Custom Tooling Blocks Save Time, Money: Here’s Why

In addition to manufacturing the largest and thickest sheets in the tooling industry, Coastal Enterprises also offers an additional service to our customers: custom-bonded Precision Board tooling blocks.

“Some of the layup tools we made at Skunk Works were absolutely massive, which meant CNC time was a major factor when determining project deadlines.  Coastal’s custom bonded blocks saved us hours on the CNC and ensured we stayed on time and on budget – they are the true gold standard in tooling efficiency.”

– Jon Sharp, former Lockheed Martin employee and air racing legend, on why custom bonded blocks were their go-to choice for large tooling jobs.

Advantages of custom tooling blocks:

  • Save money by using less material
  • Decrease machining time by being closer to net size from the start
  • Arrives ready for immediate machining

With only a rough drawing of your finished part, we will fabricate a custom block that will significantly reduce waste, bonding/laminating time, and reduce time spent machining.


Save machining time and material cost
By layering the sheets of Precision Board Plus PBLT-40 with just enough excess to accommodate the customers tool design, we saved them hours of machining time. Think of how long it would take to CNC machine a solid block down to this shape! Also think of the cost savings on tooling board. Call us at: (800) 845-0745 with questions on your project!



This custom block is made out of Precision
Board Plus PBLT-10, and was machined into a mold to create one of the three composite body sections for the landspeed record-holding Speed Demon race car (see full article here), operated by George Poteet and Ron Main. In addition to buying less material, they also saved money by eliminating the plug process.

Fore Body 1

A pioneer in the use of soft tooling, Jon Sharp  shared his opinion on the advantages of custom-bonded tooling blocks with us in our previous article featuring him and his time at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

“Another major reason we were so drawn to HDU for tooling was the greater level of design flexibility that was suddenly available. We used to order our blocks several inches thicker than we needed them, which made the inevitable design changes much less of a headache. Could we have done that with metal? Absolutely not, we would have had to start all over again.”

-Jon Sharp

Whether its a composite layup tool, full-scale model, prototype, sculpture or other project – our custom tooling blocks will help keep you competitive, on schedule and on budget! Please contact us for additional information, or visit our Custom Tooling Blocks webpage.


The Year of the Demon: Headed for 500 mph in 2012

Completed Speed Demon resting in her element


The Speed Demon, a single-seat road rocket, currently holds the record for the world’s fastest turbo charged race car with a top speed, to date, of 462.345 mph!  Coastal Enterprises custom bonded blocks of PBLT-10 to be machined for the tooling of the Speed Demon.

The Speed Demon is about 30’ in length and the composite body was fabricated in 3 sections.  Coastal Enterprises custom bonded 7 different sized blocks of Precision Board Plus for the project.

The blocks were machined at Trans FX in Camarillo, CA and the fabrication done by Jon and Patricia Sharp of Nemesis Air Racing.

Ron Main, one of the Speed Demon’s owners, was very pleased with how well Precision Board Plus PBLT-10 worked for the molds.  “We had to choose between aluminum or Precision Board, and were pleased with our choice and how everything turned out.  It really saved a lot of time and money to have the net shapes delivered, ready to machine.”

Ron goes on to say, “The unique thing about PBLT-10 is that we didn’t have to make a plug first – we went straight from CAD to machining the mold.  We eliminated the plug process, which was a huge advantage. We saved time and saving time is saving money. Start of car to firing the engine was only 4 months!”

Final preparation of custom bonded blocks prior to shipping from Coastal Enterprises

Various profiles of the Demon being machined from Precision Board Plus

Next step, Fiberglass Layup!

Prepping Demon for paint

Prep before paint shop

Painting the Demon

Speed Demon being painted


Ron has a great attitude and when he wakes up in the morning, he can’t wait to get to work.  Newly retired, he’s working hard with the ‘Save the Salt’ Foundationas well as promoting and changing the cars.  As Ron so eloquently puts it, “I work with a great team and we’re all like the ‘Bad News Bears’ but when it comes to racing, we all come together.”

Turn up the volume and hold onto your seat when you watch this video and see George Poteet take the Speed Demon to 462.345 mph!!


The Speed Demon is touring and currently resides at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, CA for just a couple more months.

The goal for the Speed Demon in 2012 is to get it up to 500 mph!  This could be one of the reasons 2012 is the Year of the Demon!

For more information on Poteet & Main, the Speed Demon and other cars they make, go to their web site at

Watch for an upcoming blog on other interesting stories on Poteet & Main!  Be sure to Like us on Facebook, connect on Linkedin or Follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our bi-weekly blogs.