Have you ever wondered how your countertops turned from being in the shape of the slab you saw in the yard or warehouse to the luxurious shapes sitting on your kitchen or bath cabinets? In this blog we’re going to discuss the process of countertop fabrication.
Image representation of the LT-2D3D Laser Templator in action.
The first step of the countertop fabrication process is laser measuring.
In the past, countertop templating was done with three inch strips of plywood anchored to a slab. Now we live in a world where many industries have taken a digital approach to their work. And one way that we’ve done this is through the use of the LT-2D3D Laser Templator.
Instead of spending a lot of time measuring, cutting, and laying pieces out in a shape, we can use this laser to quickly, easily, and precisely measure your countertops. This tool emits laser beams that focus on all the corners of the cabinets. Then it creates a digital template and sends it to an iPad or any similar device. To learn more about our laser measuring system, visit another article here.
After you have chosen your slab(s), they will be brought to the green screen. We will then take a picture with a high-definition camera. When the photo has been taken, we’ll create an ID for it. This ID sticker includes the material type, color name, ID number, level, finish, size, and which bundle, or lot, it was purchased in. That information will be contained in the Slabsmith program. And we’ll also use the photo(s) to make the digital layout.
An image with the countertop measurements in Alphacam is shown on the left. And on the right is shown a finished layout of what the veining of the countertops will look like in the kitchen.
CAD and Layouts
When we receive the measurements for your countertops, they are imported into the Alphacam program. Once we save that file, it is imported into Slabsmith where we design the layout of your counters on the slab. You can see more about the layout process at the bottom of our FAQ blog page.
After this, we’ll send the layout through your email. Once you have approved that email, we’ll send another file of the layout back to Alphacam. With this new file, we’ll create a list of cuts and millings for the CNC machines to complete on the stone.
This image shows our Park Industries Saber saw at work.
It’s to these machines that we send the cutting job files to. Through a CNC computer language, the machine will read what cuts it needs to perform. The first thing that the machine operator will do is load up the program file to the machine. Then we situate the slab on the table, and after a blade-change, the cutting can begin.
The machine will always cut the milling bits first. The reason for this is that if the saw cuts are made before, the pieces can move around and mess up the counters when it’s milling. The milling bit is used to cut all the tight corners and areas the big 16-inch blade can’t reach. After the cutting is finished, we bring the pieces to other tables or the Titan machine to be polished.
Polishing a mitered quartz piece.
Polishing and Inspection
This is the final step of the countertop fabrication process. At this point, if the pieces are going on the Titan, another file would have to have been made in Alphacam. The Titan is great for commercial stone fabrication companies that make their money with a quantity, but not necessarily quality, of jobs. The Titan (because it’s a machine) can’t polish as well as a worker doing it by hand. However, it can help speed up the process. After taking it off the Titan, the polisher just needs to touch up the stone.
The best result seems to come from hand-polishing, but it can be costly and time-consuming. So a combination of both polishing methods is a good idea.
While the polishers do their magic, they also inspect the stone and fix any minor chips or scratches that could have been made before, during, or after the cutting process. Once the polishers have completed their quality work, the countertop pieces are ready to be installed by our team.
There seems to be back-stage occurences in everything you see today, and it’s interesting to find out what exactly is happening there. At Mogastone you can request to see how we fabricate or how our other processes work.
Check out our other blogs.