July '21

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Q: What does your shop do/what kinds of items and markets do you serve? A: At Bouncing Off The Walls, we create meaningful, sentimental artwork and signs for nurseries, home decor, and businesses. We also supply sign backers and unpainted lettering to others' businesses and DIY crafters. Q: What do you use your CNC machine for? A: We use the CNC machine to cut out all of the names and lettering for our nursery signs as well as the shapes/backers for all of my resin art- work and signs. We also use it for engraving logos and designs into plaques or signs that require detail work. Q: How long have you been in business and how long have you owned your CNC machine? A: We have been in business for 16 years and have owned our ShopBot CNC for 12 years. Q: What's your favorite part about creating projects with your CNC? A: I love the transition of tak- ing an idea from initial concept and turning it into a piece that someone loves as well as the ability to create unique prod- ucts. GP Q&A WITH KRISTINA VANDERWATER, BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS To get a picture of how some shops use their CNC machines in unique ways, we sat down with Kristina Vanderwater of Bouncing Off The Walls in Alberta, Canada. Images courtesy Kristina Vanderwater 8 2 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M have 4- and 5-axis solutions they can take to a different level of carving. They not only work vertically but inclined also. It has been a revolution. The machines today are not only more powerful but more af- fordable than they used to be. They have more capabilities and many different siz- es," Magnani says. In the past, routers came with a 4' X 4' table, then 4' X 8', and then 5' X 12'. Now there are huge machines — up to 7' X 40' — depending on the application. SPECIALTY ITEMS MADE WITH A CNC In looking at projects that are a bit out- side the box, many CNC machines can produce specialty items. For example, Biesse's 5-axis machines can make intri- cate components for aerospace and auto- motive applications, says Magnani. Many CNC machines come with a vision system that can detect reference points on a print so it knows exactly where to cut. These systems work with just about any design software. "When we talk about quality of cut, quality of frame is important, tools are important, also the way the routing is executed is important," he adds. For cutting plastic materials and even wood, it is important that the bits don't get so hot that the material melts or burns. Routers can also be used to score aluminum or plastic so that "we can bend it with precision," Magnani says. The 5-axis machine makes it possible to cut out something that is truly three- dimensional. People have made 3D stat- ues using their CNC router, depending on the size. Larger statues can be carved in pieces and then assembled. The COVID-19 pandemic opened up other possibilities for sign shops. Demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) was high in 2020 with hospitals, schools, shops, and retailers looking for ways to manufacture face shields, sneeze guards, and plastic barriers to help keep stu- dents, front line workers, and customers

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