Delcam’s PowerMILL gives faster, more accurate sculpting

Top Quote Weber Group is a design and construction company that creates specialty fabrications for family entertainment venues and commercial construction projects. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 08, 2010 - The company has recently invested in a DMS five-axis CNC router, programmed with Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system, to help improve its responsiveness, accuracy and consistency of production. As a result, production times have been cut by up to 50% and designs can be reproduced more accurately.

    The company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, employs more than 70 experienced staff for all phases of a turnkey project, including licensed architects, estimators, designers, construction managers, field supervisors and carpenters. Many projects require Weber to reproduce branded cartoon or historical figures accurately and to a wide range of scales.

    After a customer required five-axis machining for a new project, senior draftsman Van Evans evaluated software from many sources before deciding on PowerMILL. Mr. Evans had no previous experience with CNC programming but, with only four days training, he was able to begin production confidently.

    Previously, artists would sculpt characters’ forms based on models out of 3D Studio, which would output images sometimes with scaled reference grids. Alternatively, they would sculpt based on a photograph or a hand rendering. "On an average human-sized figure, we can cut production time in half,” estimated Mr. Evans. "The only handwork necessary after machining is very light.”

    Weber used to contract out the rough production of some figures. After the Delcam software was installed, the quality of the pieces increased dramatically. "We can reproduce the figures much more accurately,” Mr. Evans claimed. "Previously, each piece was a one-off and there could be some variability. Sometimes you can be artistic but, with the Delcam software, we can be perfectly accurate on any scale.”

    Although each job Weber does is unique, most must conform strictly to trademark requirements. Penny Peavler, Weber Marketing Director, pointed out: "Especially in our Family Entertainment division, the software will be extremely helpful in reproducing nationally-known brand characters accurately down to the last detail.”

    "I can generate the toolpath and have PowerMILL check the program to avoid collisions and produce the most efficient machining time,” Mr. Evans said. "Then I run a full machining simulation, especially for the more complex parts. I have a pretty good idea how the machine will behave before the cutter touches the material.”

    Many parts produced by other Delcam users may be more precise than those at Weber but not many are as complex. "PowerMILL is an ideal tool for this work,” Mr. Evans added. "Surfaces match perfectly and require very little hand finishing. The precision of the software is incredible.”

    According to owner Tom Weber, "We are convinced the software has helped us do what we do faster. With the training from Delcam, we were able to start using it almost immediately and the customer support since then has been excellent.”

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