'EdgeCAM' for reverse engineering racecar components

UK competition car component maker Jaye Engineering in Ravenstone is using the latest version of Pathtrace's 'EdgeCAM' offline CNC machine tool programming system for reverse engineering and the production of engine and suspension parts. Jaye manufactures parts for Historic racing cars as well as current F1 cars and uses the Pathtrace-produced software to create convincing replica components, such as suspension wishbones for a 1955 Ferrari 625

'EdgeCAM' for reverse engineering racecar components

As well as helping with the programming of geometrically complex modern components for F1 teams, 'EdgeCAM' makes it possible for Jaye to reproduce the finish and features such as draft angles and split lines that normally distinguish an original forged part from a modern substitute precision machined from solid.

Jaye's CNC software requirement was for a single-source solution combining part programming with 3D solid modeling CAD. A key factor in favour of 'EdgeCAM' was that it is partnered with Unigraphics 'SolidWorks', which is also used by one of Jaye's major customers.

The company's main machining resource is a pair of five-axis machining centres and a four-axis machining centre. The five-axis capability comprises three interpolative and two positional axes, thus permitting the machining of all but the clamping face of any component in a single cycle. On one cover-type component with eight faces, the first operation sets up the clamping and datum face, followed by just one operation to machine the remaining seven faces. Program duration ranges from between 5-10 minutes to 3 hours or more. Positional or feature accuracy of 10 microns is not uncommon.

A wide range of materials is routinely processed, including cast and wrought aluminium, high-tensile steel, stainless steel, titanium and magnesium.

MD Peter Jaye commented: "Without 'EdgeCAM' we would struggle to meet customer requirements. We have invested heavily in multi-axis machining centres, and to get the best results and productivity from these demands efficient programming. Our batch quantities are normally five to 10 and, with F1 work, the likelihood of modification between batches is high. So we need programs we can trust and we must be able to generate them fast enough to satisfy customers that have massive time constraints.

"We find that 'EdgeCAM' supports CAD data import extremely well. As a lot of our work involves ongoing component development, the fact that changes to the 'SolidWorks' model are automatically and seamlessly incorporated by 'EdgeCAM' is a boon. Also, the programming system accepts 'IGES' file translations of 'CATIA' models and, when we are reverse engineering, the solid modeling capability proves very useful."

A recent task completed by Jaye was the manufacture of replica steel suspension wishbones for an F1 Ferrari 625 restoration. Although the original wishbones were forgings, the smaller quantities now required would not justify a new set of forging dies. Instead, Jaye captured the data by digitising an original wishbone into 'SolidWorks', added certain details such as draft angles either side of the split line (which made the period appearance of the component convincing), then developed the machining program in 'EdgeCAM'. Each wishbone was then machined from a solid billet, working from either side. Overall machining time was about six hours and the finished part was shotpeened to create the cosmetic appearance.

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