Cortina Precision: Cadpro custom post-processor gets a small business off the ground
Erik Cortina of Cortina Precision manufactures barrel tuners for competitive long-range sports rifles. Erik’s barrel tuner system contains a muzzle brake that threads onto the end of the barrel with a series of ports to redirect gasses outwards to avoid recoil.
Prior to contacting Cadpro, Erik had been unable to get his barrel tuners to market, as the machining of the ports on the muzzle brakes was proving challenging. Erik has an DMG Mori NLX 2500SY CNC lathe that he operates with Fusion 360, but required an additional B axis in order to machine the ports on the required angle. The advice Erik received from other sources was that he would need very expensive software to machine the ports, a cost he could not meet as a small start-up.
Erik’s machine manual had unclear instructions, making the path to a solution more complicated. As he explains, “The main challenge was the fact that the programming manual had a specific set of instructions, however the instructions weren’t clear.”
Erik’s primary project goal was to overcome the design challenge he was experiencing with the ports on the muzzle brake and get his product to market. As a B-axis was not standard on his machine, as an after-market and manual add-on, Erik required a custom Fusion 360 post-processor that would calculate all the coordinates for his machine and feed the B-axis into the muzzle brake at the required angle.
Equally important was the requirement to decipher the machine manual and test to find a solution that would allow Erik to machine the ports with Fusion 360 and his CNC machine. In order to model, produce and supply the barrel tuners reliably, Erik also needed to upskill in Fusion 360 and advance his knowledge of his newly acquired CNC lathe.
Cadpro developed a custom-built, manual B-axis Fusion 360 post-processor, allowing Erik to machine the ports on the muzzle brake at the correct angle. Cadpro also worked with Erik to overcome the issues arising from the ambiguous instructions in the machine manual, testing and developing code to find a solution, and ultimately delivering a custom template that Erik could use to produce the barrel tuners.
Cadpro also provided training for Erik in Fusion 360 modeling, “Scott Moyse (Cadpro) trained me on basics and developing good habits, and opened my eyes to multiple possibilities” says Erik.
As the project advanced, Cadpro assisted Erik to identify and improve workflows and processes in his programming and machining process. “The things that Scott changed, even the things that the Fusion 360 post-processor could do, Scott made them better. After Scott knew what I was doing, he changed and optimized the software and machine with things I would have never known about.
“The knowledge that I learned has advanced me years. I’m now developing products that I would’ve never considered previously prior to my experience with Cadpro. What I would have considered difficult is simple now”
– Erik Cortina, Cortina Precision
Erik’s interaction with Cadpro resulted in several positive business outcomes, the most important being that he could now get his product to market and start supplying customers. Erik explains that his efficiency has also improved as an outcome of the project, “My efficiency has been through the roof, I would spend hours modeling and his template sped everything up. This allowed me to make more products with less screen time and more machine time”.
Cadpro’s services have also provided Erik with greater confidence and security to run his business, “The fear is large, new machine shop, new machine, I have orders on backlog that I have to fill, just the fear of crashing the machine and going back months or even years on the progress is pretty big. So having someone like Scott and Cadpro right there, just helped me tremendously to be able to push forward and know if I get stuck, I have help.”
Erik’s engagement with Cadpro for the Fusion 360 custom processor and training allowed him to begin supplying his parts to market and run his business efficiently and more confidently. Erik explains, “This allowed me to make the part, which made the business. Without a product I don’t have a business and if this had dragged out too long my customers would have canceled their orders. What I learned from Scott and Cadpro was instrumental to making this happen. The business literally wouldn’t have happened without you guys”.
Through working with Cadpro, Erik has expanded his technical know-how, produced new parts and expanded his business. “The knowledge that I learned has advanced me years. I’m now developing products that I would’ve never considered previously prior to my experience with Cadpro. What I would have considered difficult is simple now”Learn more about Cortina Precision