Custom street and off-road vehicle specialist Jay Fab/Plan B Fabrication manufactures one-of-a-kind sheet-metal products with Radan.
Be they oils or acrylics, charcoals or clay, every artist has a medium and the custom fabricators at Jay Fab are no different.
While their art is rendered in sheet metal, the mission of Jason Dvorak and the Jay Fab team is similar to that of any artist: to produce one-of-a-kind creations for customers in search of something special. Most of their work entails fabricating solutions for on and off-road truck enthusiasts in the form of custom suspensions, sheet-metal-bumpers, performance parts, and more.
“I’ve been doing metal fabrication my whole life, so this was a hobby at first,” says Dvorak, who owns Jay Fab Incorporated Industries and works with another company, Plan B Fabrication, both based in Sanford, Fla.
Having gained manufacturing experience customizing his own vehicles and applying his fabrication skills working for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Dvorak opted to strike out on his own in 2011.
“People saw what I was doing and what I was capable of making, and they wanted me to do the same for them,” he says, adding that the two companies are thriving despite no formal advertising. “A lot of the stuff that we do is street-truck stuff, but we do a lot of off-road vehicles, as well.”
“If there’s a small broken line, Radan will automatically connect it, which helps to make sure that everything is correct. It helps that it is able to detect small problems before they become big problems.” Jason Dvorak, owner
The two businesses are two sides of a symbiotic coin: Jay Fab, with a team of four, performs all of the required engineering and sheet-metal fabrication. Plan B Fabrication, also with a team of four, performs all of the lifting and installation work. While Plan B operates as the “face” of the joint enterprise, the Jay Fab moniker appears on all of the company’s parts.
“Usually they’ll come in with an idea, a design that they want, and then we’ll work with that,” Dvorak says of teaming up with customers to achieve the desired result. “We supply 2D and 3D renderings until they’re happy with the design, and then we get to work.”
Getting to work entails the use of the Radan CAD/CAM sheet-metal solution, by Vero Software, which Dvorak and his team use to program and manufacture their custom parts. To begin a job in Radan, Dvorak typically imports a CAD model into the software, which seamlessly translates all common CAD file formats.
“I had previously used another software, but we were looking for something different, so we got Radan,” says Dvorak, who notes that support services were lacking with his previous system. “With Radan, I like the way that you can navigate through the software, and that it’s able to handle CAD files. A lot of software won’t recognize CAD very well, and sometimes not at all, so it makes things a lot easier.”
To complete his own design work, Dvorak uses the AutoCAD® solution, by Autodesk®, as well as the SOLIDWORKS® solution, by Dassault Systèmes. Radan offers plug-ins for both systems to increase interoperability and efficiency in working simultaneously with CAD and CAM systems.
In addition to its user-friendly interface, Dvorak credits Radan’s ability to automatically detect design imperfections. For instance, Radan identifies areas in which lines are broken and subsequently repairs the minor design flaws.
“If there’s a small broken line, Radan will automatically connect it, which helps to make sure that everything is correct,” Dvorak says. “It helps that it is able to detect small problems before they become big problems.”
Once a final design iteration is approved, the vehicle — most often a truck — is lifted and the work begins. A common install includes a four-link suspension complete with coil-over shocks that raise the truck and provide a smooth ride.
“The truck goes up on a frame stand and everything from the frame down is stripped off of the vehicle, and we replace it all will brand new sheet-metal suspension,” Dvorak explains. “A lot of it is just for looks, but your stock OEM lift kits will only get you so tall. This is a custom lift that gets you what you want — safely.”
Some jobs include the fabrication of entire chassis, complete with massive sub-frames. Some include custom axles built from scratch and finished in chrome or powder coatings. Still other jobs begin with military components that are ultimately encased in sheet-metal housings.
“In some cases, you’re essentially building a monster truck with an OEM body,” Dvorak says. “In other cases, we turn trucks into vehicles that are no longer built to be on the road.”
To ensure efficiency in both time and materials, Dvorak uses Radan’s nesting feature, which automatically creates nests or allows users to create their own. The flexibility inherent to the software enables users to edit automatically-generated nests for custom results.
“We are nesting every day,” Dvorak says. “Our patterns will have 30 different parts in them, so it’s a tool that we find very helpful. The manual nesting — the ability to move things around — works well for creating the exact nest that we want.”
The works of Jay Fab/Plan B remain in high demand, as few other companies offer similar services. As such, the business has served customers in Alaska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and even Canada.
“There’s nothing that we build that’s the same, and our ability to manufacture parts that no one else has really sets us apart.”