Can a pep file be used with a routing table?

Father

Sr Member
What would I need to do to convert a pepakura file so that I could have a router cut out all the pieces in cardboard or foam?

I can't imagine this hasn't been done...

My buddy has a routing table he's getting set up and we've been talking about cutting out foam mats to make costumes and stuff.
 

godproject

Well-Known Member
The bit will gum up with the foam but you're still welcome to try. You can just turn off the tabs and print the parts out and over lay on a sturdier material though. I've got my own cnc and I have plans to do something similar to what you're proposing. I'm going to export the files as DXF's and have the router cut out the pieces and groove the bends in a sheet of sintra and then put it together like that. That way I'll get computer precise cuts in a plastic material that will be easier to coat in epoxy. If I make the model myself or have access to an stl of the model I can even make a 3D version of the piece out of insulation foam to sit inside the pep'd piece to give it rigidity and proper symmetry whilst I coat it in epoxy. This is all speculative but I can't see how it wouldn't work so I'm going to give it a try.
 

Father

Sr Member
I thought it would gum up or get wrapped around the bit but the guy who owns the router says as long as the right bit is used and it's set to the right speed it should work.
We'll see.
 

DrewSmith007

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There's an export .dxf option in pepakura designer. It will be a pain though dealing with all the tiny pieces and small interior cuts that the bit can't get to, if you're using a router bit or endmill.

They can be expensive, but look into drag knives if you're planning on doing very much of this. This is a cheaper one, but will likely only do cardstock. I use a similar one in my vinyl plotter, and it works pretty well for thin materials.

http://www.amazon.com/Sign-Vinyl-Drag-Knife-Machines/dp/B007OWELCU

Something geared more towards thin plastics or corrugated carboard is one of these:

http://www.cncrouterparts.com/donek-drag-knife-p-264.html


Due to the thickness of the material, they require special moves at corners, but a lot of CAM software includes this as an option.
 

godproject

Well-Known Member
That will work as well. You can use it to cut out your foam parts.Most laser-cutters would easily cut the gym mats that people use for pepping... Like Drewsmith said, you can export to DXF from Pepakura Designer. After that you would have to find a program to compile the G-code.
 

msleeper

Sr Member
That's awesome. Sweet setup.
Is that CNC table set up solely for the use of the laser cutter or do you swap it out with a route as needed?
You must crank out some armor pretty quick with that.

This machine is specifically a laser cutter. It is a kit from buildlog.net and it's a pretty great machine. The software chain leaves a lot to be desired in terms of user friendliness, but that's mostly because the same software chain also runs the CNC router we have.

We have a CNC router, but it is a mini cart and mostly used for engraving stuff like custom circuit boards rather than, say, CNC routing entire prop pieces. We are currently fundraising for a full size table top CNC router, which could in theory route an entire armor suit out of MDF to use as a molding master. But we're several months away from that. I do want to use the CNC cart to do something like an arc reactor out of aluminum, but I haven't had a chance to try that yet.

By the way, this isn't my setup. I am a member of a local hackerspace and as a member I have access to all of that equipment. You should see if you have something near you if you don't have the space or can't afford these type of tools!

You can laser cut an entire pep file in about 20 minutes. For example I had to remake some of my Ultron 5 parts and it took just a few minutes to cut. It is a complete foam pep game changer, it turns hours of cutting into minutes and you can really blow through a build in no time.
 

Father

Sr Member
Amazing.

I know there's nothing like that in my area. My buddy has a router table and I'm about 99.9% certain he's the only one for about 2,500 miles with that kind of equipment. :)
 

Forge

Member
Hello, glad I stubbled on this thread. I have a Stepcraft 840 CNC router on order with interchangeable tools, you can add a hot wire cutter or a drag knife. They have just, this week (I do not work for them) set up in the US. I am currently trying to work out how to transfer Pep files into DXF for the machine toolpaths. Thankfully me and a buddy are going 50/50 on this but it is still quite affordable.

https://www.stepcraft-systems.com/en/
 
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