Advice on equipment to reproduce design


Hi,
My name is Alan, I'm from Ireland and I currently have a small business which makes ornamental garden water mill wheels, please refer to www.irishwaterwheels.com. The various designs for my product are completed on autocad and these are then submitted to a vendor in Donegal (www.urlar.ie) who has a wood lazer cutting equipment that cuts out the designs from Marine Plywood.
However, there are many problems with this process, such as;
1. Firstly, in order to collect the order from the vendor in Donegal is a 7 hour return trip for me. 2. Also, the lazer is of course unable to burn to a depth so cannot cut out slots which I require for my design. 3. The glue used between the laminates causes burning which has a very undesirable effect on the edges of my designs. 4. The process is quite slow and extremely expensive.
Hence, I am looking for alternatives. I can manually cut these designs out via a jigsaw but this is time-consuming and error prone. I have been trying to source other cheaper CNC wood cutting vendors who will meet my needs but it seems they are reluctant to deal with such small orders (perhaps 10 - 20 sheets of Marine Plywood to be cut at a time).
So I am mailing this woodworking forum in an effort to get some feedback, help/advice, comments on other suggested methods/machinery which I could use to cut out such intricate patterns and which would cater for slots. I would be extremely grateful for any helpful information provided.
I was thinking of some type of small CNC cutter but would this be expensive and would it cater for my 4ft Water Wheel design?
Thanks in advance.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (in snipped-for-privacy@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| Hi, | | My name is Alan, I'm from Ireland and I currently have a small | business which makes ornamental garden water mill wheels, please | refer to www.irishwaterwheels.com. The various designs for my | product are completed on autocad and these are then submitted to a | vendor in Donegal (www.urlar.ie) who has a wood lazer cutting | equipment that cuts out the designs from Marine Plywood. | | However, there are many problems with this process, such as; | | 1. Firstly, in order to collect the order from the vendor in | Donegal is a 7 hour return trip for me. | 2. Also, the lazer is of course unable to burn to a depth so cannot | cut out slots which I require for my design. | 3. The glue used between the laminates causes burning which has a | very undesirable effect on the edges of my designs. | 4. The process is quite slow and extremely expensive. | | Hence, I am looking for alternatives. I can manually cut these | designs out via a jigsaw but this is time-consuming and error | prone. I have been trying to source other cheaper CNC wood cutting | vendors who will meet my needs but it seems they are reluctant to | deal with such small orders (perhaps 10 - 20 sheets of Marine | Plywood to be cut at a time). | | So I am mailing this woodworking forum in an effort to get some | feedback, help/advice, | comments on other suggested methods/machinery which I could use to | cut out such intricate patterns and which would cater for slots. I | would be extremely grateful for any helpful information provided. | | I was thinking of some type of small CNC cutter but would this be | expensive and would it cater for my 4ft Water Wheel design? | | Thanks in advance.
Alan...
ShopBot (in the USA) is having a special on their 48"x48" CNC router. There's info at http://www.shopbottools.com/prtspecial.htm
I've been using a ShopBot 48 x 96 for several years and like it fairly well.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Thanks for that Morris but I have only a small business and absolutely no knowledge of CNC work so I would be looking to get maybe some equipment, possibly secondhand, within the UK or Ireland (to reduce shipping costs) that could meet my needs. But at the moment, I'm not sure exactly what I should be looking at or for? Hopefully, there is something available for less than 10,000 but preferably less than 5,000??? Anyone know of anything??
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (in snipped-for-privacy@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com) said:
| Thanks for that Morris but I have only a small business and | absolutely no knowledge of CNC work so I would be looking to get | maybe some equipment, possibly secondhand, within the UK or Ireland | (to reduce shipping costs) that could meet my needs. But at the | moment, I'm not sure exactly what I should be looking at or for? | Hopefully, there is something available for less than ?10,000 but | preferably less than ?5,000??? Anyone know of anything??
Alan...
Save this link: http://www.talkshopbot.com/messages/312/1990.html?1137254071 - it's where ShopBotters generally post used machines for sale and I've seen some good sell offers. A 48x48 machine (large enough for your waterwheels?) was offered this past week for US$3000. A really good price on a used machine might more than offset shipping costs.
You might also want to keep an eye on used equipment for sale at http://www.cnczone.com . I'm in the process of building a new CNC machine and found my controller and stepper vendors there - and I've discovered that it's possible to build a machine from scratch for around US$1000.
Good luck!
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Thanks again Morris. That looks good alright, but I'm not even sure that I need all that. I'm basically just cutting an intricate shape from some 3/4 inch marine plywood so if I used my templates (which are laser cut from steel), is there some of equipment which culd mimic the shape from a 4ft x 8ft sheet of Marine Ply... something similar to these machines; http://www.copycarver.com / http://www.terrco.com/ter_5.htm ...only not at all for carving? Would that be a cheaper alternative again?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (in snipped-for-privacy@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| Thanks again Morris. That looks good alright, but I'm not even sure | that I need all that. I'm basically just cutting an intricate shape | from some 3/4 inch marine plywood so if I used my templates (which | are laser cut from steel), is there some of equipment which culd | mimic the shape from a 4ft x 8ft sheet of Marine Ply... something | similar to these machines; http://www.copycarver.com / | http://www.terrco.com/ter_5.htm | ...only not at all for carving? Would that be a cheaper alternative | again?
It would. You'd need a pair of rails on which a carriage/gantry rolled. On top of this gantry you'd need a second pair of rails at right angles to the first. On this second pair of rails would ride a carriage with your router and an arm with a pin the same diameter as your router bit (or guide bushing if you've been doing it that way) that you guide along the edges of your template.
Not terribly complicated in concept; but requiring careful design and construction. When complete, it needs to have an absolute minimum of "slop" and some reliable way to secure the router in such a way that you can plunge (to make the cutouts between spokes in your wheel, for example).
You could probably build an adequate machine of ordinary wood and standard hardware.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Cut out a pattern to make a template with a hand held jig saw and then use it with a top bearing flush trim cut router bit and router to cut out the design yourself.

