Building Fast Cars With Some CNC Help

Jacks Transmissions specializes in building custom mechanical components to make cars go fast. “We build transmissions for the Nissan R35 GTR and Mitsubishi Evo, among several other platforms, but that’s what we specialize in,” explains Jacob Shields, an engineer at the garage and CNC machine enthusiast. 

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Fast Prototypes for Fast Motorcycles

The world of manufacturing and fabrication is incredibly broad and fast-moving. It gets even faster in the world of custom cars and motorcycles. Scott Phillips works full time at a manufacturing facility with industrial CNC machines, but then he comes home and creates an array of custom parts. He's used his PCNC 1100 to make unique parts, brackets, and harnesses for a local motorcycle company, and he's done some improvising along the way with indexing and various forms of prototyping. With the mill in his garage, he can tackle prototyping projects faster than in the larger industrial shop.  Bikes that carry Phillips' designs have appeared all over the Sturgis Bike Rally, as well as in the pages of American Bagger and Baggers magazines. "Obviously, everybody would like to work for themselves and make a ton of money, but we’ll see how it goes," he says. Phillips continues to work in a fabrication shop, but Phillips is also working to grow his personal business. [youtube]ovr_PgRFa0I[/youtube]

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Going Baja with a PCNC 1100

Matt Pyle runs his small business, Arttech Casting Company, with his PCNC 1100 mill and 15L Slant-PRO lathe, but he’s also the captain of the Buffalo State Mini Baja Team for the SAE International Baja Competitions. According to Pyle, “Having the Tormach machines has caused me to look at things differently. I have some mildly complex parts that if all I had were manual machines (that's all I ever had professional training on), I would say it can't be made. I have used other CNC machine tools, the setup takes half the day alone to cut one part. With the mill's ease of setup and automatic tool changer, it has gone from ‘We need to simplify this part,’ to, ‘Yea that's no problem, give me a day or two.’” Pyle and his team are hard at work developing their design, but welding the frame has been their biggest challenge so far. “Every time you weld on it, something moves just a little and then we have to compensate with the tab location.” As they learn through development, Pyle's Tormach machines have helped keep the process moving. “We started out just making the gear box on my 1100, but it has turned in to making close to half of the machined parts on the car.” By the end of the month, Pyle’s team hopes to have a driving chassis complete as they prepare for the upcoming races in June.

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Sturgis Show Bikes Begin in the Garage

Scott Phillips grew up around a machine shop. His dad tried to get him involved in fabrication, but to no avail. It wasn’t until years later that Phillips fell into machining as a career, and then he really took to the world of manufacturing.

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Stronger, Lighter Parts for Faster Racers with a Tormach

There are a number of Tormach customers that use their PCNC mills to help race cars and motorcycles go faster. In fact, we have a whole customer success story section dedicated to just that. Adam Silver is a race enthusiast who fabricates vintage race car parts. Using high-performance aerospace alloys, he mills out various parts on his PCNC 1100. “I use it for whatever comes up,” he explains. Typically, both OEM and aftermarket components are made from steel or Al-6061, but Silver’s access to a PCNC 1100 allows him to use Al-7075 and titanium. “Lighter, better strength, and machinability are all good. I think this mill brings out the engineer in us. It lets us take an available aftermarket part to the next level.” For instance, the formula car-maker for which he develops parts have large bore single nuts that are used to hold the wheel on. First impression of a component like this would imply production via a lathe, but as Silver explains, “it lends itself to being milled, using thread milling. The nuts center the wheel using a taper. After flipping the nut over and rough milling the taper, I put the nut in a fixture on the spindle, clamp a lathe tool in the milling vise, and use the Tormach as a simple vertical lathe, to get the angle on the taper dead on.” Precision is vital in the performance auto industry, especially when dealing with vintage vehicles, but just as important is durability. Silver uses his Tormach in what he refers to as semi-abusive environments and he doesn’t worry about it holding tolerances. Whether it’s replicating broken parts or developing parts without a print, he continues to create “better than aftermarket” and customized parts on his Tormach.

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CNC Milled Aftermarket Auto Parts with Tormach PCNC 1100 Owner Adam Silver

Check out these pictures of cool thread milled wheel nuts from California PCNC 1100 owner Adam Silver.  Silver uses his Tormach PCNC 1100 mill to machine these and other parts for vintage formula racecars.  Often working without prints and precise details from the original 1970s designs, each part he makes ends up being custom to the unique race car. This is the Wheel Nut before chroming He also uses his PCNC 1100 to make aftermarket components for Mazda Miatas, include adaptors for VDO pressure gauges and custom fuel system brackets.  The pursuit of speed requires manufacturing specialized parts – he is often replacing stock parts with new designs machined out of lightweight aerospace alloys like 7075 aluminum and titanium. 

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