Worried about GDPR? Take it easy….

Hands up if your email inbox has been overflowing with GDPR emails for the past week? Yes – us too! There has been a lot in the media about the new GDPR laws that came into force on 25th May.  We take your data privacy very seriously, so we sent our office manager on a day-long training course to make sure we understood what the new regulations meant for us. She returned with an evangelical gleam in her eye and immediately started unearthing dusty files from the backs of shelves and asking probing questions about IT security! Since then, we have done a thorough information audit, so that we know exactly what personal information we hold, where we hold it, and how long we are required to keep it. At one point we felt a little like Michael B Jordan in Fahrenheit 451, destroying superfluous information! It’s been a really valuable exercise, forcing us to tighten up on our practices and address issues such as data retention and business continuity/disaster recovery.  I’m sure we’re not the only business to have invested in more lockable filing cabinets and enforced a clear desk policy over the past few weeks! We have updated our Privacy Policy to cover all the essential information, so you can rest assured that your personal data is safe with us.  If you are keen to get into all the nitty-gritty, you can read all the details here. We don’t make a practice of sending out huge numbers of marketing emails, preferring instead to keep our communications tailored to individual sectors, so for simplicity we have deleted all our marketing lists are asking customers to opt in again if they are still interested in receiving an occasional newsletter roughly four times per year.  If you would like to hear about new products and services relevant to you and your business, please sign up here!    
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New Fretwork Panels for Hotel Bar

Our client was refurbishing the Mirror Bar in the Ramada Hotel, and wanted something a little unusual in the way of fretwork panels.  They designed a column of squares, each with a circle inside, and wanted to run a length of copper piping vertically through the centre. We discussed various solutions, and agreed the best method of fitting the pipe would be to make the fretwork panels in two widths, with a groove cut out for the pipe to fit in.  The panels could be sprayed up, the pipe inserted, then the two sides sandwiched and glued together to hold the pipe in place. The theme was carried around the bar areas, so there were a range of different shapes and sizes of fretwork to fit neatly into the required spaces. Our client was very happy with the result:
"Looked amazing! Thanks guys, you did a fantastic job, the fretwork was perfect"
We were delighted to see the finished product:

From this....


To this!

Posted in cnc routing, fretwork panels | Tagged bar design, fretwork, hotel design, MDF fretwork panels, refurbishment | Leave a comment

Mobile dispenser unit for advertising campaign

Watch this video to see how we assembled a mobile lime dispenser unit for a client.  This was a summer drinks advertising campaign. The brief: to produce a unit that would contain limes.  It needed to be lightweight and easily portable, as these units were to be used on railway station concourses and in shopping centres.  It also needed to be highly visible, with the client's branding - a key requirement for any advertising campaign. We created the structure from lightweight MDF, and added castors for ease of movement.  The top was cut from coloured plastic, and the base had ventilation holes to keep the contents in tiptop condition.  We printed the vinyl wrap using our in-house printing facilities. A really nifty design element is the large handle in the centre of the unit.  As the limes are handed out, the salesperson simply turns the handle to wind the base of the unit up, meaning even the last few limes are easily accessible.
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Laser or CNC?

At Trade CNC we offer both CNC machining and laser cutting services, but which process is best for your project?

There are advantages and limitations with both processes, so the answer really depends on your project.  First, you need to consider some simple questions:
  1. What material do you want to use?

    Certain plastics cannot be laser cut as they release toxic gases. CNC machines can cut larger and thicker sheets of material, while laser cutting is better for very light or thin material as it doesn’t move the material whilst cutting.
  2. How do you want the finished edges to look?

    CNC machine cut acrylic will need edge polishing to achieve the same finish as laser cut acrylic. Laser cut timber products will have a scorched edge where the laser has burnt through the material.
  3. How intricate is the design?

    While the cuts made by a CNC machine can only be as accurate as the diameter of the tool, a laser beam can be focussed to 0.025mm, so for small, accurate work, a laser may be the best option.
  4. Do you need a shaped profile?

    Our CNC machine uses a range of different tools to achieve your required result. For example, a moulded skirting board would be cut using a specially shaped tool for the shaped profile.  Lasers travel in straight lines, so can only create cuts perpendicular to the surface of the material.As you can see, different projects are best suited to different cutting techniques

    Laser Cutting

    • Laser cutting components in MDFVery accurate
    • No machining marks
    • Small heat affected zone
    We can laser cut plastics and wood up to 20mm thick and sheet size up to 1200mm x 900mm, and other materials such as fabrics. Because the cutting area is so small, this minimises the heat affected zone, which reduces any risk of warping the material. With internal corners, a CNC drill bit will leave a slightly curved corner, due to the radius of the tool, while laser cutting can produce an internal angled corner.  

