Motorcycle enthusiasts comprise a sort of subculture defined by the technology, aesthetics, and terminology of their prized machines, an affinity group that is highly engaged, dynamic, and obviously mobile. They also represent a significant commercial market, one that supports designers, manufacturers, fabricators, and retailers who maintain and advance the machines that are the center of their attention. 

Misfit Industries in Plano, Tex., is one of those enterprises. It manufactures and supplies customized parts Harley-Davidson touring models, known as “baggers.” Its high-concept designs are engineered to fits, creating radical machines that will attract attention, most importantly the attention of other enthusiasts. But, the need for speed and technology is just as important in a specialty market, as Misfit learned recently.

In the past, Misfit built most of its parts in fiberglass, manually laying composite fibers on a mold, spreading resin over the fibers, forming the part, and finishing it to specification. Of course, this was all very labor-intensive (the process could take six to eight weeks for some parts) and many customers did not want to wait.

NVision Inc. helped Misfit Industries reduce the time and production cost for bringing a new series of Harley-Davidson custom parts to market. Recently, the fabricator converted a number of its custom parts from composite materials to diecast aluminum and steel in order to reduce labor costs, and lead-time. NVision’s scanning and CAD modeling services helped it to reverse-engineer the previous generation of its own parts, factory parts, and sections of motorcycles that interface with the parts. The resulting CAD models were provided to a diemaker, which provided Misfit with the hard tools necessary to continue its production routines.

NVision develops non-contact optical measurement devices and provides related services for reverse engineering and inspection. It also offers contract-scanning, in particular for aerospace, power generation, and oil-and-gas industry customers.

For Misfit, the CAD conversion effort ensured that each custom part it produces now and in the future will match seamlessly with previous and new generations of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.