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Making of Large CNC machining (Digico-MILL48) in collaboration with KDU

In FY2023, we collaborated with students and faculty members of Kobe Design University(KDU) for making the Large CNC Machining (Digico-MILL48) Version 6. The precision and finish of the machine were excellent, and we have completed a machine that we are very proud of!

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  • Video:
    • Digest movie
    • Video produced by: Professor Sowa, Kobe Design University

1. Purpose of the research or activity

1-1) Theme

  • Construction of a Kobe Design University-type digital fabrication environment in collaboration with FabLab

1-2) Purpose of the research or activity (summary)

  • The purpose of this research, in collaboration with Fablab, is to construct and disseminate a DF educational environment in the Kobe Design University style through the development of digital fabrication (DF) equipment. While DF technology has advanced in recent years and is being introduced at various universities, some problems have been pointed out due to the uniform introduction of low-cost equipment. The goal of this research is to develop educational CNC equipment with high accuracy and reliability that can be operated over the long term, and by collaborating with local resources and human resources as well, to create a unique design education model that differentiates itself from other universities.

1-3)Background leading to this research or planned activity

  • In recent years, digital fabrication (DF) technology has been increasingly adopted by fine arts colleges and universities, and as DF equipment continues to advance and become less expensive, many institutions tend to use cost-effective, low-cost DF equipment manufactured overseas. This sometimes poses a challenge in terms of educational effectiveness. On the other hand, Fablab West harima in Japan has developed low-priced CNC equipment that outperforms foreign-made equipment. In light of this, Kobe Design University is fundamentally rethinking the introduction of DF equipment, and is attempting to realize a unique design and educational model by designing and manufacturing its own equipment.
  • The project aims to create a practical DF equipment environment by having Fab Lab West harima representative Kazunari Takeda and faculty and students work together to develop CNC equipment. Through this initiative, Kobe Design University aims to establish an advanced DF educational model with international collaboration and disseminate the results widely.

2. Participant: (In no particular order)

  • Kobe Design University(KDU)
    • Nobu Miake, Professor
    • Sunao Hiruta, Professor 
    • Akinori Tagashira, Professor
    • Junichi Kanebako, Professor
    • Tomohiro Hata, Professor
    • Tsukiko Fukui, Assistant
    • Satsuki Fujii, Assistant
    • Izumi, Machine management staff
    • Student Volunteers
  • FabLab West harima (lecturer stuff)
    • Kazunari Takeda
    • Hiroe Takeda

3. Developer

4. Machine Spec

Machine spec Description
Processable materials Wood, Processable materials (Acrylic, Polycarbonate, PVC, etc), aluminum
Work area About 1300 mm(w) x 2500 mm (L) x 150 mm (H)
Feed rate 1-3000 mm/min
Spindle speed max 18000 r/min
Control Board HICON Integra mill
Control Software Mach4
Design software Fusion360 (CAD)

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5. Where to Buy Parts

Title Where to purchase
Mechanical parts MISUMI
- Original parts Proto design, MISUMI Meivy,Kobe Design University, Digico LLC
- Linear guide & ball screw THK・MISUMI・ Ozak Seiko
Electrical & Control parts AliExpress, VITAL system, HICON, GECKODRIVE

6. Making Process

  • Frame welding(MIG・TIG)
  • Frame Assembling
  • Parts Assembly
  • Installation of linear rail and ball screw
  • Installation of gantry
  • Z-axis mounting
  • Switchboard creation
  • Wiring connection
  • Machine Assembly Finishing
  • Control Software Settings
  • Trial run and accuracy check
  • operation start

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7. Impressions

Students and faculty members took on the challenge of working on the project for the first time each time. A unit filled with sweat and memories was completed. We hope to see various designs and works of art created using this CNC machining in the future.