NASCAR is certainly the big dog of auto racing in the United States, but for every NASCAR team there are a thousand other teams that go auto racing every week.
There are drag racers, dirt track racers, road racers, offroad racers, rock crawlers, motorcycle racers, go-cart racers and more, and all of them have at least one thing in common – the vehicles they race need machined parts.
Engines, transmissions, axles and rear ends, and chassis and suspension components need machined parts.
For shops that are looking to find new markets and new customers, a trip to the local race track may be the best place to start.
Not only do all of those racers need a reliable source of machined parts for their own vehicles, but solving their machining needs can lead to the creation of unique and profitable product lines for the machine shops that come up with better solutions.
Visit a performance auto parts store and you will see walls and shelves filled with performance products that probably started with some machinist helping one of his buddies make a better, faster race car.
If a shop wants to get into making parts for racers it will need more than just an idea and machining equipment. It will need some sophisticated software to turn that idea into a part model that can be turned into G code to make the part to the level of precision racers need to be competitive.
Software is the ‘soft’ side of performance racing, and it can be just as critical to winning as any torque wrench ever was.
In this month’s department we look at why a good 3D CAD package is important to any shop that wants to improve its performance, and create valueadded products such as parts for racers. Then we will review the most popular CAD/CAM package on the market, Mastercam.