Gearhead Hypnosis: Watch A Cube Of Aluminum Get Machined Into The Block For A W16 Engine

Gearhead Hypnosis: Watch A Cube Of Aluminum Get Machined Into The Block For A W16 Engine

The W16 isn’t exactly the most common engine out there. Yes, the Bugatti Veyron is equipped with one but a quick check of the rest of the automotive world shows that it is the only thing that is packing a 16 cylinder mill laid out in a W configuration. We think that is a problem and it seems that the people at the Matsurra machine company do as well because in this video promoting their five axis CNC machine they show a literal cube of aluminum being cut, drilled, shaved, and shaped into a W16 engine block that is such a thing of beauty it would be shameful to actually put it in a car.

This video was made a few years ago and it is important to note that because the evolution of these machines has proceeded at a stunning pace. While we are not machinists and shiny things always impress and distract us, the CNC mills of day may actually be able to make this a shorter job than the unit featured in the video does. The speed and dexterity of the mill is what is stunning to us. How quickly it changes tools, how easily it rotates the block and positions it perfectly for the next operation. The reality is that in the business of making things from metal, speed is money, as is accuracy. The fact that the piece which comes off this machine is ready to be used in part of an assembly is also mind blowing.

Think of all the work that went into casting blocks, rough machining, and ultimately finish machining them over the decades. If Henry Ford were given the opportunity to see this machine at work, he’d likely have a heart attack. Either that or he’d be rendered speechless out of the pure joy he’d experience watching it complete jobs like this block.

Oh and if you fail to watch the video all the way through you’ll yell at us and say we don’t know the difference between 12 and 16 but the truth is that the last two bores are not created until late in the series of machining operations. We’re guessing that was to maintain the strength of the block was it was being whipped around in the mill.

This is totally awesome.


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