10 YEARS AGO — 2001
Polyurethane film simplifies fin prototyping: Designers at Bob Evans Design Inc., in Santa Barbara, Calif., have come up with a new way to quickly fabricate prototypes of diving fins for testing and evaluation. The manufacturing technique uses sheets of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film to replace expensive molds. TPU sheets are cut to shape, sewn together, and filled with a castable polymer to produce a finished fin.

TPU acts as both the mold and outer layer of the final product. The manufacturing technique lets Evans build prototypes during product development, test them, modify them as needed, and fabricate a new version without bothering to retool.

30 YEARS AGO — 1981
GM gets J-cars ready; Ford unveils Escort 2+: Ford Motor Co. will counter GM’s J-car intro in mid-April by unveiling a 2-plus version of the Escort/Lynx. The sporty two-seater, called the Ford EXP and Mercury LN7, resembles the 1955-57 Thunderbird in size and flair. Unlike the T-Bird, which was powered by a conventional 4.8-liter V8, the lightweight EXP and LN7 are powered by an advanced 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a hemispherical combustion chamber and single overhead cam. Ford plans to build 70,000 of the vehicles in1981. They will be priced in the $7,000 to $8,000 range and compete with Honda Prelude, Datsun 200SX, and Volkswagen Scirocco.

50 YEARS AGO — 1961
Fuel cells are being mass produced by Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., Milwaukee, for educational purposes. The Fuelectric kit consists of the cell itself (housing and electrode plates) and a 1½ to 3-V dc motor with leads and a propeller. Assembly instructions tell students what chemicals are required and how they should be measured and mixed.

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