Hi there! Few weeks before Christmas our workmate made a suggestion – what if we create a simple New Year souvenir? We’re equipped with a reliable 3 axis vertical milling machine, therefore the souvenir needed to had a simple geometry, be quick to manufacture and cheap. The answer was found by itself – we decided to produce a toy snowflake! Among other things, it was supposed to adorn our corporate christmas tree.
The task of design was assigned to me. Thus I visited Wikipedia to gain the general information about snowflakes:
Snowflakes nucleate around mineral or organic particles in moisture-saturated, subfreezing air masses. They grow by net accretion to the incipient crystals in hexagonal formations. The cohesive forces are primarily electrostatic.
I’m not an artist and unfortunately unable to draw artistic models from my mind, therefore I used an existing snowflake image. I imported it as a raster image on the datum plane.
As a snowflake has the hexagonal shape, it is possible to create 1/6 sketch describing it contour:
I mostly used arcs, splines and profiles to draw the contour. It is neccessary to limit a sketch by two lines with 60 degrees angle between them. Then I simply extruded the contour by the distance equals to the sheet metal thickness. The result was as follows:
Obviously we’ve created only 1/6 part of the whole snowflake. It should be mirrored for several times before we could see a final result:
After that unite all the pieces together to obtain the result. This model was also updated to cover our manufacturing needs: sharp corners were blended with the tool radius, a few chamfers were also added to the part. On the next step our technologists had created a CNC program.
45 minutes of the machine time and here is the result!