Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the prototype machining process, part of Rapid Prototyping for Product Design.
In this chapter, we're visiting Idea Builders, Inc. And I'm standing in front of a CNC Mill and we're getting ready to set up a job. I've got the job set up here. I've got three operations and we're going to be set up, setting up and loading a tool. Touching that tool off, finding a work offset and getting ready to run the part. After you've run through the part here, we're going to jump over to the lathe and do exactly the same thing. We're going to set up the job and run through our lathe part. Now, there's a lot of different types of parts that we can build on a CNC machine and I have a couple examples for you. One of them is this part here which we have setup behind me and this little arm is the part where you're machining. This is a machine out of aluminum and it has an anodized finish and here is the part itself and you can see it's just a little arm, it does have a little piece of hardware in it, so this is the finished part.
Now I said, it has a black anodized finish. Sorry, it's a red anodized finish. And this piece is machined out of this block of aluminum. So, from here it's a subtractive manufacturing process and it ends up with this. So unlike a 3D printer who is adding material, I'm removing all of the material out of this block to end up with this finished piece here. So now I can work with a lot of different types of material. So this is a block of aluminum. I can also work with stainless steel, steel all the different types of aluminums, plastics, foams.
Really, pretty much any material out there can be machined on a CNC machine. I do need to adjust the type of tools I'm choosing for the specific material I'm working with. Now, the cost of this machine here, I'm looking at about a $65,000 machine behind me and I've got several thousand dollars worth of tools set up next to me. Now this is a, you know, prototype sort of production machine, so I can run a full production job here. Now if you're purely just looking forward to getting started with CNC machine for prototyping, you can get a machine for a few thousand dollars you can set up in your garage.
Now your still going to need to learn how to do sheet code programming and setting up the machine, but it's definitely doable for a very reasonable cost. On these machines, there's a lot of tools, a lot of safety factors. That's something we definitely need to keep track of but understanding the basic concept is really what we want to cover in this course. So understanding how to set up a tool, how many tools your going to use for your job. What the steps are involved as far as each operation is really important, especially if your going to be sending this out to maybe a service bureau. Because if your not going to buy your own machine, your not going to learn how to do it. Understanding what the other company is going to be doing is definitely going to have a dramatic effect on how your going to prototype your part. If you design it well for prototyping and in the long run, you're going to save a lot of costs and you're going to be really set up to do some nice parts in the 3D process on the CNC machine here.
So, let's get started and let's build some parts in the CNC machine.
- 3D printing parts, using fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, and selective laser sintering (FDM, SLA, and SLS)
- Working with CNC mills and lathes
- Building a silicon mold and resin casting a part
- Injection molding a plastic part
- Creating quick 2D models
- Using laser and touch-probe scanners