After another week in our manufacturing lab we have made solid progress on our project. In the next few weeks we are responsible for finalizing the tool paths for our molds and machining them. We’re lucky because Prof. Angstadt made template operations for us that we just have to copy/paste and change a few parameters. Creating tool paths is challenging because it takes a fair amount of strategy. You have to take a lot of things into account that you normally don’t think about, like a tool breaking for example. My team sat down together to figure out the best order of operations to machine our molds. Since our car is tiny and has small features like tiny wings and a small cockpit, we wanted our finalized product to have a very smooth outer finish, this requires a lot of operations so we had to do our best to keep machining time down.
We started of with large tools and worked our way down to the small tools, doing cavity mills first. Then we switched back to larger tools and did a similar process for the contour milling operations. From start to finish it’s estimated that both of our mold plates will take ~2 hr. and 15 mins. We were advised to keep our milling operation less than 2 hours, but exceptions are made for cars with more complex geometry which I think our car has. We are graded on how accurately our molds will reproduce our model car so its important that we get our tool paths right. We are very close to having our paths finalized, all we need to do is get approval by Prof. Angstadt and then make a few modifications to the G-code. After that all we have to do is sign up to machine our molds and then make a few cars using the injection molding machine. The race competition is in about a month so we’ve got to get everything ready before then. More updates to come!