pic: Finished side plates w/paint

2014 season sideplates/pontoons, freshly painted from our gracious sponsor.

I’m curious, why did you choose that lightening pattern over something simpler?

Me too.

Also, what machine were these cut on? Waterjet, mill, router, plasma, freshman with hand drills?


No particular reason for the pattern, it was mostly to express the capabilities of our recently acquired sponsor, a profile cutting company. The isotropic design also allows for a high degree of modularity, something which our team largely requires due to the methodology of our build season/beyond.

The outer plates (3/16" 6061-T6) were cut on a Flow AWJ, the inner plates (1/8" 5052-H34) were cut on a Mitsubishi 4K laser.

That’s interesting (to me, as someone who has little experience with waterjet or laser cutting). Were there any significant differences in the parts? Are there still any major differences in the final parts (other than the obvious)?

Good questions man.

The main reason for the usage of two different cutting mediums is simply due to the distribution of the machine allotment. Why nest out to just one machine when you can do it on two?

Not much difference in cut quality. The laser should have a ± tolerance of 0.007", and 0.003" for the AWJ.

The thinner 1/8" material theoretically will dissipate heat better, allowing the laser to be a more applicable operation; though the 3/16" shouldn’t really have any issues either. The AWJ was just dormant at the time.

Very nice. They definitely look like high quality parts-- can’t wait to see the finished product!

I bet that 3/16" alum panel took over 1.5 hour to make each piece and the 1/8" part on the MITS laser was a little under 1 hour. The time to pierce the material for all the small cosmetic holes is considerable. It looks like it weights a lot.

A CNC punch press would take about 3 minutes to produce the side panel. If the material was .060-.080 alum it would take about 10 minutes to laser cut a part.

A well designed sheet metal part with some folds could take a fraction of time to make and a fraction of the cost to produce.

Just some food for thought to keep costs down for teams with new sponsors.

At the same time, when you have a hammer, you use it. I come from a team with a reasonably large amount of CNC milling and waterjet sponsors, but no sheet metal sponsors. Since we can’t accurately create sheet metal parts (we have a cheap break in house, but it doesn’t seem much use), we tend to lean on and adapt our parts to take advantage of our CNC milling and waterjet sponsors and adapt our parts to those techniques.

I can’t speak for whether it’s more practical to create such parts in a sheet metal punch system or not, but there’s always a learning curve when you get access to new toys!

We make it a habit to ask our sponsors what sort of guidelines they would prefer us to use when designing parts for them to machine. Quick jobs and quick parts make for happy sponsors and a happy team.

Good advice.

I disclose I am employed as a design engineer for aforementioned company. I actually had all parts nested to the laser due to the reasons you mention. It was the president of my company who decided to switch the outer plates to the AWJ. But who’s complaining? :rolleyes:

I believe cutting four of the outer plates took roughly 7-8 hours in total. (!)

To cut the four inner plates on the laser took around 1.5 hours.

Outer panels are 2.8 lbs each and the inner panels are 1.7 lbs each.

I really like that Maple leaf shows pride living in the great white north.

Your Team number is a nice touch. To bad the plates can’t be used as bummpers :eek: