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Reproduce wood molding from a small sample

Picture of 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.


 
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Step 1: Scan the sample, trace its outline

Picture of scan the sample, trace its outline
Molding-25.jpg
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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

Molding-3.jpg
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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 4: Bask in the glory of a job well done.

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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. 


When I do reproduction work I'll start the digital file the same way you did, but then take some digital calipers to the original sample and edit the file to get that last bit of precision. Nice use of the available technology.
heathbar641 year ago
Very nice! I,ve duplicated mouldings with multiple passes of router, table saw etc, but this technology is so much cooler.
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