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This project was made for an assignment Industrial Product Design - Product Engineering at Howest. The intention of the assignment was to create a machine/patternmaker which was able to create a pattern for Polypropylene-sheets.

The designers of the project are:
Stijn Van Damme
Robin Nys
Victor D'Haeze

The instructable will not only explain how to make the patternmaker, but also contains all the files to 3Dprint and lasercut the parts you will need to build it.

Step 1: DIY Die Cutting Machine

Tools needed

  • Laser cutter
  • 3D printer
  • Wood glue
  • Thread tapper

Materials needed

  • MDF panel: 600mm x 1000mm, thickness: 6mm
  • 2 M8 studs: length 100mm + 2 nuts
  • 1 alumium rod: length 300mm
  • 1 steel rod: diameter 10mm, length 370mm
  • 12 washers: diameter 6mm
  • 1 M6 bolt: length 50mm + 2 nuts
  • 4 M3 studs: length 40mm
  • 23 M4 bolts: length 30mm + 23 nuts
  • 8 M4 bolts: length 14mm + 8 nuts
  • 4 M5 bolts: length 20mm + 4 nuts
  • 4 M3 bolts: length 8mm
  • 8 M3 bolts with countersunk head: length 20mm + 8 nuts
  • 2 aluminium angles 40x40mm: length 800mm
  • 4 small springs: length ±12 mm which fit over a 3mm shaft
  • PVC pipe: length 220mm - diameter 90mm
  • 1 doormat

Step 2: Sides

The sides consist of two parts which keep the roll in place. On each part, there are 3D printed pieces which make it possible to change the height of the roll. That way, cutting dies with different heights can be used.

One side consists of three parts: a middle part which keeps the roll in place and two reinforcing ribs. This reinforcement is necessary to increase for the lateral stability of the machine.

1. Place the parts on a plain surface.

2. Check if the parts fit in each other.

3. Glue the parts together.

This part is made two times: one for each side of the machine.

Step 3: Base (+ 2 Sides)

This part is the middle part of the patternmaker.

1. Place the three parts of the base on a plain surface.

2. Check if the parts fit in each other.

3. Glue the parts together.

4. Take the two sides and glue them to the two sides of the base.

Step 4: Height Adjustment Roll

Materials/parts needed: -> 1 height adjustment part

- 1 M8 stud: length 100mm + 1 nut
- 4 M? nuts
- 1 toothpick or nail
- 3D printed pieces

1. Take the 4 M4 nuts (A) and put them in the bottom side of the big 3D printed part.

2. Take the M8 nut (B) and put it in the slot on the top of the big 3D printed part.

3. Slide the 3D printed piece E over the big 3D printed part.

3. Take the 3D printed pieces C and D and put them into place as seen in the picture. Take a toothpick or nail and put it through the hole to make sure the pieces are locked into place.

4. Screw the M8 stud (F) through the hole on the top of the big 3D printed part and into part C.

5. Check if all the pieces are in the correct place.

6. When you turn the M8 stud now, the piece E (with C, D) should slide up and down with the stud.

Repeat these steps a second time to make the height adjustment for the other side.

Step 5: Attaching Heigh Adjustment to the Sides.

1. Take the height adjustment tool and put it from the inside to the outside in the hole of the side.

2. Use 4 bolts M? to attach the adjustment tool to the side.

Repeat these steps a second time to attach the second piece to the other side.

Step 6: Base Plate

1. Place the parts on a plain surface.

2. Check if the parts fit in each other. Make sure the plain surfaces of the parts are all on the same side.

3. When the parts fit, glue them together.

Step 7: Straight-toothed Rack

These two parts (one at each side) make sure the base plate is pulled under the roll. The straight-toothed rack can also be modified in height so cutting dies with different heights can be used.

1. Place the two parts on a plain surface

2. Check if the two parts are the same.

3. Glue the two parts together so they form one strong part.

Repeat those steps to make a second straight-toothed rack. One for each side of the base plate.

Step 8: Height Adjustment Base Plate

Materials needed: -> 1 side

- 5 pieces of aluminium pipe: diameter 6mm, length 24mm
- 6 washers (diameter hole >6mm)
- 3D printed wheels
- Straight-toothed rack (Step 7)

1. Put 5 pieces of aluminium pipe in the provided holes.

2. Put a washer over the 3 lower pipes.

3. Take the 3D printed wheels and slide them over the lower 3 pipes.

4. Put a washer over the 3 lower pipes, against the 3D printed parts. These washers make sure the friction between the wood parts and the 3D printed part is reduced.

