: Reverse-engineering custom engine parts made easy



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10-24-05, 10:20 PM
Reverse-engineering custom engine parts made easy (http://www.autoblog.com/entry/1234000543064683/)

Posted Oct 24, 2005, 1:00 PM ET by Eric Bryant

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At every level of racing, parts are modified by hand in an attempt to gain a bit (or a lot) of performance through well-educated guesswork. What, then, once a week’s worth of effort with a die grinder yields something that works? Geomagic (http://www.geomagic.com/advantage/RCR/RCR-index.php3) has a neat little case study that involves an intake manifold for Kevin Harvick’s Nextel Cup car. The geometry of this custom part was worth 5 HP (a huge improvement at that level of racing), but reproducing such a part by hand can be dang near impossible.

The company provided software that allowed Richard Childress Racing to scan the part with a CMM, pull it into ProE, and then reproduce as many parts as they wanted on a CNC machine in one-seventh the time it took to duplicate the part by hand, and likely with far better tolerances. For us mortals, companies like CNC Cylinder (http://www.cncheads.com/default.htm) Head can perform similar services (http://www.qualitydigest.com/dec00/html/apps2.html), and with the decreasing cost of such equipment, it wouldn’t be surprising to find such a setup at your local machine shop in the not-to-distant future.

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