Complex Machining Replaces Casting for Two-Piece Components in Piston Prototypes
The production pistons will be two-piece components that are cast and then welded together. Their prototypes are machined using Mastercam. Sergio Ramirez, shop manager at Achates, explained that casting prototypes is inefficient; each prototype piston is tested thoroughly, and then the design is slightly modified. With so many small design changes, casting prototypes is simply cost-prohibitive. Unfortunately, rapid prototyping material will not stand up to the heating and cooling cycles associated with this process, so Ramirez uses 4140 and 4340 steel billet.