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MJK Performance

EXPLORING MACHINABLE OPTIONS WITH GENERATIVE DESIGN

Image courtesy of MJK Performance

A motorcycle parts manufacturer uses generative design to optimize triple clamps for 2.5 axis milling.

MJK Performance designs, manufactures, and sells specialty aftermarket parts for Harley Davidson motorcycles—all in-house from a small, four-machine shop in Calgary, Canada.

Collaborating with Autodesk, MJK used generative design technology to create a set of triple clamps for a drag bike. The resulting designs were not only lighter and strong, but appropriately stylish and fully machinable on a 2.5-axis mill.

Generative design helps remove weight without sacrificing style

“We make very high-end parts for Harley Davidson bikes,” said Phil Butterworth, designer and co-owner of MJK Performance. “Our clients want the look of a 200-pound race bike for their 1000-pound Harley. As a result, we need to make our parts as light and strong as possible but also very stylish. Every part has to look like it belongs a hundred-thousand-dollar bike.”

Optimized with generative design: triple clamps needed to be light but stylish. Courtesy of MJK Performance.

Triple clamps are a part of the fork that connects the handlebars, steering stem, and shock absorbers. Because these clamps are large and bulky, they are a perfect candidate for lightweighting. To help solve the problem, Butterworth reached out to Autodesk and was surprised to learn that generative design could be the answer.

Using generative design for conventional 2.5-axis and 3-axis milling

Like many designers, Butterworth initially believed that generative design was limited to additive manufacturing. He was surprised when he learned that generative design technology could develop parts for conventional 2.5- and 3-axis milling.

Comparing generative design results for 2.5-axis and 3-axis CNC machining. Courtesy of MJK Performance.

Normally, this process would take one or two days to complete. But with generative design MJK was able to accelerate this process. They went from a computer model to a prototype in a few hours. Fusion 360 can easily be set up to produce designs for 2.5- or 3-axis milling. With this simple constraint, the software quickly produces a range of designs that weigh less, reduce manufacturing time, and are fully machinable.

Using generative design technology to create optimized tripple clamps that are 23% lighter

After generative design delivered a range of potential designs, Butterworth selected one and spent approximately 20 minutes editing it to suit the characteristic MJK Parts style. Using generative design for 2.5 or 3-axis milling helped to reduce weight by 23% at comparable costs while not sacrificing safety.

 

“Every time I hear the phrase ‘generative design,’ I think of those super-organic shapes. But the first results we saw looked amazing. They needed a little refinement to add our style, that’s all. We went from a computer model to a prototype in a couple hours. I was blown away. It looked like something my customers would buy immediately. It looked racy, had all the cool geometry, and it was lightweight. Using generative design is a no-brainer to me.”

Phil Butterworth, Co-Owner and Product Designer, MJK Performance

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