In racing, the challenge is always faster, lighter and less expensive. Parts used on race bikes are usually manufactured from machined aluminum or steel, which creates strength but also adds weight.
Machining small, complex parts became time-consuming for Hawaya Racing— so the company decided to explore other manufacturing options. Vickers wanted a solution that would give his team the flexibility to quickly iterate new ideas, validate parts inexpensively, improve manufacturing processes, alleviate supply chain delays and overcome manpower limitations.
In 2022, Hawaya Racing, Inc. purchased a Markforged X7 through Phillips Corporation. The X7 was chosen for its ability to replace CNC-machined parts with highly durable composites using Continuous Fiber Reinforcement (CFR).
The Digital Forge can manufacture parts that meet requirements such as flame resistance, chemical resistance and energy absorbance. It also produces parts with a high repeatability level and a near-perfect surface finish, which helps Hawaya Racing reduce product development time.
One example of a product that benefits from a metal-to-CFR conversion is throttle grips, which are typically made of machined aluminum. The 3D-printed version was 62% lighter and cost 30% less to produce than the machined aluminum grips. It was also significantly easier to produce: the aluminum throttle grips had 4 set-ups total (two each on a CNC lathe mill) and also used two stocks of raw material. The composite version, built on the X7, had no set-ups, used only one raw material —and required no CNC machines, fixtures, tooling or operator. In addition, producing the throttle grips on the X7 freed up the company’s machinists to focus on other high-value CNC-based projects, enabling the team to increase its throughput.
In the racing industry, flexibility and time savings are enormous advantages. Hawaya Racing has been steadily utilizing the X7 to experiment with new concepts to extend its competitive advantage. Vickers and the Hawaya team run prints on their X7 through day and night – it’s working even when they aren’t in the shop. This technology fuels their quest to beat the competition in nitro Harley drag racing.