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Thanks Leon, that would be more like what I would be looking for. I'll have to get each type of design cut from steel anyway so that'll suffice as the template for each. I've never heard of a top bearing flush trim cut router bit but I'll do some investigations. Cutting like this shouldn't take too long??
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?pageT11
is an example of one. The bearing follows the template and cuts the material below.
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Alan,
While you can certainly use pattern/template bits to cut through 3/4" plywood in 1 shot, its probably going to take multiple passes or you'll wear your bits out fairly quick. Its probably better to use a jigsaw to rough cut the pattern to within an 1/8" or so, and then use the pattern bit to clean up the cut.
Here are some sources:
Freud Tools (Italy) http://www.freudtools.com/woodworkers/rep/router_bits/Router_Bits/Flush_Trim/html/Flush_Trim_1.html
Whiteside (USA) http://www.whitesiderouterbits.com/catalog/TemplateT.pdf
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Woodchuck34 (in snipped-for-privacy@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| While you can certainly use pattern/template bits to cut through | 3/4" plywood in 1 shot, its probably going to take multiple passes | or you'll wear your bits out fairly quick.
Eh? Are you saying that bits last longer when you cut twice as much material with the bottom 3/8" of the bit?
Doesn't match my experience.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Alan,
Forgot to add that Pat Warner's website is a great resource for all things routed. His books are excellent. Here is a link to his pattern cutting page:
http://www.patwarner.com/patternbits.html
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I would advise taking probably 3 passes to cut all they way through the plywood. Your mileage may vary and you may consider getting several of these bits so that on your last pass you can use a new and sharp bit to have a cleaner cut as the bit cuts through the bottom surface.
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A water jet a.k.a. abrasive jet (not sure what they are called on you side of the pond) easily solves your problems #2 & 3. It's also quite fast. I have no idea of the cost or availability in Ireland. A starting point is: http://www.waterjets.org /
Art

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Have you given any thought to the effect on the plywood setting in water and being sprayed with water might have?
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No different than it's intended end use being semi-submerged in water all day & night. It is marine ply after all.
Art

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Yeah you have a point there. I had forgotten that it would constantly wet anyway.
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On 18 Jan 2006 04:02:14 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It looks like your other designs the rims and spokes are made from components, it's just this one with the curved spokes that you cut all out of one sheet? Why not go to your other procedure and assemble it from parts. You can stack cut the curved spokes on the band saw a lot faster than you can rout them out. I don't know if this is enough to offset the additional assembly time.
-Leuf
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On 18 Jan 2006 04:02:14 -0800, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com quickly quoth:

Look into online ordering systems, Alan.

This leads you toward CNC milling.

Ditto the above.

That would show you how you could put that money toward the CNC mill.

Look at the Shopbot types, starting at $3-5,000. If you got one, you could probably take in other work to cut for others, quickly paying off the unit.
- This product cruelly tested on defenseless furry animals - -------------------------------------------------------- http://diversify.com Web App & Database Programming
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