Carving a Niche With Diversity
A Cambridgeshire company specialising in kitchen, bathroom and bedroom cupboard doors, is also carving a niche in more unusual sectors.
There are two distinct sections to The Cutting Room: the public retail business which includes worktops as well as the cabinet doors; and their CNC routing division focusing on contracts mainly in plywood and Medium Density Fibreboard, along with some hardwood and plastics.
“Working with Alphacam means Cutting Room Alphacam conceptual builders we’re working to perfection. In the office we work to perfection on the programming, then in ‘real life’ when it gets to the machine, it’s also perfect, making it ideal for the quick turnaround 2D work that we do, especially the 2D panels and fascia doors that make up the majority of our turnover. And it handles our 3D jobs just as easily.”
Diversity is now the keyword at The Cutting Room, with partner Mark Durey saying they get involved in a wide variety of unusual contracts, ranging from the memorable through to the curious. These include projects such as a unique reception desk-cum-seating area at the Fred Perry clothing empire headquarters in London, art installations for the Hayward and Tate galleries, seating refurbishment at a Benedictine monastery, restaurant wall and ceiling features, wooden bucks for proving out metalwork on replica racing cars, and numerous television, film and theatre sets.
Cutting Room leaf mouldConceptual work and prototyping also features in their portfolio – as does manufacturing items in material other than wood. This includes machining a maple leaf mould from a polyurethane model block (pictured left)on their SCM Record 220 CNC router which has a 3200mm x 1250mm bed, single 10-station auto tool changer and 16 spindle drill block.
“This was a test piece for improving the appearance of balconies at an apartment block,” says Mark Durey. The maple leaf was extruded and the surface created in CAD, then it was machined in Alphacam, a leading CAD/CAM software which The Cutting Room use to create CNC code for all their routers. “The surface model was supplied as an IGES file and imported into Alphacam which easily produced the machining code for the intricate design.
“That produced the mould from the polyurethane, then our customer took a silicon casting from it which was filled with concrete to create the finished feature.”
Cutting Room SCM Record 220There is one common denominator linking their three CNC routers. Whether it is 3D work machined on the SCM Record (pictured right), kitchen and bathroom door cutting on an SCM Routomat 3, or their general contract work carried out on an Anderson Duo, all the CNC programs for creating toolpaths are produced on Alphacam. “We’ve never used anything else,” says Mark Durey.
When The Cutting Room got their first CNC router they were putting the code in by hand and working out the dimensions on graph paper. “Then I saw how Alphacam would be ideal for putting our toolpaths in, so I bought it straight away. That was about 20 years ago and I’ve used it ever since, as it’s absolutely the best software for our diverse needs.”
Cutting Room Alphacam working flight simulatorPrecision machining plays a big part in the company’s success. “Much of our work calls for extremely accurate toolpaths and cutting. We regularly work to within tolerances of 0.2mm, and if it’s a slot or precision detail it will often be finer than that. The more accurately we can work, the better, and that’s what Alphacam gives us,” he says.
And all Alphacam programs can be transferred to any of their machines. He says they produce a program on one machine and, if necessary, it can be transferred to another within a minute. “We’ve got all our post processors which I can readily tweak. We’d be nowhere without Alphacam, we’re so embedded with it now.”
About The Company:
Name: The Cutting Room