Accurate Engineering Modeling Via CNC Prototyping

CNC machining is most suited for creating precise parts be it large or small components. They are routinely used in
• creating master patterns for molds
• Large sample parts before using in production to verify the fit and form
• Display models
• Inspection fixtures for assembly jigs
• Production components for low volume use
• Engineering models
• Injection mold creations

Aerospace applications witness widespread use. Testing parameters in aircraft design is very stringent in the sense that components cannot be allowed to fail when operational. Prototyping allows quick development and performance improvement on the fly meaning parts can be improved constantly. The advantage of the CNC applications is the G code language technology that can save existing parameters, which allow minute changes in the tool path altering the configuration of the component ever so slightly. Most satellites are prototyped as there is no possibility of large volume production of satellites. The example of Cassini and recently Juno which is orbiting the planet Jupiter are excellent examples. The Rosetta spacecraft is already on its way in a controlled descent to meet its end on the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from orbit; this is another fine example of a prototype manufactured on a CNC machine. The Rosetta space craft has so many instruments onboard that space is perhaps the costliest in terms of real estate. Without CNC machining capability this mission by the ESA (European Space Agency) could not have created history and our knowledge of the cosmic origins would have remained static.

The best example of prototyping via CNC modeling is the latest iPhone 7 model. Countless software simulations were carried out to see how the removal of the headphone jack would make space more efficient. Once the software froze the design validating the design was turned over to 3D modeling. Technologies such as fused deposition in 3D systems simulated the iPhone 7 housing design. The next step of actually machining the housing from the material that would be used in volume production happened resulting in the iPhone7 still retaining the simplicity of design as envisaged by the late Steve Jobs with additional form and function. The net result of this prototyping has resulted in a larger battery and twin camera lenses which make the iPhone 7 perhaps the best camera phone just short of a top-of-the-line DSLR (digital single-lens reflex).

CNC machining for prototyping is preferred for the following attributes
• Speed
• Tolerance precision akin to large volume manufacturing
• Accuracy pertaining to original 3D design parameters
• Capability of machining wide variety of materials
• Concept stage to prototyping with fast turn-around times
• Simulation helps in pointing to problems in final part production

Types of materials used in prototyping via CNC Router machining
• Polychromatic
• All type os plastics
• Polypropylene
• Acetyl
• Radel
• Aluminum
• Brass
• Steel
• Titanium
• Brass
• Foams
• Modeling board

CNC machining allows precision parts prototyping that cannot be done by any other machine. The process also allows excellent finishing by removing machine marks, edge breaks and if required be ready for plating, priming or painting operations to obtain textures or high polish as required by the design.


Solid Wood Carving Routers

The woodworking video in the clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTkr9jl8cU8) is a fine example of wood-carving on solid wood pieces. The eloquence of the curved design is poetry in motion. CNC woodworking routers achieve harmony and engineering precision for two reasons. The first is CNC language called G-code that determines the speed of the object (in the video the solid wood piece) . The G-code also determines the depth of cut as well as the profile of the cut. This gives the curve design the precision that evokes admiration. Not to be forgotten is the fact that the object is held stationary primarily due to the vacuum effect of holding down the object although in the referred video the work piece is kept stationary with the use of clamps.The use of vacuum is desired for accurate machining and carving and there is a cost element due to the technology whereas clamping technology is simpler and costs less.

The wood carving element in furniture decoration is become  niche business with interior designers customizing designs as per customer's likes and the resulting G-code created tool paths makes the job off translating the design into reality. Furniture, wardrobe panels, custom cabinets are all up for exclusiveness in terms of furniture concepts. The legs of the furniture are becoming ornate and baroque designs of the Victorian era are making a comeback.

The CNC router from OMNI-CNC from China (in the video) is a versatile machine. OMNI-CNC has developed several innovations for solid woodworking by producing high volume machines with 3-axis, 4-xis as well as 5-axis operations. Importantly OMNI-CNC have tailored their manufacturing activities in producing affordable routers. They have more than 100 designs that are easy to use and produce high quality wood engraving. Among their best sellers are the basic linear type ATX CNC Router (ATC is automatic tool changer), and the Carousel type ATC CNC Router. For specialized woodworking applications, the synchronized multi-spindle CNC Router as well as cabinet and door making CNC router are particularly useful for high volume woodworking projects. At the heart of woodworking OMNI CNC routers is the innovative vacuum technology that allows increased efficiency as well as productivity. Solid wood routing is possible by using matrix suction platforms giving the object total shear force absorption while remaining steady.

The affordable OMNI 1325 and OMNI 1530 are standard machines the world over for woodworking as well as non-ferrous metal routing applications. Capable of handling solid wood sheet sizes of 5' x 10' OMNI-CNC have stepped their game up with the production of models 2030 and 2040 that can take solid wood sizes of 7' x 10' and 7' x 13'. All these systems have a matrix table and vacuum pump that is very powerful giving 140 cubic meters per hour capacity. Vacuum hold down is best-in-class along with positioning systems via linear rail systems on all axis.


