|Home Wood Working||Blog | Support|
CNC Automated Carpentry
Bermuda Woodworkers' CNC Router
wear, and long life. The ball screws also make it possible to produce wooden parts to the machine resolution of 0.0005 inch. "Instead of being ball screw-driven, the less expensive machines use rack and pinion gearing, which has too much play to make accurate cuts in small areas." Vesely adds. "Also, this type of gearing wears out quickly in the dusty environment of a carpentry shop. The other main difference we found between the Techno router and the others was that the Techno uses a servomotor to control cutting motion while other machines use stepper motors, which can give a stair-step cutting effect." A servomotor gives the Techno router a positioning accuracy of +1 mm in 300 mm and a repeatability of 0.01 mm.
Good vendor support
None of the partners had ever used CNC equipment before. "Our only computer experience was with PCs," says Vesely. "When we got the router, we didn't even know how to turn it on. That's another big reason we're happy we went with Techno," he adds. "They have provided us with excellent support. They walked us through all the issues we were unfamiliar with, from creating drawings in the CAM program to setting up parts on the table. They have never failed to help us when we had a question."
Since installing the Techno router, CNC Automated Carpentry has found it to be "the most versatile tool in the shop," according to Vesely. The wide range of projects that the router has been used for certainly bears this out. One of its main roles is for producing shutters. "Now we are meeting this huge demand," says Vesely. The partners have also used the router to create large pieces such as templates that were cumbersome to do by hand. "Another construction company needed these really large templates for arched doorways," Vesely explains. "With traditional tools, they would have had to lay out three or four sheets of plywood or MDF board on the ground and cut these 180-inch radiuses with a jig saw. Then they would have spent a lot of time hand sanding to their marks, but even so, templates would not have been accurate enough." He estimates that the job would have taken six or seven hours to do by hand. Instead, the other company asked CNC Automated Carpentry to make the templates on the CNC router. Vesely was able to program the arch shape and have templates ready to cut in an hour. Total time to produce five templates, including programming and cutting, was two days. "They were perfect half rounds, which was far more accurate than they ever could have been by hand," he adds.
On another job, the router was used to create scrollwork for the exposed ends of rafters. This was a big job involving about 60 15-foot rafters. Normally, the scrollwork would have been hand cut from plywood templates. "This job would have been very labor-intensive by hand because after all the time you spent cutting, you would have to go back and sand each rafter as well. It would have taken at least two days," explains Vesely. "We programmed the scrollwork in the CAM program, put these large rafters on the router and cut each one in less than 20 seconds. We did all 60 in one hour. As fast as we could we put a rafter on the router and press 'Start,' it was done." After evaluating the labor hours and the cost of the materials, the company determined that it made a 35 percent profit on that job.
The company also used the router to create a menu box for a restaurant. It could have been just a basic wooden box, but knowing how easy it would be to do more elaborate work with the Techno CNC router, Vesely decided to embellish the box. "The restaurant is called Robin Hood Pub and their sign has little Robin Hood hats on it," he explains. "I programmed a few of those hats and some arrows in the CAM software and used the Techno CNC router to carve those features into the wood. It made it more interesting than just plain wood." He also used the router for an unusual job involving a BMW convertible. The owner wanted speakers mounted in the trunk and had left some oval holes for access to the wiring. He wanted to cover these holes with something that he could see through but wouldn't break due to vibration from the speakers. Vesely used the Techno CNC router to cut one-inch thick pieces of acrylic to fit the holes precisely. Then he took the additional step of carving the BMW and speaker vendor's logos in acrylic. "When people see these, they don't think they were done on this island," Vesely adds.
The purchase of a CNC router was an excellent way for the three partners of CNC Automated Carpentry to start their business. It ensured a competitive edge and has enabled the company to handle a great deal of work with only four people. And the router paid for itself so quickly that its use in the future will be even more profitable.