Jul 20, 2011

MLC CAD Systems Helps Custom Motorcycle Parts Maker Launch Successful Business by Mastering CNC Programming with Mastercam

PHOENIX - The Arizona support center of MLC CAD Systems, one of the largest Mastercam resellers in North America, played a key role in the successful launch of a father-son specialty machine shop by facilitating the company’s adoption of Mastercam CAD/CAM software. Special Machining Technology (SMT) designs and manufactures custom parts for Harley Davidson motorcycles (often referred to as “choppers”), such as wheels, grips, caps, risers, foot and toe pegs, and forward controls.

Though the company’s two principals, Ted and Sebastian Glod, were skilled machinists with decades of industry experience and owned CNC machines, their attempt at programming their equipment—by hand and through limited CAM software—had failed. Programming difficulties led to long lead times on even simple parts, lost business, and lots of frustration.

After a two-year struggle, the father-and-son team went to their local Mastercam reseller, MLC CAD Systems, for help. After Sebastian had spent two weeks trying in vain to program a particular lathe part with another CAM program and by hand, Jimmy Wahbeh from MLC CAD Systems’ Phoenix office came into the Glendale, AZ offices of SMT and demonstrated how Mastercam CAD/CAM software could be used to quickly produce the finished part. In less than 15 minutes, Wahbeh was able to create the part in Mastercam Solids and generate toolpaths that worked on their equipment.

Still not convinced that Mastercam was what they needed, Jimmy invited them to attend one of the reseller’s Mastercam training sessions to see for themselves how easy it is to set up their own basic Mastercam Mill and Lathe environments for programming the parts SMT wanted to make. So confident that the sessions would prove helpful, Wahbeh said they wouldn’t have to pay for the training if they didn’t feel it was worthwhile.

Shortly after the training, the Glods bought seats of Mastercam X Mill, Lathe, and Solids and were soon creating numerous part designs in Mastercam Solids and generating mill and lathe part programs, which could be executed at the push of a button. The toolpaths were verified using the software’s simulation functionality to assure they were accurate so the machines would remove exactly the right amount of material. When the occasional glitch arose, Sebastian would call Wahbeh, who would answer his question over the phone, via mastercamsupport@mlc-cad.com email support system or if the problem was more complicated, would come over to the shop and provide hands-on assistance.

Since incorporating Mastercam into its production process, SMT has been able to ramp up volume significantly with no problems keeping up with the CNC programming. Sebastian has created a Mastercam library of part geometries that can be quickly scaled, as needed, to meet the design and toolpath requirements of most new part designs without having to do additional programming.