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Prototypes, Models, and Molds - Advanced Materials

  • Prototypes, Models & Molds in advanced materials
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The work of a prototype or model maker is that of producing an exacting representation to an actual, or designed, 3-dimensional part, or it may be simply that of producing a "mock-up" for evaluation purposes. A wide variety of materials are available from which to choose, depending upon the model's use, ranging from a simple subtractive machining process, using something like tooling board, to a combination subtractive and additive process, using an EPS foam substrate with curable paste.

 

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machine

Overview

Hot tub mold

Among the most important machine design characteristics related to mold machining processes is the engineer's decision for its acceleration/deceleration performance and the influence of that choice upon the machine's design. For the setting of a high acceleration/deceleration value in a poorly designed machine will introduce vibration into the machining process, as well as stresses upon the machine's components from the constant jarring of high speed inertia reversals.

In mold and model making, the majority of the programmed movements that take place occur in rather small distances, typically not long. Therefore, even if a machine has a high feed speed number, but a low acceleration/deceleration number, the time to machine a mold will be much higher. If, for example, the machine's acceleration/deceleration number is 1.0 m/s2 and not 3.0 m/s2, it will probably take about 3 times longer to do the surfacing work than it otherwise would. Given that many movement distances are even less that 20", perhaps even more time would be required for the cycle, since the machine's movement can never go far enough to ever achieve a higher speed. CMS has designed its machines with top acceleration/deceleration performances.

CMS' know-how and proven experience combine in its diverse series of CNC milling and machining centers providing even large volume machining envelops, system tuned techniques for high speed feeds, as well as high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics, which are very important for the usually long program machining times involved, highly accurate work in full 5-axis processes with careful consideration for dust collection concerns, available with CMS' unique extraction capabilities at the head, even for EPS foam milling, including work envelop dust containment solutions, and CMS' technology for CNC controlled paste application.

Monobloc
CNC's

 Antares - new high performance mold and model making options using sand casting technology

Antares - new high performance mold and model making options using sand casting technology

Antares, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides important new options in sand casting technology with direct 5-axis machining in the sand cast media. Traditionally sand casting is used to provide cast parts by means of a model or mold pressed into a sand matrix, which is later removed, the cavity filled with molten metal, the casting cooled and then separated from the mold. Typically the process has been useful where a prototype or component already exists: to create the negative cavity from which the cast part is obtained, and with a production quantity sufficient to justify the production associated with it.

An important new option based on "air set" sand cast methodology is now available, in which a fine sand in combined with an adhesive and allowed to cure at room temperature, making it possible to eliminate the need of creating a physical prototype, and consequently the model maker's work, while providing the opportunity for practical "one off", custom production at infrequent intervals, CAD design, with shrinkage considerations, and direct machining into the cured sand cast media of the resulting 5-axis CAM program.

Antares, including the range of CMS' other CNC machining centers, provides the machining capabilities for sand mold processing, with dust containment and extraction options, compressed air through the cutting tool on specific working units for deep cavity machining, when needed, as well as CMS' Table Rotating system (TR) for nonstop, protected work cycles.

In the photos to the top, Antares is shown with and without its full enclosure for complete dust containment, on the bottom left can be seen one half of a "cope and drag" mold for a set of cast tools, while on the bottom right can be seen a complex 3D surface for a boat propeller, created with a 5-axis working unit.

Antares is available with basic strokes of 2600 mm (102.3") X, 1500 mm (59.1") Y, and 1200 mm (47.2") Z, +/- 135° B axis and +/- 270° C axis.

Antares has fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics, a benefit in the large amount of surfacing work which takes place in mold and model making:

  • quick positioning speeds of 80 m/min (3150"/min) X and Y axes, and 70 m/min (2756"/min) Z axis, 9000°/min B & C axes
  • quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 500°/s2 B&C axes
ARES - additional flexibility and work envelop options for mold and model making

ARES - additional flexibility and work envelop options for mold and model making

ARES, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides a broad range of working envelop sizes and options for nonstop work cycles for mold and model making, including 5-axis dust hood solutions, downdraft dust control technology, CMS' total dust control enclosure, and high velocity dust extraction equipment.

