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Small Motorcycle Parts Milling Start-Up.

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  • Small Motorcycle Parts Milling Start-Up.

    I have been active in a vintage motorcycling group for about 20 years and have on many occasions had to make my own parts. This has lead to a successful fiberglass business in our group and much in the way of frame jigs, rear set and handlebar construction, sheetmetal, electronics, obsolete engine and tranny bushings, knobs etc. on our lathe.
    As my "day job" is in IT, and I have the most most machining experience (pitiful, I know... but high school shop and then hobby turning) the group has a grand idea of cutting aluminum parts out of billets and elected me to figure out how. We also have a member that has great CAD skills and a fine art\design background.

    So, I looked at MaxNC's and Microproto's (TAIG's?) and then got on your board, read it all, and started worrying that we may be throwing money away. We wanted to spend around 3000$ US tops... is this realistic? Should we get a JET or other brand or find a used knee design and convert it?

    We would like to be able to make tank badges, trim parts etc. and are currently casting in green sand and then hand finishing. This is time consuming. Is it a "pipe dream" to think we could copy parts with a 3-d probe on a MaxNC and then have it cut out a replica automatically? If it worked we even brainstormed about getting a bigger one later and cutting out sidecovers etc. from billet material.

    I apologize in advance if this is a "Stupid Newbie Question" and it offends you all, but we are really trying to figure out if this is practical before we drop the dollars...


  • #2

    It is not a stupid question - my answer could very well be though...

    If you are looking at a smaller unit consider the Prazi or Wabeco, they are both very high quality and can be purchased with ball screws for CNC. These units would be able to do some serious smaller work but not as fast as a full sized mill. They are generally better for small part machining than most big machines.

    If you are looking for a full sized mill take note of high tech company sales in California - good equipment can be had for cheap as has been said in previous threads on this board.

    As far as someone that has never had machining experience, you should also note that several multimillion dollar companies have sprung up making boat tow bars and the such with no previous experience in the field. The key is knowing when to get people that do know what they are doing. A Hass CNC mill can do some serious work for minimal outlay and a good experienced machinist could attend their classes and be a pro in no time.

    The 3D probing thing is touchy (pun intended). A CNC CMM is better at this but some CNC machines have this ability (not cheap).

    Do your homework on it, ask the machinery dealers questions, have them sign non-disclosure agreements if you are worried about spilling your guts as to your intentions.

    Have fun, follow all the safety rules!



    • #3

      I do pretty much similar work to you over here in the UK racing a classic bike, and I have buddies to do the fibreglassing (gotta make that Carbon!), and frame work. My main work is with engine internals and blueprinting, gear cluster sets, etc,.

      I get badge work and the like done by a guy who has a Freidrich Deckel Pantograph copy miller. The work this thing turns out is stunning. He picked it up for about 450USD at auction. Its basically a die sinking tool and is compact easy to set up and use and can perform miracles. there is a 10:1 ratio (settable) on the pantograph arm which means you can copy my bank cheque signature better than I can write it! (makes nice Levi belt buckles as well!)

      These were made in their thousands and would've been quite common in the States as well as Europe. Look out for one I'm sure this is best suited to your immediate application.



      • #4
        Thanks for the idea of a copy mill..... I didn't know they existed Looked at a larger Bridgeport copy mill on e-Bay that was hydraulic, and I am now looking for a Decker used, at least to consider for smaller parts and get a price on

        Also, I have not been able to find High Tech Company Sales in a websearch. Anybody have a URL or phone # for them?



        • #5
          There's a company operating out of either AZ or UT specialising in Deckels. I contacted them a year or so ago about a Deckel FP2 they had but it was too expensive to repatriate to Euro land! Try a <> search on the word 'deckel'




          • #6

   you can do continental and global searches for metal related goods & services - free.

            Never thought of an engraver - great idea!


            • #7
              here is a url for a japanese man making motor cycles. Its a fun site to visit and gives idea of what you can do with very little. The URL is a lot of typing and all on one line.



              • #8

                Wow! Impressive - did you see those hammers - I like.