The modern automotive industry is surely large, a lot of different companies all over the world offer their own designs, models and specifications. However, you could note that despite being manufactured in different companies, the majority of automobile models look pretty much the same. Its either curved with some sharp edges here and there for aesthetics or its angular and looks like a fridge with wheels. This is understandable since the manufacturers must attend strict regulations. However, what if you want some individuality to your car? Or some performance enhancement? Well, one of the possible answers is creating custom CNC automotive parts.
Well, generally, car manufacturing processes are designed for the efficient manufacturing of an enormous batch. The cost of any part is distributed between initial costs, manufacturing costs, and material costs.
To clarify those, let’s use a simpler example. Say, you want to make some soup. In order to make one, you’ll first need to buy a cooker and some utensils. Those are the initial costs for your soup. Then, you’ll need to buy the ingredients. That’s material for you. And you’ll need to spend some time cutting up all the ingredients. As we know, time is money. So, the costs of that are machining costs, so to speak.
Now, let’s get back to our CNC automotive parts. The initial costs for them are basically specialized equipment that is ultra-efficient at making one single part. This is based on the fact that split between millions of parts made, the cost of such equipment isn’t so big compared to the advantage it gives in machining time. On the other hand, you won’t be making so many parts and buying equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each time is absurd. You’ll need something flexible. One machine tool that can process them all. And that is a CNC machining center. It is currently the most flexible way to manufacture high-quality metal automotive prototypes.
By combining standard fixtures, you can install any blank you want and even the most complex of geometries can be achieved easily with modern CAM systems. Automotive prototypes can be machined in a span of a few weeks from scratch, which is very fast considering that automotive production preparations take at least half a year. And that’s considering that modern companies have very efficient established development patterns.
Risks in Part Customizing
Now that we’ve established that manufacturing CNC automotive parts is a possible way to customizing your vehicle, let’s see some ideas as to what you can change to make your car unique. But first, you should understand that the customized parts are basically automotive prototypes. Manufacturer-made parts have been prototyped, fit, their design modified to fit better and then prototypes again. A lot of iterations happen before it is ready. Naturally, having manufactured the first design, you may encounter some errors. This is an inevitable risk. You can somewhat lower iteration count by contacting professional prototyping centers with your design. They have experience and they will point out the mistakes. Some centers even provide a 2-3 step verification service that ensures your parts will fit in perfectly.
What is There to Tune in a Car With CNC Automotive Parts?
There is a number of parts that can be modified, however, there are certain limitations as well. For instance, modifying parts that ensure car movement is extremely hard because apart from geometry and precision, they are made of special material and heat treated to meet high wear. There are also quite a number of electronic modifications and interior design perks but they are not going to be mentioned in this article. We are only reviewing metal parts. So, here is a list of things you can tune in your car.
Car Performance Parts
As I’ve said this is a somewhat limited feature. Since you can’t modify the parts that are vital for engine performance, you’ll have to move on to simpler parts.
One example of that is a short shift kit. This part is the lever you move to switch speeds. It may seem like a simple shaft with a knob but it’s actually a more complex assembly with a spherical bearing. The standard one is quite boring so it is one of the first things to change. You can machine some aluminum knobs or change the with and length of the shaft itself.
Another performance part that can be modified is the exhaust muffler. The standard one is simply a pipe but you can actually change it quite a bit. By making it wider and getting rid of all the muffling tanks you can make it roar. If you want the car to be silent instead, you can install additional mufflers.
The steering wheel is the third “must”. It is the part, which you come into contact with all the time. It is natural that you’d want to swap for something more interesting. Steering wheels can be machined and covered with leather or rubber afterwards.
Modifying the car body is the favorite occupation of automobile enthusiasts. You can basically change every part here since they are mostly for aesthetics. They are made by cold or hot forming in mass production but in the automotive prototypes industry, they are machined from a single blank on a CNC 5-Axis Machining center. After painting them you can get very interesting solutions. Apart from that, a lot of owners install spoilers, low bumpers and lower their car to get this racer look.
Wheel disks influence the car look as strong as the body of the automobile. And in conjunction with a custom tire, you can achieve a modern high tech look. The disks are quite massive and complex like car body parts so a 5-Axis high-precision machining center is required. In addition to that, the disk must be balanced or it will ruin the suspension unit.
So, those are some examples of the metal parts that can be tuned to customize the car. There are surely much more options but the ones, I’ve mentioned are the most common.
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