Last week, Clint took a trip to Maryland where Harbor Sales is located and cuts our CNC boat kits. The goal was to oversee the cutting of three Vivier kits that sold, Youkoulili, Ebihen 16, and Beg-meil. Harbor imports the plywood and cuts the panels on any of their four CNC machines (one of which has a 10x23 capacity and the one pictured is a 5x12). They package and ship by UPS Freight the kits direct to the customer. Clint sends the building instructions and getting started materials from Maine. Francois send the plans from France. We get epoxy starter kits to customers from Duckworks in TX or System Three Epoxy in WA.
One of the special features of Clint's kits is visible in the close-up shot of the machine cutting the planks. You may be able to make out the 'NC scarf' being machined onto the end of the plank. These scarfs are snapped together and glued by the builder and fits such that the pre-cut spile and sweep of the planks are maintained and perfectly aligned. Hours were spent making this critical feature work perfectly.
Cutting starts in a room full of computers. The files are opened, modified and sent to the machine outside of the room. The cutter exits to a console next to the machine, calls up the file and commands the machine to do its thing. The machine moves fast and there is an automatic shut-off sensor in case you step too close.
Also in kit building news, the Drake Rowboat, winner of the Wooden Boat Show Concourse De Elegance in 2009, is on the bench as a 1/4 scale CNC model. This step always comes before cutting an actual full size CNC model which is test built and checked again and again to adjust the files until they cut perfect molds, planks, laminating jigs and whatever the kit components are for that design.