August 07, 2009

Large-scale CNC tube cutting

I've toyed with the idea of CNC tube cutting for years, but didn't actually get anything done with it until now. I never would have thought that my first paying gig in this format would be four 120 pound, two foot diameter Corten steel barrels. But the CNC method sure did save a lot of time and pain over doing it by hand. My arms hurt enough already.

The big spur gear was made by simply wrapping a piece of gear rack around a disk. The small amount of irregularity is absorbed by the spring on the motor mount. I just swapped out my Y axis for the rotary one, so the cutting file was a simple 2D pattern.

The lids were made by pulling a flat piece of steel down into a doughnut shaped jig. The amount of force required to do this was amazing, and I had to use a 2 foot cheater bar on the wrench. I ended up using a 3/4" threaded rod, because I was worried the 1/2" rod in this picture might snap off and shoot through the roof.

The goal of the project was to create some artful recycling containers for downtown Saint Paul's tiny but beautiful Mears Park. One problem with recycling in public places is that the cans need to look different enough from trash cans so that people don't throw trash in them. These definitely look different. They were designed by Seitu Jones for Eureka Recycling and Public Arts Saint Paul. The tubes were rolled by Linders Specialty.

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Posted by Hal Eckhart at August 7, 2009 09:49 PM

Kudo's my friend. I seen it with my own eyes and it is pretty frackin' cool

Posted by: derek at August 8, 2009 07:31 PM
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