Re: Inexpensive alternative to other RP processes???

From: Carol Farrish (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 15:38:16 EEST

I thought it was just me! Between the repeats & the viruses, I may be about
through with this list.

C Farrish
Precision Metalsmits, Inc.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ana García Romero" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 3:47 AM
Subject: RE: Inexpensive alternative to other RP processes???

> Does anybody else receive copies and copies and copies of every mail sent
> this forum, or it happens only to me?
> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: Glen Young []
> Enviado el: jueves, 14 de septiembre de 2000 14:27
> Para:
> Asunto: Re: Inexpensive alternative to other RP processes???
> We use one and have replaced using an LOM to create models for our casting
> process. Our working range is a bit larger than the one mentioned in the
> article. When we run our twin 5' x 5' tables in tandem we get an effective
> 5' x 10' x 42" working envelope. Considering you can run larger parts for
> longer "unattended" period of time, it becomes quite cost effective.
> Although our machine is quite a bit larger, the concept is the same, plus
> enjoy being able to run a wider variety of material in our machine,
> including aluminum.
> To see the machine, check out Quintax's website and look under their "HD"
> router. Ours was outfitted with a 40hp Colombo
> spindle - and is a 5 axis machine, rather than a 3 axis. Can't say enough
> about their products.
> Although the programming time is lengthier compared to using STL files in
> RP machine, the actual runtime can be considerably shorter. This is also
> reduced considering you don't have to piece everything together. We
> currently use Delcam's Powermill for most of the programming of our
> It still uses the STL format, and we can automate a large portion of the
> programming through the use of macros.
> Cheers,
> Glen Young
> Lakeland Mold Co.
> >>> "SiderWhite" <> 09/13/00 10:59PM >>>
> Anybody tried this equipment (gantry router) as an inexpensive alternative
> to other RP options and if so, how did it work out for them?
> Check out the article below or at:
> Best Regards,
> Glenn Whiteside
> September 2000 A Gantry Router Helps
> Reduce Prototype Costs
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------