5. Take the straight-toothed rack and slide it over the two upper pipes.

Step 9: Height Adjustment Base Plate (2)

Materials needed: -> 1 side
- 2 bolts M4: length 30mm + 2 nuts
- 3D printed parts

1. Take the 3D printed part and place it down with the open slot at the top

2. Take the M4 nut and put it in the open slot in the 3D printed part

3. Screw the bolt through the 3D printed part and into the 'half circle'- 3D printed part

Repeat these steps 2 times to make the two height adjustment tools for one side.

Step 10: Height Adjustment Base Plate (3)

Materials needed: -> 1 side
- 4 bolts M4 + 4 nuts
- 3D printed parts
- 1 MDF plate

1. Place the MDF-plate against the straight-toothed rack and 3D printed parts. Make sure every aluminium pipe fits in the provided holes in the MDF-plate.

2. Screw 4 M4 bolts throught the 2 MDF-plates and through the 3D printed parts. Attach the nuts to the bolts to make sure the parts are secure.

Step 11: Height Adjustment Base Plate (4)

Repeat steps 8-10 to make the Height adjustment tool for the other side.

Materials needed: -> second side
- 5 pieces of aluminium pipe: diameter 6mm, length 24mm
- 6 washers (diameter hole >6mm)
- 3D printed wheels
- Straight-toothed rack (Step 7)

- 2 bolts M4: length 30mm + 2 nuts
- 3D printed parts

- 4 bolts M4 + 4 nuts
- 3D printed parts
- 1 MDF part

Step 12: Roll

Materials needed:
- PVC-pipe: diameter 90mm, length 220mm
- 2 3D-printed parts
- 2 bolts M5: length 20mm + 2 nuts
- 1 doormat with rubber: average thickness

1. Place the PVC-pipe on the doormat and measure how much material of the doormat you need.

2. Cut off the unnecessary parts.

3. Put glue on the rubber side of the doormat and stick it to the PVC-pipe. Make sure the doormat is glued straight and plain to the pipe.

4. Cut off the unnecassary parts of the doormat so the doormat forms one layer on the PVC-pipe.

5. Put glue on the two 3D-printed gears and glue them into the two sides of the PVC-pipe.

6. Place the 2 M5 nuts into the slots in the 3D-printed parts and screw the bolts throught the 3D-printed gear and into the M5 nuts.

Step 13: Base Plate Rails

Materials needed:
- 2 aluminium angles: 40x40mm, length 800mm
- 8 M3 bolts with countersunk head: length 20mm + 8 nuts
- 8 M4 bolts: length 30mm + 8 nuts
- 3D-printed parts
- MDF-plate part

1. Take the two aluminium angles and drill a two countersunk holes of 3mm at the end of each side of the angles.

2. Take two M3 bolts per 3D-printed part and screw them through the angle and through the 3D-printed part. Screw a nut at the end of each bolt. Repeat this step at each side of the the two aluminium angles to attach the 4 railholders.

3. Place the MDF-plate part against the two 3D-printed parts. Make sure the plain surface of the part is on top.

4. Take two M4 bolts and screw them throught the MDF-part into the 3D-printed parts. Screw the nuts at the end of each bolt.

Repeat step 3 and 4 on the others side to complete the base plate rails.

Step 14: Attaching Rails to Base Plate

Materials needed:
- 4 bolts M3: length 8mm

1. Place the rails onto the base plate and put them into place so they are in the middle of the base plate.

2. Drill 2 holes into each rail and align the holes with the holes in the MDF-plate sides.

3. Screw two M4 bolts through the MDF-plate and into the rails.

4. Saw or cut off the rest of the bolt so the end of the bolt is align with the rail.

Step 15: Attaching Roll to Patternmaker

Materials needed:
- 1 steel rod: diameter 10mm, length 370mm

1. Slide the steel rod from outside to inside through the right 'Height adjustment roll' (Step 4), through the roll and through the second 'Height adjustment roll'. Make sure there is enough space left on the right side of the steel rod. This is the place where the handle will come.

2. Tighten the bolts in the gears of the roll to make sure the roll is well secured to the steel rod.

Step 16: Handle

Materials needed:
- 1 M6 bolt: lenght 50mm +2 nuts
- 5 M4 nuts: length 30mm + 3 nuts
- 3D-printed part

1. Put the three M4 nuts into the provided slots in the 3D-printed part.

2. Place the 3D-printed part on the handle and put the second 3D-printed part on the other side of the handle as seen in the picture.

3. Screw 3 M4 bolts in the 3D-printed parts to make sure they are attached to the handle and to each other.

4. Place one nut in the provided slot on each side of the 3D-printed part.

5. Slide the handle over the steel rod and screw the two remaining bolts throught the 3D-printed parts and into the nuts (previous step). Make sure the handle is well secured to the steel rod.

