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 From:  Colin
490.1 
Hi Everyone,

I've been playing with MoI for a little while now & have used it to make a couple of jewellery jobs.
The Mesh Cross took quite awhile, mostly because the customer kept changing things.
Finally they settled on this version & I output it as an STL for cutting on my mill.

The Fusion Bangle was created for another Jeweller, who was having it RP produced.
It was output as a STL for sending to the RP people.

regards Colin

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 From:  Michael Gibson
490.2 In reply to 490.1 
Wow that is some really cool work Colin, thanks for posting those!

I'm glad that you were able to use MoI successfully for these projects!

After working on those pieces in MoI, is there anything you can remember that seemed to be more difficult than it should be, or any point that you might have thought "if only it did _x_ , it would save me 20 minutes of work", or something like that? If you can think of anything like that, please let me know what the _x_ was.

Did you export to STL directly from MoI? Were there any problems in the STL output?

Have you typically used a different CAD system for other Jewelry designs before?

- Michael
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
490.3 
Added to he Special Gallery :)
---
Pilou
Is beautiful that please without concept!
My Gallery
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 From:  Colin
490.4 In reply to 490.2 
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the compliments.

Being only new to all of this CAD stuff, my greatest difficulty was doing the design & learning how things worked.
The Mesh Cross & all of it's various changes for the customer, occurred across a number of the Betas.
But from memory there wasn't anything specific that was difficult to do, just me learning the right way to do it.
To be honest, I don't think I'd have had the same successful result if I'd tried to use Rhino. (I'm to new at it)

I exported the Cross directly from MoI without any problems.
Mind you, I did export it at the maximum settings to be on the safe side.
My milling software had no problems with importing it & the finished wax looks fine.

As a point of interest, I spoke with the one of the guys who was doing the RP for the Fusion Bangle.
He was quite impressed with the STL file, mostly because he didn't have to do anything with it at all.
Apparently with most of the STL files he gets, he needs to tighten them up & make them water tight.
I just exported it at the maximum settings, so I guess your STL export works a real treat.

I'd only just started learning Rhino when I was introduced to MoI. (Dec. Beta)
I've done far more with MoI because I find it's easier for me to understand & use than Rhino.
By doing it this way, I've now found that my basic understanding of things in Rhino has also improved.

regards Colin
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 From:  Michael Gibson
490.5 In reply to 490.4 
Hi Colin, well I didn't realize that you were new to CAD. The mesh cross seems fairly detailed so I kind of assumed you had used other CAD before...

I'm very interested in making MoI function well as a type of introductory CAD system for people who haven't used anything else before, so this is really great for me to hear...

Anyway, if you do run into issues that seem to be confusing please don't hesitate to post about them here.

And don't forget to post other projects that you do in the future! It is a lot of fun to see what people are up to.

Thanks,

- Michael
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 From:  Colin
490.6 In reply to 490.5 
Hi Michael,

Sorry, I should have said that I've been doing CAD for about 2yrs, but only with a very basic program called 3D Engrave.
It's part of a the software package that comes with the Roland milling machines.
Works with polygons & vertex points which is fine for simple straight forward jewellery designs.
About 8mths ago I started learning to use ArtCAM, which is more elaborate & introduced me to 2 rail sweeps.
I then started trying to learn Rhino which I found totally overwhelming, as I didn't understand any of the terms used.
That's where I found MoI so much easier to use, the UI wasn't as confusing for me & I could actually produce usable things!
There's still features in MoI that I don't fully understand & haven't used as yet, but I'm slowly getting there.
Prior to starting down this CAD/CAM road 2yrs ago, I'd never really used a computer before, so everything's very new to me.

regards Colin
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 From:  Colin
490.7 In reply to 490.6 
Hi Michael,

Thought I'd let you know that MoI gets some promotion at this website.
http://www.fourth-axis.com/gallery/

regards Colin
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 From:  Michael Gibson
490.8 In reply to 490.7 
That is really cool Colin. Do you have your own milling machine for cutting those designs?

- Michael
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 From:  Colin
490.9 In reply to 490.8 
Hi Michael,

Yes, I got a Roland MDX-15 mill that's originally designed only as a 3 axis unit.
With the rotary attachment from Fourth Axis, it gives the little mill a 4th axis.
I've only had this rotary attachment up & working for about a month, so I'm still learning to use it.
So I've been designing my rotary test pieces in MoI & outputting as STL to the cutting software.
Everything seems to be working really well together.

regards Colin
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 From:  Michael Gibson
490.10 In reply to 490.9 
That's very interesting, I never knew that there were upgrades like this available to juice up those little machines.

What steps do you do after you have milled your model? I mean does that become the basis for a mold or something like that?

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
490.11 In reply to 490.9 
Hi Colin,

The waxes look very good. I noticed that the finger holes are cut to size and you have support tabs holding the models.
Do you first mill the ring size from the side and then reposition it on the rotary axis to cut the outer circumference?

Jesse
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 From:  Colin
490.12 In reply to 490.11 
Hi Michael & Jesse,

Michael, once the wax has been milled it's then "lost wax cast".
In basic terms the wax is has a sprue added, put into a flask to be covered in plaster, then heated in a kiln.
The wax runs out via the sprue hole leaving a cavity the exact shape of the wax design.
With the flask at the right temperature, it's loaded into a centrifugal or vacuum casting machine.
The molten metal is then either centrifugally forced in or pulled in via vacuum to fill that cavity.
Once the flask has cooled a bit, the flask is quenched, breaking the plaster & releasing the metal ring.
After cleaning up the ring you can then use the ring as a Master Pattern for moulding for production use.
Or set stones in it, engrave, etc; to be the finished piece for the customer.

