Chris Hatfield Toolmaker
Back in the late 60s I did an apprenticeship as Fitter Turner and technician Toolmaker with the late Joseph Lucas of Cheltenham Victoria and Repco clutch of East Bentleigh Vic.--a division of PBR.
This is where I attained a good and broad grounding in the automotive components trade.
Later, more knowledge was gained from working at very competitive contract toolrooms and engineering precision machine shops.
Lucas was a complete manufacturing enterprise for its auto electrical-- generators, alternators, starter motors, coils, distributors, lighting, lenses, bezels and even door handles.
The metal components either pressure die cast, stamped, pressed or machined by tooling and specialised machinery, all conceived and made onsite.
The plastics were injection moulded (tail light lenses) or compression moulded (distributor caps).
Door handles and bezels etc were polished and chrome plated at the plant.
Car batteries were also completely manufactured here.
"Those were the days" -- when we conceived and hand made all the "Hotted" up car parts such as the "lowering blocks", the "stick shifter", the "sports steering wheel", "the widies" reversed rim wheels etc.
Nowadays these bits are all nicely packaged and are off the shelf from China ready to go.
We feel that there is a niche market for various custom made components, whether its for individual appearance as in "hot rods", "kit cars" or race car performance.
Especially in todays market we have modern CAD CAM with FEA (finite element analysis) technology and CNC machinery that can produce custom shapes easily.
N.B. the (FEA) finite element analysis may be a useful tool in designing / developing components where an engineering certification is required.
Briefly, experiences include:
- Metals of all types and their treatments (heat treatments to plating)
- Precision machining all types from power shovels as in mining to micro medical components
- Plastics processing such as injection, extrusion, blow, compression moulding to thermo forming
- Tooling -- metal stamping press tool, all tooling for plastic injection, blow, extrusion and forming