Ok, so for the last few moths I’ve been playing with carius addivtive printing technologies, aka 3D printing. Unfortunately making molds for later mass production have prooved really really rediculously goo… difficult. Also my rapman couldn’t provide the resolution I wanted. The shapeways method would prove too costly in the long run (although I still plan to have that available as an option for people). So I turned to a methos that had been bugging me for at least two months. Ever since I read this http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/guerrilla_cnc1.shtml
Basically CNC milling is the grandaddy approach to making things. It is the method that makes the molds for injection molding parts, so no new techniques to develop.
So I brought one of the CNC 3040 machines that are all over ebay. A few days of sorting it out and getting comfortable enough with things to turn it on. I also used the MeshCam software to write the Gcode and EMC2 on Linux to control it. I further went and brought some milling wax, as well as a 1mm end mill bit, since the CNC3040 only came with a 1/8th inch end mill.
I’ve milled a test mold and can report that apart from a few gas bubbles in my test piece, the results are far better than any other attempt.
Being able to reliably make molds has also lead to another advantage. I can make more than two part molds, which means I can include holes on the sides of the parts. This doesn’t sound like much but it will make a world of difference, since I can make holes for tendons, and for the hinges. So all in all things are coming along pretty well, for once!