CBN and PCD, the Newer Alternatives
By Dave Monyhan
There has been quite a rush to CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) in cutting iron in the last ten years. Some machines are just wet grinders converted to use a CBN bit. Others have been designed to be a CBN cutting machine. Set up is critical when using CBN. The aggressive cutting action it delivers is directly related to how true the set up is and how conscientious the operator is.
CBN, an ultra-hard cutting material consisting of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride with a metallic or ceramic binder is primarily used to machine hardened ferrous material. It’s available either as a tip brazed to a carbide insert carrier or as a solid insert.
CBN has its limitations. It likes to cut large amounts of material with out interruption. Guess what? The average cylinder head or block has many holes that interrupt the cutting action of the tool bit. With that in mind it’s even more critical to have correct speeds and feeds on your surfacer to adjust for machining cylinder heads and blocks. CBN must be driven by rigid machine tools with secure holding fixtures. As I stated earlier, some CBN machines are simply converted wet grinders, and others are designed as CBN machine. But not all CBN tips are the same. The purity of CBN content separates price from quality. I recommend the titanium coated CBN tips, due to the witness mark left on the tip after you have surfaced a workpiece. Plus the titanium coating delivers longer life. These tips can be rotated about every 2-3 degrees so you can get the maximum life out of the tip. Plus if you’re using a solid CBN tip, after one side is worn out you simply flip it over and use it again. It’s essential that when you rotate the tip, that the holder is clean and the holding finger is sound. There’s nothing worse than having your machine throw a $250 tool bit somewhere in the shop, because chances are you are not going to find it. CBN can also be sharpened. If the tip isn’t fractured, it can be lapped back to spec, extending the life of the tip.
PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond) is an ultra-hard tool material (substrate) consisting of a synthetic polycrystalline diamond tip brazed to a carbide insert carrier. Primarily used to machine non-ferrous materials at high speeds, PCD has been developed specifically to machine aluminum. CBN only smears the aluminum when removing metal without producing the necessary finish today’s aluminum heads require. To extend the life of your tooling, use adequate lubrication.
Scott Biesanz, owner of Goodson Tools & Supplies for Engine Builders has retired effective December 31, 2019.
Scott purchased the company in 1979 from the Winona Tool Company and spent the next 40 years growing Goodson into the company it is today. Some highlights from Scott’s tenure as owner include:
By the numbers, Mick Snyder and the Snyder Motorsports Team had a stellar 2019. Across the year, the team saw 9079 feet difference in adjusted altitude, traveled 7822 miles, attended 17 shows at 8 different tracks, raced at 13 events across 9 months, made 63 passes with a single Snyder Hemi Engine and Snyder Lencodrive, qualified at the top of the sheet 7 times, made it to the finals 4 times, parked in the Winner’s Circle twice and finished the season off with the Texas Outlaw Pro Mod Championship. This season championship marks the 6th championship for Snyder and the 7th for Snyder Motorsports. Snyder Motorsports has been evolving, innovating and winning for the past 3 decades. Their championships cover 4 organizations and 5 different classes with dragsters, funny cars and door cars.
“This was the first full season for Snyder Motorsports in Texas and first full season with our new-to-us 1968 Blown, Electronic Fuel Injected Camaro, so we approached the year with a plan to hit a lot of different series and events. We never planned on competing for a championship, but it’s always nice to get one at the end of the season to validate all the hard work and effort.” Snyder continued, “We spent the year at the track testing new products, trying new ideas, promoting our sponsors and supporting our customers. Our SMS Camaro is a banner for everything we sell, so to take a TOPMA championship and finish in 4th in Top Sportsman with the Midwest Pro Mod Series is very rewarding.”
“Our little racing family of five had a great time this season. My wife, Lindsey had her first year as crew chief. She has more steps in a day than I get the whole weekend driving. Our three kids are getting older and are helping more now than they know at the track. We were able to race as a family at the World Series of Pro Mod in Denver, a Pro Mod versus Fuel Altered race at Northstar Dragway, compete in our first and second Throwdown in T-Town, run with the MidWest Pro Mod Series at the NHRA Fall Nationals and attend over half a dozen races at Xtreme Raceway Park, which has turned into our home track and the SMS Test Track. I feel very blessed to be racing and winning as a family.” Snyder continued, “I also can’t thank Marty Robertson enough for what he does to support our team. We couldn’t do this without him.”
The Snyder Motorsports Race Team would like to thank their sponsors Lencodrive Racing Transmissions, Coan Converters, JE Pistons, NGK Spark Plugs, Lucas Oil, Flatout Gaskets, ComSYNC EFI, R&R Racing Products, Aeromotive Fuel Systems, VP Racing Fuels, Hot Rod Processing, Mick’s Performance, Snyder Auto, Goodson Tools & Supplies and Safety-Kleen for their continued support over the years.
Please visit the Snyder Motorsports official website at
During a long layoff between Woodburn and the Vegas National event Casey spent many, many hours working on the car making everything as nice as possible and making a few new parts.
This work paid great dividends as the first run in Vegas was a 5.26 at 275 mph. We followed that with a 5.28 and another 5.26. Both well over 270. We qualified 6th with 20 cars attempting to qualify.
First round we raced Fred Hanssen. We ran 5.303 to his 5.305 with Casey having an .046 light to Fred’s .089 light. Second round we had another blown alcohol car, James Stevens. His 5.67 with an .085 light was no match for Casey’s .042 light and a 5.31 at 273. Then came the semifinal against Randy Meyers car with Julie Nataas driving. Our 5.33 at 271 was going to come up short of her 5.23 at 276.
All in all, it was a very good outing for us. Our best in a while. Next stop Pomona for the World Finals.
Track and weather conditions were quite a bit different from Vegas. Our first run was a nice 5.28 at 273. The next two runs we did a little testing which resulted in a bit of tire shake. The first shaker Casey shut it off and then pedaled it on the second one to a 5.38 at 273. We were qualified seventh and put the car back to the non-test parts.
First round we went 5.24 at 275 a career best e.t. for Casey getting the win light over Ron August’s 5.37. Second round we slowed a bit with warmer temperature and a better track. A 5.30 at 273 easily covered Duane Shields 13.88 tire smoker. Again, the semifinal was the end of the line for us. Shawn Cowie put us in the right lane and when the car went over the bump the front end got light and headed for the centerline. Shawn went 5.25 at 276 and went on to win the event.
When all the smoke cleared, we placed 5th in the West Region and 13th in the World. We are thinking that is pretty good considering our limited schedule. It is a mere 78 days until we are back at Pomona for the Winter Nationals. Unless we hit the lottery, we will run a very similar schedule next year.
We can’t thank all of you enough for helping us do this. Without your help we couldn’t do it.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.