Software fine-tunes shop's high-performance engine building

Software fine-tunes shop's high-performance engine building

Getting the most horsepower and torque out of a motorcycle engine involves continually improving its intake and exhaust flow. According to Byron Hines, president of Vance & Hines Motorsports in Trinidad, Col., one way to do this is through porting. Th

Byron Hines, president of Vance & Hines Motorsports, says Surfcam software plays a major role when designing his company's high-performance motorcycle engines.

Chief R&D Engineer at Vance & Hines David Smith uses Surfcam software to draw parts, surface them, and determine what they will look like before any metal is machined.


Getting the most horsepower and torque out of a motorcycle engine involves continually improving its intake and exhaust flow. According to Byron Hines, president of Vance & Hines Motorsports in Trinidad, Col., one way to do this is through porting. The company, a well-known builder of high-performance motorcycle-racing engines, recently switched from hand-porting to doing most of the work on CNC machines. However, programming NC toolpaths directly on the machines proved limiting, so the shop invested in a seat of Surfcam CAD/CAM software. It not only lets them do complex 4 and 5-axis machining but also reduces part fixturing and speeds the design process.

By developing programs using Surfcam, Vance & Hines does 4 and 5-axis machining of intake and exhaust ports. "The software is invaluable," says Hines. "It lets us repeat very fine steps, while giving us precise control over where we are inside the cavity. Before, we were at the mercy of what could be done by hand. Now, we do much more with this automated machining technique. For instance, on a cylinder head alone, there's about 97% CNC machining with 3% hand work, and that's mostly to make them look fancier."

In addition to complex machining, Surfcam minimizes the amount of fixturing required on some of Vance & Hines' parts. One of which is a clutch cover that would normally take three separate setups to machine but is done with one using Surfcam.

Also with Surfcam, the shop shortens its design times — a big benefit when it comes to producing a brand new high-performance engine. In little over twelve months, the company developed an entirely new engine for Harley-Davidson. "Byron came up with an idea, and I started building it in Surfcam," says David Smith, chief R&D engineer at Vance & Hines. "The software let us draw parts, surface them, and visually get an idea of what they would look like in finished form before any actual machining took place."

Surfware Inc.
Westlake Village, Calif.
www.surfware.com

TAGS: CAD and CAM
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