The Howe twins, or the Black Ops Brothers as they are more popularly known have relied on SolidWorks 3D software to invent everything from robotic tanks and ATVs to subterranean transport vehicles and unmanned fire-fighting vehicles.
Beginning with a log cabin using a new hatchet when they were eight and a robotic arm from bike parts at 10 years, the brothers have, at 27 years created one of the world’s fastest robotic tanks and a very compact all-terrain armoured vehicle.
Today, with the help of SolidWorks 3D CAD software, the Howe twins, Geoff and Mike are able to invent extreme Mad Max-style vehicles with amazing capabilities.
Known in the Defense Department R&D circles as the ‘The Wright brothers of the military’, the prime defence contractors also star in Discovery Channel’s ‘Black Ops Brothers, Howe & Howe Tech’ show.
Some of their creations produced at their main business, Howe and Howe Technologies Inc., Waterboro, Maine include:
- The Ripsaw high-speed tank, capable of 80 mph and zero to 50 in 5 seconds
- The Mini Rip ATV
- The PAV1, one of the world’s smallest tanks for police and SWAT teams
- The Subterranean Rover, a rugged mining personnel transport vehicle
- The Thermite unmanned fire-fighting vehicle
According to President Michael Howe, they take the top technologies available for everything they build and push them to the limits.
Similarly, when choosing design and fabrication tools, they go for the best software and hardware available so that they can test the boundaries.
Howe and Howe chose SolidWorks for its ease of use and compatibility with other tools.
Describing SolidWorks as being on the cutting edge of interface design, Howe says the CAD software has a short learning curve, allowing their new engineers to pick it up quickly.
Additionally, SolidWorks allows them to output different CAD formats, making them compatible with a wide range of customers.
Adopting SolidWorks has dramatically streamlined development at Howe and Howe Technologies where the design team makes extensive use of tools for efficient design of weldments, and 3D models drive plasma torch and CNC cutters.
Other benefits include accomplishing roll-cage fabrication in one-tenth the time in addition to reducing scrap costs by 85 percent.
Howe concludes by saying that the efficiencies gained through SolidWorks allow them to compete successfully against bigger defence contractors, taking them from two guys working off hours to a multi-million dollar research and development company.
SolidWorks CAD software is available in Australia from Solidtec Solutions- SolidWorks 3D CAD .