A Year in the Life
Two weeks ago was the one year anniversary of Richard starting this CAD/CAM odyssey of making knives. Up until that time he had been a traditional stock-removal, all hand made slip-joint maker. But as times and markets changed he started realizing he needed to make a change too. Anyone who knows Richard knows he is not a spur-of-the-moment, jump on the bandwagon kinda guy. He thought about it, discussed it with friends and family, thought some more, and researched this new direction to an nth of it's life (and yes, during it all kinda drove me glassy-eyed crazy! But don't tell him.). He figured he'd buy a CAD program, study it, work with it for a year or two to get familiar with the program and designing. Then he'd look into buying a used CNC machine after a few years. Well, like they say, the best laid plans! [caption id="attachment_280" align="alignleft" width="300"] The CAD manual[/caption] Instead he bought a program, Rhino, and a laptop to run it. Took a 2 or 3 day class in Albuquerque, then hit the ground running. [caption id="attachment_281" align="alignleft" width="300"] Huh?[/caption] He worked with it and his design ideas for a couple months. He was able to ask Luc (Burnley) and Pat Pruitt questions as he went along as they both have the program and luckily, live in the state. Friends are a very good thing. Then, he decided he needed to purchase a machine to implement his ideas, sooner rather than later. Luckily, he found a very nice, well-maintained HAAS for a decent price. So, in mid-December along came... [caption id="attachment_282" align="alignleft" width="300"] Like Christmas morning for the boy[/caption] The Minion. [caption id="attachment_283" align="alignleft" width="300"] Wait a minute, do I really wanna do this?![/caption] Delivery went smoothly and it seemed to fit perfectly in his shop. Life was busy with ranch and other stuff so it sat idle until sometime in February when Pat Pruitt came to show Richard the ropes. Pat has been an engineering machinist jeweler for years and knows the software program as well as the HAAS machines. He came over for an intensive 2 1/2 day lesson in how the machine works. Since then Richard has been on his own and producing parts of his own design. Talk about a rush - of both fear and excitement. Sure, The Minion cuts out the parts precisely and repetitively, but a lot of work, both mental and manual, goes into getting it that far. [caption id="attachment_285" align="alignleft" width="300"] Green light - good[/caption] And to get this many parts after only a few hours rather than days is priceless. [caption id="attachment_286" align="alignleft" width="300"] Waiting to be made into knives.[/caption] It's been quite a year.