Tag: CAM

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

Sunday, April 2, 2017 | By | Add a Comment
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CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine

A CNC hot wire foam cutter is a computer controlled machine used for mainly cutting Polystyrene foam (also known as EPS foam) and similar materials, such as polypropylene (Known as EPP) and polyethylene (known as PE).  The machine consists of a wire running between 2 towers, which is heated via a hot wire power supply, thus melting and cutting the foam into the desired shape.  The towers can move in an X-Axis (right-left) and a Y-Axis (up-down).

Cutting the foam is done in 3 basic steps:
1. Drawing the desired shape to be cut.
2. Converting the shape into G-Code
3. Running the machine with the software to execute the desired shape.

Any CAD software, such as AutoCAD or Corel Draw can be used for drawing the shape, as long as the file can be saved in a DXF format.  There are various CAD files in the market.  More recommended ones include Instant Engineer 14, which can be purchased online for few dollars, DesignCAD, AutoCAD and TurboCAD.  Another CAD software is DevFoam, that combines both the drawing and the G-Code generation.  It is a user friendly application for cutting foam with a 4 Axis CNC machine.

Next step is to convert the shape into G-Code.  The G-Code is another name for the computerized tool by which we tell the machine what to cut and how to cut it.  For the conversion one can use software such as DeskCNC, DevCAD or FoamWorks.
DeskCNC was originally designed for a 3 Axis CNC Router machines.  It was later on modified to enable a 4 Axis foam cutters to run as well.
FoamWorks is known for its simplicity and being a user friendly software.  It is designed to drive a 4 Axis foam cutter via a parallel port of any windows based computer.  It can cut any shape, but works best for cutting RC wings.

For the last stage of running the machine, software such as Mach3 and DeskCNC can be used.  The Mach3 program is a G-Code reader.  It allows you to turn your PC computer into a 4 Axis CNC controller for machining and cutting.  It is an operating system for running the CNC hot wire foam cutter.  It was originally developed for the home hobbyist, and later modified for use for any CNC machine operation for industrial use.

The use of Solidworks design services in engineering products

The use of Solidworks design services in engineering products

Sunday, February 19, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The use of Solidworks design services in engineering products

In an engineering firm, you are often faced with a lot of tasks to achieve in a limited time frame.  You have your engineers fully engaged in mechanical designs of different specifications and standards.  You may have considered having more experts coming onboard to resolve your time constraint problems.  As true as this may be, you can have an option of hiring equally experienced experts through mechanical design services at a much affordable and realistic cost.

Outsourcing your non-core mechanical designs to mechanical design service companies which specialize in them is the modern approach to engineering today.  Many of them you’ll find around would handle your modeling in 3D, analyze your design specification and layout and provide the required output using latest engineering and design software such as computer aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software.

If your company requires the services of the areas underlisted, you can make a call through to have them regularly fill your needs.

Mechanical engineering

• You can have services of the following readily available if you are in short of man hour to complete your mechanical engineering works.

• FEA analysis service

• Simulation and animation service

• Standardization of design

• Design modularization

• Design conversions from ISO to ANSI or otherwise

• 2D to 3D modeling conversion

• Design scaling

• Design quality measure and compliance

• You can also have services in value engineering

These services and much more will provide the cushion you’ll need to meet up your company’s target and within a considerably affordable budget.

Solid works design services

SolidWorks is one program employed by many engineers in their designs.  It is a windows based software that will give your design layout and sketch the modeling that meets the required specification. This is carried out through computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering technology (CAE) technologies.  As a service company will provide, you’ll get the best for your money’s worth and right on time too.

This mechanical design tool will bring out your product in the variant of the model you have requested.  With experts available, you have no need to bother what comes up on your request as all will be completed above and beyond your expectations.

FEA (Finite Element Analysis)

The structure of a design is known through its design components whether they measure up to standard or not, and are the pillars of the final product.  A well laid structure gives a good final product while on the contrary, a bad product is envisaged.

Finite element analysis service is one more area in your engineering work that can be handled outside your core projects.  Engineering designs are with standards and must meet specification. Therefore, the analysis of finite elements for qualitative and quantitative compliance will be well handled with the utmost professionalism of quality standards that are required.  The FEA services experts are experienced hands who would deliver as expected for your ongoing project.

Working with good engineering services provider is an added value you can access for your company.

Solidworks Surface Modeling

Solidworks Surface Modeling

Saturday, November 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Solidworks Surface Modeling

Hello again my faithful readers, I hope you are all doing well and your holiday festivities are bringing you wonderful tidings of joy this holiday season.  I am still working on patching things up with this website.  There have been a lot of hang ups in getting things smoothed and ironed out with the transfer of my old site to my new domain name, so I hope you will all be understanding and bear with me as these issues are resolved in due time.  I want to thank all of my loyal readers who have remained dedicated and faithful throughout the months since I first began my blog, and I look forward to more prosperous times and continued blogging in the future.  And of course, I bid you all happy holidays and I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday solstice.

