This week was spent carrying out my plans of mass….. production.
It all began with figuring out how to replicate the same milling procedure many times over, in a different place. This involved looking around on Autodesk forums to find that crucial answer, until I realized a solution. I could just copy and past the same part over and over again with a specific space in between them, connect them all, and arrive with “one” part that’s effectively multiple. The computer would treat it all as one part, and write a program to cut multiple parts (ten, specifically) spaced at a specific distance (an eighth inch, specifically). That is kind of hard to imagine, so here’s a picture of what I mean:
What this also means, is that the ten pieces of sock need to be held precisely in at the perfect spacing as the program prescribes. To do this, I designed a part, called a fixture to hold them in place. This part has slots cut out that, with two fixtures, could perfectly sandwich parts in place between two vice grips. It looks like this:
The first attempts of cutting the part didn’t last very long. I ran the program written for and eighth inch wide end mill, with a spindle speed much too high, and it snapped almost immediately. The second attempt was milled with a brand new quarter inch end mill, which cut without any hitches. I got back this finished part:
It looked good at first, but then I realized that the depths of each slot were radically different. The fixturing for the soon-to-be fixture were simply random pieces of aluminum I found in the shop, neither straight or square. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the outcome.
This week, I’ll work on milling straight fixtures that can actually be used.
To leave the realm of technology and robots for a moment, I was reminded this week of one of my all time favorite artist’s, Andrew Goldsworthy. Where as Grazer would be a piece that plants itself as a foreign object in an environment, Goldsworthy’s work exists in and as the environment. When I was a young kid I always used to flip through one of his art books in my house, and was always inspired by it to enjoy nature and put it to use.