I've been doing laser cutting during the week for a guy doing his masters in Architecture. Another laser cutting shop did all the cutting for them before, 29 panels of 2.4mm chipboard, 3 panels of Triplex and 3 panels of Styrene. They really just burned everything to a crisp. You see, contrary to what they might believe, cutting everything at full power isn't actually a good idea.So I spent Thursday re-cutting the Triplex and Styrene. The chipboard didn't matter because they were going to lay it all up in layers to make a NEGATIVE of a topographical map and then they would cast it using plaster. (strange idea, but hey...) I explained to them how to seal the mold and what plaster-like material to use to make the mold. Friday morning they cast the mold and it comes out beautifully......mirror imaged. They managed to built the entire chipboard topographical map inside out. It cost a about R3K for the entire process, took about 2 days, and nobody noticed that it was wrong. So, they phone me frantically on Friday moring asking whether I can re-cut all the chipboard. (The project has to be handed in on Monday morning....) Off they go and buy another 30 chipboard boards and they bring them to me at about 12. I clean the drawings up and lay them up in such a way that they will cut as fast as possible (by sharing cut lines between objects. I start cutting....Then I remember that my wife needed trophies and name tags engraved for the skating club for Saturday morning. Right, so the laser is going upstairs and I get the trophy drawing done and run downstairs to CNC all the plaques....up and up and until the plaques are done. The customer comes to fetch about 23 chipboard panels that are done at 8pm. The plaques are done at 9pm and I head home...it takes all of 20minutes and I', lights out.
Rush in to work. Continue cutting the rest of the chipboard panels. Get a Coreldraw file from my wife for trophies for the horse riding competition on Sunday morning. The damn file is wrong and I sk her to fix it. Get it back a while later and there are still issues. I decide not to stuff around anymore and just fix it myself. OK, so now that gets laser cut. Ah, but the rchitect guy still needs 2 big blocks of wood to be CNC cut for the project. I spend a lot of time faffing with the flatbed router to get the earthing issue resolved. Cool, so now to CNC the wood. Load up the one drawing...It is a STL that is full of holes and double surfaces. I ask the architect to send me a IGES or DWG or some other solid model....no he doesn't have access to the original model...ok. Spend a couple of hours sorting the model out. That turns out to be a big pa-lava because my CAD software can't really edit meshes directly so I turn it into a really massive solid model. Remember my wonderful fast laptop got stolen...so there I sit working on a PC that is really not suited to working with large models. Great, now to create the CNC toolpaths...The poor PC nearly has a hernia and it takes a very long time to get the first toolpath done.....9pm and I go home.
Get in to work and take my PC downstairs and set it up right by the 2 CNC machines so that I can babysit them. Start the toolpath up on the flatbed and here I am writing to you. The toolpath is running k@k slow and it looks like I may have to stop the machine and change it to speed it up. Now I have to sort out the second drawing so that I can cut it on the small CNC......this is going to be a very long day and a very long night.
If we get everything done by tomorrow and he hands his project in then he will have his masters and that will be the end of his studies. The question that I often ask myself is why I bend myself double to ensure that other people are successful while I barely survive.