Poly Fabrication with RhinoCAM


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PolyFab is a Wilmington, MA based company sells custom fabrication to clients world-wide. Anything that starts with a Clear Industrial Plastic sheet or a tube, PolyFab can machine it or form it. The company was purchased in 2003 by Preston Fiske a Mechanical Engineer from Santa Barbara California. 
We recently sat down with Preston to discuss his use of RhinoCAM software from MecSoft Corporation. This project illustrates the use of a thermoform mold to form a 1” thick acrylic blank for the base of the slurry tank indicated in the image on the right below. The tank, manufactured for a local university, is used to study coal slurry and is still in use today.
Learn more about PolyFab in the complete case study here!

What is Clear Industrial Plastic?

When you pick any plastic for a project, you chose between chemical resistance, temperature range, strength, transparency, formability and cost. For transparent products the typical choices are acrylic, clear PVC or polycarbonate. Acrylic has the hardest surface, is completely clear and is well suited to drape forming. It is also the least expensive of the three. Clear PVC is the most resistant to acids and is easily formed, but the sheets are 1/2 inch or thinner. Polycarbonate is by far the strongest because it stretches under load, but it is very difficult to form and is very expensive for sheets 1/2″ and thicker. It is also the softest and scratches easily.

The RhinoCAM Difference

When Preston purchased the company in 2003, they were laying out sheets of plastic on the floor, using tape measures and string! Seriously. Preston quickly realized that he had to take it up a few levels. When looking for a CAD program, he consulted with a few of his equipment manufacturers. “The consensus was that those that started with Rhino seemed to have the least amount of trouble!” 
When Preston purchased his first CNC router he also purchased VisualMill. Three years later he bought a custom 4 axis machine and it was time to step up to Rhino and Rhinocam. Three years ago he bought his third CNC router, a Laguna Smartshop III and there was almost no transition to the Laguna because everyone was familiar with Rhinocam! 

“I liked RhinoCAM immediately because I could make changes quickly. Changing the drawing did not mean that I had to start the whole CAM process over again. The G-Code adapted automatically. I started learning VisualMILL first and the transition to RhinoCAM was very easy.”
Preston Fiske, Owner/Operator
PolyFab Corporation, Wilmington, MA
More about PolyFab

PolyFab is a Wilmington, MA based company that sells custom fabrication to clients world-wide. Their motto “You design it. We’ll build it.” is true to its word with projects that span a wide application spectrum including Architectural, Laboratory, Water Treatment, Marine, Air Handling and Government Contracting all manufactured with the help of RhinoCAM. Here are just a few project images courtesy of PolyFab. See PolyFab’s complete photo gallery here.

Architectural: Polypro Chairs, produced for Eric Howeler, www.hyarchitecture.com
Air Handling: PVC scrubber
Marine: Seaboard Locker
Marine: Refrigerator Liner

Learn more about RhinoCAM & PolyFab:

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Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse is an Application Engineer with MecSoft Corporation. Don brings over 20 years of experience in CAD/CAM operations in both automotive and mold design applications. Don also has extensive experience in documenting CAD/CAM products and is actively involved with writing the on-line help as well as creating training tutorials for MecSoft's products.

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