Carapace Armor Technology
Carapace Armor Technology joined forces with the Extreme Makeover Home Edition television cast to customize a dinner table for the StepsNStages Jubilee House, a transitional housing facility for female veterans in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Jubilee House community hosted their first Thanksgiving dinner on an official dining table, instead of a table randomly made from office desks and chairs. It was Carapace's experience with an OMAX waterjet that helped the company meet the frantic schedule demands for the home renovation show. Carapace Senior Director Peter Hamann said his voluntary project list increased immensely once he proved to the Extreme Makeover crew how an OMAX JetMachining® Center can rapidly cut any material and still provide quality products.
"The dining table was a very exciting project which could not have been done without the OMAX 55100," said Mr. Hamann. "We worked together with Extreme Makeover Designer Tracy Hutson. She drew up her design on a piece of notebook paper and faxed it to us not knowing how we were going to make the base. We went to town to make it very ornate and functional."
Carapace quickly produced a wooden prototype out of 3/4" poplar plywood, and then created the final table base out of 3/4" 6061 aluminum plate all from their OMAX machine. The OMAX Tilt-A-Jet® cutting head accessory was essential for cutting straight and true parts for the table base, he said. On the last night before the unveiling of the renovated Jubilee House, the original company who volunteered to create a concrete table top could not meet the delivery deadline. When the Extreme Makeover designers changed the table concept, Mr. Hamann immediately volunteered to cut precision plywood panels for the redesigned 4' 6" x 18' table top.
"We finished the panels by stack cutting the plywood three inches high on the OMAX machine," he said. "In about four hours the table was complete and it turned out great. We then delivered the 600-lb dining table to the house at 4 a.m., which was later carried in by the entire Fayetteville State University's football team."
In addition to the dining table, Carapace Armor Technology also cut 1,200 assembly pieces to create the Jubilee House's "Wall of Honor," a display of 600 personalized plaques made from aluminum and brass plate installed on the dining room wall. Each plaque contained the specific names and well-wishes from military personnel and sponsors associated with the legacy of the house.
"The project was easily handled on the waterjet since we nested the parts," Mr. Hamann said. "The holes for the rivets were exactly positioned to make on-site assembly a breeze; and we also made alignment tools to help with the installation."
Carapace Armor Technology is familiar with rapidly producing close-tolerance components for off-site installation. On a day-to-day basis, the company reverse engineers and customizes replacement parts for commercial and military armored vehicles. Many of their customers do not have the original vehicle design drawings to reproduce a spare component. So Carapace ensures their armored solutions, such as armor plating and irregularly-shaped glass, can be installed with a perfect fit to meet ballistic requirements in the field. Mr. Hamann said adding the OMAX waterjet to the Carapace fabrication shop eliminated the painful wait for outsourced cutting work from vendors unable to expedite small quantity runs.
"We love the waterjet as it is very easy to use and accommodates us to rapidly make prototypes and production parts as necessary," he said. "We use FARO® reverse engineering software to create dimensional files, convert them as DXF files for Intelli-MAX®, and then cut the patterns from wood to make sure the parts fit."
Whether clients come from the US Army, General Dynamics, or the Extreme Makeover production staff, Mr. Hamann now applies the OMAX waterjet and Intelli-MAX software to manufacture the best solution.
- When a military division requests Carapace to reduce vehicle component weight, his staff will cut parts from synthetic armor material on the OMAX Model 55100.
- When a customer only submits a JPEG image for Carapace to make a customized aluminum sign, his staff traces the image with the Intelli-TRACE® software feature and instantly generates the logo drawing for waterjet machining.
- And even when a famous designer (such as Extreme Makeover's Ty Pennington) requests a one-off metal template for stenciling poems, Mr. Hamann utilizes the stencil function in Intelli-MAX Layout for the high-profile client to have the appropriate tool for personalizing wooden furniture.
"Our OMAX machine has actually overwhelmed us with work," Mr. Hamann said. "We often have to turn away work as the machine was purchased to be an engineering asset. However, it has turned into a business by itself."
Carapace Armor Technology
Senior Director of Armor Research & Development: Peter J. Hamann
Location: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Specializes In: Rapid prototype design, engineering, and final production of unique add-on armor kits for commercial and military vehicle use