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iModela in Education

iModela is only the beginning...
TechSoft UK Ltd
All of the machines below are supplied through TechSoft UK Ltd. TechSoft UK Ltd was founded in the mid 1980s and soon established itself as the market leading supplier of CAD CAD/CAM systems (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture) to schools colleges and universities in the UK. Due to customer demand, our Project Management Service was launched in 2007 and since then we have undertaken many successful new-build and re-furbishment projects.

Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture is the way things are made these days. Without this technology we wouldn’t have the range and quality of products available or, at least, they wouldn’t be available at a price most of us can afford. Hand-building and manual techniques still very much have their place and Design Education needs to treasure and foster these skills so that future generations will have the ‘hands-on’ skills to understand the man-made world and provide the next generation of engineers, designers and technicians. All of these professionals will be using CAD/CAM techniques or CAD/CAM products in their work, alongside practical hands-on skill. Design and Technology education has to reflect modern practice so it is crucial that students have the opportunity to use real CAD/CAM tools in their designing and making.

Sketching is still an essential tool for exploring ideas but CAD has long-since replaced the drawing board and pencil for design detailing and proposal. Although CAD images are referred to as ‘Drawings,’ a CAD file contains mathematical data that defines shape and geometry. In early systems, this numerical data could be coded to control a machine – hence CNC; Computer Numerical Control. Modern CAD/CAM systems do the coding automatically so ‘what you draw – is what you get’. When you output a file (a drawing) to the machine there is just a simple dialogue to let the machine know what you want it to do and what settings it should use.
What is a MDX 15/20?
iModela in Education
These may be ‘entry-level’ machines but don’t be fooled into thinking that they lack capability. The Modela is designed as a professional 2D and 3D milling, routing or engraving centre, capable of working 24/7 in a commercial design studio. With the included 3D scanning head, a Modela gives the professional designer all the tools they need to produce models and prototypes in-house, at low cost and all in a compact ‘desktop’ package. In schools, Modelas are going to mill-out shapes, engrave text, isolation engrave PCBs and machine out 3D models without any problem, provided that light materials are being used. They are particularly suitable for 3D work since their Z-Axis travel is quite large in proportion to the bed size, so housings for electronic projects, or vacuum-forming tools in high density foam, are all likely to fit the machining envelope.
What is an EGX-350E?
iModela in Education
The EGX-350E has been developed by Roland primarily for use as an engraving machine but, with 37mm of usable Z-axis to play with, it is still an excellent 3D capable machine albeit for shallower models. The generous bed size, fast axis travel and 50W spindle motor all make it a serious contender as a main CNC milling resource. Build quality is superb (as you would expect from Roland) and the machine is quiet enough to run in a workshop or studio environment. The entire machining envelope is enclosed by a robust, interlocked case so safety is assured and dust and debris will be largely contained. Operation for 2D work is simple and output is direct from 2D Design V2 with a familiar, simple dialogue to set up tool depths, feeds and speeds. Machine control is via a remote Handy Panel but, apart from switching the machine on to start with, most of the control will be via software through the output dialog box so the Handy Panel will see little use until you start to do 3D work. Top loading tools and the unique TechSoft collet system make tool setting very easy, accurate and reliable. If your main priority is for 2D and 2.5D modelling in light material and PCB production (in particular) then this may well be all the machine you will ever need – more power and bigger capacity is simply not needed for this sort of work.
What is an MDX-40AE?
iModela in Education
The RotoCAMM MDX-40AE has been designed by Roland in close collaboration with TechSoft to provide a low-cost and robust machine specifically to meet the needs of UK education. The machine has an exceptionally large working envelope for its class - the 305mm square bed often allows several pupils’ work to be machined in one operation, and 105mm of Z travel will accommodate large-scale 3D models. Rigid, heavy duty construction and a 100W spindle motor allow it to take quite heavy cuts in lighter materials, so fewer passes are needed. Combined with faster axis speeds, throughput now becomes realistic enough for class sets of project work to be machined during normal lesson time. It can even machine light alloys if allowed time for multiple fine passes.
What is an MDX-540E?
iModela in Education
The Modela Pro II MDX-540E is like no other heavy duty CNC milling machine. It has been engineered without compromise to achieve extraordinary levels of smoothness, quietness and speed, to give designers and engineers the ultimate in fast 3D modelling capability. Subtractive Rapid Prototyping (SRP) provides the means to produce models at a cost and in materials not possible with other rapid prototyping systems. When you compare the MDX-540E to its “competition” you will find it to be in a class of its own but at a highly competitive price.
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