View Full Version : how do they do it...

03-11-2012, 09:58 PM
hope this is the right section guys.

basicly i'm in the process of making something very similar to the picture i'm attaching..

i understand that it is 2 pieces of whatever material laminated together and that the top piece is cut first.

what i dont understand is how the top piece is cut. i know it isnt done by a cnc router but i'm curious to think how you guys say it's cut.

now on to the more important part.. if this was to be cut by a cnc i understand due to bit sizes it's highly unlikely one can do this in one piece...
as i have no experience of cnc software yet could someone tell me, can you draw say the cut out of the lion and then tell the cnc to cut the frame then from the same drawing swap it round and tell it to cut the lion and miss out the frame? if that makes sense.

any help would be appreciated


03-11-2012, 11:10 PM
you might find this interesting wilfy: Concept car CAD/CAM- CNC 5 axis machining - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I3diD1lpho) slightly unrelated but inspiring.

basically to re produce something like that picture you would need cad software to draw it, cam program to make the code to produce it and cnc software (probably mach 3) to run the code through the machine to make it.

04-11-2012, 06:18 PM
You wouldn't need to laminate any materials together but you would need to cut the parts separately. The board with the shapes cut out could be done with something like 9 or 12 mm MDF or ply machined to a depth of say 6mm then the figures cut from a sheet of 6mm material so they were flush when put in place. Then or course you would need a printer to print the images for the board & animals.
Cad software is what I would call a design program so that plus cam software like cambam or easycam to produce g code & them mach3 or what ever to run the machine.

04-11-2012, 06:29 PM
You might get away with a thin band saw but it is probably done on a scroll saw, you can cnc stuff like this.

Cutting scroll saw patterns on DIY cnc machine - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeIG_xaJ6GE)

04-11-2012, 07:00 PM
ah scroll saw explains it quite well acctually and i suppose you could automate the turning of the work piece in a cnc kind of way.

as for the laminating the shop bought ones are definatly done this way as i have one here with an mdf base and ply top frame and pieces. but i do understand that you could just sink in to a 12mm piece of mdf and then cut the pieces out seperate, it will use more material which i personally am fine with, but you can tell by the way these are that the top frame and pieces were all cut in one go from the same piece as there is a cut joining all the pieces.. as said above though scroll saw explains it

04-11-2012, 07:28 PM
This is very easy and quick to do with CNC and you won't have the joining lines that the scroll saw leaves.
Laminating will be far easier and it won't really use more material has the thickness will be the same.

04-11-2012, 08:19 PM
This is very easy and quick to do with CNC and you won't have the joining lines that the scroll saw leaves.
Laminating will be far easier and it won't really use more material has the thickness will be the same.

can see it would be quicker to do if your going to laminate 2 pieces together plus it would mean you would only need to buy one thickness of board. You could even make another slightly smaller board to use the cut out shapes from the first board lol. In fact you could make a whole series of slightly smaller boards for the slowly decreasing size of animal shapes lol.

04-11-2012, 09:50 PM
just to give you an idea what i'm thinking of doing... i'm basicly building a bubble tube for my boys, the tube with the water is all but done.

but i wanted to make it more interactive, so my thought is to have a panel with big bashable buttons on it and also removable pieces as per my picture above but i want to push it further and have them pieces interact with the tube, so they will have lit acrylic pieces under them and a mag sensor of some description so when you pull the piece away the hole lights up and when you put it back in it interacts with the bubble tube.

the reason for bringing this to you guys is i want to create this whole piece before i'll have my cnc machine made...

so i need to know how i present what i want in a drawing or whatever so that i can contact whoever may be willing, to pay them to craft what i need.. if that makes sense

here is a picture of what i have in mind to better explain it


05-11-2012, 09:34 AM
Hall effect sensors in the base and a small magnet in each of the removable pieces would work I think, if you use rgb leds and an arduino you can do all sorts of funky flashy colour changes quite easily.

If you are making this custom for the kids it might be worth cutting the boards at an angle instead of a normal vertical cut, small kids are not very dextrous and the angled sides will help them fit the pieces together more easily.

05-11-2012, 01:16 PM
arduino is certainly going to be controling the lighting and the sensors not quite sure if hall effect are what my friend had planned but i'll certainly mention it.