Former Racer Builds a Shop That Goes Faster

Born in racing, shop’s high-tech equipment and programming tools drive growth in medical and aerospace parts.

Winning races, whether bikes, trucks, or Formula One, involves much hard work and effort from a variety of sources. There’s the engineering and construction of the vehicle and all its components (engine, frame, tires). Track conditions, fuel strategies, pit performance, and many other variables all play a part. At the heart of it all, though, is a driver and the driver’s will to win.

Todd Cuffaro is a driver, formerly of race cars and now, as president of Miller CNC, based in San Diego, California, he is driving his company to finish first in a number of areas, mainly performance on complex parts, quality, turnaround time, and sales.

“We’ve been in business part-time since 2007 and went full-time in mid-2009 when we began getting out of racing,” Cuffaro explains. A dirt bike racer as a kid, Cuffaro, 26, had grown into spending half his time racing and half running a race car prep business. “My uncle, a lifelong hobby machinist (and the Miller of Miller CNC), left his job to launch his own shop,” Cuffaro says. “We partnered up, bought some equipment (lathe, mill and other necessary tools), and started learning the machining business.”

Just at the time Cuffaro was getting experience on some pretty trick race car parts, such as brake hub assemblies and other steel and aluminium parts, his uncle injured his back and had to return to his former job. Cuffaro faced a fork in the road. “Through racing, we were able to store a little money away,” he says. “We were getting busier as a shop and made the decision to sell of our racing equipment and go full-bore as a machine shop. Part of that decision was to go CNC and high quality from the start, which for us meant 5-axis machining. That’s where we dedicated the majority of our attention.”

The centerpiece of the shop is a Hermle C30U five-axis CNC machining center with a working area of 650 mm in X, 600 mm in Y, and 500 mm in Z, an NC-controlled swivelling rotary table, and a 32-tool magazine. Other equipment includes three Haas vertical machining centers with 4th- and 5th-axis capability, a Haas CNC turning center, two Hwacheon CNC lathes, and a Brown and Sharpe CMM.

The young company began casting its nets for more business, billing itself as a quick-turn, high-tech job shop for competitive service on complicated parts. “Our philosophy is really simple,” says Cuffaro. “Give 110% no matter what. We’re a young business and we simply transferred our competitive spirit from racing into the machine shop. We’re eager to take on difficult parts and challenge ourselves. With our 5-axis capabilities and the software we’re running, we can be very competitive with most types of milled parts, not just true 5-axis parts. If the part has more than two ops on a vertical, we throw it on a dovetail fixture in the 5-axis mill and handle it in a single setup. Accuracy is much better, part handling is reduced, and we maintain short lead times, which we’ve found is a huge advantage in a slow overall economy.”


Popular posts from this blog

What is Class I Division 2?


7/8 16UN Connectors that Provide 600 Volts and 15 Amps