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CASE STUDY: EXHIBITION PROTOTYPE USING CNC PLASTIC MACHING


Posted on: Sep, 19, 2017

An automotive technology center contacted WayKen with a need for headlights to be part of a show sample at an exhibition. The goal was to produce a beautiful imitation for the real lamps and reflectors to help attract more clients thanks to the high quality product on display.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this project was the use of the CNC acrylic, as it was the essential component. Acrylic polish requires very skilled work, particularly given the fact that these were round and needed to include reflection details. The project included a combined housing, bracket, lens, bezel, and reflector.

The finished product in this case was beautiful. The lens was designed from CNC acrylic, and while we first considered PC and vapor polishing, we knew it needed to be better than perfect, so we went with polished acrylic. To create a 3D feel for the lens, we used a fine knife and very careful polish.

Both the bezel and reflector were also done in CNC using ABS material. The finish was an aluminum coat made from vacuum plating. Both required small polygonal mirrors for light reflectivity. With a tiny face, a hand polish was absolutely necessary.

With the housing, we used CNC machining, then painted it black, which is a fairly common process for ABS prototypes.

The bracket was an inner part of the project to help keep the lens fixed. Given its invisibility, only a primer paint coat was required.

CNC prototyping is actually somewhat different from other types of prototyping due to the fact that the final model is cut away from a solid section of material. A variety of different types of materials may be used with this process. It should always be kept in mind that the quality of the final prototype will be largely dependent upon the type of material that is used in the production process.

With a CNC machine, it is possible cut a variety of materials at practically any angle. Through this method, it is even possible to create true-to-life physical models.

If your company is in need of the complex production of a metal or plastic part to complete design needs, CNC prototyping can be an excellent solution. This type of prototyping is also a viable solution for producing a functional prototype for evaluation prior to making a larger investment in tooling for injection molding.

The key to getting the most from CNC prototyping is to ensure that you work with an experienced service provider like WayKen.

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