With the build out of Phase 2 of our workshop nearing completion, we were able to make some major upgrades to our tooling and machining capabilities. In the last few weeks we’ve added a 3D printer, CNC Plasma Table and a CNC Milling Machine. Together, these tools give Function Foundry a whole new level of capability, allowing us to create more and do it quickly, with less time waiting on outside vendors, and more time spent fabricating. These tools together will allow our productivity to increase dramatically, with less down time from idea creation to realization.
3D Printing will help us quickly generate concepts and models, for refinement and testing purposes. 3D printers are also great for making small parts or adapters for custom projects. We can also print our own tooling for vacuum formed parts! 3D printers work by laying down a small amount of plastic on a heated bed. Each pass of the print head will leave a bit more plastic, and after a while you’ll have a finished part. It might need sanding or finishing afterward, but it is a great way to get complex shapes created that might be difficult or impossible with other methods.
Our CNC Plasma Table will allow us to cut sheet metal parts up to 5 feet by 10 feet in size. Because so much of what we do is custom metal working and installations, our new plasma table is our crown jewel. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, which is a fancy way of saying that a computer can see geometry that we’ve created in our CAD modeling software, Solidworks, and translate that into precise cuts in sheet metal.
Our final major addition is our CNC Shop Bot Milling machine, which allows us to sculpt 3D shapes out of wood, foam or plastic. Just like the CNC Plasma Table, the computer can see the shapes we’ve generated, and will cut a path with a router bit. The opposite of 3D printing, the CNC Shop Bot will remove material little by little, until all that is left is the desired object.
Well, thats all for this month’s batch of news from the Function Foundry. Check back soon to see what we’re creating with all of our new tools!