No Chickening Out With Alphacam
A CNC routing specialist knew exactly what the menu needed for cooking up a perfect wall and stair feature at a Nando’s restaurant.
When the chicken restaurant franchise called on The Cutting Room to create a unique talking point at its Brent Cross Shopping Centre outlet, the company, based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, quickly created the perfect recipe for success.
“We were given a 2D dwg model, and created a 3D model which was readily imported into Alphacam,” says Cutting Room partner Mark Durey. “We worked on a total of 96 sheets of MDF to produce the three complete faces – the ceiling, the stair wall, and a double-sided wall to hold the condiments.”
The main ingredients were 96 sheets of fire-rated Pippy Oak-veneered Medium Density Fibreboard, an Anderson Duo CNC router with twin 1600 x 1600mm beds and two heads with 8-station tool auto changers, and Alphacam – a leading CAD/CAM solution for the woodworking industry.
The job was broken down into manageable sheet sizes and nested in Alphacam, which also quickly and easily produced accurate CNC code. The panels were then cut out with holes being correctly placed for interconnecting the sheets, and finally sealed with the fire-rated lacquer ready for installation.
“It was a very demanding project, but the finished result looks superb and made the long hours extremely worthwhile.”
Although The Cutting Room used their Anderson Duo (pictured right), they could just as easily have transferred the job to their SCM Record 220 or SCM Routomat 3. The Anderson handles most of their contract work, with the Routomat 3 used mainly for kitchen doors – which is a large part of their business – and the Record mainly for 3D work and some overspill from the other two. “Another distinct advantage of Alphacam, is that its programs can be transferred to any of our machines. We can produce a program for one machine and within a minute it can be transferred to another. 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.”
Other restaurant work undertaken by The Cutting Room includes fretwork panels, as well as silhouetted city skylines with cutouts. Says Mark Durey (pictured left): “It all calls for the extremely accurate toolpaths and cutting which we get from Alphacam. 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. Also, with MDF we have to allow for movement, which can be 1mm over a metre.“Alphacam’s features that we found most useful for this project? The same ones as on every job we do: the feature where we can load the drawing, put a toolpath around it and cut it out. In other words, Alphacam full stop. The whole package serves all our needs. All our CNC machining programs are produced by Alphacam. We’ve never used anything else.”