Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Machinery for wax prototypes


#1

Hi everyone.

Last two years I gave my STL files out to different agencies to make
the prototypes. This Guys are going crazy with the prices. Does any
one uses an agency that they happy with?

I also was wandering if any suggestions about the equipment that is
out there in the market for Rapid prototype machinery. There is also
a machinery which puts layers of wax on top of each other and makes
the prototype. I don’t know what you call them.I need to know the
brand or the name of the company… How much I need to spend to get
the best…

Thanks for your help…


#2

Sounds like you are referring to the Solidscape machine which
deposits layers of green build wax and red support material that is
removed after the model is “built.” 3D Systems and Objet/Stratasys
also make machines that will reproduce the fine details we are
looking for in making jewelry. However, there are MANY rapid
prototyping machines and technologies. GOOGLE 'rapid prototyping’
and ask A LOT of questions. If you have spent more than 50% of the
cost of a machine on prototypes you should seriously consider buying
one. It is another tool that must be learned, practiced and
understood.

Paul Finelt, CIRM
PF Associates, LL.C.
http://www.finelt.com


#3

Dear Artcrazy:

I’m assuming you’re talking about America for RP service bureaus.
But if you want to know who to ask in the UK, I’d be happy to give
you that too. Let me know.

Right now are two approaches to CAM for jewelry: One way is to grow
the model with a main material and supporting material. This is how
the various kinds of Rapid Prototyping work, sometimes called Wax
Printing when the machine uses wax. The other way is to carve the
model out of a block of metal, wood, or wax. (CNC Milling).

As you’ve noticed, the RP industry becomes more competitive with
every passing year. Every company is jockeying for position in the
marketplace, and changing their machines quickly to stay
competitive.

InVision has just recently reformulated their modeling material so
their models can be directly burned out in casting, making them now
a direct competitor to Solidscape’s machines (which were, up until
recently, the only machines that produced directly castable parts.)

As for developments in CNC milling, Roland is now selling a 4-axis
mill with a swiveling milling arm (I think it’s the MDX-40R). It can
perform undercutting on rings and small hollow shapes. Also, another
company has recently introduced a model lubricant for wax which
makes for a cleaner finished piece.

The list of the most common machines on the market in the USA right
now are:

a… Solidscape T-66: a rapid prototyping machine, that “grows” parts
in a delicate castable wax. Models are brittle, but you can literally
make anything with these machines.

b… InVision: similar to the Solidscape, but bigger and faster. It
makes parts out of a proprietary plastic, which only just this year
became castable.

c… Viper: “grows” models out of resin. Tougher models with slightly
better detail than wax RP machines, but the models aren’t castable.

d… Modelmaster CNC: a line of multi-axis mills for jewelry. Small,
cheap, fast, but limited in production volume and flexibility.

e… Roland JWX and MDX: Roland’s jewelry mills. Riddled with
technical problems (especially with software), but when it does work,
it produces some of the best quality pieces of all the mills.

f… Revo: Gemvision’s proprietary machine. Works about as well as the
Modelmaster, but is hotwired to interface well with Gemvision Matrix.
Other countries use additional brands, but these are the dominant
brands right now in the US.

In addition to these, you can get away with using some of the big
boys from heavy manufacturing on some jewelry work (the ZCorp makes
models out of plaster and can work small enough for jewelry.)

As for getting the best, as of the last time I checked (last week),
CNC milling usually gives the best initial surface finish. Viper’s
resin is second, with the Solidscape’s proprietary wax and
InVision’s resin material falling third. This trades off pretty
evenly with convenience, as I would reverse that order for the speed
of manufacture and the flexibility of the machine.

As far as companies to use, I’ve always had good luck with
CADSmithing (www.cadsmithing.com) based in Gilbert, AZ. They offer
several different RP and milling machines to choose from. Also,
CADBlu in New York (www.cadblu.com) have great customer service,
although their specialty is the InVision.

Cost can vary, being a bit cheaper for CNC Milling, more expensive
for InVision and Solidscape. A range of $60-$100US is fairly typical
for a single ring, depending on machine, complexity, size, and
volume of models.

Hope that helps. Happy modeling.

Best,

Jack
http://www.neujack.com


#4
As for developments in CNC milling, Roland is now selling a 4-axis
mill with a swiveling milling arm (I think it's the MDX-40R). It
can perform undercutting on rings and small hollow shapes. Also,
another company has recently introduced a model lubricant for wax
which makes for a cleaner finished piece. 

I sell Roland products. I also own and use a MDX-40 (also called the
40R) and it doesn’t have a “swiveling milling arm”; nor do any of the
mills Roland produces. It does come with a 4th axis, which rotates
the part as it’s cut, and can also be pivoted to some degree -
perhaps that is what you were talking about? Undercuts are possible
to a certain extent, but not as much as if it had a motorized 5th
axis, which would be more like what you mention above - these often
take the form of a pivot for the spindle.

Roland JWX and MDX: Roland's jewelry mills. Riddled with technical
problems (especially with software), but when it does work, it
produces some of the best quality pieces of all the mills. 

Do you have personal knowledge of these alleged technical problems?
Or is this hearsay (about some other machines?) that you’re recycling
here, perhaps not remembered correctly? The new generation of Roland
mills and the software they come with have worked pretty well in my
experience; what exactly are these problems you refer to?

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#5

Dear Andrew:

I sell Roland products. I also own and use a MDX-40 (also called
the 40R) and it doesn't have a "swiveling milling arm"; nor do any
of the mills Roland produces. It does come with a 4th axis, which
rotates the part as it's cut, and can also be pivoted to some
degree - perhaps that is what you were talking about? Undercuts are
possible to a certain extent, but not as much as if it had a
motorized 5th axis, which would be more like what you mention above
- these often take the form of a pivot for the spindle. 

Thanks for setting me straight on the 4 and 5 axis mills. I saw the
machine at the IJL trade show last week in London, and I guess I
mistakenly took the part which was “bending” in to carve out the
inside of the piece as a milling arm. It wasn’t actually the piece
holding the part, it was the part which held the bit. I guess that’s
what 4-axis mills look like in action.

Do you have personal knowledge of these alleged technical problems?
Or is this hearsay (about some other machines?) that you're
recycling here, perhaps not remembered correctly? The new
generation of Roland mills and the software they come with have
worked pretty well in my experience; what exactly are these
problems you refer to? 

I apologise if it sounds like I’m spreading bad rumors about Roland.
It’s not meant that way. I like the machines, but my old employer had
some confusion with the software. They were using a JWX mill. Upon
first installation, our head CAD/CAM operator was being demonstrated
the mill with one of our production.stl files in ArtCAM 8.1. The.stl
model had lettering and a logo on the surface of a flat keychain. The
mill completely blasted out the lettering. The rep told us that we
had to use “special fonts” (?) for the text in order for it to work
properly on the mill. I didn’t understand the comment fully, as I’ve
never seen an.stl that required fonts. Maybe they were doing a demo
for the wrong function.

When we finally did get the mill working (I don’t know what they
did, because that was several months after the demonstration and I
wasn’t involved with the repair), it produced beautiful detail.

Regards,
Jack