Bike shop extends its creative arm

June 24, 2005
Portable CMM makes wild chopper designs a reality.
Jason Pohl is a self-described "digitizing freak." As an artist/designer at Orange County Choppers (OCC) he digitizes parts and contours of random objects that add to a vehicle's individuality and then modifies them into designs for the motorcycle shop's original 120-hp works of art. As part of a shop-support agreement, Faro Technologies Inc. of Lake Mary, Fla., supplied OCC with a Platinum FaroArm portable CMM, and Pohl was hooked. In addition to reverse engineering and designing, OCC uses its FaroArm to program the shop's CNC machines. For instance, exhaust pipes and handlebars must be symmetrical, but once the first piece is formed, "eyeballing" the second one to match perfectly is practically impossible. With the FaroArm, OCC fabricators trace the first piece's shape, transfer the data to a tube bender, and produce an exact match within minutes. OCC builds from the ground up, so the geometry and dynamics of its bikes must be precise for optimum handling and performance. The shop, using the FaroArm, checks alignments of critical parts such as axles, forks, and sprocket drives. The system also simplifies fits between tanks and seats and fenders and frames. The instrument captures each surface, and a companion laptop displays each one's relative position. The laptop then generates a digital file of the items and stores it for future reference in the shop's CAD archives. "Faro’s technology is ground-breaking on the chopper scene," says Pohl. "We are all excited to have such capability." OCC, which gained international recognition from the Discovery Channel TV show "American Chopper," is based in Montgomery, N.Y. Paul Teutul, Sr., opened the shop after successfully growing Orange County Ironworks into a thriving business.