Jesse, for these kind of designs I size my waxes prior to milling them, using a Matt Reamer.
The rotary jig that I'm mainly using has a central shaft with tapered cone clamps to hold each side of the wax.
That's the reason for the outer rings, the tapered cones grip them, the bridges then support the model allowing the ring edges to be milled.
This also allows the wax tube to be centred to the rotary via the finger size ID & produces mostly good results.
Of course all of this milling setup will depend on the type & style of design.
For the more complex designs, I'll then use the 3 sided milling approach.

regards Colin
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 From:  Jesse
490.13 In reply to 490.12 

Hi Colin,

I'm flattered that you milled my signet ring (or one that looks like it)...;-)

I might be overly frugal about wasting wax, but I can see that you give the model
a margin of extra material to support it in the wax blank, using the cone system.

When I mill rings right off a hollow tube, I can space them a few millimeters apart
and just run a wax blade between them to slice off each ring as it's done, and then core out the finger hole.
I leave a few mm of material on each side, which serves as a guideline to the finger size.
I have a tool similar to the Matt Reamer, but prefer to use a large barrel burr. Some people also use a lathe.

Aside from using the extra wax, the cone system looks like it works pretty well.
I may mill some cone shaped clamps out of some nylon I have here and improvise a system like that for small rings
In the past, if a ring's inside diameter is smaller that a size 4.5 (smaller the opening of the hollow wax tubes)
I've used a bold, lock washers and nuts from the hardware store to fixture solid cylinders of
wax in the 4th-axis clamp of my Model Master mill. It's also possible to cut some three sided rings straight off
the 4th axis clamp without needing to use special fixtures. Here's an example-
http://tinyurl.com/yp8bvx/yp8bvx/yp8bvx/yp8bvx
http://tinyurl.com/2du7g8/2du7g8/2du7g8/2du7g8
Jesse

EDITED: 16 Apr 2007 by JESSE

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 From:  Colin
490.14 In reply to 490.13 
Hi Jesse,

Yes, I used your Signet ring as a guide to make my own version for milling, so Thanks goes to you.
As part of my tests for the rotary, I wanted to see how a Signet style ring would actually come out.
Here's my Signet ring version that I used for the test.

I allow a 2mm margin on each side, this guards against the cutters coming into contact with the cones.
I figure the wax is cheaper than the cutters, so it's a cheap form of insurance against cutter damage.

Thanks for the links, that's something I'll have to try out.

Here's a photo of the rotary with the Cone Clamps holding a wax.

regards Colin
Attachments:

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 From:  Jesse
490.15 In reply to 490.14 
Hi Colin,

No problem at all as far as using the signet as a guide, I
uploaded the tutorial so that other MoI jewelers could experiment
with the design technique.

You have a good point about taking precautions to prevent the breakage
of tools. After I load a tool path, I tend to jog the tool to the edges of the
pattern so as to be sure it's centered on the material, but it's easy to
get distracted when you're in a hurry and break off a tool tip!

Thanks for the image of the Cone Clamps and links to the 4th axis tools.
It's always interesting to see new approaches to fixturing.

Jesse
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 From:  ELF
490.16 In reply to 490.9 
Hey Colin, just a quick question... Your Roland, what tolerances can it handle, and what maximum sizes and materials?
It's made for just wax work in small scale for jewelry, right?
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 From:  Michael Gibson
490.17 In reply to 490.16 
Looks like the product page is here: http://www.rolanddg.com/product/3d/3d/mdx-20_15/application.html

"The MDX-20/15 mills ABS, acrylic, woods, plaster, styrene foam, chemical wood, modeling wax, and light metals such as aluminum and brass."
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 From:  Colin
490.18 In reply to 490.16 
Hi Elf,

The MDX-15's mechanical tolerance is 0.00625 mm/step, maximum table area is 152.4 (X) x 101.6 (Y) x 60.5 (Z) mm.
The scanner tolerance is 0.05mm.
You can mill a variety of materials on it, even soft metals like aluminium & brass, but you wouldn't do metals on a regular basis.
The Spindle motor just hasn't got the power to mill metal on a continuous basis.

It's a great little 3 axis mill as an entry point if you're only just starting out into CAD/CAM with a limited budget or a hobbyist interested in CAD/CAM.
By adding the various attachments from Fourth Axis, you can then move up a level, as your knowledge or budget improves.

Hope this helps, Colin
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 From:  hep
490.19 
WOW that sounds great, how much do you have to pay for all that nice equipment?
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 From:  Colin
490.20 In reply to 490.19 
Hi hep,

I not sure of the current prices for the Roland MDX-15, but last I seen they were about $3000.00 US.
Best to check if there's a Roland Distributor in your area or country & get the current price.
http://www.rolanddg.com/company/d-list.html
I think the Fourth Axis rotary attachment is around $1500.00 to $1600.00 US, but you'd need to check with Fourth Axis for their price.
http://www.fourth-axis.com/

regards Colin
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