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.

Light Container Fabrication. Designer: Ben McDonald, RhinoCAM CNC Toolpaths were used to Machine the Slip-Cast Ceramic master molds in a variety of materials.

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.
Light Container Fabrication, Designer: Ben McDonald, RhinoCAM CNC Toolpaths were used to Machine the Slip-Cast Ceramic master molds.

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!
Light Container Fabrication. Designer: Ben McDonald, RhinoCAM CNC Toolpaths were used to Machine the Slip-Cast Ceramic master molds and the master molds for the glass apertures.


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.
Paulus Musters, Material Labs Manager, University of Arizona College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Read the full case study here!
 
 
 
 

Watch Paulus Musters present these cool projects
At MecSoft’s CAM in Education Webinar

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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