When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

cutting the chest pieces

This morning I was able to set up the chest layers. These were done exactly like face layers were. I imported the the whole front of the chest and using the slice component feature, cut them into 3" layers. I was able to grab each component in the 2d window and move the parts around for a better fit on the sheet.
Then using the fit vectors to bitmap feature, I could define the top of the sheet that I didn't want to toolpath.
Having done that, it was right onto applying the cutter toolpaths. Selecting all the vectors as my cutting boundaries, I picked the 1/2" ballnose cutter from the tool data-base, set up my material parameters and hit calculate. The thing that I quite like about Aspire is how FAST the toolpath engine runs. It was able to calculate all that cutting in just under 5 seconds. And I did time it :) If you look closely at all those blue lines, those are the lines that our Techno cnc router is going to travel, milling away the foam and leaving the final shape.

The final step was to run a cutout pass to release the parts from the styrofoam sheet.

These are the parts run on the simulation in the computer. This is fantastic because I can see exactly what I will have before I even fire up our Techno!

Next up will be all the other parts that need cutting out.

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