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One of the bird-house designs produced using ArtCAM Pro

Randy Martin, the owner and chief designer of Blue Moon Designs, always enjoyed amateur woodwork so, after many years on the road as a salesman, he decided to start a company using CNC machines to carve decorative bird houses.  The challenge was to make sure they were well finished, individual items but also that they were produced in an efficient manner.  Using Delcam’s ArtCAM Pro software helped Mr. Martin to meet that challenge.

Firstly, Mr. Martin converted a Scolpitrice carving machine to be CNC controlled and so solved the problem of carving low-volume parts in mini-production runs.  The machine has 16 spindles, which can cut the same part simultaneously.  He has some other customised machines as well, giving a total capacity of 26 spindles and up to 65 cut parts per shift.

The next problem was creating the models and toolpaths he needed to cut them.  Mr. Martin struggled until he saw ArtCAM Pro at a local woodworker’s trade show.  "I realised immediately that it was much more suitable and easier to use than my previous software,” he explained.

With ArtCAM Pro, Mr. Martin now uses a combination of approaches to develop his designs.  Typically, he sketches the idea for a new design and scans the image into ArtCAM Pro.  He also uses a library of component pieces taken from existing designs, as well as parts created completely within the software.

Mr. Martin commented, "With ArtCAM Pro, I can create the models at a fraction of the cost and in much less time.  The software allows me to edit and modify the designs just the way I want.”

Once the model has been perfected, he uses the flexible machining strategies in ArtCAM Pro to create the toolpaths.  Cutting small production runs means it is essential to generate an efficient toolpath and to get an excellent finished product.  Parts are cut in batches and then stored until someone orders that design; they are then assembled and finished to the customers’ requirements.

As well as the production side of the business, Mr. Martin enjoys the custom work that he can also complete with his software.  "Recently, we were able to carve a restoration component for a 150-year-old piece of furniture,” he said.  "By scanning the original part, it was easy to repair the model in ArtCAM Pro and then carve an accurate replacement.”

The custom side of the business is something that Mr. Martin would like to develop more over the coming years and he is also looking to expand into other areas.  "We are hoping to develop a range of designs for other products,” he commented.  "We’re also now offering the service to carve parts for other companies who may need to make multiple copies but do not have our capacity for production.”