R11 Computer aided manufacture

Posted: October 10, 2010 in Resistant Materials

Initial knowledge – 1

Current working knowledge – 2

As a slight novice to computer aided design my experience of computer aided manufacture is limited as well.  Although aware of machines such as the router and laser cutter I have never really had the opportunity to actively explore the potentials of the machinery so the trip to the NEC in Birmingham to the Design and technology showcase was a good education.  There were many of the CAM machines on show and as well as seeing them in use there were some interesting examples of the work that can be produced on the different machines.  After seeing the different machinery and their individual abilities I was keen to have a bit of a play myself and when doing ED217 my lamp was designed to be mass produced and was an opportunity to use the laser cutter.  My first designs were done on 2D design:

whirlpool lights works

I then transferred these designs to the laser cutter and manufactured them in acrylic:

I found the laser printer a really useful manufacturing tool.  After some practice I managed to get the dimensions of the acrylic right and ended up using it to manufacture the main stand of my lamp.

swirl alot word

I will certainly feel comfortable using the laser cutter again and I am well aware of its value in a design context.  There are certainly some interesting and intricate designs you can create with it to a very accurate and polished finish.  Having enjoyed my first taste of computer aided manufacture I will look to see if I can incorporate any of the other machines available such as the router and the 3d printer in any future projects  or perhaps experiment with them in mini tasks to get a more in depth knowledge of the manufacturing processes available as I believe CAD and CAM will have a large part to play in schools now and in the future.

When making my mechanical toy I needed to create 8 eccentric cams out of MDF, they all needed to be the same size and shape so the boxford was the best machine to create uniform cams.  It was a little bit difficult to transfer the design form 2D design to the machine but after help from Dean and double side taping the MDF I finally managed to get them manufactured.


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