Congratulations to Luke Leighton on his First Class Honours degree in Transportation Design from Northumbria University. Luke was part of the Xenophya team for his year 3 industrial placement, and returned to use our modelmaking facilities to produce his full scale clay model for his final project.

Luke is one of, if not the most motivated and committed students we’ve ever had on placement in 10 years. Coming to us with no clay experience at all he has made leaps and bounds to produce a fantastic clay model of his electric jet ski.

Luke’s ‘Manta 95R’ addresses a rising problem in the Powered Watercraft (PWC) Industry of noise restriction on lakes. By swapping the traditional 2 stroke engine for an electric motor, noise is significantly reduced whilst maintaining enough performance to be ‘fun’.

The ‘Agni 95′ motor has proven itself in electric motorcycle racing as a powerful and reliable motor, who’s compact size allows another benefit over existing jet skis. The smaller package allows the size of the jet ski to be reduced to that of the original ‘stand up’  models. Utilising removable Li-Ion batteries allows the Manta 95R to be lifted into the back of an estate car or on a roof rack negating the need for a trailer.

The model below is a full scale clay built on a modified Kawasaki hull. Using foam blocks cut to dimensions of the required 12 battery cells and the motor, the package was established before clay was built up. The flexibility of clay allowed Luke to test and adapt the ergonomics as he developed the concept, something far more difficult using pure CAD or hard modelling methods. After just 7 weeks in clay (not bad for someone who had never used clay at University!) it was sprayed in ‘Durabuild’, a polyester resin to protect the clay, which was subsequently flatted back ready for paint, decals (kindly donated by Russell at Signs Express) and a couple of coats of lacquer.

It was a hell of a lot of hard work but worth it in the end, we’re all proud of you.

For more information contact Luke at

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