Robot Builder and Former MythBuster Takes to CNC

His credentials include MythBusters, BattleBots, and working as a Disney Imagineer -- it goes without saying that Grant Imahara knows what he's doing when it comes to making stuff.

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Saunders Machine Works Makes Mars Curiosity Rover Wheels

Saunders Machine Works’ partnership with Beatty Robotics has made headlines! The Zanesville Times Recorder recently featured the Curiosity Rover Wheels as a Sunday headline story.

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Making a Massive Boat in the Middle of Oklahoma with a PCNC 770

In the middle of Oklahoma, just north of Tulsa, a large boat, known as SV Seeker, sits in Doug Jackson’s front yard. He’s been building the boat for a while now, documenting the process on YouTube, and he recently picked up a PCNC 770 to aid in the endeavor.

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Using Tormach Machines for Gaming Industry Production

[youtube]S8ofC3AjwC8[/youtube] Charlie Brumfield was an old-school Dungeons and Dragons player looking for a gift for some of his gaming buddies when he decided to start up Artisan Dice. “Within 48 hours I found myself in the dice-making business,” Brumfield says. “Our first day in business I built a website, put it up Sunday night, and by 6:00 AM Monday morning we had $1700 in sales. It’s been rockin’ and rollin’ ever since.” After two successful Kickstarter campaigns, Brumfield bought a PCNC 1100 and a PCNC 770 to start production work. “We went with the Tormach because a fully kitted out machine was about $30,000. I got the PCNC 1100 and the PCNC 770 with every option that Tormach had at the time.” Brumfield actually has a background in web design and photography. In fact, he ran a sporting goods store before launching Artisan Dice. “I’m not a machinist by trade, I’m not a woodworker by trade,” he explains. “With my skillset and background, it becomes a lot easier to take a product to market, as long as you also have the skills to then make that product. I’ve become a kind of jack of all trades, master of none.” With no real machine experience, Brumfield immediately found a learning curve when it came to things like speeds and feeds. “When we started out, I would destroy an end mill every five or six titanium D20s we made. Now, we can run one end mill a week – week and a half – running eight hours on these machines. “ Once he figured out how to cut and hold 20-sided dice, he looked to making his small shop more production oriented. “A big thing for us was once we figured out how to make these things, was how do we get fast? One of the challenges after doing the Kickstarter was figuring out how to be a production shop, because we weren’t at the time. That was our biggest learning curve.” Read: Milling Exotic Materials with Behemoth and Colossus “What we do on the CNC machines, we mix that with old-world craftsmanship,” Brumfield continues. “When we say hand-crafted dice… every face of every die is hand-ground by myself or one of the minions.” Artisan Dice utilizes both their Tormach machines for metal production, but they also use several smaller CNCs to mill out the numerous orders for wood dice. Now, they provide close to 250 different material options for dice. While Artisan Dice has quickly grown, and continues to produce, they started out as a very small shop. “Tormach talks about how this is the machine for the maker in his garage, yeah these are those machines. We broke end mills while learning, but we didn’t hurt the machine. If you crash a larger machine, grab your pocket book, it’s going to be $10,000 or more.” Even after more than 15 years of gaming and several years of dice production, Brumfield still finds plenty of time to play and develop new variations on his products. “We’re always trying to better ourselves. What was good enough yesterday, is not good enough today.” Check out Artisan Dice

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3 Ways You Can Make a Knife

Walter Sorrells is a professional bladesmith and a YouTube knife maker. His channel focuses on teaching the processes of making knives and exposing the world to everything that is involved in the knife making process. Sorrells recently bought a PCNC 770 to help him produce and standardize his line of Tactix Armory knives. Since his channel focuses on tips for the knife maker, Sorrells launched a three-part series of videos, where he makes the same knife three different ways. He creates the basic design in Fusion 360, so as to keep the final design fairly similar. But, Sorrells does change up the type of steel he uses from knife to knife, since different metals lend themselves to better work with different knife making processes.  In the first video, he makes the knife with basic tools that almost anybody inclined to make stuff has in their garage. This more rudimentary style still uses a printout from his CAD file for the layout of the initial design. With little more than a bench grinder and a power drill, Sorrells makes a fairly impressive throwing knife. [youtube]vaHwLSxHyGg[/youtube] The second video in the series goes the more traditional route of hand-making a knife with professional tools, like a belt grinder, a mill drill, and a forge. He still uses the CAD file, but simply traces the pattern right onto the steel blank. [youtube]kHqGfN5Xb4A[/youtube] Lastly, Sorrells goes to his PCNC 770 and walks through the details of designing, fixturing, even dealing with details like chatter when cutting thin parts. He even goes through the challenges of using S30V steel when it comes to feeds and speeds. S30V is a high-performance stainless steel, which likes to wear on tools more than mild or high-carbon steel. After taking his material and cutting tools into consideration, Sorrells cuts through this stuff at about seven inches per minute without any coolant. [youtube]pR4j9kIPie4[/youtube]

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Making Art in Wood with a PCNC 770

[youtube]qz0jY-Ngjh4[/youtube] Every month we get to have some fun cutting one of the parts from our Tormach Projects Library. This month we decided to go easy and create some art with a 3D relief in wood. This project was provided to us by one of our local makerspaces. Chris Meyer, the founder of Sector67, originally used a 5x5x5 block of cedar, but we found some scrap 4x4 pine in the shop.

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