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Guys who CNC port

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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998gp
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Guys who CNC port

Post by 998gp »

Hi,

The guys who offer CNC porting or CNC port designs, do you actually have 5 axis CNC machines or do you out source to another shop who has the equipment? If so, how do you protect your design? Do you have NDA's?

Thanks.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by Walter R. Malik »

998gp wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:58 pm Hi,

The guys who offer CNC porting or CNC port designs, do you actually have 5 axis CNC machines or do you out source to another shop who has the equipment? If so, how do you protect your design? Do you have NDA's?

Thanks.
BOTH ... they probably sell their own designs.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by BILL-C »

We have our own A560 Centroid in house and cnc port heads for many other shops. Once in a while someone wants us to copy their master ports, make the program, and run it exclusively for them. We absolutely respect their wishes. I believe that it would be more difficult to prosecute someone for copying your ports than it's worth. Just deal with someone that you trust.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by hoffman900 »

BILL-C wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:18 am We have our own A560 Centroid in house and cnc port heads for many other shops. Once in a while someone wants us to copy their master ports, make the program, and run it exclusively for them. We absolutely respect their wishes. I believe that it would be more difficult to prosecute someone for copying your ports than it's worth. Just deal with someone that you trust.
It would be hard to enforce for sure. Even the camshaft companies can’t police companies like Delta, which openly exist and use copied lobes, and that’s way more clear cut.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by hoffman900 »

hoffman900 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:45 am
BILL-C wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:18 am We have our own A560 Centroid in house and cnc port heads for many other shops. Once in a while someone wants us to copy their master ports, make the program, and run it exclusively for them. We absolutely respect their wishes. I believe that it would be more difficult to prosecute someone for copying your ports than it's worth. Just deal with someone that you trust.
It would be hard to enforce for sure. Even the camshaft companies can’t police companies like Delta, which openly exist and use copied lobes, and that’s way more clear cut.
Go back to Harvey Crane's old site (thank goodness for Wayback Machine or all of this would be lost to time): https://web.archive.org/web/20130601211 ... unders.htm

And you can see how a lot of this industry was built on people copying each other.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by rebelrouser »

great read on early drag racing, thanks for posting
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by Mummert »

We have an Centroid A-532 in house. Most people who have these machines in house specialize in something specific, and got busy enough to need it.

Unless your engine/head happens to be exactly what they specialize in, I bet they would have very little interest in it. We have a CNC porting machine in our shop and BILL-C helped me out on a EMC project, it made sense because we didn't specialize in the 289 iron head and have no market for it. So for me to gear up to port 1 set, would be the same amont of work to go into production.

A CNC guy would be more worried about what tooling they need to mount it to the machine, getting paid a fair wage to digitze and progamming and working it into the schedule. Not enough doesnt pay for the preliminary work and too many interrupts their schedule.

If a guy you directly compete against (that you beat on a regular basis) has a CNC machine don't take it to him. :wink:
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by Bill Chase »

hoffman900 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:48 pm
hoffman900 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:45 am
BILL-C wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:18 am We have our own A560 Centroid in house and cnc port heads for many other shops. Once in a while someone wants us to copy their master ports, make the program, and run it exclusively for them. We absolutely respect their wishes. I believe that it would be more difficult to prosecute someone for copying your ports than it's worth. Just deal with someone that you trust.
It would be hard to enforce for sure. Even the camshaft companies can’t police companies like Delta, which openly exist and use copied lobes, and that’s way more clear cut.
Go back to Harvey Crane's old site (thank goodness for Wayback Machine or all of this would be lost to time): https://web.archive.org/web/20130601211 ... unders.htm

And you can see how a lot of this industry was built on people copying each other.
Is it truly copying, or just a case of what works, well it works. Case in point, let's say you have a 8.2 deck 4.125 bore sbf 363 stroker you want to make x amount of power with x fuel octane and want it to make power between x rpm and x rpm with good overrev to x rpm with e85 fuel.. just how many different cams would work given the constraints in place? Seems like as goals get more defined the options to accomplish the same result get fewer. New cars are a good example, have to meet dot, nhts standards, cafe standards, has to survive federally mandated emissions warranty, and has to haul you, your spouse and 2.2 kids around be semi aerodynamic, blah blah blah.. the engineers sort of follow the same blueprint because what works works. Is it blatant copyright infringement or just sticking to a tried and true formula?
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by dannobee »

Exactly, Bill. Or much like patents, where the patent office will receive three patent applications from three entirely separate entities in three different geographical locations, all vying for the exact same thing, with the descriptions identical, all at the same time. Then the agent looks it up and there's prior art from five decades ago negating any patent anyway.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by BILL-C »

Trying to patent a cylinder head port shape would be like trying to patent a hand painting. The true high end professional porters that we deal with typically do a little hand work to the heads after the cnc work anyways. Castings are typically not super accurate and many castings too thin to just go to full size in all areas in all ports. Sometimes certain areas have to be hand massaged in thin areas to maximize that individual port. It's a big beautiful world out there with endless opportunities. There is no need to copy other guys stuff. It is actually an admission that they are better than you. Looking at someone else's design is another story. I think that is ok to do. It is like looking at and appreciating artwork. I have to admit that i have learned from others.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by 998gp »

Thanks for the feedback.

Sorry for the noob questions but these CNC porting machines are 200-300K, I understand it's profitable for the large companies mass producing heads but for the smaller shops is there enough porting work to warrant buying one of these machines? Are these machines also used for general CNC work?

Thanks
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by Walter R. Malik »

998gp wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 4:21 pm Thanks for the feedback.

Sorry for the noob questions but these CNC porting machines are 200-300K, I understand it's profitable for the large companies mass producing heads but for the smaller shops is there enough porting work to warrant buying one of these machines? Are these machines also used for general CNC work?

Thanks
The CNC machines do a whole lot more than simply porting cylinder heads.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by BILL-C »

Being profitable is definitely a struggle. The machine has to run very often or you go broke in a hurry. We use our cnc machine for doing block work also. Boring, sleeving, decking, lifter bore correcting , lightening, and rear main seal groove corrections. Once in a while we take in some general industrial machining if we have time. The machine primarily gets used for head porting, manifold porting, and manufacturing brand new heads from raw castings direct from foundry. It took a lot of time, sweat, and personal sacrifice to get to the point where we are making good money with machine. The first few years with new machine were VERY difficult.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by BradH »

It sounds like this discussion could / should go off on an Intellectual Property tangent wrt the question of what can be considered patentable or protected under some other type of ownership definition.
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Re: Guys who CNC port

Post by Walter R. Malik »

BradH wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:06 pm It sounds like this discussion could / should go off on an Intellectual Property tangent wrt the question of what can be considered patentable or protected under some other type of ownership definition.

Here is a little true story.
Everyone knows PPG, (Pittsburgh Paint & Glass).
Bill Davidson of Guardian Glass openly infringed upon some of their patents; even hired some of their engineers to be certian the copying was correct. For years that lawsuit was stalled in one court after another until finally PPG won the case and Guardian Glass was forced to pay PPG a fine of a million dollars.

Davidson said great ... I made over 8 million from those processes so, I guess I can give them that.

These are heavy hitters, not merely some cylinder head porters intending to protect a few port designs, They would have little to no chance.
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