Laura Valaas

CNC Machining

My education in a lot of new fields this summer has been vast and fast. One of the sweetest parts of being in manufacturing is the toys! er, I mean tools.

Skadi Nordic is currently in production with the BootDock. The parts probably won’t make sense to you, because you haven’t had the opportunity to see the BootDock in action, but this is what was happening today in our machine shop…

Skadi Nordic BootDock Mold being cutThe BootDock will be produced from a (relatively) simple two-part mold. Press the two mold halves together, forming a BootDock shaped cavity, inject molten plastic, wait for a brief cooling cycle, pull the two halves of the mold apart and out pops a finished piece. This is the male side of the BootDock mold being cut by a CNC machine. It looks blurry in this photo because it’s water cooled and that’s the water washing away the heat and the metal shavings.

CNC machine cutting Skadi Nordic BootDock moldOne of the challenges I have had to face on an emotional level as I have gotten deeper into this venture is learning to let go of infinity! In my previous world, arcs could join at an angle approaching zero and edges could be infinitely sharp. In fact, the concept of a single point was a real thing and a line had zero width. I’ve since had to accept the constraints of the Real World, but what I’ve lost in abstract beauty I’ve gained in functional, physical beauty!

Skadi Nordic BootDock mold

The female half of the BootDock mold, ready to go to the polisher.

Once the aluminum block is finished at the CNC station it goes to the polisher. The polisher is the difference between a matte finish and a glossy finish!

Skadi Nordic BootDock mold

Skadi Nordic BootDock mold

By early next week the BootDock mold will be polished and plugged into the injection molding machine, several test iterations of the BootDock will be run and will be examined to insure that the mold indeed came out exactly how the engineers designed it. If any changes need to be made it’s back to the CNC machine (or just the polisher, depending on the extent of the adjustment).

Progress at Skadi Nordic is truckin’ away every day and, to me, the most exciting part of the process is what goes on behind the scenes to develop an idea into a product.

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