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Howe Brothers Discover Precision Fabrication

Howe brothers discover precision fabrication

The Discovery Channel reality stars use waterjet cutting to produce their specialty vehicles

By Dan Davis

April 1, 2011

The stars of Howe and Howe Tech on Discovery Channel see metal fabricating as a creative outlet for their imaginations--while also catching the attention of the Department of Defense.

The Ripsaw unmanned tank has inspired many other Howe & Howe Technologies extreme vehicles, such as (clockwise) the Ripchair, an off-road wheelchair; the Riptide, an amphibious version of the Ripsaw; the PAV 1 or Badger, the world’s smallest armored all-terrain vehicle; and the Mini Rip, a miniature Ripsaw for the consumer looking for a unique off-road adventure.

How are fabricators made? The Howes are fabricators made from natural inquisitiveness, tireless enthusiasm, and keen intellect. No formal fabricating training was needed.

More specifically, twin brothers Michael and Geoff Howe are the stars of Discovery Channel's "Black Ops Brothers: Howe & Howe Tech," which documents the activities of the brothers' Waterboro, Maine, shop as it fabricates extreme vehicles for military, law enforcement, and private-sector customers.

They got their big start when their track-based, unmanned tank, dubbed the Ripsaw, was one of three finalists for the 2006 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge. When the vehicle made its appearance in the finals at the Washington, D.C., Auto Show, Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center officials noticed. A few months later, the Howes were making military prototypes for the Department of Defense, and five years later they continue to work on manned and unmanned military models.

In fact, that early work has inspired other vehicles (see Figure 1). The design, fabrication, and testing of these vehicles are covered on the cable series, which is in its second year.


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