When you turn the handle, the roll should also turn.

Step 17: Height Adjustment Wheels

1. Take the 3D-printed parts and screw them onto the two M8 studs of the 'Height adjustment roll'.

2. When you turn the Height adjustment wheels, the roll should go up or down as you turn the wheel left or right.

3. To make the rol move parallel, turn the two height adjustment wheels equally.

Step 18: PP-plate Click-system

Materials needed:
- 4 M3 studs: length 40mm
- 4 small springs: length ±12mm, diameter >3mm
- 3D-printed parts

1. Screw the stud into the top 3D-printed part.

2. Place the lower 3D-printed part in a hole at the corner of the base plate.

3. Slide the spring over the stud and put the whole part in de hole of the already placed 3D-printed part.

4. Push the stud into the base plate and secure the stud from the bottom side with a nut.

Repeat these steps 4 times to make the complete system to lock the Polypropylene-plate into place.

Step 19: Cutting Die

The cutting die is made from a 3D-printed shape and cutter knife blades. Those blades are strong and are easier to cut into smaller pieces to make the shapes.

ATTENTION: Cutter knife blades are pliable, but at one point they will break. The knife blades are extremely sharp and should be used with care to avoid injuries.

1. Cut the knife blades into the lengths you want to make the desired shape.

2. Put the knife blade pieces into place. You can use a soft material (e.g. cardboard) and a small hammer to put them into the place. We advise not to use the hammer directly onto the blades. This will make the blades blunt. It is also discouraged to use your bare hands to put them into place. The blades are extremely sharp and you could injure yourself.

3. When the blades are into place, glue every blade in the cutting die. This will make them more secure.

4. To protect the user a bit, you can place a foil onto the cutting die. When the cutting die goes under the rol it will cut out the shape of the knife blades.

Now you can use the cutting die to cut out the desired shape.

Step 20: Preparing of the Polypropylene-sheet

1. Cut a polypropylene-sheet with the dimensions: length= 370mm and width=220mm

2. Take the 3D-printed tool and put it on each corner of the PP-sheet.

3. Use the steel tool and hammer and make a hole in each corner of the sheet.

Step 21: Preparation 1) Place the Cutting Die on the Base Plate

1. Choose where you want to place the cutting die.

2. You can keep the PP-sheet into place and change the place of the cutting die. This way you can optimally use the PP-sheet and have less remaining materials.

Step 22: Preparation 2) Height Adjustment

1. To make sure the base plate is optimally pulled by the gears of the roll, you can use three different height adjustments: one in the base plate, the second in the roll and third in the click-system .

2. When the cutting die is placed, check if the roll presses against it. You should feel a slight pressure when rolling over the cutting die. Use the height adjustment wheels to lower or raise the height of the roll.

3. Make sure the click-systems are at the same height of the cutting dies. Use the nuts at the bottow side of the base plate to fasten or loosen them. When the system height is too low, the plate will be under too much pressure; when the click-systems are too high, the roll won't be able to roll over the systems.

4. Use a screwdriver to turn the bolts to change the height of the straight-toothed rack at both sides of the base plate. Make sure the base plate is still in balance so you should turn the 4 bolts equally. After this action the straigh-toothed rack should fit into the gears of the roll.

Step 23: Preparation 3) Polypropylene-sheet

When everything is placed onto the base plate:

- Click-systems in the corners
- Cutting die on the base plate

you can click the four corners of the PP-sheet onto the click systems.

Step 24: Using the Patternmaker 1)

When everything is locked into place the patternmaker is ready to be used.

1. Use the handle to pull the baseplate under the turning roll.

2. When the desired shape hasn't been cut out the first time, you can reverse the direction of the roll and pull the base plate a second or third time under the roll. And if nececary lower te roll a bit more.

3. When the shape has been cut out, detach two click-systems and move the cutting die.

4. When the cutting die is in place, reattach the two click-systems.

Now you can repeat these steps to make multiple shapes out of the same polypropylene-sheet.

-> The direction of the cutting die doesn't matter: you can place it horizontally and vertically.
-> Use the cutting die with care. Even with the protection foil, you can easily injure yourself.

Step 25: Product

<p>Stijn,</p><p>Er loopt op dit moment een contest omtrent Tools op instructables. Schrijf je in, je maakt zeker kans op een prijs!</p>
<p>Wow. You put a whole lot of thought into the design. I am impressed.</p>
<p>Awesome project! We had one of these at my previous job and I loved it. It's great for kids' craft projects. :)</p>

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