profile

U-profiles and U-profiles with board are produced on the bending bench. For a U-profile, the prepared aluminum strip is bent twice on the long sides in the bending machine. For a U-profile with a board, the folded sheet is folded again on the long sides.

First bending


Second bending

The finished U-Profile with board

L-profiles are also produced in the bending bench. T-profiles are made from two L-profiles. Square profiles are parts that are purchased.

And here are some pictures from the Rib 44 production

Riveting of the profiles

Left side of Rib 44

Right side of Rib 44

Detail of Rib 44

Detail of Rib 44

Half of Rib 44

————————— Successful completion of the 7th year of the Do X reconstruction in July 2021. —————————

Currently, 41 students from the Cooperative State Universities in Mosbach, Lörrach and Friedrichshafen are working on the detailed reconstruction of the Do X. Within the scope of this effort, the construction of the Do X fuselage will be nearly completed by July 2021.

At the end of this effort, a total of 112 students will have worked on the project, putting in 33600 hours.

The result of the work at the Jour Fix in February 2021 is shown in the following pictures. The Do X is composed of detailed construction (green elements), pre-construction (gray elements) and strak (outer skin).