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  1. #1
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    Giant 5-axis mill for metal

    I am working for a company that is looking to set up a very large scale 5-axis mill. We are in the business of producing large scale public artworks. Extremely high quality stainless steel organic surfaces, hand polished to a mirror finish is a requirement. The process that has been proposed by an outside company is to cast ruff blanks, machine the surface at a very high resolution, weld the multiple parts together, and then finish the surface with a number of steps concluding with hand polishing. We realize the complexity involved in this process and at this stage we are simply looking for research resources and advice. If anyone has done any research or has experience in this area, we would love to hear what you think!

  2. #2
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    What is "large scale"? Large machines are exponentially expensive both to purchase and operate. ($/hr. for time to lease) "large" is relative, you need to supply dimensions of largest component requiring 5-axis milling.

    Dick Z
    DZASTR

  3. #3
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    "It's only funny until some one get's hurt, and then it's just hilarious!!" Mike Patton - Faith No More Ricochet

  4. #4
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    PS good luck with the budget! High Quality Organic surfaces, sounds like you need Catia and some heavy hard cutting aerospace quality machines cost 1 + lots and lots of zeroes after it!
    "It's only funny until some one get's hurt, and then it's just hilarious!!" Mike Patton - Faith No More Ricochet

  5. #5
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    Budget is not of concern at the moment. We would like to know what is available and what the latest technologies are. We would not need high production rates, quality and precision are our focus.

  6. #6
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    mattl, no intention to be obnoxious. It is still necessary to describe/dimension the largest piece requiring 5-axis machining. There are 5-axis machines in the 500 mm cube area (relatively available) and some in the 30 meter range (very rare).

    The 5-axis can be many different configurations. They may all be linear; or 3 linear and 2 rotary; or ?

    As of now, we don't know what your looking for. Hubble correction mirror? (fairly precise). Giant (again, relative size) Knight chess piece? 5 feet high? 50 ft. high? (relatively loose tolerances compared to Hubble mirror). Just keep trying to supply info. and accept a bit of humor.

    Dick Z
    DZASTR

  7. #7
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    Big 5 axis to cut stainless with perfect surface finishes, sculpture variety. To start with even with a 500mm cube I think you will be approaching the 7 figure mark rather quickly.

    That's my best guess. With out further constrainments of part size and configuration, we can't really give you any better answers.
    "It's only funny until some one get's hurt, and then it's just hilarious!!" Mike Patton - Faith No More Ricochet

  8. #8
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    On top of the cost of a 5-axis machine there is a rather expensive CAM system that can actually program the machine to manipulate 5-axis simultaneously.

    These facilities do exist. Still requires size/dimension of objects to be machined. We do not need artwork description, just the maximum height, width and length of the "envelope" or "cube". Balls in your court.

    Dick Z
    DZASTR

  9. #9
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    A phone call to a machine dealer would surely get a lot of questions answered, especialy when considering the Price of such a machine. Training will also be available from the Dealer or seller. Make the seller stand by their word, if they tell you it will do it make them show you.
    All comments made are my opinion!

  10. #10
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    I have experience in this area having worked for a machine tool builder here in the UK who specialised in 5 axis machines for areospace applications (sadly no more - went to the wall in Nov 2002 as a result of you-know-what). Our largest machine was for spar box milling and was a twin spindle jobbie having a machining area of 15 metres by 150 metres. Is that big enough?

    Talk to the likes of Henri Liné, Forest Liné, Uni-Sign and Dorries Scharmann for your requirements. Be aware that that swarf removal will be one of you biggest headaches, as will be controlling thermal expansion.

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