Hey guys! I am new to this whole CNC router table thing. My friend and I are trying to start a business and are looking into the DIY CNC. Our question was about toys. Most toys seem to be made by hand or in a cad program and brought into a CNC machine and a mold is milled into a chunk of steel or aluminum. Then those metal molds are used with injection molding with melted plastic. I was wondering, would it be possible to use these DIY CNC machines to instead of making the mold in metal, make it in a chunk of wood or plastic since every one of these DIY CNC machines cannot mill chunks of metal? If we were to make it in a chunk of wood, the wood would have to definitely be sealed and a release agent applied and then take the parts of the wood or plastic mold, bolt them together, pour in the resin or molten plastic, and use a rotocaster to create hollow toy parts. Is this possible? I know pretty much all of these DIY CNC machines, dont machine chunks of aluminum or steel. Man, how I wish the DIY machine did. Would make my life a ton more simple! Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
I was looking at the lost foam method. Interesting but wont that or even the foundry casting in sand, leave me with a solid piece? I would need hollow pieces.
There's no inherent reason why a DIY machine couldn't machine chunks of aluminum -- just build it MUCH stiffer than what we usually build on this forum.
Bear in mind, despite talk of being able to machine brass and aluminum, this forum is primarily about woodworking machines.
Undoubtedly, with some refinements, metalworking should be a definite possibility.
-- Chuck Knight
Yeah, im looking into both woodworking, foam, wax, and metal. Ive been reading up on the lost foam method. Wow. Thats all I have to say. I think building my own machine would be the best bet and then machining the parts I need out of foam, wood, or wax would be easy. Then cast the parts that are needed. Can I get accuracy and details in foam or wood with these DIY machines? My company that my friend and I are trying to work on is for airsoft guns so detail is essential. The idea of the lost foam method is very good.
As for machining metal, can it be done? Should I buy a larger router or something stronger? Also, should the base be made of stronger materials such as thick plexi or something of the sort? Thanks!
I have a practicalcnc router made with the 80/20 frame material. I have machined several aluminum molds for casting silicone parts. As far as accuracy & details, that depends on the material you are cutting, the size of the tool, and the accuracy of the cnc machine.
I know many DIY machines running alu every day, even steel. In the end it's not about rigidity - it's about the money you want to spend!
For example: http://www.oneoceankayaks.com/madvac/madvac_index.htm
im looking at kleinbauers 7th sojourn equipped with a Bosch router. Would that be suitable to make thicker aluminum molds or am I better of going with a Mini or micro mill and converting it?
but i should be fine to mill a block of wood, wax or styrofoam with rockcliff's CNC though correct? Then I would take the wood/styrofoam/wax and make a casting in foam to get a lost foam aluminum version of the product? what speed would I need to use to mill wood, wax or styrofoam? also, would I be able to mill fine detail into wood, wax or foam?
Last edited by MasterSword64; 11-21-2006 at 11:40 PM.
Building our basic machine will be capable of machining wood, plastic, foam, and very lite engraveing of soft metal, we have also recently added a linear bearing model to the plan set if you need to cut harder materials more aggressive, the linear bearings specified are fully supported type that will give a load rating of 920lbs. per axis, but one comment a guy made in this thread is correct it really is a money / time issue, building with low cost slides is ok, and the machine will cut perfect just slower as the machine will need some time to cut without putting too much strain on it, but if choose to use linear bearings, the machine will be able to cut at good precision but faster, as the linear bearings will be more rigid, but will cost much more for the bearings, wood and foam are very easy to cut, when make magazine featured our machine a couple of weeks ago, I saw a link there for a 3 axis router a guy made from lego blocks! it was able to cut styrofoam quite well.
Rockcliff Machine Inc.
Last edited by rockcliff; 02-18-2007 at 10:12 AM.