Computer-Controlled Cutting

During this week I have tried to work with different software and tried to work with laser cut machine with cardboard.

Parametric modeling software used during the project

After different tests with different software below, I decided for this week do my assignment using the Antimony 3D parametric design software. It looks like best choice to produce quick and parametric models that can be used for laser cut. It has some limitation (like output formats that need to be reworked after) and difficulties related to absent documentation and small community.
FreeCad is quiet good engineering free software that permit to generate the parametric design.
Tried a lot and used during this week for converting formats for laser cut machine.
I used Inkscape for converting Antimony resulted files to vector format.
QCad I used during last week to generate cut 2D models for my boxes in last week projects. So it was reused here just to test how it works in real laser cut model.
MakerCase site
Cool site that permit generate laser cut box shape. Can be accessible here. Tried as an alternative for QCad modeling.
Great collection of the tools that are very useful in format convertig and transforming images. I will use it for vinyl cut preparation
Silhouette studio
Application that permit use silhouette vinyl cutter.
Silhouette Cameo
Vinyl cutter that we use in Woma.


design, make, and document a parametric press-fit construction kit

For my press-fit construction kit I decided to use cardboard material as a cheaper and more simple to operate. The choice mostly based on first experience limits. The idea of the kit is the mix of different shapes based on thickness of material that can be produced "on demand" in agile way. There is no fixed form or idea for this kit and it is not done to produce something special. Just an open mind thing.

Before starting work on my press-fit I cut models generated last week. Here is the result. So first try was good! :)

In pieces

How it looks like connected

And from another side

Let now pass to KIT production

I started to use Antimony 3D tool. In fact it is really cool tool but because of little community (or hidden one :) ) I passed a lot of time on simple questions... Like why I can not export to "stl"...

So let try to see Antimony files. At the beginning I did first test not really optimized. So my first try looks like this..

Source file is available here

In fact the idea was to take a polygon, then count the distance to closest point from center. Use this distance D as the center for the rectangle with the heigh equal of the thickness of the material and the length equal to half of distance D. Then I applied difference with main polygon, then I turned to 45 degrees using the center of polygon as the center for rotation. Then applied the difference and so on... Then I added one rectangle with heigh and width equal to thickness of material with center in the same point as the previous rectangle and rotated it to 45 degrees around the center of this rectangle. Applied the difference and rotated it around the center of polygon to 45 degrees and repeated it 8 times... So quiet difficult process... And big chart.

So let optimize it. I found the Array node :-). Looks much better. As well I added the script node that count all parameters before I use them. Now it is parametrized.

Source file is available here

Let create some more elements. Linker that links directly.

Source file is available here

Linker triangular.

Source file is available here

And it is ready. That's how it is looks like and can be used.

Somebody more interested in it

Some errors during print (too small)

It was produced like this

Something special :)


Step1. Antimony png

In this step I did the antimony file and generated PNG on output.

Step2. Inkscape png to vector

We take Inkscape. Load the png file. Then we use bitmap path to create vector from raster image. Then we export it into the dxf file (Autocad DXF format)

Step3. Rhino dxf to dwg

Rhino import the DXF file (be careful with same sizes as in previous step. Keep mm everywhere). Check the size, duplicate object and place it on the field. Export to DWG format that accept laser cut machine.

Step4. Print!

Bring the file on USB key to machine and use the standard process of printing this file.

My conclusion

Antimony is a cool tool. It can be very useful for quick parametric 2D or 3D design. And I will continue use it. It permit, when you have some experience with it, produce really fast results. But limitation about format requires to use different tools around to bring result format to be useful. (At least for 2D models).

And the video of how machine works. For the first time it is impressive...

Trying vinyl cutter machine

During this week I also need to try to use the vinyl cutter machine. So we have a cameo silhouette machine at Fablab - let try it.

First of all I need to find an image that I want to cut. I decided to cut on Bender image from Futurama. Some pre-requirements for image that I applied:
- It need to be in .png format (just to simplify processing, of course it can be converted before by myself)
- It should be "cuttable" - when I remove outside parts it should have cool look
- Not very difficult to process at the end.
So here is my choice:

At the first step I need to make it vectorial (Silhouette studio can do it for me, but I prefer to control process). So I decided to use the fabmodules to transform it.

Process is very intuitive - load png -> select svg as destination -> outline and calculate.

Then I use the inkjet just to transform the svg to dxf - format that accept the Silhouette studio.

When the file is transformed I load it into silhouette studio and resize it. (First I select completely image and re-group it). I select size that it come just good on place where I will place it at the end (so I measured it before).

And just after - let make direcly several copies by just copy / paste my current image.

Next step is select good material and place it into machine. As well I need to check that knife is set-up correctly (parameters can be seen directly in studio app and it depends on selected material). So machine is ready to cut.

Let start cutting

Here is the result

Now I will use trasparrent the adhesive tape that will be placed on the top of vinyl and will permit me to transport and when vinyl will be placed on definitive location it will be just simple removed

Now we have it transferred. I use cutter to split on parts (I have multiple images cuttet in same time). Let remove the support paper and let clean up the image on adhesive tape.

Now we place on definitive location and gently remove the adhesive tape. Usage of the transparrent tape permit us clearly see where we place the image and align it.

And here is the result! I like it.