I’m continuing my exploration of cylinder containers for this weeks’ skill builder. I mentioned in my previous post that my intention is to build the container out of aluminum, so I bought a 2’x2″x1.5″ bar.
When I arrived on the floor to start milling, I had a question for Ben Light about oiling my material, assuming that because this is important with the metal lathe, it is also important with the 4 Axis. Ben explained that there really isn’t a way to oil the piece with the 4 Axis, but that the machine compensates for this by taking very shallow passes. The downside of this is it takes a long time. Like a really long time. Ben estimate 12 hours! So I ran to Home Depot and bought a 2×4(x8).
I cut the board into multiple 6″ long smaller boards and mounted it to the 4 Axis. I separated both sides of the box into separate STL files per Ben’s suggestion to ensure the piece was stable when the material was all milled away. Last time, the software had automatically created a support between the two sides, but it was super thick and difficult to sand away. Isolating each piece would avoid that.
Before cutting the wood I checked the the estimated job time. Only 3.8 hours. Ha! (edit from the future: don’t get cocky, cause that’s wrong)
Back to wood, the mill made short work of my piece. The top part of the container took about 45 minutes to complete.
When the milling was done, I took the piece to the band saw and cut away the excess material on either end.
I was pleased by how similar the piece looked to a Tie Fighter when two of the supports were still in place.
Sadly, the wings didn’t make it into the final product.
I noticed that though I had completed both roughing and finishing passes, the inner pocket of the piece wasn’t smoothed out. Ben would later explain that this was because I didn’t adjust the depth of the cut to include the pocket.
I used the largest remaining piece of the 2×4 to mill the bottom of the container.
I cut away the support material form this side as well and sanded down any remaining excess. Both ends turned out really nicely!
One thing to note is the one side of the lip on the top piece broke apart. I think this was a combination of the material being brittle and my having mounted it off center.