    CNC Machining

    • iPad surround machined by TradeCNCShorter running time
    • No toxic gases
    • No scorch marks on cuts
      Our CNC machines can take sheets up to 3550 x 1550mm and up to 100mm thick.  Once the machine is programmed it can cut at a speed of 96m/min, so we can make short work of high volume production runs. CNC machines can cut with various shaped tools, so you can get a range of rebated and moulded cut shapes.  A quick internet search for 3D CNC cutting will show the huge range of beautiful and complex designs possible using CNC milling.   Because we offer both CNC machining and laser cutting, there is always the option to combine both methods in one project, taking advantage of the benefits of both processes to get exactly the finish you require.  If you are still unsure, then give our technical department a call – they will be only too happy to talk you through your options and help you come to an informed decision.
Get in touch!
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From concept to product – a complete turnkey solution

At Trade CNC, we are passionate about providing the best solution for our customers.  Often that means cutting a batch of items according to your existing detailed CAD drawings.  However, the enquiries that really get us excited are the ones where we can make the most difference – those jobs where we can work with you from the initial design stages right through to the finished product.  Here is an idea of all the different services we can provide to help you create the exact product that fits your needs:

Design and Development

pack-B-shotYour concept may be little more than a sketch on the back of an envelope, but we can help you on the journey to finished product.  Starting from your ideas, our design team will work with you to clarify your requirements.  Our knowledge of materials can help you answer questions such as: moisture-resistant or marine grade? Plywood or MDF? Solid surface materials? We may only be cutting one part of a much larger design, but we will look at the bigger picture to ensure you have the appropriate materials and tolerances.  A few examples of the types of request we receive for help with design are:
“We need display stands for our engines.” “Can you make an MDF form to mould a part for a specialist motorbike?” “We want 500 components a bit like this one but with different slots.”
We will produce CAD drawings and, in some cases, a prototype, to ensure we have the design to fit your needs.

CNC and Laser Cutting

CNC routing

Vantage 100

Once you have your CAD drawings and have decided upon the best materials, the next stage of your product journey is cutting.  This may be by CNC, or in some cases, laser cutting is more appropriate – for example, if your product is in plastic and small detailed work is required.  If you are unsure which method suits your requirements, then our design team will be more than happy to help you.  Using our state-of-the-art technology, we can make short work of cutting your design using materials sourced from our trusted suppliers.  If you prefer, we will cut free issue material.  All of our timber is ethically sourced, sustainable and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.


30743If your product is made of a material such as plywood, particle board or MDF, it will have exposed sides that may look better covered with an edging.  Edge banding is a great way to make lower cost materials more durable and give the appearance of a solid or more valuable material.  We can edgeband straight and curved edges, from 8mm – 45mm thick pieces with edgebanding from 0.4mm – 3mm thick.  Whether it’s solid wood, veneer or melamine, our edgebanding service gives you a wide range of finishes. There is more detail in our blog entry devoted to edgebanding.

Spraying and Finishing

Unlike many of our competitors, we have a spray shop in house, so you can be secure in the knowledge that if you choose to apply a lacquer to your product it will be done to the same professional level of service and high quality work as the rest of our services.  Whether you need food safe lacquer for shop fittings, anti-bacterial coating for medical use, cellulose spraying or powder coating for metals, we can make sure your finished product is fit for purpose and looks right.green_tinted_acrylic-100x100 If your work has been done in acrylic, we offer both diamond and flame polishing to give matt machined edges a smooth, polished appearance.  We can even finish and polish solid surface materials.


Where appropriate, our experienced team will put together your finished product for you, so your project arrives as a complete turnkey solution.  Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to ship your product flat-packed for self-assembly.  In this case, we can use our CAD software (SolidWorks 2016) to produce detailed assembly instructions, and include every nut, bolt and fitting to make building as hassle-free as possible.

Packaging and Delivery

FILE234550aa54757a836.jpgWe send shipments all over the UK and Ireland, and occasionally to Europe and the US.  Smaller items are generally sent via next day parcel courier, while larger projects will be sent palletised.  We parcel up consignments carefully to minimise the risk of damage during transit, and where necessary, we can have packaging specially designed to fit.  We usually send items on a next day, insured service, so you can be confident your final product will arrive safely and ready for use – the final step in the journey from concept to product. And in case you were wondering how the queries at the start of the article turned out, here are some of the finished products: wpid-20131112_143301.jpgExhibition Display plinths Illuminated 01Cubewano  
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Investing in the future

Our new machine has arrived! We are keeping Trade CNC at the cutting edge of technology by investing in a new CNC machine from Homag.
CNC routing

