JFC Billet Block
JFC Racing in Auburn, Washington needed assistance producing a completely custom engine block for a Lola race car using a brand new Rottler GM 1066 they had recently purchased. What made this project unique was the need to machine this engine from a solid chunk of aluminum weighing approximately 280 pounds. JFC Racing purchased the rights to the engine from another company and wanted to start producing the engines in-house. JFC was new to machining and had never attempted a job this complex. To complicate matters, they were also simultaneously deploying their brand new CNC machine. They contacted LFP for help with fixturing, machining, and software development. So, I bought a one way ticket to Washington and set off to tackle the project.
Before I arrived in Washington, I coordinated with the software developer to prepare as much as possible before my arrival and the actual work began. Not only were we working on machining an entire engine from a solid chunk of aluminum, we were also working with brand new software and state of the technology that had never approached a situation like this before. The engine machining required unique approaches to problems like tight tolerances, unusual surface finishes, and odd features that were hard to machine (such as narrow slots and an oil galley requiring a 14 inch long drill). Typically, this type of job would be completed with a CNC machine that required an external control, the importing of a G code, and programming the machine with specific directions. But the Rottler GM 1066 is an all-in-one machine. It came equipped with brand new software that allowed for the importing of solid models on the machine and the laying of tool paths on the solid directly on the machine itself. I worked hand in hand with the software developer and engineers to get results within tolerance that were also efficient.
The Final Product
After 33 days and a total of over 150 hours of machine time, we built 2 engine blocks, one of which has been sent off for finishing. Our final product consisted of fixturing, the engine block itself, and closed deck inserts. The final engine weighs approximately 37 pounds and is the only one of its kind in the world. There is a similar prototype at JFC that makes tremendous horsepower, however this engine we machined is one of a kind. I’m not just proud of the finished engine, I’m immensely proud of the software development that went into this particular project. With this project, functionality and user-friendly operation capable of accommodating a wide-variety of customers was important to me. I am incredibly proud of the work we did to create this extraordinary engine block. It wouldn’t have been possible without the intense collaboration between JFC Racing, the software developer, and myself.