My Job is great!

I get to hang around all day, making things like this with my Nomad :slight_smile:

I run the machine constantly… sometimes I finish two dies a day.
Some dies are “secret” that’s why there are gaps (plus sometimes I plain forget).


Here’s today’s die:

The holes don’t go all the way through because I still have to face off the back side to relieve stress, otherwise the die would warp when it’s heated to 500 degrees :slight_smile:

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What sort of die is it? I mean, what is the final product?




Today’s Die!


Today’s die!


Today I have a threefer… A three part die set.

The top one is the biggest… that will create a green background.
The middle one is smaller, and will create a silver body with a green border.
The bottom one will add grey “diamond plate” pattern.


Here’s what I ran yesterday :slight_smile:


Wow, impressive! The back plate is clearly aluminum… what material is the stamp? What end mill are you using? You get impressive detail, especially in the trademark R.

Actually, the entire thing is brass. the light just reflects funny, and makes it look brighter.
I use 3 or 4 different endmills, depending on the detail I need to produce.

1st Rough Pass is a .125 2-flute carbide endmill. I use that to remove all the extra material around the geometry.
2nd Rough pass is a .062 2-flute carbide endmill. I use that to rough out the gross features in the geometry, to save the life of the next tool.
1st finish pass is a engraving tool with a 20 degree taper. the tip is .005 I use that for most of the features in the geometry.
2nd finish pass is a engraving tool with a 20 degree taper. the tip is .003 I use that to get the tiny details like the R in the corner.

The geometry on all my dies is 4mm deep, thus the need for a good roughing pass. The whole die is 3" by 3".
I make the mounting holes using the .125 tool, after everything else is done.
The counterbores on the mounting holes are done by cheating: I have a counterbore tool in my drill press. It’s takes a few seconds compared to 10 minutes on the cnc.


Those are very impressive.

Can you give us any ideas of machining times for these?

Most of the time, it takes about 1.5 hours for the rough pass, and 15-20 min for the finish passes. The last die took significantly longer, because of the tiny details. That took a little under 6 hours for the fine finish pass, so a total of about 8 hours.

So normally, about 3 to 3.5 hours per die unless it’s crazy with the details.


What CAD/CAM software are you using? Have you tried different software with different results?

The art department uses Adobe Illustrator. I just use MeshCam to get the tool paths. Nothing fancy :smiley:
MeshCam is very picky. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to two file types it can handle consistently: .DXF and .SVG

Sometimes I have to pick features from both file types to get a complete die. We are considering some alternative software, since MeshCam is so limited. Unfortunately those programs are also more expensive… to the tune of thousands of dollars :confused:

STLs should work consistently (and I thank you for your mentioning of SVG — didn’t realize that MeshCAM could import those) — if you find some which don’t, please pass them on to support, similarly, I’m sure that @robgrz would be interested in the file pairs of SVG/DXFs where you needed elements from each.

Darn, Adobe does not support STL’s … That’s another file type I’ll have to include on my list when looking at new software.

STLs, as noted at: Shapeoko CNC Router, Rigid, Accurate, Reliable, and Affordable

STL (STereoLithography) is a 3D file format which defines 3D shapes as a mesh of triangles. Most 3D CAD programs will export to .stl, e.g., Rhino, Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, Viacad, Blender, Sketchup, Tinkercad, AutoCAD, Alibre, ZBrush and OpenSCAD (licensing discussion: Is .stl a free and open format? We want to add .stl support to Wikipedia )

Since your work is 2.5D, arguably that’s an unnecessary complication — I only mentioned it for sake of completeness.

Oh yeah, while Adobe Illustrator might not support this, Photoshop CC does export to STL.

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Just a simple Princeton die… I’m already starting to find the easy ones to be a little boring…


Here are some candid shots of what the dies do…