As many close their boating seasons we begin an exciting new chapter here at the shop. When the calendar flipped into September you could see the impatient looks on the guys faces. It was the arrival month for the brand new CNC Machine. Having waited months upon months the day finally arrived when the HAAS V-F 4 was delivered into the Metal Shop. Vice President, Ben Van Dam, and Metal Shop Foreman, Jess Brown, anxiously waited as the truck pulled up.
Jumping up onto the truck the guys were able to help uncover the machine. It was like watching children open a birthday present. This present not only gives the opportunity to grow the potential pieces that will be able to come from the Metal Shop, but it gives the room and ability for a whole new level of creativity. Ben Van Dam cannot hide his excitement as he states “Pretty much if we can dream it up, we will be able to make it in-house”.
With this new machine Van Dam Custom Boats will be able to manufacture more custom metal parts. The shop has been doing the design work since the beginning, but they have had to hire other companies to do the actual machining. Some examples of the parts that have been designed by the guys are: trim tabs, chain drives, cleat, engine mounts, rudders, vents and intakes. Now, with the CNC machine, all machining will be done in-house. This just adds more custom work to a Van Dam Custom Boat.
So if many of you are like myself you are asking, what in the world is a CNC machine? CNC actually stands for “computer numerical control”. This means that the computer is actually controlling the tools. A few examples of the tools that are being controlled are routers, grinders, lathes and mills. These tools are performing by numerical control. This numeric controlling language is referred to as G-Code. The code gives the computer the ability to control the position and velocity needed for the precise movements to create the product.
The very first step is to create a CAD drawing. From the drawing a code is created for the CNC machine to read. In this code the CAD drawing is translated into coordinates. A test is run first to make sure everything is working correctly (as you do not want to waste material or hurt the machine). From there the materials are loaded and the product is created. Once a code is entered into the computer it is stored there forever. You can reuse this code to create the same product over and over precisely the same. The complexity of the shapes that a CNC machine can create is almost unattainable with manual machining.
Though the CNC machine makes producing these incredible pieces look easy there is a lot to learn about the program before cutting the first pieces. The guys will have to learn the ins and outs of the machine. They will take courses and be given a lesson on how to work the CNC machine properly. So although everyone is excited here at the shop it will be a few weeks until the first cuts are made.
To check out some custom parts made with the CNC Machine check out the website at http://www.vandamboats.com or follow us on Facebook .