For Moto Proto, Time-Saving Results From Using Mastercam Are Amazing
With almost two decades of experience designing and machining parts for the automotive industry, Jason Miyamoto bought a couple of milling machines and one seat of Mastercam and started his own company, specializing in machining prototypes. He called it, Moto Engineering and Prototype (Moto Proto).
Mill 3D, Lathe, Multiaxis
Tool and Die
Business expanded over the next few years and so did the company. Moto Proto added two machine operators and moved to a 2,000 square foot facility in El Cajon, CA. Today, according to Miyamoto, they have a few customers in the aerospace business but mostly serve the high-performance automotive and motorsports industry.
“We do everything from parts for vehicles that race in the desert, to suspension components, to parts for race car teams,” Miyamoto said. “One-offs” are our specialty.”
“With prototypes, every part is brand new, and every part is pretty intricate. What we produce is fairly small in size – a 0.50” to 7”. Tolerances are tight, he said, but nothing tighter than a few 0.0001”. We do a lot of traditional surfacing parts with tapered walls, with flat bottoms. But, really, we can do anything you can get to with a 3-axis or 4-axis mill.”
Miyamoto does all the programming for the machines. “When producing prototypes, we are making one new part with a unique, intricate geometry. “I’ve got to do it fast, and it’s got to be right.” To help meet those standards, Miyamoto looks to his CAM software.
Moto Proto produces prototypes from drawings, solid models, or actual parts. According to Miyamoto, 25 percent of their work is reverse engineering. “When we get an order from a customer who has a CAD drawing or a solid model, I’ll program it, then use Mastercam’s Backplot feature to create a new model in the software.” His Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS license allows Miyamoto to not only design his own or and import customers’ CAD drawings, but to reverse engineer existing parts.
“Mastercam is very intuitive and it does exactly what you ask it to do. You can set how high it pulls-up out of the material, so you don’t waste too much time rapiding up further than you need.”
The software’s high speed Dynamic toolpaths shave valuable time off of the actual machining time by detecting (via proprietary algorithms programmed into the software) changes in the material and adjusting tool length and stepovers to accommodate them. By remaining constantly engaged with the material, the tool rarely leaves the material, ploughing through as fast as programmed.
“Complex parts that have very intricate cuts or holes in the middle of the part are no problem, even with the high speed toolpaths. We don’t have to worry about the air cuts or the tool coming up and down,” Miyamoto said.
“Just put in ‘percent of a tool width’ that you want to take a cut at and let it go! It used to be that you’d have to stand at the machine and just watch it, to make sure it didn’t crash. Not now.” They use the Verify feature to make sure things are running okay, and once he makes sure his Z’s are set correctly, Miyamoto walks away and starts another project.
“The time-savings from using the software for high speed machining mill work is amazing,” Miyamoto said.
Miyamoto can’t emphasize enough the value he places on the flawless, worry-free operation of his machines once he has programmed the software with the right instructions. “I can trust it’ll all happen just the way I programmed it, and simply walk away,” he said.
In addition to his reputation for doing high-quality work, Miyamoto, a design engineer who has spent years at the machines, can offer another competitive advantage. “We can optimize the design of a prototype part to help minimize the cost of producing it come manufacturing time,” he said. “Customers really appreciate that.”
“Every part is brand new and every part is intricate. We’ve got to do it fast, and it’s got to be right. Mastercam is very intuitive. It does exactly what you ask it to do.”– Jason Miyamoto, President, Moto Engineering & Prototype, El Cajon, CA
Design and produce specialized prototype parts with highly exacting tolerances and measurements quickly and accurately.
Mill 3D, Multiaxis, Lathe
- High Speed Dynamic toolpaths reduce machining time by detecting changes in the material and adjusting tool length and stepovers to accommodate them.
- Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS allows use of original design, importing of CAD drawings, and reverse engineering from existing parts.
- Verify helps ensure flawless, worry-free operation of milling machines.