Autoscale composite CNC machines

Originally titled 'Lightweight, high-speed composite CNC machines'

Autoscale CNC LLC (Santa Clara, CA, US) recently introduced its Monster cgr-series of cost-effective CNC cutters/routers, fabricated from carbon fiber composites and steel, for large part processing of composites, foams, clay and lightweight metals.

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Autoscale CNC LLC (Santa Clara, CA, US) recently introduced its Monster cgr-series of cost-effective CNC cutters/routers, fabricated from carbon fiber composites and steel, for large part processing of composites, foams, clay and lightweight metals. According to company founder Dan Bolfing, the carbon fiber construction used for the gantry, z-axis and z-carriage reduces the hanging weight by 90% compared to typical all-steel construction, and the reduced mass allows increased accelerations and cutting speed. The high-stiffness composite parts also reduce tip chatter. Bolfing explains that as its standard machines got larger, the gantry weight increased resulting in a slower cutting process, particularly for large objects. With the goal of shortening running time, Autoscale developed its composite solution using hand-layed unidirectional carbon fiber/epoxy prepreg faceskins over core, either aramid honeycomb or aluminum honeycomb. An outer ply of woven carbon twill prepreg finishes the components. All composite materials are supplied by distributor Revchem Composites Inc. (Bloomington, CA, US). With a gantry weight of 182 kg compared to 1600 kg for an all-steel version, the cgr-series offers a work envelope of 6.5m by 3.7m by 1.85m of z-travel, with a gantry height of 5.2m and maximum spindle speed of 24,000 rpm, and a cut time roughly one-half of a slower all-steel cutting machine. Machines can be custom-fabricated for longer X-axis travel to meet customer requirements. The lighter weight also helps in machine shipping and on-site assembly. Bolfing says that in addition to routing/cutting, machines can be set up with touch probes and laser scanners for large part measurements, and a 3D additive manufacturing head is in development. Visit autoscalecnc.com for more information.