After a few tests routing 3D forms out of BlueFoam, the Shopbot is generating better and better results. These images follow the cutting process of a test file by PoD student Richard Clarkson. Setting up the file is similar to the process you would go through for a 2D job with only a few more settings and configurations to take into account. In term of a brief overview of the set up process the model was sliced in half, scaled and placed. A margin area around the model is calculated and tabs are added. A rough cut bit is selected and set, this is typically a larger size bit that will remove the bulk of the material. The finishing cut bit is selected and set, this is typically a ball-nose bit which gives the model its true form and nice finish texture. The cutting profiles are outputted and the cut on the Shopbot.
Some things to keep in mind:
Undercuts can make life difficult, when slicing try to slice along a plane wich will have no undercuts. Otherwise the model will have to be finished by hand or machined from 2 sides (i.e machine 1st side then flip the model over and machine 2nd side).
Thickness of the material The VFL currently has 2" Blue foam and cutting bits with the capacity to machine up to that depth. Please see staff about other materials and/or deeper cuts.
Time: While 3D forms done through CNC are a fast an efficient way of prototyping large forms can take long times to machine.
Consultation is required for use of the Shopbot.