Latticed Screen Partition by CNC Router

The films in the 50s and 60s had a very strong architectural connect when showing women within their homes. Particularly oriental themed films showed women behind latticed framework. These were wooden screens and in the film, the wooden screens actually lit up the scene as it showed glimpses of women behind them. People noticed these screens and were astounded at the workmanship of the artisan. These screens were works of art and quite expensive beyond the reach of the middle class. Only very rich and wealthy people were able to afford these screens.

The time spent by master carpenters and hand engravers was a lot and in fact not many could be produced. However technology has come to the rescue of this art as CNC routers have revolutionized partition grille screen production. The language of the CNC router is called G-code and this versatile technology has brought engraving and cutting application on wood to another level. Looking at an example of this video clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsyul6C_Wvg) gives an idea how this application used on a CNC router can produces breathtaking partition grilles. 

The CNC machine in the video is by OMNI-CNC that is one of the leading CNC router manufacturers in China. The speed of the machine is a phenomenal 5000 mm per minute using a tool bit that is 3.175 mm in diameter. The finished partition grille-screen size is 1600 mm x 500 mm (1.6 m x 0.5 m). The cutting edge is very smooth meaning that no further finishing is required. The OMNI linear ATC 1530 machine is very affordable as the video shows an 8mm thick MDF board being transformed into a wonderful grille screen.

This is a niche business for the use of CNC routers because partition grille screens are adorning many homes as the cost has become affordable. The use of screen dividers adds not only the decorative element but also manifests as a room divider. Geometric lattices are used in offices, restrants, shops and exhibition spaces. 


Shuttle Engraving for Looms by CNC Routers

Precision machining of a shuttle used in textile looms has undergone engraving iterations in the process. Man invented the shuttle to help the weaving process. A weaving shuttle is shaped like a boat carrying a bobbin of thread across the warp threads to form the weave. Repeated movement of the shuttle from left to right and back creates the weave ultimately forming the pattern of cloth.

Shuttle Carving

When it was first invented carpentry and carving skills was required. The basics of shuttle design began from a crude boat design (by the way this design is still used) that held the bobbin of thread. Employing a drill brace and a couple of bits to bore holes into the shuttle was enough to ferry the bobbin back and forth. From hand tools has the shuttle carving and engraving metamorphosed today to CNC router applications. Shaping the shuttle from the outside to fine placements of holes to create shuttle eyelets is just a matter of minutes for CNC routers. To prevent wear and tear in the eyelets as the thread passes back and forth small brad is precision-engineered. The complexity of engraving in the olden times with basic carpentry tools is indeed admirable compared to modern carving and engraving precision employed by CNC routers. This double technology process optimizes working times and productivity.

A fine example of using CNC routers for engraving shuttles is captured in this video 

The CNC router is manufactured by OMNITECH from China. They are one of the leading manufacturers of CNC routers. A basic Omni CNC router is all that is needed for precision carving and engraving shuttles. The built-in controller is input with predetermined tool path files that can be used repeatedly. The art of weaving extraordinary designs using thread of different materials like plastics, nylon, wool, synthetic silks among others has created a spin off industry in handwoven textiles. Design houses have sprung up all over the world. These spin offs have redefined shuttle manufacturing. Emailing tool paths to woodworking shops with CNC routers and receiving manufactured shuttles, via mail is as easy as posting letters and receiving a reply. The speed of CNC operation makes it possible to order as many shuttles as possible.


CNC Routers Enhance Architecture Facade Design

The versatility of CNC routers is incredibly vast in scope and application. There are many areas particularly industrial application that offers creative expression. The example of creating stunning facades in building construction is a prime example.

CNC routers are commonly used in profiling aluminum sections for fabrication service industry. Substrates include aluminum composites, high pressure laminates, Acrylic, MDF Corian, HDPE among others that is regularly profiled and cut using CNC routers. Miller Design in Australia is one of the leading votaries of using OMNITECH's cutting edge CNC routers.

They provide complete integration of design to installation of curtain-walling systems, shopfront facades and roof glazing. They are a name to reckon with and won many awards for the high quality of their installations that involve intricate aluminum joinery.

OMNITECH CNC ATC (automatic tool changer) Router is essential equipment in Miller Design's arsenal. OMNI also offer production, technical expertise and consultation to Miller and this partnership is more of actual creative minds meeting on a common platform to produce architectural beauty.

Miller Design specializes in curtain-walling design where two or more floors of a front facing façade appear to be continuous and seamless. Reflective glass mounted on structurally glazed mulions which are concealed help this stunning architecture. Engineering design and accurate cutting of aluminum profiles is the expertise behind this kind of architecture design. Retrofitting existing buildings is also possible with curtain-walling.

Dejan from Serbia is another of those enlightened visionaries who uses OMNITECH's ATC type CNC router for aluminum composite machining. He uses thick aluminum sheets of 4 mm thickness while his panels range in thickness from 2 to 10 mm. Some of his windows, glass facades and ventilated facades are a joy to behold for structural as well as aesthetic appearance.