Barefoot CNC Aids Hi-Tech Machining’s Growth
Barefoot CNC out of Morganton, North Carolina, has provided on-site and remote customer service, training, and post processing services to Mastercam users for more than 20 years throughout the diverse regions of North and South Carolina. From small machine shops to industry icons, Barefoot CNC takes pride in offering quality products and training to keep their customers competitive in the ever-changing landscape of manufacturing.
Hi-Tech Machining is in Spartanburg, South Carolina. President Robbie Fowler calls his company’s focus “industrial support,” serving his clients through the design, machining, and repair of custom and complex parts, specialized components, and molds.
The first step to Hi-Tech’s process is creating a program from the models that the customer provides. Often the customer cannot provide a model, though, and the team instead draws a new model within the software.
“We rarely ever get repeat jobs, so most of the time design is the first process we do in manufacturing the parts. We hit Mastercam and create a program,” Fowler said, “The software is a huge part of our first few steps. With its 3D pictures, we didn’t realize it was as good as it was or we’d have started using it much earlier.”
Mastercam is the only CAD/CAM software that Hi-Tech uses. “A friend had introduced me to it, and I just stuck with it.” said Fowler. The company benefits from Mastercam Maintenance to stay current with the latest version of software, and Fowler reaches out to Jimmy Wakeford, President & CEO of Barefoot CNC, whenever his team has a problem. Wakeford is always more than happy to help and even urges him to call more often. The team at Barefoot keeps Hi-Tech’s Mastercam Mill, Mill 3D, Lathe, and Wire seats up-to-date and helps programmers navigate the complex problems they face every day.
One of Fowler’s favorite features is Solids, a CAD solution that allows programmers to draw and manipulate models in an intuitive, streamlined interface. Hi-Tech’s employees can control every aspect of wireframe, surface, and solid models, since Barefoot Applications Engineer Jason Parks introduced the programmers to Solids. “The team has noticed the difference most clearly with their lathe, as it is much easier to get at chamfers now.”
Fowler also appreciates the freedom Solids provides his programmers, who frequently work with difficult parts. “There’s all kinds of geometries we see that people want to get machined these days.”
“A couple of years ago, Robbie sent me to Barefoot CNC, and I spent the day working with Jason. It was funny because Jason asked us, ‘so what are ya’ll doing?’ and I said we’ll bring the file in and we’ll bring in surfaces. Jason said, ‘why are you messing with surfaces? Just do Solids.’ I told him we don’t have Solids, and he said, ‘you got it now,’” said Machinist Mark Freeman.
With operations running so smoothly, Fowler is looking to the future. The first step of his plan is to add new machines. “Our largest machines are 40 inches in X and 20 in Y and Z. We’re looking at getting bigger equipment to see if we can get our shop rate up a little more,” he said. Once Hi-Tech’s machining capabilities and customer base have evolved, Fowler anticipates that the company will start manufacturing larger quantities of parts.