Today, I would like to share something new and exciting for all of you drafter/designers out there who may have experience in working with Solidworks, or would like more experience in Solidworks surface designing through tutorials and step-by-step courses.  I have recently been introduced to a great site at solidworks-insight.com which has some wonderful beginner to advanced courses on solidworks design.  For those of you who are craving a more advanced project, there is also an Aston Martin you can download the .PDF instructional files for too!  Of course, nothing this good could be free, and it isn’t.  But for $15, you can learn some impressive Solidworks designing skills with the experience of designing your own Aston Martin!  Yes, you too can enjoy the wonder of what it would be like to be the designer for cars that the likes of secret agent men like James Bond 007 drive as his vehicle of choice!

For those of you who wish to take on an even bigger project, there is even an extensive yacht creation course available at www.yachttutorial.com.  This project will supposedly teach you to become a MASTER at Solidworks design.  However, like I said before, nothing this good could be free, and it isn’t.  The price to acquire the knowledge and skills to become a Solidworks MASTER is a rather large fee, indeed!  But for only approximately $370, you can learn some extremely valuable skills and create something worthwhile in the process.

I, myself, am currently working on an Audi R8 design which I acquired at www.solidworksaudir8.com.  This is a great course and it comes with a downloadable video player and many hours of videos to assist you step by step in creating this vehicle.  But, yes you guessed it.  NOTHING this good could be free, and of course….it isn’t.  But, for $137 you can design your own Audi R8 and be on your way to gaining essential Solidworks skills.

There are a lot of tutorials out there that give you good fundamental skills and knowledge with Solidworks.  However, there are a LOT of incomplete and corrupt tutorials out there as well.  A lot of what you these tutorials teach may or may not be the best and most efficient ways of working with Solidworks.  It would be my suggestion to take the best of what you learn from these tutorials and develop your own tactics in using the tools and quick selections to give you the best advantage in the use of the program, especially when time and speed are of necessity in a professional environment.

Making an Iron Man Suit

Making an Iron Man Suit

Saturday, April 30, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Making an Iron Man Suit

Cosplay and semi-cosplay costumes can sometimes take a large amount of creative processes in order to achieve the desired end results of the designer.  3D printing is the favored process, since it is usually the most inexpensive and quickest way to create custom designed pieces.  Other processes, such as molding and casting can get to be somewhat pricey and time consuming, but they may also be necessary depending on the level of detail and expectations of the cosplayer.

The more complicated the costume is, the more detail and planning is necessary to create the costume in its entirity.  This often involves sketching the costume out to get a visualization of how the costume will look in different views on paper as well as creating scaled models of the completed costume design using a variety of materials such as wire frames, sculpting clay, manequins, plastics and many other materials to create your models.

If the costume involves moving parts or electrical configurations, then the designer must consider doing engineering tests and electrical layouts and testing as well.  Proper materials should be tested and used for different weight ratios and strength and durability depending on where each piece will be placed and the functionality of the piece.

These are just a couple of considerations to think about when creating a highly detailed and complicated costume.  Among those who create these cosplay costumes is James Bruton, a sci-fi and superhero fan who uses his Lulzbot TAZ dual-extruder 3D printer to create some very complex costumes ranging from an Iron Man suit to Android bipedal legs and even Star Wars replica parts.

In his free time, Bruton helps run the Southampton Makerspace and shares his builds on his website XRobots.  While he builds his complicated costumes using a variety of material types ranging from wood to plastic, the majority of the 3D printed parts used in his designs consist of ABS plastic and Ninjaflex.

The video above shows the processes involved in making an Iron Man suit with lighted configurations and engineered parts.  Many of the designer’s other costumes have much more complicated and technologically advanced components.

I hope this video gives you some inspiration on designing your own cosplay costume.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

Thursday, April 14, 2016 | By | Add a Comment
A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Le...

A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Leonhard Building at Penn State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nederlands: Presentatie van de 3D printer op d...

Nederlands: Presentatie van de 3D printer op de Wikimedia Conferentie 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

When learning about what manufacturing machines suit your needs as a parts designer or creator, there seems to be a universe of factors to consider when finding the best machines to meet your needs.  For those of my fellow readers that have relatively little or no knowledge on these machines, I would like to briefly describe the functionality as well as the fundamental differences and highs and lows of CNC/3D printing for parts.

CNC mills can work on a huge variety of materials: metal alloys (e.g. aluminum, steel alloys, brass, copper), softwoods and hardwoods, thermoplastics, acrylic, modeling foams, machining wax (for creating a positive model for casting).  You may need different cutting tools for different materials, but the tool-to-machine interfaces are usually standardized – so the tools can easily be exchanged.  This way, you can utilize a CNC mill to manufacture prototypes in the same material that will be used for the final product – so you can immediately start testing.

