Case Study: In-House Gear Production Leads to Improved Quality, Speed

Advanced Design Technologies LLC’s subcontracted work led to quality issues, among other problems. Vero Software’s Surfcam 2017 R1 increased overall efficiency and quality.


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With the help of W-Drive gears and other custom parts from Advanced Design Technologies, the Nitrochondriac race team set a new elapsed-time record for Top Fuel drag boats. The team covered the 1,000-foot course from a standing start in 3.38 seconds at more than 263 mph at the Lucas Oil Drag Boat National event in Marble Falls, Texas in August 2016.

Subcontracting work has its benefits. Mainly, companies can take on jobs even though their shops may not be properly equipped for every step of the production process. However, sometimes subcontracting work can cause more challenges than it is worth.

For instance, James Faulkerson’s company, Advanced Design Technologies LLC of Las Vegas, Nevada, initially manufactured all components for a power-splitting marine transmission called the W-Drive, except for the gears. These, he subcontracted until the late 1990s, when a faulty gear disintegrated and blew a large hole in the bottom of a boat traveling at close to 200 mph.

From that experience, Mr. Faulkerson decided the make everything himself. He started by acquiring a Haas VF-3 mill and SL-20 lathe. In 2002, he purchased the Surfcam Traditional CAM system to program his CNC machinery. Today, he runs Surfcam 2017 R1, using milling cycles such as face-mill, hole, roughing, profiling, flat-land-finishing and chamfering cycles. There are also a few unique milling cycles, such as the flow-surface and parallel-cace cycles, that simplify the complex milling of non-uniform 3D shapes and surfaces.

Read the full story to learn how Mr. Faulkerson uses Surfcam by Vero Software to manufacture Top Fuel Hydroplane drag boat transmissions and custom parts for Tommy Thompson Racing’s Nitrochondriac team.


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