Introduction: CNC Milling: Week 6

This week's project was about building tool paths for CNC milling, a subtractive tool. I was interested in the shape of my chair from last week and wanted to try setting up the tool paths for that shape. However, I quickly realized that it was actually a little too complex a design to use for my first try (although the simulation looked pretty good). I then decided to build a more simpler, curved extruded shape for use as a model in the manufacturing tab of Fusion360 (Autodesk).

This process was a bit difficult for me, as I started too complex (which was overwhelming) and then felt myself getting more and more frustrated while trying to use the software (there are so many settings and menu boxes! Plus, my 3D spatialization is not the best). However, I did think I managed to complete two exiting results, and I really love the final shape that I made as a sculptural piece or a table top shape.

Step 1: First Face

After setting up the stock material, I added a face tool path by following the tutorial provided.

Step 2: First Adaptive and Pocket Tool Paths

After the first face was milled, it was time for the surface curvature. However, my model was built out of MANY faces (even though it looks smooth and uniform at first glance). This made the adaptive paths an absolute nightmare, and I wasn't even sure if I was doing it right. However, the simulation looked right, so I wasn't sure. Anyways, I decided to take a simpler approach, starting a bit more basic just to make sure I was actually learning how to do this (and not just pointing and clicking at random curves in frustration).

Step 3: Generated Simple Design, First Face

I drew a simple sketch from a poly-curve using the "Design" feature in Fusion 360. I offset the surfaces and extruded the shape, bringing the final result into the "Manufacturing" feature. Then it was time to start the first tool path, which was just a simple face path. This simulation worked really well! I could really see what was happening, and following the tutorial here was clear.

Step 4: Rough Path and Smooth Path (adaptive, Pocket)

I then milled out the inside piece of the shape by first using an adaptive tool path and then using a 2D pocket path (to finely mill down the stock). This simulation worked really well, everything is smooth here.

Step 5: Adaptive and Pocket Paths Part 2

I then performed a second set of adaptive and pocket tool paths on the outside of the shape, which worked really well according to these pictures of the simulation.

Step 6: Turning the Axis and Then Milling Out the Final Piece

This was the hard part. I followed the tutorial and created a second sketch, using the viewer cube to flip the shape and change the direction of the z axis. However, it wasn't clear if I was doing it right. I had to repeat this step several times, creating final adaptive and pocket tool paths a couple of times over again until magically I got a simulation where the entire rest of the material was removed from the shape. I chose to leave material in the middle back section of the piece to hold flowers or decorative objects, as I imagined this shape to be similar to that of a vessel.

Step 7: Watch the Whole Simulation!

Here is the whole simulation!