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Jan 26, 2012, 06:25 AM
Speed King
MarkChinery's Avatar

What CNC machines

Hi All,
my work are looking at getting a CNC Router milling machine. What are the machines to have that are good for milling moulds?
Also what machines are best for CNC laser cutting? wood templates etc for built up models

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Jan 27, 2012, 10:41 AM
Registered User
Hello Mark,

I bought my CNC Machine from Germany. Here is the link:



Feb 07, 2012, 07:24 AM
Registered User
kajakmannen's Avatar
Depending on what your company are going to do different machines can be best suited.

This is what I use
ABB IRB 6400 5 axis robot with milling spindle.

The robot solution has a very nice feature and that is flexibility.

The downside is that the investment is rather high.

So it depends on what you company are ging to do. please give some typical examples and we can give you more info.

Best regards / Kajakmannen
Feb 07, 2012, 03:23 PM
Aurora Builder
Here is a list of machines I am considering to mill foam and possibly molds out of corian: Machines I'm considering:

1) BlueChick v4.2, 12"x36": bit small for fuselage molds but $1800 for the complete kit w/ electronics is hard to beat. Would be limited to cutting foam and pulling molds off of foam directly. Concerned with the overall accuracy and dimensional stability of wood (have a wooden hotwire CNC already).

2) FLA-200, 24"x48": ($1800+cutting table+electronics) Need to do some more research on what else I need besides the base kit.

3) CNC Router Parts 48"x48" ($2600+cutting table+legs+electronics)-too big for my needs but CRP has a very good reputation in the cnc community (better than FLA it seems)

4) XZero ViperXZ 30"x48" ($2200+cutting table+support table+electronics)-potentially a better machine than FLA, at a higher cost of course

5) IronMan XE12 36"X12" or 48"x12". Not sure what the total is.

4) Haase, 580mmx1000mmx110mm (22"x39"): Kit w/ electronics for $3400 USD (after subtracting VAT and converting from Euros).

I will say there are advantages to pulling a fiberglass mold off of a foam plug (milled) that must be considered; for 1 material cost is lower, 2 accuracy may be higher if using a cheaper machine and 3, fiberglass molds are very stable.
Feb 08, 2012, 09:44 AM
Registered User

I will say there are advantages to pulling a fiberglass mold off of a foam plug (milled) that must be considered; for 1 material cost is lower

You have to factor in the hours... This might change a bit your view on the subject (especially if you look at my comment on the third point).

, 2 accuracy may be higher if using a cheaper machine

Yes BUT: it is very easy to introduce errors and discrepancies.

and 3, fiberglass molds are very stable.

IF they are build properly, handled/stored properly and used within the "designed" requirement... like ANY molds...

So, personally, I will go for composite molds (when the job requires to go this way) even if I have the luxury of having a CNC milling unit capable of handling metal machining. But this is not necessary the cheapest route.
Each application/use as its own requirements, therefore it needs a specific tooling. Your reasoning is correct for you and you needs. Just make sure that you tick all the blocks before committing for one way or an other.
Feb 08, 2012, 09:51 AM
Aurora Builder
I've been both ways. Factoring in the hours it IS NOT less time to cut a set of DLG wing molds on a CNC machine that costs less than $10K. It is very easy to introduce errors and discrepancies in the polishing process on Corian or Aluminum molds cut from such machines. When you factor in the CAD time required to generate the toolpaths for the machine (40+ hours in CAD for an 8 panel wing with variable twist), it makes a lot of sense to skip this and use a foam plug IF you have the capability to cut such a plug to a high degree of accuracy. I have the equipment to do the latter and not the former, hence the reason for suggesting this as a possible option.
Last edited by samc99us; Feb 08, 2012 at 09:57 AM.
Feb 08, 2012, 10:06 PM
Registered User
Sorry if I was not clear enough: when going composite mold, if accuracy is required, my pattern will be CNC machined. So, you still have to transfer the 3D design into the tool path (for the plug/pattern machining) plus all the added details you want to be in your mold (channels, centering, etc.). So, for some applications, I will still favor a composite mold over a metal one. Even if I have the luxury of machining metal.

As I have said in other posts to achieve an accuracy of 1/10th of a millimeter on a wing is,to me, the best one can do without a CNC machined pattern. 1/10th error on the leading edge is BIG by today's standard with the new high performances wing sections.
Feb 08, 2012, 10:17 PM
Just fly it!
wyowindworks's Avatar
CNC cut masters have their own issues with two piece molds. Getting the corner between the cut parting plane and the profile is difficult to do accurately. If you have cut the master with a square corner then any paint applied to master rounds out the corner. I prefer to have them cut with a small trough around the perimeter. This makes a positive in the mold that then gets blocked off so the corner is square. I personally would rather have a CNC cut full shape (which is difficult to do well) and then part it myself.

1/10 of mm (.003) can be challenging with any plug. That is the thickness of most people flashing which is a theoretical error. Also, pulled parts out of perfect molds don't hold a perfect shape. Many people don't do a balanced skins on both sides of the core which will cause variations (larger than .003") over time.
Feb 09, 2012, 03:03 AM
Registered User
Wyowindwork, we all have our "tricks" to get around all the mold making, and pulling products from them, issues. It is often more than one way to skin a cat. I agree with you that the parting plane(s) is one of the major issues with all mold making.

My comments were more in response to the OP to point out the fact that CNC aluminum molds are not necessary the answer, and at the same time composite molds have issues as well. One of them being their stability and resilience.

Your analyze of the 1/10th of millimeter accuracy is spot on. I was more referring only on the induced errors linked to the manufacturing of the molds (i.e. by using a "hand made" wing pattern). Of course, you have to consider ALL the other issues linked to the manufacturing process. And people have to understand that this issues (errors) will compound with the one already existing in the tooling... This is a very good example of tolerances issues when trying to get manufacturing discrepancies under control.
Feb 11, 2012, 01:27 AM
Mfg of the Marauder & Oculus!
Mr B....'s Avatar
A few years ago my work installed a poseidon five axis router in the shop. This machine was Mfg in Italy. You can drive a full size car onto the bed. We have cut foam race car plugs and other cool aircraft parts on it. It took eighteen truck loads of concrete eight feet deep just to pour the base for the foot print.

Cool Aerospace stuff!


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