Introduction: Reproduce Wood Molding From a Small Sample
My father has custom kitchen cabinets, and when he decided to add a few more cupboards, he was unable to find matching molding trim for the doors. He sent me a sample, and I made some more of it using Autodesk Inventor and the Shopbot.
Step 1: Scan the Sample, Trace Its Outline
I scanned the small sample on a flatbed scanner. I imported this image into Autodesk inventor, and reproduced the profile using a series of spline curves. Once I was satisfied that my profile was "close enough", I made an extrusion of the sketch. I limited it to 12" long, as I wanted to check the profile against the sample before committing the time and hardwood to the project.
I exported the extrusion in the STL format, and loaded it into Vectric's Cut3 tool-path software, and created a cut file. I selected an 1/8", ball end router bit to do the cutting.
Step 2: Make a Jig to Hold the Wood Firmly
I made a jig to hold the wood piece firmly in place while the cutting was happening. Using scrap lumber I made a fence on one side to support the cut piece, and a pair of wedges to tightly push the cut piece against the fence.
Step 3: Cut It!
After zeroing the X Y and Z axis, run the job and watch the machine do the work.
I ran two tests - one cutting along the long axis of the wood, and the second "up and over" the short dimension. I was surprised to see the second one gave much better results.
Step 4: Bask in the Glory of a Job Well Done.
Well, pretty well done, at least. The profile is quite close, and for the next iteration I'll tweak the profile a little bit, use hardwood, and make sure it is exactly the same width as the sample.