ARES has a range of large work envelop sizes, all with full, 5 axis capability: 

  • X axis strokes: 3600 mm (141.7"), 4800 mm (188.9") or 6000 mm (236.2")
  • Y axis strokes: 1800 mm (70.9") or 2600 mm (102.4")
  • Z axis stroke: 1200 mm (47.2")
  • +/- 120° B axis inclination and +/- 270° C axis rotation, with pneumatic braking on the B&C axes, when not interpolating for increased rigidity ARES has the fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics required for optimum mold and model machining:
  • quick positioning speeds of 80 m/min (3150"/min) X and Y axes, and 70 m/min (2756"/min) Z axis, 9000°/min B & C axes
  • quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 500°/s2 B&C axes
ARES comes standard with CMS':
  • central protection divider, for nonstop work cycles and independent control of vacuum and compressed air for either side
  • fixed steelwork flat table with threaded hole grid to which work fixtures can be anchored
  • waste conveying chutes along the three table sides within the machine, which make the table cleaning easier and permit blowing chips toward the outlets at back of the machine, which can be connected to plant's vacuum collection system.
  • and optionally equipped with other CMS work table surfaces and holding systems: gridded aluminum plate, with vacuum and T-slot inserts for anchoring fixtures, or with CMS' rail and clamping system for more flexibility.
Working Head configuration, CMS' PX5: 
  • As seen in the photo to the top, ARES is available with CMS' APC (Automatic Pallet Changing) tables for unobstructed nonstop load and unload cycles from 3 sides of the table.
  • ARES' TR (Table Rotating) system for nonstop cycles is also available for the 3618 version.
Dust control options:
  • The bottom left picture shows ARES with it optional total enclosure and special internal downdraft system for capturing and controlling dust that might otherwise be released into the ambient.
  • The bottom right photo shows the inside of the total enclosure roof with sound deadening material, lighting system and inflow air supply for the downdraft ducting system.
  • CMS' unique dust hood for 5-axis work capturing dust at the spindle is available. A high velocity dust extraction system connected to the dust hood, for maximum efficiency, is also available.
Poseidon K & Cronus K - more power and precision for mold and model making

Poseidon K & Cronus K - more power and precision for mold and model making

The Poseidon K, on the left, and Cronus K, on the right, range of CNC machining centers, monobloc versions of the Poseidon and Cronus series, extend the range of performance and processing capabilities required for mold and model machining. Each is available with:

  • length (X stroke) of either 2600 mm or 4000 mm (102.4" or 157.5")
  • depth (Y Stroke) of 1500 mm (59.1")
  • Z stroke of 1300 mm (51.2")
  • +/- 110° B axis, +/- 300° C axis (called A and C for the Cronus)

Poseidon's working unit is a KX5 with either 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, or 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, and pneumatic brakes on the B & C axes. Poseidon also is available with optional:

  • linear and rotary scales
  • compressed air through the cutting tool, if required
  • CMS' total enclosure with carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit
  • dust hood for 5-axis work
  • high velocity dust extraction system connected to the dust hood, for maximum efficiency

Cronus' working unit is a Torque5 with either 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, or 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, 24,000 rpm maximum, S1 rating, and pneumatic brakes on the A & C axes.

Cronus comes standard with:

  • linear and rotary scales
  • enhanced for high accuracy work with Torque drive technology on the working unit
  • double opposing linear drives for reduction of backlash to zero
  • a required heavier structure for higher accuracy demands for sliding ways and torsion stability
  • thermic expansion structural mechanisms

Cronus is also available with optional:

  • compressed air through the cutting tool
  • CMS' total enclosure with carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit
  • dust hood for 5-axis work
  • high velocity dust extraction system connected to the dust hood, for maximum efficiency

Poseidon and Cronus have the fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics required for optimum mold and model machining work:

  • Poseidon: quick positioning speeds of 85 m/min (3346"/min) X and Y axes, and 45 m/min (1772"/min) Z axis, 9000°/min B axis & 9000°/min C axis
  • Poseidon: quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 500°/s2 B & C axes
  • Cronus: quick positioning speeds of 85 m/min (3346"/min) X and Y axes, and 45 m/min (1772"/min) Z axis, 36000°/min A axis & 24000°/min C axis
  • Cronus: quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 2500°/s2 A & C axes

Poseidon K and Cronus K expand the possibilities for power and accuracy for mold and model machining.

