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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Secret Weapon Revealed Part III: Reality and Building the Boat

This is a blog about building a boat. So, this will be the last I blab on about the CNC machine (well for a while at least, lol)...

To be honest, I felt a little guilty about waiting so long to talk about this machine. The reason  I waited was that I was not sure how significant an application the machine would be to the boat project. Now, I was under no illusions that such a machine would "magically" build the boat. But I kept thinking of project applications before and after it was built. Since it has been running, it has been involved just about every boat project since to some degree. Even with things as basic as template jigs, the machine makes a difference of cutting it in five minutes versus spending an hour doing it by hand. When you are just one guy (and gal) building a 42 foot boat, any time saving measure one can take is very valuable.

One thing this machine has changed is how I look at construction problems. Which should not be surprising I guess.  The more tools you learn to use and add to your toolkit,  the more difference is made in approach to design and construction (you craftsmen out there are probably saying "duh!").

One thing the machine has helped with is "time management" of the project. When you are holding down a day job, you need to make the most of your time in the morning, evening and weekends. And, manage all that with the rest of life's responsibilities. The machine allows my typical work week to go something like...

  1. Stare at the CAD program over a cup of coffee in the morning, have things drawn/designed by Tuesday
  2. Process the cutting files by Wednesday
  3. Machine cut the parts cut by Friday
  4. Have everything ready to build/assemble/install on the boat by the weekend.
 A schedule that works out nicely (especially when, on Monday/Tuesday, you are dead tired from working on the boat the previous weekend).

And finally, there one thing I find amusing about all this. I have yet to use this machine for one of my primary reasons for building it in the first place: fiberglass mold making. Why? I have been too busy discovering other applications!

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