Kiwi car creativity… Need for speed: Haas Machinery takes pole position in NZ build

New Zealand’s second Haas 5-axis gantry mill has found itself surrounded by fast cars in the high-tech manufacturing facility of Rodin Cars.

A 550Ha property in Waiau, North Canterbury, with three custom-built test tracks, is the perfect platform for Rodin Cars to work towards its goal of building the fastest single seater in the world.

It’s the lifelong vision of the company’s founder, David Dicker. And a new Haas addition to the workshop floor is playing its part in the manufacturing process of these high-speed vehicles.

Rodin Cars’ commitment to excellence, focus on high-precision engineering, and its handcrafted, high-performance components are developed with pure racing in mind. This means that only the best machinery makes its way into the high-performance engineering and manufacturing centre.

A 550-hectare property in Canterbury is home to the high-tech engineering and manufacturing facility

Enter the Haas GM-2-5AX: a 5-axis gantry mill designed for complex, large-part machining.

“We’re going to use it to do some fixturing work and maybe drilling of finished components,” says David Dicker, Rodin Cars’ founder.

“But the primary reason to buy it was so we could do the tooling for composite moulds.”

Prior to purchasing the Haas GM-2-5AX, the company had a smaller 3-axis router, which could machine the components in sections, but then required them to be welded together and hand finished.

The GM-2-5AX will help Rodin Cars tool composite moulds. The company’s lead engineers all come out of Canterbury University

“We really needed to upgrade our capabilities so our carbon department could work end to end, and this was an essential part of the process really,” says Dicker.

“It’s exactly the right size to do what we need to do.”

And size is certainly something that the machine delivers on.

It is a large frame gantry mill with a 3,683m X-axis, 2,223m Y-axis, and 1,000m Z-axis travel with a 20,000rpm HSK spindle.

Karl Medley, national account manager at Haas, says this gives the machine the capacity for large-frame sized components.

“Typically, it is for larger components with the large capacities. We can achieve great access, for up to 5-axis simultaneous machining,” says Medley.

“It can hit all five sides, all facets of machining.”

Dicker says the support from Hass has also been top quality, with a Haas technician having visited Rodin Cars to install the machinery.

“We have three dedicated service technicians, all Haas-certified,” says Medley.

“We took control of the install from start to completion – so that’s installation, training, etc. We have a technician based in Christchurch, dedicated for customers in the South Island.”

Haas also has “the largest inventory of spare parts in New Zealand if required”, as well as “the largest service team”.

Medley also describes Haas’s ease of use another standout.

“The Haas control is probably one of the easiest on the market to use. It’s also a common control between machines, it makes for life to be relatively easy.”

And at Rodin Cars, the Haas GM-2-5AX gantry mill is one piece of equipment that is helping to build supercars faster than any F1 car.

“To be 100% sure of the quality of your product, you need to build it yourself,” says Dicker.

“This is why we try to do as much as we can from design to production. And having the best machinery for the job guarantees that outcome.”

Photo credit: MoMac