KiwiMill was excited to return to its roots recently when we were asked to build mother and daughter satellite models for a valued client.
While satellites, military models, and architectural models have historically been a mainstay of this model shop, more recently our model makers have been making a name for themselves building trade show models for industries like medical, large equipment, oil and mining, and energy technology.
It was fun to return to a project that our owner and senior model makers are very familiar with, as well as introduce new staff to these fascinating spacecraft.
Bryce Fastener requested a custom machine screw model to showcase their unique keyway design. In order to provide tamper-proof screw and bolts, the keyway shape itself is specifically designed for each customer order – no two are alike.
KiwiMill was given a company sample to make a 1:10 scale machine screw model of. The model is designed to attract attention at trade shows and highlight the unique keyway geometry on the screw and the matching key shape of the pin that turns it.
The majority of the machine screw model was constructed from high density tooling board. The screw part was CNC routed, and the pin was hand cut.
The key shape on the sample provided was measured and then drawn up in CAD.The CAD drawing was then used to 3D print the key shape and the keyway.
The resulting accuracy of the 3D printed parts allowed the model to be functional. The key on the pin actually fits into the keyway correctly. Just like the real product.
There’s nothing like a fast turn around, high stress project to showcase the model maker teamwork that KiwiMill has developed into a unique style of doing business.
With less than two weeks to produce two 1:10 scale helicopter models, KiwiMill model makers have relied heavily on their well-balanced skill sets and even keeled approach to working together. Everyone has come together with their individual talents – CAD drawing, CNC programming, 3D printing, molding and casting, hand finishing, spray booth application and masking.
Beyond the tight time frame there has been a long anticipated, but still disruptive, employee exit, multiple machinery break downs and the usual minor shop mishaps and supplier logistics. Our model makers have dug deep into their skill sets, overcome the set backs and expanded their abilities as a team.
We are nearing our deadline, and every model maker and programmable machine are cranking out parts and assembling and finishing them. The CNC mill is cutting tails and fins. The 3D printer is growing rotor parts. The CNC router is finishing up the final body half.
Meanwhile model makers are casting rotor blades, sanding tooling board and ABS, custom jigging the shipping crates and gluing together model parts. Everyone is looking for where they can help – all with the singular goal to produce 2 world-class models for an upcoming trade show.
Yes, there have been long nights, and a weekend full of overtime coming up. But everyone is committed to the project and highlighting the teamwork that makes these miracle jobs a reality at KiwiMill. Best of all, they do it without even realizing it. I’ve noticed, though, and I’m proud to work here with them.