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Making it more complex?

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In today's world the possibilities for producing complex castings are much more sophisticated than ever. Whereas in the old days we only needed to worry about making patterns out of wood or steel/cast iron, now we can look at how to integrate as many functions as possible in as effective a solution as possible on a mass scale. So we no longer use only the traditional method of pattern making, but rapid prototyping techniques as well. In general, an engine block casting consists of a...

World Superbike exhausts

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World Superbike remains a popular series in motorcycle racing, its enduring appeal stemming from the fact that the machines are based on the same motorcycles that you can find in your local showroom. Twenty years ago, it was a competition full of limited-production homologation machines, such as the Honda RC30 and Yamaha OW-01, which were produced at great expense and which required a racing kit that at the time dwarfed the cost of the motorcycle. In 1990, if we discount the Bimota...

The risks of plating fasteners

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The subject of the plating of fasteners is one that causes some debate. Many companies refuse to contemplate the use of plated fasteners, while some manufacturers will supply them only at a customer's insistence and with a waiver that absolves them of any responsibility for losses resulting from a breakage. Other companies are much happier to supply plated fasteners, however, having taken every precaution to minimise the chances of embrittlement before, during and after the actual...

A balancing act

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I wish I had a fiver (about $8) for every time a racing driver mentioned the word 'balance.' The post-practice or post-race interview of explanations and excuses as to why he (or she) didn't win invariably attributes the cause to the relative grip between front and rear tyres, thus allowing the car to oversteer (loose) or understeer (push). And away from optimum handling, how could he (or she) possibly ever be expected to win? But in the world of engine lubricants the word...

Wet sumps

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It is a fact that wet-sump oiling systems are rare in racing. Given the g-loadings that most racecars experience, controlling the oil level while ensuring a constant supply of lubricant is far easier with a dry-sump set-up. However, some series still require the use of a wet sump, notably those for touring cars running to the FIA S2000 regulations. Running wet sumps has caused problems for many years, as one engineer from a notable engine manufacturer explains, "We've said for a...