Hawaya Racing's Innovation Journey with Markforged X7

Published on : 4 January, 2024

The Customer

In 2010, Johnny Vickers founded the first-ever school for nitro drag bikes at Hawaya Racing. Today, many of the top nitro drag riders are graduates of this program.

Hawaya Racing is a company that specializes in the research, development, and manufacturing of Harley-Davidson drag racing motorcycle parts and safety equipment. The company is headed by Johnny Vickers, who was the first-ever NHRA Pro Fuel Champion. In addition to providing high-performance parts and service for street-driven Harley-Davidsons, Hawaya Racing has its own complete in-house machine shop where racing and special parts are manufactured. The company also offers its line of Derringer racing engines, drag racing chassis, body parts, nitro carburetors, slipper clutches, belt drive systems, fuel injection systems, and drive train components.

Hawaya Racing Products (HRP) is heavily invested in the world of Harley-Davidson drag racing. Terry Vickers, an acclaimed racer, has won five national championships and holds many national and world records. He currently serves as the crew chief for pro fuel rider Sam White of White Lightning Racing.

The Challenge

In the world of racing, the ultimate challenge is to make bikes faster, lighter, and cheaper. Race bikes are usually made from machined aluminum or steel, which provides strength but also adds weight.

Hawaya Racing faced a problem when machining small and intricate parts, which became a time-consuming task. As a result, the company decided to look for other manufacturing options. Vickers, the head of the team, wanted a solution that would offer flexibility in quickly iterating new ideas, validating parts at a low cost, improving manufacturing processes, overcoming supply chain delays, and resolving manpower limitations.

“The Markforged X7™ has made it possible for us to take our competitive advantage a notch higher due to our focus on lowering manufacturing costs, reducing part weight and providing quick turnaround times to market.”

– Johnny Vickers, Owner, Hawaya Racing

The Solution

Hawaya Racing, Inc. purchased a Markforged X7 in 2022, via Phillips Corporation. They chose the X7 because of its ability to replace CNC-machined parts with highly durable composites using Continuous Fiber Reinforcement (CFR).

The Digital Forge can manufacture parts that meet requirements such as flame resistance, chemical resistance, and energy absorbance. It also produces parts with a high level of repeatability and near-perfect surface finish, which helps Hawaya Racing to reduce product development time.

One example of a product that benefits from a metal-to-CFR conversion is throttle grips, which are usually made of machined aluminum. The 3D-printed version of the throttle grips was 62% lighter and cost 30% less to produce than the machined aluminum grips. It was also significantly easier to produce: the aluminum throttle grips needed 4 set-ups total (two each on a CNC lathe mill) and used two stocks of raw material. In contrast, the composite version, built on the X7, required no set-ups, used only one raw material- and did not need CNC machines, fixtures, tooling, or operator. Additionally, producing the throttle grips on the X7 freed up the company's machinists to focus on other high-value CNC-based projects, enabling the team to increase its throughput.

“Incorporating the X7 into our shop for functional and inexpensive prototypes, as well as high-quality, end-use parts, has helped us discover faster parts made with less effort, less costly and – most importantly – lighter in weight!”

– Johnny Vickers, Owner, Hawaya Racing

The Future

The racing industry values flexibility and time savings as essential advantages. Hawaya Racing has been using the X7 technology to test new concepts and gain a competitive edge. The team, led by Vickers, operates the X7 printer continuously, day and night, even when they are not present in the shop. This enables them to accelerate their quest to beat their rivals in the field of nitro Harley drag racing.

“Everyone at Markforged and Phillips Corporation has been solid in supporting our efforts, helping us push the envelope in new and exciting areas. This is a game-changer in our sport!”

– Johnny Vickers, Owner, Hawaya Racing

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