Greetings. I’ve been researching what machine to buy and laying out all of the options. Through many of the helpful post on this forum, I believe I have decided to go with the HDM. It will be a bigger purchase for me so I wanted to confirm that it will do what I want it to do before I get too invested.
A little about the parts I want to make. I want to use the HDM to machine knife handles out of 0.25" aluminum (and other materials like G10, micarta, carbon fiber, etc.). The parts are two halves of a knife handle. They have internal pockets on one side as well as a contoured and textured surface on the outside with counter sunk holes drill into the outer surface. The reason I am getting a router vs a mill is that the texturing requires a small ball endmill to machine and the spindle speeds need to be high for any reasonable feed rate. I am thinking a 1/16" ball endmill would work.
I live in the Portland, OR area so if anyone is close that would be a plus. I’d love to see one of these things in person too.
I should also mention that the parts are mesh files because the texturing is created that way so there may be a bit of work to create the toolpaths from a mesh file rather than a CAD file.
I will pay your for time and material and any tooling you need to complete the job. You can set the price after checking out the files.
I’ll take a stab at this. I’m cutting aluminum parts on the machine now so It’s all set up for aluminum.
And I have a bunch of scraps more than enough to cut some knife handles.
I spent considerable time calibrating my HDM for better tolerances, and should get ± 0.001" tolerance or better on something this size.
@mic posting this for you to consider. This is for pistol grips, but basically the exact same two-sided machining setup you’re calling out for knife scales.
It looks like @wb9tpg is using a S03. I thought there was a post showing his two-sided machining, but can’t find it. His setup is doing exactly what you’re asking about - two-sided 3D machining. Even the earlier generation machines are (still) quite capable of machining aluminum and other materials with a high degree of accuracy.
The machines are capable, but you’re venturing into an area that is more operator dependent with tooling, work holding, jigs, software, etc. Lots of examples in the forum of people coming up with brilliant and innovative ways to use their machines!
If you’re interested in mainly aluminum, check out @Vince.Fab and @wmoy Material Mondays.