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Updated: Jan 24

The Job brief

We were contacted by a local shopfitting company to produce a large number of acoustic panels made from 19mm birch plywood, these panels were going into a local university in Belfast. All panels had the same design and same material so once the core design and setup work was done it was just a case of running them out on one of our CNC routers.

With this panel design, we had a large number of slots running through the panel the pattern was offset from 2 edges don't know why this is but this is what the client ordered via their drawings. each slot was about 8mm wide and about 2.2m long with a total of 50 slots per sheet.

The problem

The main problem with these acoustic panels was the design itself, with the slots being cut right through and right out to the end of the sheet it made the panel very weak with loose strips of material being left, simply wouldn't have worked just too easy to break of out the remaining strips of material,

The solution was to bridge areas long the strip so it would stop the cut strips from moving around once complete, this was quite a hard bit of programming we had to modify the core code from the software as the CAM software would not let us do this function on the main software so we manually had to go into the CNC code and change this ourselves, Cam software is great for everyday tasks it quickly creates CNC code for your CNC router but sometimes it can be limited with what you can create, the good thing here at Trade Made is we know how to write CNC code this gives us total control over our CNC routers very few CNC service providers can write they own code this is the main reason behind this blog

CNC Process how we made these panels

I will quickly run over how we made these acoustic panels

Once we received the design from the shopfitters we had to redraw the panel and slot pattern as the initial drawing we were sent was not good enough to use for CNC machining luckily our cad team had this done in a few minutes as it was a very easy pattern to re-create,

Once the design was ready we transferred the design into our cam software we added some basic profile cuts to the inside of the slots and edge profile, once we had the basic profile code generated we then had to open the core CNC code file and add in our own lines of code this was a simply a basic bridge command with a repeat function ( simply put we just raised the z height so it would not cut right through the material in certain areas this is what held the strips in place ) You can do this on the software but you don't have precise control of where this starts and stops better to write it in manually, once we placed our own code into the Main CNC file for the router we then did a dry run to check it was doing exactly what we intended it to do , After a few more tweaks to the CNC code it was then ready for this job, very pleased at how we did this not many CNC Services Providers can do this a mix of old school manual programming and new-school software programming , so good job all round on the coding of this.

CNC Routing time

Now the code is ready and the material is ready to go its time to set up the router and start cutting,

with the panels being birch plywood they like to be machined in the correct direction but we already accounted for this in the programming but I just want to highlight birch plywood only likes to be cut in the conventional direction of cut,

We take the first panel and set it up on the router add our special tooling for birch plywood, set tool height and machine origin hit the vacuum pump to secure the board to the machine switch on the suction check everything one more time then we start cutting, Each panel took approx. 1hr to cut and there were 50 panels in total so just over a working week to complete this job, turned out great and we were very pleased with the end result

We have made loads of acoustic panels how all in different designs and materials never had to do ones so complex as these, typically these are designed with holes or slots evenly placed in the board never offset to one side like these anyway if you require any acoustic panels or any other type of panel board like pegboard, tile board ,slatwall etc we can machine these for you in any shape, pattern, and material check out our panel section with in the website

Contact us :

Simply send us an email or lift the phone for a chat we are always here to help

Trade Made

tel. 028 302 68623

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