In November, Vortex Tool Co., a manufacturer of router and insert cutting tools for the woodworking industry, donated a supply of tooling to the McGill Baja Racing team of McGill University in Montreal.
The team is comprised of 50 engineering students whose mission is to design, build and race a single-seat, prototype, off-road race car. Each year, the team competes against more than 100 universities from around the world in several competitions across Canada and the United States, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
The three-day competitions include design presentations, tests of the vehicle’s capabilities (such as rock crawling and hill climbing), and an endurance race on the final day. The team had its best finish — third overall — at last June’s season-ending event in Illinois.
Vortex product manager Mike Serwa says the company has offered an aggressive program to support education for about 10 years, including a hefty discount on tooling.
“McGill requested some tooling and we donated a number of items they needed for manufacturing. Hopefully, when these students use our tooling and see how well it performs, that when they move into the industry they will continue to use our products,” Serwa says.
“We gave them some cutting tools, various types of standard solid-carbide router bits and things like that. They have a project where they manufacture lightweight, Baja-style racing cars and they have a pretty good history as far as their success. They have a set of constraints they and the other schools have to conform to as far as restrictions on the vehicle.”
Serwa explains that the carbide cutting bits were used primarily for machining and manufacturing the MDF jigs and molds that make up the vehicle’s body. The special design of the Vortex cutting tools allows them to cut faster and longer than other cutters while improving the quality of the cut by reducing chipping and fuzzing, he says.
For information, call Vortex Tool Co. at 800-355-7708 or visit www.vortextool.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue.