Marching orders for cyclocross shifters come from off-axis drilling

May 01, 2017

The project had first gone to our mechanical engineering CAD team for modeling. It wasn’t a ground up design but a redesign from an existing model. Gevenalle came to us with high-quality scan data. From that data our design team created a whole family of parts, some for specific brake lever shapes and some for multiple types.

The design work was done in NX CAD to take advantage of NX’s surfacing and synchronous features. It’s reliable, it always works and it very rarely crashes. With synchronous features such as delete face and move face, you can reliably push and pull faces.

As things moved into the prototyping phase, the team created 2X prototypes. Creating these double-the-size units helped them get a feel for how surfaces were matching up, and allowed them to closely examine the fits.

Once we had fits we liked, the big CAM challenge was that off-angle hole in the shifters. That’s when the CAM team began to look at how to approach the production phase. The typical method would be to create an entirely new setup just for the one hole. But additional setups take a lot of time, and introduce a possibility for misalignment, which could turn into a lot of scrapped parts.

Optimizing the design using NX CAM, our machinists were the brains of the operation. Our programmer-machinist thought there might be a way to eliminate the extra setup. By rotating the part placement on the fixture and putting the fixture on our 4th axis, we could machine the part and drill the hole in the same setup. Using NX’s built-in simulation, he was able to prove this concept would work before making a single cut.

In the toolpath that was created, the cutter efficiently carves out sections at a time across the fixtures and in our NX CAM simulation video, you can see the drill makes its first angled cut around 00:40, avoiding the need for a new setup stage. In the end Pat was able to get the time per part reduced by around 30%.

The shifter brackets got their marching orders and shipped off. We look forward to working with Gevenalle on more of their products and projects. Founded in Portland, Oregon, Gevenalle utilizes the skills and enthusiasm of local racers who have design, mechanical and manufacturing backgrounds. They test and tune their products and ideas year-round, but focus mostly on the fall/winter weekends of cross season.

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