RhinoCAM and Light Container Fabrication
This cool project was designed by Ben McDonald at The University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture Material Labs. In this project Ben designs and fabricates a tile system used to disperse incoming sunlight. The design incorporates RhinoCAM toolpaths that are used to help refract the incoming light along the cutter paths. Here on the right we see one of the design iterations for the slip-cast ceramic mold halves.
When the tiles are assembled, incoming sunlight produces a “wall of light” being refracted thru glass apertures located at the base of the containers. This is a great example of using RhinoCAM creatively during the design process.
In the images below we see the mold designs and processes used to manufacture the glass apertures that are located at the base of each light container. Here we see CNC machined prototype molds, rubber molds being pulled from the prototypes and then glass being poured into graphite molds. The use of CNC allows for many design iterations molded in plastic that you see in the bottom left images. The pouring of glass prototype apertures are shown in the middle and right side images. The Light Container design and fabrication shown here was a year and a half process for student Ben McDonald.
Here we see actual light testing on the right below and slip-cased ceramics that were fired to produce the final light containers shown on the left. All of the prototype designs were modeled in Rhino and all toolpaths and cut material simulations were done in RhinoCAM to see what the designs would look like even before starting the prototyping process.
All of the light distribution you see being achieved in the lower right image below is the result of a small glass aperture and a slip-cast ceramic light container. The milled grooves in the light container as well as the mold to produce the apertures were machined using RhinoCAM toolpaths. The light containers were assembled to form a wall distributing sunlight in a rainbow of colors as the sun changed directions during the day!
“We use Rhino exclusively for 3D modeling and design so RhinoCAM is an excellent fit for us. Learning RhinoCAM is integrated right from our beginning classes where students learn how to integrate toolpaths into their design projects and run the g-code on our ShopSabre CNC routers.”