Our new countertops!

By: Rob Adams on March 7, 2013

As you may know we were rushing last week to get the lab ready for our grand opening and ribbon cutting. We had a huge project that we were trying to complete before then as well. Building three identical countertops that together made the shape of a gear. The tops serve as the stand for our milling/engraving machine and 3d printer, our checkout counter and a workspace for employees.

We did all of the cutting on the CNC Mill (Incidentally there is a class on the Mill tonight and there are still spaces available.) Below is a screenshot of the user interface for the CNC, PartWorks. This program generates the toolpaths that tell the CNC how to cut the material. It also allows the user to design the parts to be cut. If you designed your parts in another program, like a CAD program, or illustration tool like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape, then you would import those files here and then create toolpaths.

As you can see I broke the countertop into two parts that were designed to be fitted together. The long hollow lines inside the countertop were pockets to be carved out. The vertical sides fit into those pockets to hold the countertop up. The curved pocket held the skirt. You can see some small holes in the design as well. That is where I had the CNC tap holes for dowels. The inside vertical struts are held in by dowels.

So here you can see those same parts cut out and laying on the floor.20130307-073709.jpg

And I had separate files for the other parts of the countertop. Here we can see the base shelf. It has support struts underneath, and holes tapped to receive the internal vertical struts with dowels.20130307-073725.jpg

Here is the base on the countertop with the internal struts in place. Note that I had the CNC tap holes for Cam’s on the end of the underside of the base. These will lock into the vertical sides.20130307-073736.jpg

Unfortunately is our rush to get the project finished in time I forgot to take any more pictures. But hopefully you can imagine putting vertical sides on the above picture, taking flexible plywood and wrapping it around the curved portion (and fitting it in the curved pocket carved by the CNC), gluing and nailing it all together and flipping it over. If you do that then you’ll have …20130307-073746.jpg

Ta Da! We did a little painting too. Also to give our counters that 50’s feel we took metal trim like you’ll find in the stairway and carpet section at the hardware store and bent it around the edges of the countertop. If you come in you’ll see three of these arranged in a circle. The wide sections are the teeth of the gear, and the thin sections (and the holes between the counters) are the fillets of the gear.