Vantage 100

The Weeke Vantage 100 will make a huge difference to our business.  Starting from full size jumbo sheets, we can nest requirements for different jobs together in one easy step using the machine’s inbuilt software.  This means an instant reduction in planning time and increased efficiency in use of materials.  The machine processes them in one go, so we will get completely finished parts off the CNC at incredible speed. The Vantage 100 can accurately router, drill, shape, groove or profile various components from one sheet of material. We also opted for a Flex5 head which enables us to cut at any angle from 0-90 degrees with automatic adjustment. The speed and versatility of this new machine will have a massive impact on the productivity and efficiency of our business.
 “The Vantage 100 has increased technical ability – we can now cut boards from 1mm-100mm thick, whereas our maximum thickness used to be 60mm.  This is especially good for 3D milling projects.   The 14 position tool changing capability gives us the flexibility to switch between timber- and plastic-based materials as part of our trade service.  The automatic push-off conveyer system increases our capacity by 53%, which is a real plus for the business.” – Paul, MD “There are lots of reasons why this machine is much better than our previous equipment.  It’s efficient and economical – it has a low-power mode when not in use, so it actually discharges electricity from the motors. It makes a huge difference.” – Matt, Operator
Our team have worked hard to learn how to use these new machines, and every operator has had 5 days of training off-site in using the machines and software.  This is a massive investment for us, but we are convinced that with these new machines, coupled with our existing design capabilities and passion for all-round excellence, we will ensure that Trade CNC remains the place to come for all your CNC requirements.
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New Investment for CNC Routing at TradeCNC.co.uk

CNC routing

TradeCNC have once again invested in the latest cnc routing machinery with their purchase of Homag's Weeke Vantage 100 cnc routing and drilling panel processing machine. With a processing length of over 3100mm and a width of 1550mm approx, together with its end and side drilling and its powerful routing spindle we have pushed the machine to increase capacity. We can cnc components small or large 100mm thick. It is fully automatic with panel loading and ejecting clamps.

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CNC Routing capacity increased

TradeCNC have once again invested in the latest cnc routing machinery with their purchase of Homag's Weeke BHX 050 vertical cnc routing and drilling panel processing machine. With a processing length of 2500mm and a height of 850mm approx, together with its end and side drilling and its powerful routing spindle we have pushed the machine to increase capacity. We can cnc components small as 70mm x 200mm and up to 60mm thick. It is fully automatic with panel loading and ejecting clamps.

BHX_050_powerTouch_2014cnc routing
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Everything you need to know about Laser cutting

download (2)The laser itself is a direct beam of monochromatic coherent radiation which means that it comes from a source called a resonator that is able to emit radiation of in step waves, all of which have identical frequency, polarisation and phase. The Laser light is usually a very narrow wavelength light and yet there is still lasers that are able to emit a broad spectrum of light. Without going into too much complex detail, the initially produced radiation passes through various tubed filled with gain medium and is then increased in power. Mirrors surrounding the tubes ensure that the majority of the light makes many passes through the gain medium. Light that is between the mirrors is able to pass through the one mirror that is partially transparent and escapes as a laser beam. This beam is extremely powerful as it is focused by a complex system of mirrors and lenses and then amplified by a high velocity flow of gas that surrounds it. It is delivered through a cutting nozzle like tube to then melt away any material it touches. What are the advantages of Laser Cutting?
  • High processing speeds
  • High accuracy
  • It is the only existing technology to be able to cut intricate drawings and designs
  • Cut quality is excellent
  • There is no need to change the tool when cutting
  • It can cut small intricate shapes
  • It leaves a thin and easy removable oxidation layer
  • Small Kerf
  • There is no contact between the nozzle and the material so there is no force applied
  • It can cut a variety of materials
  • Very narrow heat affected zone
  • Oxide free cutting
  • Real-time control of the laser power over a wide range of amperage enables a power reduction on tight curves and pulse piercing
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A Guide to Edgebanding

A Guide to Edgebanding Once your product has been routered, it’s time to think about how you would like to finish the edges. Here’s a guide to edgebanding, and some reasons to consider using it for your next project. What is Edgebanding? 30743 Edgebanding is a common technique, used to finish low-cost materials, such as MDF and plywood. The materials are covered with a veneer, which may mimic a more expensive cut of wood, to finish the product. Why Choose Edgebanding? Edgebanding is the ideal solution if you’re working to a tight budget, but need the finished product to look the part. It provides you with the opportunity to use more affordable materials, such as particleboard or MDF, but still end up with a finished product that looks great. When you choose edgebanding, there’s almost an endless choice of colours and finishes, providing you with greater flexibility in the design of your end product. The finishes aren’t limited to wood veneers. You can choose from a variety of materials, including PVC in a full spectrum of colors. Edgebanding Applications Edgebanding is used to finish a wide range of products. It’s most famous for its use in flat pack furniture, providing consumers with a low-cost alternative to expensive furniture made from solid wood. Whilst flat pack furniture is the most common type of product finished using the edgebanding technique, it isn’t the only application. It’s also used in the creation of theatre sets. Not only do these projects tend to run to a tight budget, but the finished products also need to be portable. Traditional, solid cuts of wood, such as oak, are much heavier than MDF or particleboard, which can make them difficult to move around during a show. Edgebanding provides theatre sets that look fantastic, but can be moved around as required.
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