Software to order a CNC mold

Discussion in 'Software' started by 30 foot gig, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. 30 foot gig
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    30 foot gig Junior Member

    Hi,

    I have a canoe design in my head, for a fully-rounded 3D hull shape, and I want to produce an IGES file I can email to China so they can mill a two-part alu mold that I can use for rotomolding*.

    This is not a chined design. In the past, I've built some plywood chined designs using panel shapes developed with Carlson Hulls and Delftship Free, and that's my only experience of CAD / CAM software.

    I see a lot of mentions on the forums for Rhino and Maxsurf, but they both have a lot more features than I need for a canoe, and learning curves and prices to match.

    On the other hand, I have a feeling that freeware isn't going to cut it, because I need to be able to export the design as an IGES file. I think I also need to be working in NURBS to create a genuinely rounded surface for CNC (and not a mesh / faceted shape)?

    All thoughts welcome!
    *I was in NZ in 1996, I bought a couple of rotomolded kayaks, and when I picked them up, I found that the manufacturer's setup consisted of a shed roof (no walls, just a roof, out in the bush at the end of a dirt track), a two-part alu mold and a bin of polyethylene granules. And that was it, apart from various ropes and pulleys hanging from the rafters that he used to rotate the hot mold and tip it end for end. Plus a Stanley knife, a drill and a screwdriver. I can't recall how he heated the mold but it wasn't rocket science. I thought "Hey, I could do that..."
     
  2. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    Do you to want to enter an already crowded market with a better product or a lower price?

    You need to make a good number of hulls sold at a profit to break even.
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The world has changed a lot since 1996. China produces cheap products that are hard to beat. If you are going to get in the market, your prices will be too high. The opportunities are in high quality and better designs items. What is different and better in your design?
     
  4. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Let's suppose (a simple theoretical exercise) what the OP wants is the following :
    Assuming that this is what concerns him at the moment, I will not talk to him about the opportunities that he may or may not have in that market niche of boats but I will tell him that he could, for example, with AutoCAD achieve all that information he needs for CNC (using curves or nurbs surfaces, not meshes). This program, and many others, create .igs files that can be reliably exported to other CAD / CAM applications.
     
  5. 30 foot gig
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    30 foot gig Junior Member

    Thank you very much for taking the time, and I'll certainly check out AutoCAD.

    It's good to start off in the right direction; I spent three or four days playing with DelftShip Free before I found out that the free version doesn't export files.
     
  6. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I am at your disposal for any help you need. I handle AutocAD quite well so I think I can help you. However, I must say that there are many other programs that can be very useful for you (SolidWorks, Inventor, ...) and that other members of this forum, who are familiar with them, will be able to give you more information.
     
  7. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    A fully functional copy of Rhino can be downloaded for free and used for 90 days. Rhino - Downloads https://www.rhino3d.com/download Simply Rhino in the UK sells Rhino for 825 pounds, 995 pounds with VAT. Rhino v6.0 for Windows and Mac https://www.rhinowebstore.com/Commercial-Products/Rhino-v6-for-Windows-and-Mac
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you already have a design, getting someone to convert it to a digital file is most likely cheaper than buying software and spending the time to learn it properly. A bad file will result in a bad mold, which will be a financial disaster for you. A kayak is a simple shape that a student with reasonable skills can draw for you.
     
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  9. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Good advice.
     
  10. 30 foot gig
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    30 foot gig Junior Member

    Hi TANSL,
    Great, thank you very much - I may well take you up on that.
    I can find my way around office apps and Dreamweaver, but CAD's a whole new world.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
  11. 30 foot gig
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    30 foot gig Junior Member

    Hi David,
    Thank you - I didn't know that. I saw that SolidWorks is available free for start-ups, but I have a feeling that it might have a very steep learning curve. (Since it was written by Dassault Systems for designing fighter aircraft, I'm not sure it'd be that great at calculating LWL either!)
     

  12. 30 foot gig
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    30 foot gig Junior Member

    Hi Gonzo,
    Thank you, wise advice ... I have a tendency to play with designs (and websites), kick them around, see how they look, so I tend to favour a do-it-yourself approach, but if I find myself hanging on by my fingertips in the new world of CAD, it's good to know there's an alternative route.

    The financial investment for an aluminum mold doesn't seem to be that heavy. I started off thinking of making a GRP mould to make GRP boats. It's familiar technology but I didn't really feel like six months of sanding and polishing so I had a look at the cost of having a plug milled out of foam and finished glossy - it was a lot more than I was expecting.
    But the cost of having an alu mold made and delivered from the other side of the world seems to be a lot less than I was expecting. Finding a reputable company might be another thing, though.
     
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