New Semi-Automated CNC Machining and Fabrication Process

A new semi-automated CNC machining and fabrication process called Tool-Less technology has been developed by Tool-Less Plastic Technologies, LLC (Mukilteo, WA) for lower-volume projects ranging from 250 to 500 units per month.

A new semi-automated CNC machining and fabrication process called Tool-Less technology has been developed by Tool-Less Plastic Technologies, LLC (Mukilteo, WA) for lower-volume projects ranging from 250 to 500 units per month. Moldmakers can present this technology to their customers as an option to test a mold and work out the bugs before designing and building the actual mold. The finished product using this technology can be used for pre-injection mold pilot production runs, ongoing low-volume production, clinical trials or market feasibility tests. The key to this technology lies in the design. Enclosures that have been designed using this technology are “broken up” into individual pieces and parts to be machined and processed separately, and then solvent bonded together in final assembly. Each part is programmed and machined as a flat pattern using CNC routers. The flat patterns are then processed through a series of secondary operations that add finish details to the edges—like chamfers and radii, and V-grooves to locate the heat bends that are later applied using a CNC heat bender. All interface details have been machined into the flat pattern during the initial CNC operation, so in final assembly there is no clamping or fixturing—parts are simply snapped into the pre-machined locator recesses and grooves. Then, they are bonded in place, creating a strong, integral enclosure.