Our good friends over at Mark Williams Enterprises have been building axles and other driveline components since the mid-1970’s, and were in the race-car fabrication business for a decade prior to that. They have a sweet 32,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Colorado, where a whole slew of CNC machines knock out some of the finest driveline products on the market today. From axles to brakes to Funny Car chassis kits, there’s something in their catalog for every level of racer, and when we found this cool shop tour video, we knew you’d love to take a look-see at the inner workings of their building.
The part of the video we enjoyed most had to be the axle manufacturing process – it’s neat to see the raw forging start out with unmachined surfaces, then see how each individual machining step is completed, resulting in a complete axle that will withstand just about anything you throw at it. Gun-drilling is also a neat step to watch performed, as the drill bit needed to bore a 30-inch-long straight hole is massive and strong. Amazingly, after the axle is heat-treated, it may still need to be slightly “bent” in order to ensure straightness and tolerance control. Mark Williams uses different types of steel, from High Manganese Steel Alloy to 300M Alloy depending upon the axle’s final intended use.
But they don’t just make axles – some of the video also shows the manufacturing process they use to build their custom driveshafts. They have two different types of steel units – built form either mild steel or 4130 chromoly tubing, from 3-inch to 4-inch diameters, along with an aluminum bonded shaft that is considered the strongest available today. All of the components are still built and machined in-house, and each shaft is also balanced in-house under simulated operating conditions. Check out the video, and check out their website if you’re in the market for driveline products.