We finished our bean inspection table that we mentioned a little while ago. We’re really happy with how it came out. To make the table, we first talked about the design before sketching some ideas out on paper. Once we had a general design we were happy with, we started the real production process.
The first step in that process is modeling the pieces in AutoCAD. It took a few iterations to get something we were happy with. Once we had everything modeled, we used MasterCAM to create the toolpaths for the CNC desktop router we’d be using to cut out the pieces. Getting the toolpaths exactly how we wanted them also took a bit of time, but we ended up with a nice, efficient cut. After getting everything set up in the digital world, we went to the Tech Shop to bring the parts to life. We started with an air cut to make sure our toolpath wouldn’t hit anything (work holding, bottom of table, etc) and then we cut the pieces out of foam. The foam pieces looked good, so we started cutting the pieces out of HDPE. We had to adjust the feed rates slightly, but, after a little less than an hour, the parts were all done. After that, we assembled the parts, added the mesh, and sealed the joints using a food grade silicone sealant and the table was done!
posted by cam
After doing a bunch of tests, we realized that winnowing was easier and our yield was better when we sorted the beans into different sizes (i.e. small, medium, large). We started out doing this by hand but it was really tedious and time consuming so we decided to build a sorting machine. It took a little while to build, but we’re pretty happy with how it turned out. It sorts a lot of cracked beans quickly and it kind of sounds like rain (chocolate rain?). Now we just need to have a better loading system and rebuild it out of stainless steel…
posted by cam