Michael Waltrip Racing’s waterjet workshop (photo courtesy of Michael Waltrip Racing)
The above photo shows the waterjet workshop used by Michael Waltrip Racing. The waterjet is in use 60 to 65 hours per week, cutting parts for race cars.
The front splitter, cut from polycarbonate (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
The front splitter, installed on the race car, after a race (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
The front splitter on a race car, “splits” the oncoming air so that the front of the car stays on the ground, rather than being lifted up by the force of the air rushing past. Which means that the splitter takes a fair amount of abuse and stress and needs to be made from a strong, but lightweight material. Traditional machining methods can have trouble cutting materials like these because of their toughness, but waterjets can cut them quickly and with little scrap (which is important when the materials are also expensive!).
Rear quarter window cut from 1/8″ Lexan™ (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
Brake pedal brace cut from 0.060″ steel (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
A lower cross-member brace cut from 0.5″ (1.3 cm) steel (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
Roof flap brace cut from 0.040″ aluminum (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
The roof flaps on a race car are located at the rear of the car’s roof and are designed to activate if the air pressure across them decreases. If the race car begins to turn backwards, the flaps will disrupt the airflow to keep the vehicle on the ground.
Steering spindles are cut on the waterjet before additional machining operations (Photo courtesy Jet Edge)
Waterjets are frequently used to rough out parts prior to other machining operations. In the Michael Waltrip Racing shop, the steering spionders are first cut from steel on the waterjet and then undergo other machining operations to finish them.