Custom motorcycles, whether sportbikes, standards or even choppers, are something we talk about here a lot. But many potential custom builders have the ideas, knowledge and skills but their garage shop, not to mention their wallet, has no provision for a lot of computer controlled machine tools. Once you get into the really special one off motorcycle designs, you’ll need a lot of brackets and parts missing from even the biggest parts catalogs. If you have the money for a good CAD package and you have a friend with a machine shop, maybe you can work something out for a reasonable price but suppose that isn’t you. You know what you need, if you just had a chance to design a piece with all of the measurements and place the order, your custom bike project would be a lot closer to reality.
eMachineShop, an online machine shop, enables you to design your own part on your home computer using software downloaded from their site. You specify materials from the selection available, look at your final design in 3D, run an error check to be sure there are no issues to machining the piece and then you click a button and get an immediate price quote! If it looks good, you pay with a credit card and a few weeks later your part arrives. Prices vary depending on the design and materials but they quickly drop as quantities go up. Is this cool?
The whole process gets you thinking about all sorts of uses. This would be great if you came up with a fix for some failure prone piece on your motorcycle. Design something better, order a bunch and sell them. Trying to adapt some custom part but no brackets exist? Order your own custom pieces. A few minutes of thinking and I’ll bet you can come up with a dozen reasons to use these guys.
Of course, having access to custom CAD software will not transform anyone into a design engineer, you need basic knowledge of engineering and how things work but the software is designed to ease the process, even for those who have not done this before. This is intended for those who know what they need but lack the means to make it happen and I think a lot of readers of The Kneeslider might find this a very useful service.
They’ve been around since June of 2004 and numerous examples of customer designs are up on their site to give you an idea of what’s been done. They offer an amazing range of services, for example, injection molding, milling, turning, laser cutting, waterjet, wire EDM, tapping, threading, bending, blanking, punching, extrusion … and much, much more. Then there is the variety of materials available, aluminum, steel, stainless steel,copper, sheet metal, brass, bronze, wood, polycarbonate, polystyrene, acrylic … you get the idea.
As they point out on their site, this could take the place of rapid prototyping in some cases. You order up what you need and try it out. If it works, order a bunch more. Very impressive.
This is one of the best examples of the Internet giving the individual capabilities previously out of reach. Next time you need a custom piece, give them a shot. I like it.