Moving
bridge CNC's

 Poseidon - mold and model making for mid to very large sized components, including EPS foam machining, paste application

Poseidon - mold and model making for mid to very large sized components, including EPS foam machining, paste application

Poseidon, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, expands the range of available work envelop sizes significantly, which makes Poseidon perfect for even large 3D projects. The photo to the left shows a smaller Poseidon, easily accommodating small to mid-sized components, while the photo to the right shows a large Poseidon with CMS' total enclosure system completely surrounding the machining center, with natural light panels assisting the internal lighting, high volume dust extraction capability and internal fire safety control system, capable of working even very large sized components.

Among the new opportunities for mold and model making is the use of EPS foam (Expanded Polystyrene) as a low cost, easily machinable substrate, over which can be applied a curable paste for a hard machinable surface, followed by a CNC controlled surface milling of the paste providing a quality finish for mold, model, prototype, and plug uses. For such model making work, CMS supplies its CNC machining centers with its special hollow core dust extraction machining tools to capture the EPS dust, and its CNC controlled paste application technology. In the pictures to the bottom can be seen CMS' special hollow core milling tools for extraction of EPS dust generated during machining processes, the middle picture shows a spiral pattern CNC controlled paste application, and the picture to the right shows a cross section of the model with EPS substrate and a machined layer of cured paste on its surface.

Poseidon's work envelop sizes range from:

  • X axis 2.5 m to 41.0 m (8.2' to 134.5')
  • Y axis 2.6 m to 8.5 m (8.5' to 27.9')
  • Z axis 1.3 m to 4.0 m (4.3' to 13.1'), non-telescopic version standard and telescopic versions available where reduced height limitations exist Poseidon has the fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics required for optimum mold and model machining work:
  • quick positioning speeds of 85 m/min (3346"/min) X and Y axes, and 45 m/min (1772"/min) Z axis, 9000°/min B axis & 9000°/min C axis
  • quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 500°/s2 B & C axes Working units, choice of:
  • PX5 working unit with 12 kW power (16.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, B axis +/- 270°
  • KX5 working unit with 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, B axis +/- 270°
  • KX5 working unit with 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, B axis +/- 270°
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible Bridge configuration:
  • From a single bridge, with single Z mast and working unit
  • To a double bridge, each with a double Z mast, each with a working unit (4 independently CNC controlled working units in total) Optional:
  • Linear and rotary scales
  • Compressed air through the cutting tool
  • CMS' total enclosure with carbon fiber/composites dust protection kit
  • dust hood for 5-axis work high velocity dust extraction system connected to the dust hood, for maximum efficiency
     

 Cronus - mold and model machining for mid to large sized components, ultra precision

Cronus - mold and model machining for mid to large sized components, ultra precision

Cronus, CMS' moving bridge class CNC machining center, provides the maximum in precision, power and performance for mold and model machining processes across a wide variety of materials and substrates, including EPS foam, cured paste overlay, and tooling board.

Cronus' defined higher precision provides control over many accuracy factors, including thermic expansion, yet with axes strokes of significant length.

  • From X axis 2.5 m to 20.5 m (8.2' to 67.3')
  • From Y axis 2.6 m to 5.0 m (8.5' to 16.4')
  • From Z axis 1.3 m to 2.0 m (4.3' to 6.6')
  • A axis +/- 110°
  • C axis +/- 300° Cronus structure:
  • Guide-way axes double opposing servomotors for elimination of backlash
  • Enhanced structural stiffness required for Cronus' ultra-precision characteristics
  • Design elements for elimination of thermic structural growth
  • Included linear and rotary scales for high precision Cronus working units:
  • CMS' Torque5 working unit with either 15 kW (20.1 hp) power at 12,000 rpm, or 28 kW (37.5 hp) power at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000 rpm, liquid cooled, S1 rating, with optional compressed air capability through the cutting tool, and incorporating rotary scales for high precision accuracy, high rotational speed, high rigidity, and with high torque drive technology
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible Cronus has the fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics required for optimum mold and model machining work:
  • quick positioning speeds of 85 m/min (3346"/min) X and Y axes, and 45 m/min (1772"/min) Z axis, 36000°/min A axis & 24000°/min C axis
  • quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 2500°/s2 A & C axes Dust Control:
  • CMS' optional 5-axis patented dust hood
  • CMS' optional total enclosure for complete ambient dust control CMS' carbon fiber/composites dust protective kit

