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MANUFACTURING A BASIC DVD / CD STORAGE UNIT
BATCH PRODUCTION - MANY MADE

V. Ryan 2007

 

When hundreds and even thousands of the same product (eg. a DVD / CD storage unit) are required they are made on machines such as CNC machines. These are computer controlled machines.

 

The CNC machine seen below is controlled by the computer. The design has been drawn on CAD software. The drawing is converted by the software to coordinates and transferred to the CNC. The CNC machine then cuts out the shape automatically.
When the first shape is cut, it can be removed from the machine and a new piece positioned for cutting. Each piece cut on the CNC machine will be exactly the same. The process of cutting new pieces can repeated hundreds and thousands of times.

The router is guided around the shape by the computer. The shape is cut efficiently.

When cut to size and shape it is removed and replaced with a new piece of material and the machine is allowed to cut and shape again. This can be repeated hundreds or thousands of times. CNC machines are ideal for batch production.

 
 
2D COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE  
     

There are two types of computer aided design software. 2D design software allows the designer to design shapes with very limited three dimensional properties. Do not underestimate the designs that can be achieved through 2D software.

 
     

1. The design is drawn using software such as TechSoft 2D Design. At first appearance this software looks basic but, depending on the skill of the designer, quite complex designs can be produced.
The example shown is a side of the DVD storage unit.

 
   

2. When the design is complete the drawing is processed. This converts the drawing into a detailed series of X, Y and Z coordinates. Processing must take place before the CNC machine can cut the design from the selected material.

When the CNC machine shapes the material the cutter follows the coordinates, in sequence, until the shape has been manufactured.

   

3. Most CAD/CAM software allows the designer to test the manufacture of his/her design on a computer rather than actually making it. This saves time and materials. Testing designs is carried out using ‘simulation’ software (Boxford use ‘CAD/CAM Design Tools’ software). When the design is run through simulation software the computer displays the manufacturing on the screen. It also checks whether the design can be manufactured successfully. Many designs have to be altered before they can be made by a CNC machine.

   
After all the testing and improvements to the design, it can finally be manufactured on a CNC machine.
   
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