Industry Insider: A Visit to COBB Tuning’s Headquarters
I travel to the ATX (Austin, Texas) a fair amount to visit friends, eat great food, listen to some live music, and partake in the growing car scene there. In the past decade, a couple private road courses have popped up to scratch the turn-fast itch. Of course, having the Circuit of the Americas recently added has only grown the go-fast culture in Austin. COBB Tuning apparently saw this coming and built their headquarters in Austin. I last visited them a couple years ago while in town for the first Formula 1 race. As with the rest of Austin, COBB has grown quite a bit since then.
Walking into their new front entrance, I found the tech support team hard at work.
Across from the tech support guys are a couple couches and display cabinets. Used tires with a piece of glass on top make great magazine stands. The intercooler in the display case behind the couch was a one-off with carbon fiber end tanks. Above it, you can see a few rapid prototypes used during the design process of a downpipe and intake.
Walking down the hall a bit leads to the engineering center. There was some confidential stuff going on back there, so I didn’t venture further. Back in the day before the new entrance section was built, most everyone sat in this section. With the freed up space, COBB bought themselves a new toy in the form of a 3D printer sitting on the table on the right. With this new tool, they are able to rapidly design and prototype functional parts. The key word is ‘functional’ as their previous rapid prototypes were only good for mock-up and test fitment. This 3D printer uses ABS type thermoplastics and is the exact same family of machines I used to make my brake ducts
and NACA duct
. Having this functional rapid prototype capability in-house really cuts down on the development time for creating new products. Oh, and off to the left is a FARO arm used to take measurements of parts and import them into 3D solid modeling software. So, say you have a stock downpipe off of something like a WRX or GT-R. You can use the FARO arm to measure it and generate a 3D model. Then you design your upgraded downpipe and print it out on the 3D printer for test fitment. Having all these tools in-house just reduced the time for one design iteration taking a month or more into a week. I love this stuff! Okay, sorry, I’m done geeking out now.
COBB provides their engineers with all the tools necessary to get their jobs done. Car lifts, tools, and a machine shop with welding stations are available for use.