The photo's at the bottom of the picture show CMS' unique, flexible roof, total dust enclosure, connecting from both sides of the moving bridge to the ends of the machine, detachable via CNC control command and powered in either direction, to or from the bridge, to permit overhead or end loading.

Moving
table CNC's

FXB - moving table solutions for mold and model making, machining tooling board

FXB - moving table solutions for mold and model making, machining tooling board

FXB, CMS' moving table class CNC machining center, provides a range of sizes and options for fixed bridge, moving table, 5-axis machining for mold and model makers, handling a wide variety of materials, including EPS foam, cured paste overlay, and tooling board.

Various types of tooling board, with density of 40-100 lb/cu3, also called modeling board, are used to create master models and molds, presentation models, physical representations for design and shape studies, of which a special class of this material, with about triple the compressive strength, ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 psi, can be used for metal forming, hammer forms, foundry patterns, molds, jigs and lay up tools. Tooling board has excellent machinability characteristics using the proper cutting tools, a fine surface structure, and good dimensional stability.

FXB is available with:

  • single or double table versions, working separately or in unison, as needed (slaved)
  • PX5, 5-axis, working unit
  • TUCU, 5-axis, working unit, with continuous rotation about the C axis FXB has the fast positioning speeds and high speed acceleration/deceleration characteristics required for optimum mold and model machining work:
  • quick positioning speeds of 100 m/min (3937"/min) X and Y axes, and 30 m/min (1181"/min) Z axis, 9000°/min B & C axes
  • quick acceleration speeds of 3.0 m/s2 (118.1"/s2) X, Y and Z axes, and 500°/s2 B & C axes FXB offers a wide range of table sizes and work envelops (nominal measurements in feet, width x depth):
  • single table - 6 x 5, 8 x 5, 10 x 5
  • double table - 4 x 5, 6 x 5, 8 x 5, 10 x 5
  • extended depth: in addition to the standard 5' table depth, each table width is also available in the following depths - 7', 8' and 10'
  • all tables are provided with an extra stroke of approximately 800 mm (31.5"), permitting the tables to move beyond the fixed frontal safety protection. In addition to making loading / unloading easier, it provides complete safety for the operator; the extra stroke also increases the work area available in the Y axis direction.
  • full extraction: each table version is also available with an extended Y axis to permit full extraction of the tables beyond the protection barrier and allows for a nonstop cycle with load / unload operations. and a range of Z axis heights, depending upon the working unit, from 720 mm (28.3") to 1200 mm (47.2")

Images

 Prototypes, patterns, molds - total machining

Prototypes, patterns, molds - total machining

Foam core substrates of various densities are used to create prototypes, patterns, molds and plugs. In this photo a prototype is shown on the left, to the top right a nose cone model is being machined, while to the bottom right a mold in two stages of processing is shown. CMS' high precision CNC machining centers with high feed speeds, high acceleration/deceleration performance, and flexible 5-axis working heads, obtain the optimum results for mold and model making.
 

Sand mold casting - machining solutions

Sand mold casting - machining solutions

CMS' special technology provides unique solutions for sand mold casting processes. Today's sand mold casting processes benefit from a matrix of fine sand blended with special resins which can be cured at room temperatures, resulting in a machinable material, capable of direct processing by CNC. CMS provides both the know-how and the technology to go directly to the castable surface via CNC machining process, including its hollow core milling tools delivering compressed air through the cutting tool, particularly helpful in deep cavity surface cutting situations.

In the picture to the left is shown part of a complex 3D surface for a cast boat propeller, to the top right is seen the two halves of a "cope and drag" mold for casting, in the middle can be seen the stepped surface resulting from the large step-over of the ball end mill roughing passes at that point, while to the bottom is seen the tight surface created by the close step-over finish passes.
 

