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  • Writer's pictureedwardjamescoco

CNC in 2D/3D

So we're back at it with samples of logo representation for the Grammy Awards in 2019. Of course we're exploring the usual array of print samples on various materials/papers using various printers/processes. But we're also venturing into a type of 3d relief logo as well.

This is a bit of a new exploration for me. I've understood the concept, and seen it accomplished in many forms. But, since I have a little lead time on this project, I've decided to immerse myself in the full process instead of the typical method of showing a vendor what I want and waiting for the finished sample to arrive.

My first challenge was to create a 3d model of the relief profile, in order to CNC a blank to use for possible vacuforming. Step one involved bringing the Grammy Award model into C4d in order to develop a good STL file to use. Instead of using my standard V-Carve Pro software I decided to test Vectric's "step up" Aspire program. I still could have used V-Carve; but I just wanted to see what kind of bells and whistles Aspire contained.

In Aspire I "smushed" the model along the proper axis, in order to get the depth reduced for a relief. Then I extruded the model back up to the overall depth of the material (only 2" in this case). Aspire takes care of removing undercuts, in order to keep things 2d/3d instead of full 3d.

I played around with some of the Aspire 3d tools; nothing too complicated. I think it's probably best to do most of the model editing in C4d, in order to use a few more advanced modelling options. I even tried exporting the current 2d/3d file (as an STL) from Aspire and back into C4d for some editing. The re-importing back to Aspire to create the milling instructions.

My CNC (the CamMaster Stinger 3) doesn't have a auto tool change. So the 3-part process you see in the video is a rough cut pass with a 3/8" end mill, a smoothing pass with a 1/4" ball nose, and a final cutout pass with the regular 1/4" end mill. Overall cutout time for this 18x18 is currently around 4 hours. So I might do some tweaking to get that down. Other than that this is probably ready to test. I'll let you know if we get some good results.

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