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modeling for CnC Router

Question asked by C. Thorne on Jun 20, 2015
Latest reply on Apr 7, 2019 by Vural Koç

Forgive me if this is the incorrect Space for this question.


I mentor a robotics team and we build a great deal of parts out of various plastics. We have two CnC routers and frequently design parts, cut them out of flat stock, and assemble them. We have used solid works to design things and have developed a fondness for the tool.  This a fairly simple thing to deal with if all of the parts we're cutting are flat to begin with, however as the parts get more complex it becomes a problem to lay them flat so they can be cut in the manner we most often use. As an arbitrary example, a simple loft of a circle to a hexagon (see included image).  I've read about and tried a number of times using sheet metal tools to unwrap this, but they're at best confusing, at worst impossible to figure out the work flow.  In addition, often when the flattened object requires a curve the sheet metal tools will facet the curve, adding bends and/or corners.  If we're using .0625 plastic not only are the extra bends not necessary, they're not desirable. The plastic will conform to the transitions from round to hex just fine  on it's own.


My question/request is; Is there a more standardized workflow for accomplishing this?  CnC routers are fairly common these days, are other folks not doing exactly what we are trying to do?  If someone could point us (me) toward a straight forward tutorial, instructional material or simply smack me up-side the head and say, "do it this way" I would be very grateful.loftCircleHex.JPG