Desktop 3D printers are usually restricted to a few materials, typically thermoplastics (PLA, ABS, sometimes nylon) or resins. Thermoplastics can be mixed with other materials such as ceramics, wood, metal, but the workpieces produced on a 3D printer will not be as robust as workpieces cut from a block of metal or wood.  As thermoplastics and resin 3D printers use completely different methods, a resin printer cannot handle thermoplastics and vice versa.  These machines are far from perfect and the ability to create precision parts depends on a variety of factors.  In practice, dull or damaged cutting tools, worn mills or faulty data delivered by the CAM software may result in inaccurate workpieces.  Precision in 3D printing is far from perfect and many parts can have many flaws and errors in their creation.  Some 3D printers promise very high precision but fail to deliver it from time to time.  Precision also relies on the capabilities and skills of the programmer/user, and there is a lot of learning and trial and error that goes along with using these machines.

Comparing speed is difficult as CNC mills and 3D printers are typically used for different workpieces and materials.  However, 3D printing jobs often take hours to complete, whereas CNC milling jobs with comparable size and complexity normally do not take more than an hour.  CNC mills are typically faster when chipping away material from a solid block than 3D printers that build objects layer by layer and occasionally have to slow down to avoid printing problems.

Depending on the material used, CNC milling can get extremely noisy.  Cutting metal or wood using a large-diameter tool (to quickly remove large parts) can be ear-deafening.  The rattling noise from a desktop 3D printer without casing is like a gentle waft in comparison.  When cutting wax models, the noise from a CNC mill is hardly perceptible, however.  When working on a metal or wood block, a CNC mill also vibrates heavily and you wouldn’t want to have it on the desktop near you (even if you wore ear defenders to block of the noise).  Vibration normally is no issue when 3D printing.

CNC milling means cutting away material using a rotating tool.  So, as a result there is a lot of material spurting away, and that may be quite sharp (e.g., splinters of wood or metal).  Not all CNC mills are fully enclosed when working on a block of material, so things can get quite messy.  And with enclosed mills, you have to clean up the mess inside, once the workpiece is finished.  3D printing is not messy by design.  When something goes wrong, however, you may need to remove thermoplastics from your printbed.  But that is nothing compared to cleaning up after CNC milling.  By design, there is less waste in 3D printing as this technology only requires the material needed for building the workpiece.  In CNC milling you need a block of material that has at minimum the size of the workpiece and a lot of material has to be removed and often cannot be recycled.

CNC milling is the better solution when manufacturing workpieces that need to be extremely robust and precise and/or heat-resistant.  3D printing has more exotic fields of application: It can be used for bioprinting, for printing food, for building purposes, and it can be used in space (e.g. on the ISS or in future space missions).

Pricewise, getting started is less costly with 3D printing: You can get decent 3D printers for about $500, while the CNC mills featured on Kickstarter recently start at $2,000.  Technology in these machines however is rapidly advancing and new developments are continually being rolled out including a machine that has the functionality of a CNC machine, 3D printer and laser cutter/engraver combined.  So, if you want the best of all worlds, you may want to wait a little while to purchase a machine to cater to all your needs.

Making Molded Helmet Designs

Making Molded Helmet Designs

Sunday, April 3, 2016 | By | Add a Comment


Making Molded Helmet Designs

Another recommended accessory for the cosplayer or semi-cosplayer at heart, is, of course, the helmet or head wear.  This often requires making molded helmet designs of your own creation in order to fit your unique alter ego.  Maybe Bruce Wayne wouldn’t care if he were to reveal his identity as Batman as long as his job get’s done, but for the sake of his protection, along with some cool gadgets in his helmet, it is safer for him to don the bat helm.

So, how does the helmet wearing cosplayer or semi-cosplayer go about creating their own headpiece.  Well, there are several ways of doing this, such as creating a CNC manufactured or 3D printed helmet of course.  I am not going to go into great detail about the processes, but I will talk about a process which I am familiar with which involves creating a clay molding for preparation of creating a casted helmet, much like the helmet in the video above.  This way involves hardening clay around a replica of your own head which can be a lifecasting of your head or something that could be used in place which is the same size and formation of your head.

When purchasing a clay for the mold, it is wise to go with NSP clay which is sulfur free clay, since sulfur will react with the curing chemicals in the rubber that is used for the mold, causing the clay to warp and the silicone not to cure properly.  Other clays that may be considered are oil based clays as well.  Always make sure that your floor is protected with some type of floor cover to prevent stains or ruining any carpeted area.

Once you have the clay, then you can start builiding it up in block like formations on the head replica.

Once you have built the clay up to represent the basic blocking of the subject, you can start sculpting it down to get more accurate shapes, contours, and details using finer and more precise tools.

Symmetry on both sides of the helmet is very important for a good looking helmet, just like a good looking head in real life, and I’m sure all the ladies would agree with me there, right?  You can use mineral spirits and a paint brush to smooth out areas and make sculpting easier and cut down on sanding time at the end of the project.

Once you’re satisfied, what you want to do is prep the sculpture for the molding process.  It is good to go over the entire sculpt with a few layers of primer to seal up the clay really good.  It will also take out any small scratches that the brush may have left.  So, now you should have a wonderfully symmetrical molding prepared for the casting process.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about creating a sculpted helmet design, and for more information on casting and casted designs, please take a look at the video above and stay tuned to the same bat website for more blogging on helmet creation in the future!