Machining, in the industrial sense, uses any number of cutting, boring, shaping, and adhering processes to create products. When certain products are rare, discontinued, or no longer in use and a consumer needs duplicates of these products, they can be machined using patterns and pieces. Here are just some of the examples of how patterns and pieces are used to make the duplicate products you need.

First, a Product Part Is Scanned, Sampled, and Measured

Let's take the front side panel of a car that is over thirty years old. This is a part which would be nearly impossible to locate in salvage yards around the country, but if you do not mind a little creative problem solving, you can get well-produced replacement parts this way. The "pattern" of the part you need is taken from the front side panel that you already have. It is scanned into a CAD program by an engineer and then measured for accuracy. If you allow the company to do so, they can take a sample of the metal with which the current side panel is made.

A Reverse Image Creates the "Blueprint" for the Part You Need

Next, the CAD program reverses the image of the scanned part to create the part you need on the opposite side of your vintage vehicle. This is the "blueprint" needed for the machinist to construct the part. The machinist decides which of his skills will best serve the job at hand. Cutting and lathing are definite possibilities, since the machinist will need to cut and trim sheets of metal and steel to create the panel. Sometimes the engineer will include exact instructions to ensure that the product is made to suit your needs perfectly. At other times, just the measurements, shapes, and types of metal are listed with a graphic of what the finished part is supposed to look like.

The Pieces Are Welded Together

Finally, after the patterned pieces have been cut and are ready to go, the machinist (or separate welder) welds the pieces together. The car panel is then sent to a paint shop for the finishing touches. The integrity of the metal pieces is tested before the pieces are welded together.

Another method that is often used to create duplicate (and rare) parts/products is to lay the product on top of sheet metal and use a laser to perfectly cut around it. The machinist then uses his/her skills to shape the piece into a duplicate item. The product used to "trace" the shape with the laser becomes the pattern for the duplicate products.