Monday, February 11, 2013

Press Fit Kit for Fab Academy

This week's Fab Academy assignment was to laser cut a kit of parts that press fit together to make more than one 3D form. Here are my efforts:

I used Inkscape to layout the cutting paths (download the .svg here), and used the 'clone' command to make the notches parametric such that I could easily tweak the width and height of them. I had trouble maintaining the parametric links after doing Boolean subtractions, so cut without having done these. Later Joel showed me a method of getting similar results to the Boolean subtraction method by using a clipping mask. It took 6 iterations of the design to get the right tolerances for a friction fit, and 33 laser cutting processes in total, in order to find the right settings for the materials (I started in corrugated card and moved onto 2.5mm MDF).

I'm glad I was shown the clone function in Inkscape as I can see it being useful in the future. It is not a feature in Illustrator as far as I am aware, so wouldn't have known to look for it in Inkscape ( I am very familiar with Illustrator). It still does not compare in power to the likes of Inventor and Solidworks for complex parametric work however - It is a shame there is still not a serious open source solid modeller - Freecad is way off the curve in my experience.

We were also asked to make something on the vinyl cutter, so I went for a Repair Cafe sticker:

The vinyl cutter is a fun tool in MAKlab as it is so basic, you can really easily understand the workflow from vector file to the cutting knife. It cuts EXACTLY what you tell it to, no more, no less! The pain is always picking out all the little bits of lettering... I drafted my file in Inkscape again, the source .svg can be downloaded here.

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