Man of Steel starting to show his mettle

HE started life as a foot-high figure and should eventually stand at almost 100ft, but in his latest incarnation South Yorkshire’s Man of Steel is around 6ft 6in.

Billed as a “landmark of the future” the sculpture will sit on a column on a former landfill site overlooking the M1 near Meadowhall shopping centre.

The two-metre model has been produced as part of the planning process by experts at Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

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The Man of Steel’s creator, Steve Mehdi, has gathered significant support for his project from South Yorkshire business and universities, including Sheffield University, which runs the AMRC in Catcliffe.

John Halfpenny, the manufacturing engineer in charge of the process, said making the model was “a totally different project” to his usual work for aerospace firm Boeing, the centre’s industry partner.

Mr Halfpenny said it was “good to work on a project that’s potentially going to be in South Yorkshire for 200 years” but said the task had not been without its challenges.

His original plan had been to create the entire figure in one or two parts, but computer modelling showed that would be impracticable.

Mr Halfpenny said: “It would have been very difficult to machine in one because of the complex shapes. We would have had problems holding it in the machine because everything is contoured and it would require a lot of undercuts.

“There’s no way we could have cut under his chin without cutting his head off.”

The assembled model will now be given a stainless steel coating and will be mounted on a two-metre column made by Sheffield-based Tool and Steel Products.

It will go on show at the AMRC during April as part of a number of events planned to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of stainless steel in Sheffield.