I had an incredible talk with Craft Pattern today, about making a custom cast iron machine frame.
They really took the time to talk me through the process and helped me understand the different techniques used.
Isn’t it great when you get to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about?
Have you considered cast iron as a possibility on any of your projects? I hadn’t until recently, but now a whole new world of possibility has opened up.
In addition to casting, they offer full CNC machining services on the castings, so it sounds like a one-stop-shop.
Here are a couple of pictures of large pinecones made out of soft maple.
They were carved on the CAMaster CNC Router and finished by hand.
At Sinking Valley Woodworks, we take on odd jobs from time to time. One of these odd jobs was some car parts for an old Bentley restoration. Wood was a much more common material in cars in that era.
This particular piece is what goes at the top of the windshield and connects to the roof. It has curves on all faces, and compound curves on most. The new part was made out of Ash, carved on a CNC router, and finished by hand.
Below is some before and after pictures.
There is a great article about Vertical Turning over at Okuma’s site.
I find this interesting because of the capabilities of the OKUMA MU500 5-Axis mill with turning capabilities. What an impressive machine:
I have been rather impressed with the accuracy of our CAMAster Cobra 508 ATC CNC Router. Here is a picture of a similar machine:
For having a travel of over 5′ x 8′, it still handles the fine details with quite a bit of repeatable accuracy. I helped to make a candle holder out of a piece of curly oak. It turned out to be very pretty.
In the following picture, you can see 4 toolpaths. The large circular pocket (0.25″ deep), the small inner pocket, the radius around the edge of the circle, and the engraving.
The rest of the project was completed using a bandsaw and conventional tools. CNC brings a lot to the table (pun intended), but it is more amazing what a craftsman can do by hand.
Did you know that Okuma, who is a manufacturer of state of the art CNC machines, hand scrapes all the seven components of a machine foundation?
Unfortunately, there is still no technology available to achieve the geometric precision that hand scraping does. Components need to be aligned within a millionth of an inch. And it’s where that kind of precision is needed that makes it even more critical: your machine’s foundation. The seven components of a machine’s foundation simply must be hand scraped to create ideal flatness, to develop proper oil pockets, and to achieve those tight tolerances.
In the world of CNC routers, we talk in “thousandths of an inch”. But in the above, they are talking in “millionths of an inch” and “by hand” in the same paragraph. That is simply amazing to me.
Here are some pictures of the finished product. The sum of some of the efforts of man, machine, and nature.
I like the game Go. Wikipedia says it was invented about 2,500 years ago in ancient China. You can read more about it here:
I was eating M&Ms yesterday and realized they would make great Go pieces. The added benefit is that if you capture your enemy… yum… We got some big bags of the colorful candy and sorted them. Note this is being done on our dining room “chess” table.
The plans were drawn up using DraftSight CAD (from the makers of SolidWorks). It looked like this:
I imported that into VCarve Pro and generated toolpaths. Here is what some of the gcode looks like:
I started by screwing down a leftover piece of pre-finished oak plywood and double-checking some tool measurements. Here is a picture of the grid being cut with a 90 degree v bit.
Subsequent operations included using a 0.50″ ball nosed bit for the edges of the pockets, a 1/2″ straight bit for the center of the pockets, a v bit for the outside chamfer, and a 0.25″ carbide upcut bit for cutting the board out.
Since I lack a vacuum table, I used both onion skinning (a very thin final layer) and tabs (leftover connections you remove with a chisel) to keep the board from moving during cut out.
Here is a closeup of the grid. I need to understand a bit more about feeds and speeds with v-bits because of the very small diameter at the tip of the bit.
Here is a close up of the orange side during game play.
And finally a view of all-out-go-combat from above. I think orange is winning, don’t you?