Tooling board - machining solutions

Tooling board - machining solutions

Tooling board has excellent machinability characteristics, providing a fine surface structure along with good dimensional stability, and is used for a range of applications from master models and molds, presentation models, and physical representations for design and shape studies. Specific formulations even provide high compressibility making possible their use for metal forming, hammer forms, foundry patterns, molds, jigs and lay up tools.

The photos show machining work on tooling board in various stages, in a 3 axis mode for rapid, rough, surfacing and 5 axis mode for smooth, tight, surface finishing. CMS' high speed, high acceleration/deceleration responsiveness make long, complex jobs, faster with a tight, controlled, handling of the machine's axes.

 Mold and patterns

Mold and patterns

To the left is shown a mold produced in tooling board, while on the right is shown one half of a "cope and drag" sand cast mold. CMS' flexible 5-axis machining technology, adaptable work envelops, with high feed speeds, high axis responsiveness, high precision capabilities, perfectly suit the broad range of mold and model makers' needs.

 EPS foam, curable paste application - additional machining options

EPS foam, curable paste application - additional machining options

EPS foam (Expanded Polystyrene) over which a curable paste has been applied, provides a cost effective, useful, alternative to creating one piece models or molds, especially very large ones, made otherwise solely in wood, MDF or tooling board. EPS foam can be machined quickly and efficiently with CMS' special hollow core cutting tools, capable of extracting the large volumes of dust created during the machining process, and providing a cost effective substrate on which a curable paste is also applied via CNC control, which after it has cured, can again be machined to a precise, smooth, finished surface. CMS' range of CNC machining centers provide for the application of these technologies, resulting in complete processing control from the small to even very large models, molds, prototypes and plugs.

Large molds

Large molds

Shown here is a mold application for the large spinner cover component used on a wind energy tower, where the blade "roots" join on the generator's shaft. CMS' large work envelops mean that such components fit comfortably for all the required machining work, even with maximum inclination of the 5-axis working head in all directions, while the inherent stability of CMS' construction means that quality surfaces are obtained.

Videos

Mold machining, tooling board - FXB

A large mold is machined from a solid block of tooling board. FXB, CMS' moving table CNC machining center, removes large amounts of material in the roughing phase with a ball end mill, following by many tight step-over paths in the finishing cycle resulting in a high quality finish on the mold's surface and a fast cycle time with CMS' high acceleration/deceleration speeds.

Sand cast mold machining - Poseidon

Poseidon is shown machining one half of a sand cast mold for part of an engine block. Poseidon executes a high speed roughing process on the block to remove large amounts of the sand mold matrix and creates deep cavity surfaces, a part of the process requiring the use of cooling at the tool tip with compressed air through the special ball end cutting tools. Following the roughing process, Poseidon carries out the tight finish milling passes for a high quality surface finish. Both the roughing and finishing passes demonstrate the benefit of CMS' concern for the capability of high acceleration/deceleration speed in a work that requires a great deal of reversal movements in short distances, with their otherwise negative impact on the length of the machining cycle.
 

Mold making with EPS foam and curable paste - ARES

ARES is shown throughout the several phases of mold creation using an EPS substrate (Expanded Polystyrene) over which a curable paste is applied. The project is for a mid-sized mold and the phases begin with ARES performing high speed roughing operations on the EPS substrate with a special large diameter ball end mill with hollow core, through which the large amounts of EPS dust are extracted, followed up with high speed finishing passes. The next phase carries out the CNC controlled application of a curable paste, which demonstrates the controlled, smooth, consistent depth of paste application, providing consistent paste overlap without voids between the passes, as well as the lack of "sagging" of the paste material, important for either horizontally or vertically oriented surfaces. After the paste cures, usually about 24 hours, the final phase of surface milling takes place, in which ARES carries out the high speed roughing and finishing passes on the hard, cured paste, resulting in a high quality mold surface. ARES high speed acceleration/deceleration control throughout its 5-axis processing provides fast cycle times and high quality surfaces.

Files

Solutions for Machining Molds and Models
(click folder on the left to download)