Nuneaton-based art and design specialist Smoart has invested in an additional Roland DG 3D milling machine to increase productivity, supporting its work in the creation of bespoke textured artwork for architectural installation and interior spaces. Founded in 2007 by artist Sandra Owens, Smoart designs and produces bespoke wall panel artwork pieces using a wide range of materials including ceramics, wood, plaster, plastics and concrete.
The business invested in a new Roland DG MODELA MDX-50 – to work alongside Smoart’s existing MODELA MDX-40A 3D milling machine – for the rapid, yet precise, creation of innovative, vibrant and contemporary artwork. Sandra and her team use Roland DG’s 3D milling machines for two purposes: firstly, to make prototypes for designs; and secondly, to directly mill into materials – predominantly wood – to create wall panels. Sandra uses Rhino 3D software to design her work, combined with Picasoft’s Mayka software which translates her designs into a cut path.
Sandra Owens first came across Roland DG technology when she was studying for an MA degree in Contemporary Crafts at Coventry University. She explains: “I had a very positive experience using the Roland DG MDX40a milling machine whilst at University and it was a natural progression to continue with the technology when I started up my own business. I liked the simplicity of the tool and the very precise finish. Roland DG 3D milling machines are incredibly intuitive and straightforward to use.”
Roland DG’s benchtop MODELA MDX-50 mills an impressive variety of materials to produce models, moulds, jigs, parts, prototypes and more, with smooth surface detail. The Roland DG MDX-50 can produce large single objects or batch produce smaller multiple parts – making it ideal for a host of applications. The MDX-40A benchtop CNC machine, which Smoart purchased in 2011, has a slightly smaller maximum work area, so Sandra tends to use this machine to mill smaller pieces of artwork.
Sandra explains: “I needed the newer Roland DG Modela MDX-50 primarily to make larger pieces. The automatic tool changer also meant that I did not have to wait around in between stages of jobs - and time is my most precious resource. The additional Roland DG milling machine has also increased my output of work so I can meet the demands of my ever-increasing customer base.”
Both 3D milling machines were purchased from Patrick Thorn & Co., Roland DG UK Ltd.’s premier consultant for the range of Roland DG 3D products within the UK. On working with the extended Roland team, Sandra concludes: “Patrick has been incredibly helpful; he really is the font of all knowledge when it comes to Roland! He’s very friendly, helps to solve any issues I encounter, and makes suggestions on how I can improve the way I use the machines.”
Sandra Owens’ work can be viewed in Roland DG UK’s Creative Centre in Clevedon, which brings together a distinctive collection of creative works from top Roland DG artists and craftspeople from around the world.
For more information on the Creative Centre, please visit: https://www.rolanddg.co.uk/gallery/online-creative-center
For more information about Smoart, please visit www.smoart.com
All photo credits - Sandra Owens 2016.