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.
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. 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.
“Programming is faster by a significant amount. The burden rate is slightly more, but hyperMILL® is so much faster that it instantly creates a return.“
Todd Cuffaro, President
As Cuffaro and his team were investigating 5-axis equipment in earnest, it became apparent to them that the CAM system running the machine was as important as the machine itself. After kicking the tires on a number of popular CAM systems, Miller CNC purchased the Hermle machining center and a seat of hyperMILL® from OPEN MIND at the same time. Cuffaro relates. “We were taking some really big steps in a really short amount of time, and I wanted to avoid any disruptions that would result in moving backward as opposed to the huge leap forward we wanted.”
Feature recognition played a role in helping Miller CNC tackle an amplifier box aerospace part with 600-plus holes. Where the shop had to pick every hole and program for center drilling, drilling, tapping, hole depth, and inclination, machining specialists at OPEN MIND were able to show Miller’s programmers how to build a macro that would communicate the entire job to the machine tool in a fraction of the time. With feature recognition, existing CAD geometry information is used for CAM programming, and typical and repeating geometries are defined as features. More importantly, programming the job and communicating all the information to the machine tool is now a matter of 20 seconds versus the three hours it previously took.