CAD turns the lights on

By embracing Delcam’s CADCAM software, an Italian company has created a range of artistic lighting products.

The company, Framon, which is based in Lumezzane, Italy, produces chandeliers, wall lamps and table lamps.  It uses both casting and moulding techniques to shape metal parts in aluminium and brass, and also moulds a variety of plastic materials.

“We begin most projects from hand-modelled physical prototypes,” explained Luca Montini from the company.  “Reverse engineering with Delcam’s CopyCAD RE program allows us to get geometrical data directly from the scanner system and so move from the physical world to the virtual world in the computer.”

The CopyCAD model of the complete design is then passed into Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software to be divided into the components that will be moulded or cast.  “Extra details also need to be incorporated,” added Mr. Montini.  “For example, we need to create space for the passage of the electrical cables, and to add the holes and bosses needed for the assembly operations.”

“At the same time, we use the capabilities of the ArtCAM Pro engraving system for the artistic modelling of extra decorations,” said Mr. Montini.  “Using this program, we can create artistic shapes in virtual mode, removing the need for physical prototyping of these elements.  The very close integration with PowerSHAPE allows us to apply similar decorations to different parts of the overall design.”

Once the overall design is completed, PowerSHAPE is used to develop the mould or die design.  PowerSHAPE is also used to design the electrodes that are needed for the surface of each piece of tooling.  Electrodes are essential both to create the required texture on the surface of the tool and also to recreate the surface following any deterioration during the production run.

Toolpaths for the mould components and electrodes are all created within Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system. The  software makes three-axis machining quick and easy, while further time savings can be made by generating data for any 2D machining automatically from the PowerSHAPE model of the mould component.