how to make [almost] anything mas.863.12   work about
cnc machining week_7  

make something big -from- something big

The focus of this week was to develop cnc workflow for both the cnc mill [in this case a 5'x10' shopbot] and the OMax waterjet for things like 6mm aluminum. Each machine has its own interface and favored file format but most of my cad this week was developed in rhino 5(ending its beta phase!), grasshopper w/ python and some extra help through inkscape.


There were many things happening this week: sponsor visits, research development and tooling, making something big and a big storm. This week seemed to be subliminally inspired by something big as well. I was working on developing 2d flow patterning studies when i made the link to the lurking storm. This week part of my task was to use a large amount of material, in this case 1/2" mdf, to make some larger items for mt apt. A sheet of 48"x96" stock should be more than enough to get a few pieces of furniture that are part of a series. There should be enough material to get 2 side tables and a coffee table via the flow patterns. So as a working mock-up I focused on a side table that would take up a minimum amount of the sheet as a surface milling test leaving enough material to make the other parts when the machines are not in such high demand (ie: surface milling at large scale takes a long time after a reminder of the mold making week.)

The 3d paths passing through the stock.

Detailing of the spiraling paths with the stock ghosted beneath.

The pattern as a series of varying depth solids to be removed from the 'stock'. The boolean operations were the bottleneck in this particular workflow.

A close up of the variable depth tool-pathing. In the future it would be great to generate a series of varying depth curves only and import them to master cam as custom tool-paths. rather than the time consuming process of boolean-ing the anticipated path from the stock to simulate the cut paths. Maybe for the larger tests to follow.

A quick render of the top as well as 1" thick legs that will be split milled and reconnected with dowels and wood glue later, as well as doweled into the top. The dimensions of the side table are 12" in diameter and 20" total height.

The side table .stl files nested on to a 14" x 48" section of the mdf sheet in part to be economical, in part as a smaller scale test, and in part to leave enough room to develop a coffee table and additional side table from the remained of my sheet assuming the results of the first side table are a success. more to come on the milling soon enough.

make something that will help make something big

In parallel to developing files of the storm during the storm I with my other group members was in the process of developing a tool for our research project which will eventually involve making a large scale pavilion. A good portion of the work was being developed by my colleague on the CBA lathe but there were some flat stock components that could be easily cut on the water-jet from 6 mm thick aluminum stock. Since much of the project was being developed in rhino during the planning phases it was not hard to develop a few pairs of gears and stepper motor mounts which were then cut on the OMAX and added to our extruder.


large stepper motor mounts and 1:8 gear ratio for the top of the extruder (gears developed in inkscape)

small stepper motor mounts and 1:2 gear ratio for the bottom of the extruder (gears developed in inkscape)

the cut files exported from rhino to .dxf as polylines.

finished and installed 1:8 gears.

finished and installed 1:1.5 gears.
  -- jared laucks -- © 2006-2012 --