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Cutting composite materials

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They’re flexible, they’re tough as nails, and slicing through composite materials can be a real challenge. To cut complex pre-preg resins, dry fiberglass or carbon fiber to exact shapes before sending them to be cured, the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College Composites Program, Ogden, Utah, went with Autometrix Precision Cutting Systems Inc.

“We’re working with colleges that specialize in flexible composites, because our equipment goes through dense material,” says Joel Myers, Autometrix, Grass Valley, Calif.“Our machine can cut as much in 20 minutes as one person can cut in four hours.”

Autometrix cutting equipment is used on everything from Ford’s GT supercar, to Boeing’s airbus, to bike frames and hockey sticks. The flat-bed vacuum table has both a rolling blade and straight blade, both of carbide steel. Patternsmith computer-assisted design software can import patterns from other CAD programs on the market or digitize existing templates. “We can program any shape,” says Myers. “And the price range is right.”

Katherine Carlson is a freelance writer and technical editor based in St. Paul, Minn.

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