Shifting a Hobby into High Gear

Tormach customer turned Tormach employee, Rory DesJardin was a three-year PCNC 1100 user before he joined Tormach as a Product Developer and Technical Support Specialist in January of this year. DesJardin used his PCNC 1100 to make shifter controllers and shifters for Jeep and Toyota automatic transmissions and Toyota transfer cases as a side business.

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Researching PCNC mills on Google and CNC Zone community, DesJardin became a beta tester for the Power Draw Bar and the ATC shortly after purchasing his mill. “I was a beta tester for the Power Draw Bar and the ATC. Tormach put up a request for people to be beta testers for the Power Draw Bar and I thought, ‘I have to do this because if they do beta testing for the ATC, I’ll have the Power Draw Bar already. I was really trying to establish a relationship with Tormach by doing that.’”

When he saw the Tormach job posting, applying for the position was an easy decision for DesJardin. “I figured, okay these guys have put up with me for three years being a customer, I’ve been part of beta testing for two of the last two big projects they had. I worked with them and they had to put up with me. They know who I am and I know how they are with customer service. It sounds like a cool place to be.” Flying in from Clarkston, Washington for his job interview, DesJardin took the job, moving his family and his mill 2000 miles closer to the Tormach headquarters in Waunakee, Wisconsin.

In his design and manufacturing shop in Washington, DesJardin used his PCNC 1100 to make shifter controllers and shifters for Jeep and Toyota automatic transmissions and Toyota transfer cases as a side business. “I bought a pickup for my kid and changed the transmission from a manual to an automatic. The automatic needed a computer and I didn’t have a computer, so I had to figure out a way to make the automatic work without a computer and the shift controller came out of that,” he explained.

“Everything I’ve built with my Tormach has been something I needed. As I’m working on my own stuff and asking myself ‘I wonder why nobody has built this?,’ if I think it’s a good idea, I’ll try and build it myself. That’s really how all of my ideas got started.”

Bolted to the center console, DesJardin’s best-selling product is the Rail Shift Controller. About the size of a deck of cards, the shift controller provides full manual control for 1-4 shifting of AW4 & A340 transmissions (and is used in conjunction with the factory mechanical shifter). “Some guys will put one in their Jeep and want to buy one of the console bezel switches that I sell so they can alternate between automatic and manual mode.”

Another of his creations, Triple Sticks allows auto enthusiasts to shift into high and low ranges using a dual transfer case. “Triple Sticks puts all three levers together in one spot and supplys the boot with it. This puts the vehicle into four wheel drive as well as the high and two low ranges. If you want to go stupid slow through something gnarly and technical, you need to go slower than a normal car and still have power and better control”, DesJardin explained.

Advertising through his website and on off-road forums as a vendor/sponsor, RADesigns Products will be back in business once he is settled in a new workspace. “I’ve sold products to customers from every continent except Africa and Antarctica. I’m not expecting a customer from Antarctica any time soon, but Africa would be really cool.”

Tormach Inc.

At Tormach, we are dedicated to providing exceptionally engineered products, technical support, and customer service at the lowest possible cost. Our focus is to help our customers realize goals in CNC by providing tools and resources to help transform concepts into real products.

Tormach Inc.