Getting our tool paths approved was quite an arduous process. Each time we approached Prof. Angstadt he would point out something bad about our process and we’d have to make changes. And since there are about 30 groups all asking him the same things, it takes him a while before he comes back to check our tool paths again. All-in-all he reviewed our tool paths 3 or 4 times before we got to machine.
Once our tool paths were finalized, we had to post process them as .txt files and make changes to the code that the machine would read. We had to remove redundant lines of code as well as colons the CNC-machine couldn’t understand. After making a few fixes in the code we were ready to machine. The whole process was relatively quick since our molds only took ~1 hr. and 15 min. to machine. Most of my team was present during the whole process so that we could verify that everything was going as it should. Pictured below is shot of our molds being milled.
Once our molds were finished being machined we had to inspect them to make sure they would work in the injection molding machine (pictured above). Unfortunately there was a slight problem; the two plates did not come together nicely. The CNC-machine left two very small bits of geometry just a slight fraction too big. These little struts would define the cavity the axles would fit into. They were just a tad too big for the cavity they sat in and caused a non-insignificant gap when you put the plates together. We had to manually file those pieces down until they fit snugly. Hopefully this wont affect our cars when they are made using the injection molding machine. We also accidentally dropped one of our mold plates as well and dented two of the corners. Again, we are hoping this wont have any effect on our final product. We are scheduled to mold our cars this upcoming Friday so more updates are to come!