> -----
> An industrial design firm used out-of-the-box thinking and found a way to
> produce prototypes at about half the cost of conventional SLA and CNC
> methods.
> Introduction
> Choosing a Prototyping System
> Implementing the Gantry Router
> Gantry Router Becomes Coordinate Measuring Machine
> Anderson Design found that this gantry router from Techno-Isel cuts
> prototyping costs in half.
> Anderson Design Associates, Plainville, CT, is a general-purpose
> design house with clients in a variety of industries, including toys,
> appliances, heavy machinery, and medical equipment. The company's services
> include conceptual design, focus-group research, engineering, purchasing,
> and manufacturing support. Preparing prototype models for client review is
> critical part of the product development process at Anderson Design. Until
> recently, this was done by hand using urethane foam. The company had no
> of generating models from its Pro/ENGINEER CAD data unless it went to an
> outside service. When Anderson Design decided to bring this capability
> in-house, management investigated a variety of options.
> Company officials found that the initial purchase price of a gantry router
> was less than one-fourth that of stereolithography apparatus (SLA) or a
> milling machine, and that its day-to-day operating expenses are
> significantly less as well. The router's working area is larger than that
> conventional milling machines, and it delivers more aesthetically pleasing
> surfaces than SLA. Anderson Design also uses the router as a coordinate
> measuring machine. Benefits to clients include a shorter design cycle,
> faster turnaround, the ability to evaluate more design options, and lower
> costs.
> Choosing a Prototyping System
> Anderson Design first considered SLA, a commonly used method of producing
> prototype models, but determined that it had several drawbacks. First, it
> was not suitable for all parts. Aesthetically critical parts with complex
> surfaces, for example, couldn't be produced with SLA since this technology
> makes tiny steps or facets in a curved surface. Second, the least
> SLA system cost about $100,000. Third, that system had only a 12-inch by
> 12-inch by 10-inch-high working area. Many of Anderson Design's projects
> would require parts made in sections and bonded together. This is a
> time-intensive and costly option. Finally, because operating expenses are
> high, SLA models cost nearly twice as much to produce as foam models.
> The firm also considered a traditional CNC machine. These machines, made
> companies such as Bridgeport, start at $50,000, not including the CNC
> programming software. To get a model with a large enough working area,
> Anderson Design would have needed one of the larger machines costing at
> least $100,000.
> A chance encounter led the company in a different direction: An
> advertisement in an industrial directory described a new breed of gantry
> router that interfaced with CAD systems, had a large cutting area, and was
> offered at a relatively low price. Anderson Design decided to purchase
> machine: the Techno Series III from Techno-Isel, New Hyde Park, NY. The
> price was less than $19,000 and the machine operated from Mastercam CNC
> programming software (CNC Software, Tolland, CT). Its working area of 24
> inches by 36 inches with a Z-axis height of 6 inches was large enough for
> most of the firm's projects. The gantry router could also handle all the
> materials Anderson Design needed to cut.
> The gantry router's accuracy ensures that the models are faithful
> representations of the designs created on the computer.
> Implementing the Gantry Router
> After purchasing the Techno machine and related equipment such as clamps,
> tools for installing clamps, lighting, vacuum systems, cutting tools, and
> software, the total cost of bringing automated model production in-house
> approximately $40,000. Within three days of installing the Techno system,
> Anderson Design was billing clients for work done on the gantry router.
> was largely because the Mastercam software was easy to learn. Although
> originally designed for metal working, Mastercam is also well suited for
> industrial design models because of its ability to generate the most
> contours with little programming effort. Mastercam includes IGES, DXF, and
> CADL converters so that geometry can be uploaded from many CAD systems,
> including Anderson Design's Pro/ENGINEER.
> Although the Techno machine was designed for production routing and
> on a wide variety of materials -- including wood, plastic, MDF, solid
> surfacing materials, and nonferrous metals -- Anderson Design has used it
> mostly for cutting models from 7- or 15-pound density polyurethane foam,
> #35 or #65 Ren Shape. Typically, 4-inch-thick sheets of 4-foot by 8-foot
> foam are used, although a few polycarbonate parts have also been made.
> The machine's 0.0020-inch resolution and repeatability and 0.003-inch
> absolute accuracy ensure that the foam models are faithful representations
> of the designs created on the computer. This is critical in an industrial
> design application because the models must give the client an accurate
> likeness of the eventual end product. The Techno machine's accuracy is the
> result of several features inherent to the table, such as the use of ball
> screws and servo motors. For example, anti-backlash ball screws permit
> play-free motion that makes it possible to produce accurate circles and
> inlays. The ball screws have excellent power transmission due to the
> ball contact between the nut and screw. This rolling contact also ensures
> longer life and greater rigidity during the life of the system because of
> the reduced wear as compared to ACME screws and nuts, which have a sliding
> friction contact.
> Gantry Router Becomes Coordinate Measuring Machine
> The resolution of the Techno machine has allowed Anderson Design to use
> system in unanticipated ways. Many of the firm's projects involve new
> products that must interface with products already on the market. The
> existing product may not be made by Anderson Design's client, which means
> that the industrial design team doesn't have access to the product's
> documentation or CAD files. In these situations, the designers go out and
> buy the product and then figure out how to design an interface to it. 3D
> digitizing offers one method of capturing the surfaces of the product for
> use in the CAD system, but Anderson Design has found most digitizing
> techniques to be impractical. Laser reflective scanning, for instance,
> generates too much information for the designer to work with since it
> captures thousands of x, y, and z coordinates. It is impossible to fit a
> surface through all these points, so much of the data is eventually
> discarded.
> Anderson Design found a better way to get surface data into its CAD
> system -- by modifying the Techno machine to function as a coordinate
> measuring machine (CMM). After securing an object to the machine's table,
> just as if it were going to be milled or routed, an operator manually
> the machine's crosshead until a flexible touch probe positioned in the
> holder touches the object. The machine's display shows the x, y, and z
> position of the probe at that point. This value is recorded manually.
> the designer has captured a number of points, they are entered into the
> system.
> The benefit of this technique is that a designer has complete control over
> the number of coordinates that are recorded. Anderson Design has found
> between 70 and 80 planned points give a better indication of the surface
> than the thousands of points that are captured with a laser scanner. Once
> the 70 or 80 points are indicated in the CAD system, the designer uses
> to guide the creation of the existing object's surfaces. This use of the
> Techno machine once saved Anderson Design six months -- the time normally
> required to go through the legal process of obtaining drawings for a
> particular product. They simply bought the product and captured its
> coordinates in three days.
> In approximately 300 hours of operation, Anderson has had no problems with
> the Techno machine. This is partly due to the strength and rigidity of the
> table, which is constructed from extruded aluminum profiles that provide
> easy clamping capability. The machine also has four ground and hardened
> steel shafts and eight recirculating bearings in each axis. This shaft and
> bearing system produces very smooth, play-free motion and an extremely
> system that produces high-quality cuts. For Anderson Design, PC-based CNC
> has proved to be an affordable, practical, and accurate option for the
> production of industrial design prototypes, as well as a good coordinate
> measuring machine from time to time. To the firm's clients this means
> shorter lead-times, lower costs and -- most important -- better designs.
> This article was prepared by Tim Van Leeuwen, Engineering Manager,
> Design Associates, Plainville, CT.
> For More Information
> Contact Techno-Isel, 2101 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.
> 516-328-3970 Fax: 516-326-8827 E-mail:
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