Students Build IndyCar Parts Using CNC Manufacturing Equipment
NOTE: This post was updated on July 3, 2019 to reflect updated job projections and Arrow Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports information. Since the initial posting, a Lincoln Tech graduate – highlighted below – has also been hired by the team.
There are thousands of parts that make up the complex, high-performance cars at the heart of IndyCar racing. And you might be surprised to know that many of them are smaller than a penny! They’re created on computerized equipment that’s driving the modern manufacturing world – and throughout the IndyCar season, students at Lincoln Tech in Indianapolis are at the forefront.
An associate sponsor of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (ASPM) since 2017, Lincoln Tech has expanded the partnership to give students who are training for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining careers the chance to put their skills to the test. Using equipment provided by Haas Automation, students were tasked with producing components for the team. Working in the Gene Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing at the Indianapolis campus, students created parts for the alignment and inspection of driver James Hinchcliffe’s #5 car.
The Indy campus collaboration is continuing for the 2019 season, with new CNC projects that are contributing to the team's success.
Sophisticated CNC manufacturing demands specialized skill sets
Along with Haas, the project is supported by Mitsubishi Materials US (MMUS), which provides cutting tools to the campus and also sponsors a modern manufacturing classroom. MMUS also created online educational models for Lincoln Tech students to supplement their hands-on practice with additional tutorials and exercises. MasterCam, a leading software provider, also plays a key role. Students use MasterCam software along with blueprints and CAD models to program and operate the CNC machines, then inspect the parts in post-production before providing them to Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Growth of American manufacturing means opportunities for skilled CNC programmers
The motorsports industry is just one of dozens around the world that rely on computerized manufacturing machines to build components for their products. Businesses in aerospace, healthcare, electronics, construction, defense, robotics, transportation, and many other areas – even space exploration – turn to computer-driven factories for their manufacturing needs. It’s no surprise, then, that by 2026 roughly 145,000 jobs are projected to open across the country in this field*.
CNC Machining and Manufacturing Technology is a great choice for a new career path if you’re looking for a profession with a real impact. The parts you build today will be in the devices, vehicles, and machines improving peoples’ lives tomorrow. With training programs available at Lincoln Tech’s campuses in Indiana, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas, you can come from anywhere in the country and leave school with the skills in demand across an industry that’s reshaping the idea of “Made in America”
* Source: onetonline.org, for the years 2016-2026.