CNCROi.com does lots of production runs, big or small, we do as much mass customization as you require for your specific application.
It always amazes me what we are able to “get away with” using our Austrian industrial wide-format CNC laser, whether it’s the absolute clarity of results across hundreds of units or the precision of shared cutting lines which makes things more efficient. It’s astounding what CNCROi.com can do on just about any part, military through aerospace and yes, even wedding cake toppers!
In this case, we ran out of handouts after exhibiting at one of our many trade shows so it was time to jump into another production run using 1/8th (3 mm) MDF. Here’s what we have been handing out before switching over to these custom medieval shields.
It’s just fun to mix things up, keeps our laser’s attention! Our new design is also 4x faster to cut out and actually produces even less waste material so it’s a win all around!
First step is laser engraving the MDF, this is done across the sheet as nothing moves while engraving, only when cutting things out. This is vital for production of unique and accurate parts!
For a lesser laser, this would be scary as there is no way you can be accurate at the top of the sheet as you are at the bottom, hence you see lots of companies engraving and then cutting out immediately. Not only is this a waste of time for a production run this fast, but it still doesn’t solve the problem they have with part accuracy. If anything, it makes things WORSE! We don’t have that issue at CNCROi.com with our Austrian CNC laser.
After the engraving, an inner shield is engraved, again, any movement and you’d see right away you are “off-center” as these are following the outline of the larger cut out shield.
After everything is engraved, it’s time to cut out the inner bird of war from the medieval shield. Again, absolute precision is required as the silhouette of the bird closely follows the engravings done previously! Yes, we are taking a chance that something moves but we are also showing customers the precision we offer them on their parts.
As you can see in the above picture, we’ve done these shields before – I just decided to document it around the end of the production run. Each of these steps, engraving elements individually, saves a lot of time which, if this was for our customer, would save them lots of money (and our time).
Yes, there is some fire in our machine, that isn’t a problem because we have our industrial dual-sourced laser hooked-up to a wicked overkill 80 gallon premium air compressor pushing the flames out before they have a chance to grow AND a 2 HP extraction system to quickly suck out any dust and smoke from the bed. If your house was hooked-up like our Austrian laser, you’d think you were in the middle of a hurricane! Luckily, we also have a vacuum table too (among a few other bells and whistles) to keep things where they are.
The laser cutting is accurate, first vector to last, not sure how many vectors are in this design but it’s probably in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. Our laser has two-way feedback by the way, which means if you wanted each one of these shields to have a unique name on them, we could run it through a database realtime!
The reason why we made this sample out of 1/8th MDF rather than stainless steel or laminate is that we wanted something very light weight to hand to customers that can be produced in an efficient amount of time. Return on Investment means you don’t count your pennies when trying to acquire new clients as you give them something to prove your point without overkill. We hand these samples out like candy.
As our CNC laser cuts through this 3 mm MDF, it doesn’t get tired and ask for a coffee or smoke break, it’s primed to do the entire task, start to finish, in one shot! There isn’t any operator error as the machine is doing everything on its own, fatigue, boredom or other “human issues” don’t play a role in this production. This keeps quality high as well as attention to detail.
After engraving our logo, engraving a shield outline, cutting out the war bird, it’s now time to cut out the shields! How many? Not sure, but hundreds of them! We generally mask our work to keep resin and soot stains away from the work piece but in this case, it’s actually an advantage to have these happen as they help add additional depth and interest to the shield. They’ve literally had their trial through fire!
Looking at it from a ROI perspective as well, taking the mask off hundreds of shields isn’t a good use of time, so yes, there is an economical as well as esthetic reason behind this decision. I personally prefer the shields with stains on them.
As the production runs end nears, you can see how identical all these parts are. It’s amazing the repeatability we can achieve with our Austrian CNC laser and this is by no means a “big run” like we’ve done for customers in the past and things coming in the shop shortly.
You can see how the resin stains on the MDF add a bit more depth to the shields, of course, the bird falls out of the shield as you saw in the video at the top of this blog post. The point that most of them stay even without any supporting material testifies at how well our vacuum table works to hold things in place in the middle of a hurricane!
Have some custom mass production on the horizon and looking for a passionate company to help you get it out the door and in customer’s hands? Contact CNCROi.com RIGHT NOW! We look forward to helping you with your custom application!