Machining A Master Model

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The making of Parts, Patterns, Tools and Molds usually begins with obtaining or creating a model, a physical representation of your final part.

This model can be a carving, a sculpture, or more commonly in today’s world, a machined master model. From very large, expensive mills to desktop mills such as this Roland MDX-650, machining parts has never been more accessible. And with tremendous advances in software design and machinable media, it has never been easier or more accurate.

Choosing the material

Whether you plan to machine a positive part, or a negative mold, from which to cast a positive part, choosing the right machinable material is critical.

In many cases, it is impractical to machine your parts out of your final product material, which is why Freeman offers the widest variety of easily machinable materials, from
RenShape modeling and tooling boards to machinable wax, Perfect Plank specialty lumber, Medium Density fiberboard, Repro UltraLight and more.

Each material has its own unique characteristics which will affect how the models are machined, how long they will last, and what you can do with the models once they are machined. This, and other videos, and our website are designed to help you choose the best materials for each project.


Most Computer-Aided Drawing, or CAD programs work seamlessly with CNC machines to produce precise and accurate models.

Simple parts, such as this puzzle piece, can be programmed in minutes. Primary considerations are choice of material, cutter, spindle speed, and feed rate.

More complex parts require more careful considerations of aspects such as tool paths, cutting intervals, and finishing margins.

Roland CNC machines feature built-in scanning abilities, allowing you to accurately input an existing part, model, or sculpture into CAD software, which then can be machined into a different material.

After a surfacing pass, most parts are best machined with one or more roughing processes in order to remove a greater amount of material in a shorter time. These passes often use larger bit sizes and faster feed rates because the final surface finish isn’t affected.

After the rouging passes, most parts are machined with one or more finishing processes in order to produce a dimensionally accurate model. These passes often use smaller bit sizes and slower feed rates to produce a nice, smooth finish.


Once our model is created, we can now recreate this model for prototyping, testing, or short-run production using any of a number of liquid tooling systems designed to simulate the properties of many final-product materials, all without the expense of injection molds or other costly tooling.