Machining 3D Foam Models Using a CNC Router

These days CNC hot wire foam cutters are being used by many companies to cut 2D foam shapes that only require flat surface. However, a CNC router is required in order to make 3D shapes. CNC routers can be used to design any 3D shape. The router moves in a motion resembling milling or carving as it is a 3-axis machine that moves in a 3D space diagonally and in curves. 3D designs can be created by the router on various kinds of materials like EPS foam, urethane foam, aluminum, light wood, acrylics, plastics and polycarbonate and ABS. 3D models are created by a machining process that involves usage of 3D CAD software to create 3D models then to determine the shape, resolution, size, cutting directions, cutting depths etc, the model is brought into a 3D tool path.

Numerous shapes can be created by the router and it is used in various industries for different purposes. Automotive industry uses it for full scale cars, boats and planes, aerospace requires it for UAV models, architectural industries used this technology for different 3D architectural shapes, and fine arts require it for sculptures and statues. In the marine industries, boats and ship models are designed by CNC routers while museums use it for the purpose of 3D displays, faces and statues, topographic maps are designed in much the same way for navigation.

CNC routers make it quite convenient to design 3D models which are too large or too thick to be easily machines due to restrictions of height, length and foam material by slicing the shapes into sections. The router will machine each slice separately and these parts can be then glued together. One need not worry about any visible grooves as the machines parts can be sanded and coated with protective hard shell and paints and any grooves will be purged. Molds can be created by these routers that can later be poured with concrete or polyurethane and other casting materials.

CNC routers can work on a wide range of materials- from a few inches of working area to all the way up to 50 feet in length.

A spindle is used by every router; the actual cutting is carried out by the spindle which is a motor. The spindles in a router can range from 1HP (horsepower) to 20HP and above and can hold end mills (the driller) from 1/6” all the way to 2’’ and above.

Different end mills and cutting speeds are used on different materials. The cutting speed is slowed if the material is too dense.

A large or even full scale foam shape design can be created by using a small model. This can be done by scanning the smaller design by using a 3D scanner and then by using a specialty cutting software that generates the part file it is transported to the CNC for machining. Regular models can be converted into live-size designs by using the scanner and any type of model can be scanned- a face, a sculpture, a car toy, train, plane, boat- anything whether big or small. The scanner enables one to visualize and imagine what a 3D model will look like in real.

CNC Warehouse can conveniently provide your business with custom designed CNC equipment like CNC router/mills, CO/2 lasers, fiber lasers, plasma cutters, water jets and many other such supplies.

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