The Big Think

April 18, 2015

Milling

Filed under: The R2 Project — jasony @ 7:10 am

More R2! Now that the show is over I’ve been busy teaching at TechShop and building a project for Baylor’s StuPro (a really cool CNC’ed progress board for the Sing groups). So I’ve been spending a lot of time at TechShop. The other day I got a few hours free while up there and decided to jump back on the mill to keep my meager milling skills sharp.

When you cut something on the Water Jet, you have to leave tiny tabs of metal connecting the part to the larger piece of stock. This is so parts don’t shift around while cutting or, worse, break free and sink in the tank. After the cut is done you have to break these tabs and remove the part. However, little sharp bits of these tabs are left behind on the part that must be dealt with. If you design the part right, the leftover tabs aren’t too big (maybe the size of a rice grain or slightly larger) and you can work them away with a file. But since I hadn’t been on the mill for a while I decided to take some time and remove them with that tool. Overkill? Sure, but logging time on the mill was worth it.

So I took 3 hours or so and sent about 10 parts– some large structural pieces, some support pieces– through the mill and removed the sharp little tabs. You can tell where my mill marks are because what is milled is freshly shiny and smooth aluminum (as opposed to the oxidized and rough cut from the Water Jet). But since these frame parts are going to be inside the frame and invisible I’m not too concerned. I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to clean things up later but my guess is that it won’t be an issue, and my plan to anodize the frame in the future will cover up a lot of issues anyway.

Next up: water jetting the main top “A” ring. It’s one of the biggest and most complex parts of the frame. I’ve been putting off doing this part because the water jet has been down and because it’s a rather long and expensive cut in a big (expensive) piece of aluminum. Fingers crossed.

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