At our house, we love to watch “How It’s Made” and learn more about making products. At M3 Custom Designs, we have quite a few different types of products I have learned to make and over the past several years have added on numerous machines and tools to create new products. Take a look below to learn about the different processes I use to create the different products.
The plasma CNC is the first machine we started with in 2017. It was built by my dad and helped get M3 off to a great start! I do all the design work on my computer, then load the file to a separate computer that operates the plasma cutter. After the metal piece has been cut, my husband grinds the pieces down and prepares them for paint or clear coat.
In the fall of 2018, we purchased a Boss Laser. It gives many options for custom-made products and personalization of ready-made products. Much like the plasma and all of our other processes, all of the artwork is designed on the computer then loaded to the laser for cutting and/or etching.
Our CNC router is another machine that my dad built. It runs and operates very similarly to the CNC plasma. I have barely tapped into the potential of this machine, but currently use it mostly for stands for acrylic signs. In the future I’d love to learn to do even more with the machine.
This it the most recent process we have added equipment to do. I converted an Epson printer to do sublimation printing and have a heat press. Designs that are printed on the sublimation printer can only be fused to polyester fabrics or products with a special coating. This has been a great way to add further customization options to signage and products.
I use a variety of software programs to operate each machine. These are the programs I use for each process. This is just what I am used to and have learned to use over the past few years.
- CorelDRAW Graphics Suite – I use CorelDraw for nearly every product I make. This is where most of my actual design-work takes place. I also use Corel Photo-Paint for some sublimation work.
- SheetCam – SheetCam converts the artwork from CorelDraw to G-Code, the programming language used with the CNC.
- VCarve – This is the software I use to program and convert artwork to G-Code for the CNC router.
- Mach3 – Mach3 manages and sends the G-Code to the CNC plasma cutter and CNC router.
- Lightburn – Lightburn is the software that runs the laser. I tried a few different options and highly recommend this software for anyone running a laser.