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Delcam’s FeatureCAM used for college motorcycle project

The majority of the parts for the student’s motorcycle project were created with Delcam’s FeatureCAM

Nineteen students and four instructors at Wabash Valley College, a small community college in eastern Illinois, recently undertook the development of a customised motorcycle, with most of the parts manufactured using Delcam’s FeatureCAM CAM system.  The team started with a bare frame and added everything that could reasonably be designed and machined at the college by the students.

Before starting the project, Mark Pettigrew, Lead Instructor of Machine Shop Technology at Wabash, knew his students would need CAM software.  "We went to the IMTS exhibition in Chicago and looked at the CAM packages available,” Mr. Pettigrew said.  "We found that FeatureCAM was the only company that was willing to work with us on a package we needed and could afford.”

FeatureCAM was the key to creating manufacturing programs for the custom bike parts and to assuring that they would fit together precisely when fastened to the frame and to each other.  It also opened the door for the students to the world of computer-based manufacturing.

One of the reasons the students could program their parts so quickly without a lot of training was the feature-based technology in FeatureCAM.  It allowed them to enter the dimensions of a hole, for example, and then leave the software to generate automatically the appropriate machining operations in the correct order.  FeatureCAM speeded up the programming process for the parts further by automatically selecting tools for each operation, determining feeds and speeds, generating toolpaths and creating NC code.

"Our goal was to produce a true ‘one-of-a-kind’ custom motorcycle that didn’t cost an arm and a leg,” said Mr. Pettigrew.  "It turned out that the real benefits were that our students were able to exercise their creativity and problem-solving skills while producing a unique item that they are proud to have been a part of creating.”

"In all my years of teaching, I have never seen more enthusiasm, attention to detail and teamwork,” commented Mr. Pettigrew.  "When we unveiled the bike to the public, you could see how proud the students were when they heard the applause.”   

02 January 2008