Disaster Strikes!

We broke some moulds...

Hi, axiiio fans!

So, last week we were all ready to start producing some carbon fibre cases for our nano motors. We pulled out the production moulds that were manufactured last year (but never used) and started to get the bits we needed ready to do a production run when, suddenly, disaster struck!

Turns out, the production moulds are significantly different from the experimental moulds we used to build the prototypes. They're so different that none of the components we've already made will fit inside them! We were surprised, to say the least, because we spent a lot of time trying to get this right. How this happened is still a matter of investigation.

Making new production moulds would be too much of a delay (we're trying to get review units out there) so we decided to try the original test moulds.

We pulled them out, dusted them off, and found that they were unusable! Some of the details in these moulds had been bent and the mating faces had been damaged beyond repair.


Edges of the test moulds are damaged beyond repair.

The only option left was DIY interim moulds out of aluminium on our small prototyping CNC milling machine. Doing this is really stretching the limits of our tenacious little in-house CNC machine.


The raw material only just fits!

These are fairly complex parts and require a lot of painstaking checking of the CNC machine's tool paths before you hit go. The last thing you want is one of the bits digging into the mould and forcing you to start again.


One half of the mould nearly finished.

Some of the radii in these moulds are 1mm, meaning we have to use tiny tools to machine those details into the mould. We also have to run the machine very slowly to ensure that this tiny carbide bit doesn't break. To say it takes a while to do these tiny finish machining passes is an enormous understatement! We have great respect for people who make tooling!


Tiny, 1mm finishing bit.

But machining moulds is only one half of the job. Once the machining is finished, they have to be polished to a mirror finish. This is a job that requires a great deal of patience and a whole heap of elbow grease (and metal polish?). Definitely my least favourite task in the world.


Half way to that mirror finish!

With a bit of luck, we will be pumping out motor cases next week using these new moulds! That's if we come out of Western Australia's newest COVID lockdown...


That's all for this one. Stay creative and make sure to get in touch if you have any questions, want more details, want to discuss your motion projects, or anything. Just email equiries@axiiio.com.

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