Costa Precision

“If you don’t understand what is involved in making big and complex parts, and it takes you twice as long as you thought, then not only are you losing money but also everyone in line behind that job is waiting longer than you predicted. ” – John Mack, Chief Operating Officer, Costa Precision Manufacturing


Costa Precision had to figure out how to restore manufacturing profitability to a successful “impossible parts” engineering company.



  • Mastercam’s seamless CAD file translation, regardless of source.
  • Efficient programming of complex parts, and the ability to work from many different orientations.
  • Mastercam’s ultra-efficient toolpaths trim hours, days, and even weeks from “impossible jobs”.
  • Backplot and Verify eliminate potentially disastrous machining errors and help accurately predict lead times.

Project Details

An example of the type of project Costa Precision is known for is the machining of a single-piece aluminum body for helicopter deployed neutralization systems (part of Raytheon’s AN/ASQ-235 program (AMNS). The end products are two hydro-dynamically stable bodies looking like a torpedo with fins.

The work piece for this enormously complex component is a single aluminum billet 10 feet long and weighing approximately 3,500 pounds. Roughing the work piece consumes hundreds of hours, after which the part is shipped across the country for straightening and heat-treating. After several hundred more hours of machining, enough material has been removed so that two operators can easily lift it from the large vertical mill by hand.

Todd Milo, Production Manager for Costa Precision, said the company’s most indispensible tool for assuring the requisite precision without sacrificing manufacturing profitability is Mastercam CAD/CAM software. He said, “There is no way you could even begin working on a part as complex as this if you had to rely much on drawings. At the outset of projects, Costa Precision receives CAD models in any number of formats, which are seamlessly translated into Mastercam.”

Mastercam’s Work Coordinate System (WCS) allows users to create programs for various tools and tool holders working from dozens of different orientations without having to create new views of the part. This is a real time saver. After a part has been programmed, computer-simulation of the manufacturing processes in Mastercam is used to accurately predict total machining time, which helps keep projects on-schedule.

Throughout the product development phase, Costa Precision engineers work within Mastercam to select toolpath strategies to reduce the total machining time. These include using the software’s High Speed Machining toolpaths (particularly those for roughing) to minimize air cutting and to optimize material removal by safely adjusting feeds and speeds in response to the cutter’s percentage of engagement with the material.

Programmers use Mastercam’s Verification to visually ascertain that stock has been removed appropriately from within these confined spaces, and that tooling and head clearances are adequate. Since there is no reworking allowed, there is no margin for error. One slip of the tool could scrap a part worth more than two expensive automobiles, and put the delivery off ten weeks.

With its newly adopted production mindset and tools like Mastercam, the company has dramatically improved its manufacturing profitability, and on-time deliveries are consistently between 95% and 100%. Costa Precision welcomes all challenges both big and small. Their commitment to excellence in quality and delivery paves the way for successful partnerships.