When airplane mechanic and longtime recreational flying enthusiast Ken Bricker took over the helm of Summit Aerosports Inc. two years ago, he made a commitment to continue manufacturing the safest and most durable Powered ParaChute (PPC) airframes on the market. A former PPC distributor, Bricker immediately began researching how to modernize Summit’s manufacturing capabilities with a small CNC machine.
After relocating the business to Yale, Michigan, Bricker purchased a PCNC 1100 from Tormach. “When I brought the company here, I had vendors but none of the tooling. The original owner kept their mills and original machining center and I needed a way to support legacy and new customers.” As a small-scale manufacturer, Bricker immediately realized the benefits of owning a Tormach PCNC mill. “Sometimes I only need ten of one part in a year or I need one of this part and one of that. You can’t outsource the work because it’s too expensive. Having a CNC in my machine shop really cuts down on the overhead cost.” Bricker uses his PCNC 1100 exclusively in his shop. “I make all the parts for the powered parachutes on the mill. The holes need to be in exact locations so replacement parts can be riveted on in existing holes.” He has also machined some of the jigs used for bending aluminum. Next on Bricker’s list is fishmouth cutting on steel tubes. “Instead of making a tubing notch, I’m going to end up machining on the mill. This is not a simple solution, because they’re compound fishmouths.” To tackle this project, Bricker will use Tormach’s Duality Lathe, a small CNC lathe accessory that interfaces directly with the PCNC 1100.