Bigger, faster, and more accurate! The Stuckeman School’s new computer numeric control (CNC) router from Thermwood Corp. is living up to its billing, and providing students with a tremendously upgraded resource for design projects.
In just a few short weeks (of almost constant use), the amplitude of improvement over the previous router is already quite clear. The automatic tool changer has dramatically decreased down time since it is no longer necessary to stop the machine in order to manually change and zero-out bits for different cutting operations. The upgrade from drive belts on the previous router to ball and screw drive means that the new machine can utilize faster feed rates, which also means less down time for maintenance.
"There are many other improved features with this machine but the bottom line is that projects can now be cut faster and better. If you would like to see the new router, grab your safety glasses and come to the Stuckeman Shop." – Allan Sutley, Stuckeman shop supervisor
Students and faculty using the CNC router must provide either a 2D drawing file (DWG) for flat work or a 3D file (STL or Rhino file) for contoured work, and users must be willing to spend a bit of time learning the basics of Rhino and RhinoCAM. Training is generally done one-on-one with the school's digiFAB staff. Setting up RhinoCAM tool paths is a bit complex, but each trainee is guided through the process to ensure that everything is done correctly. Demand for this machine is very high and the schedule can fill quickly. More information on the router and how to schedule an appointment can be found on the digiFAB website: https://digifab.psu.edu/content/stuckeman-cnc-schedule
According to Sutley, the replaced router is serving the Penn State community in a new way. “The old Precix router that served us well for the past ten years has found a new home on campus. It has been purchased by the Office of Physical Plant and will be put to work in the carpentry shop.”