cnc machining

Thermoformed spiral staircaseForming solid surface into complex geometric forms is still a relatively new topic to many design professionals. With advancing computer technologies, the future looks bright for those looking to push the boundaries of design with solid surface materials.

Although thermoforming has been around awhile, advanced technologies to assist with fabrication has not. 5-axis CNC machining is an essential tool used in creating the molds necessary for thermoforming. Many fabrication businesses are focused on flat solid surface countertops and/or quartz. They may only have a small oven or vacuum table to form simple curves. The equipment costs and learning curve for thermoforming are out of reach for many of these fabrication businesses.

To address this issue, we focused our business from the beginning around thermoforming. ASST created a truly “niche” business, catering to advanced projects requiring fabrication solutions for commercial construction. ASST invested heavily in the necessary equipment and training required for thermoforming. ASST’s headquarters includes both offices and fabrication facilities, as well as a large thermoforming workshop. The workshop features three thermoforming ovens and two vacuum tables, as well as a 360-ton proprietary press and a vacuum press related to patented ASST technologies. It also has three CNC machines: one 5-axis CNC machine and two 3-axis CNC machines which allows us to reintroduce thermoformed parts to the 5-axis for final size machining. For cutting parts, ASST also has a Schelling panel saw. The shop is set up into typical “line work” areas for more common flat countertop fabrication work and has various open workshop areas for custom projects. Custom projects that frequently feature thermoformed solid surface parts. It is ASST’s legacy to continue assisting design professionals with thermoforming project challenges other fabricators avoid. Be sure to contact us with your next solid surface project!

ASST is uniquely positioned to fulfill all aspects of your project. Whatever you need, ASST can build it to the exact specifications, in a safe manner and to the finest quality standards you expect. Our EMR safety rating is outstanding at .793! We look forward to Going Beyond to address your exciting project challenges. Contact us now online or call us at 717-630-1251.


5-Axis CNC logo pattern with LED backlightsLast week we touched on how Architects and Designers are creating innovative forms to satisfy the branding requirements of their Clients. Design Professionals are increasingly integrating client brand identities with dramatically backlighted translucent solid surface. LED lighting is leading the way with these amazing innovations as fixtures get smaller, more efficient and more precise.

Machining intricate logo patterns can create complex problems. Fabricating solid surface in a cost effective manner is the primary goal, however exorbitant labor costs can result from utilizing inefficient power hand tools. Maintaining a high standard of quality when duplicating multiple parts by hand can be difficult. Creating a “wash of light” with vertically installed translucent solid surface is also a challenge with older lighting technologies such as halogen and fluorescent.

ASST has addressed these problems by harnessing both our in-house CNC machining capabilities as well as our research to identify the most innovative LED lighting products in the marketplace. LED lighting is by far the best way of creating an even wash of backlight without hotspots. LED lighting advancements offer the benefit of energy efficiency, reduced heat and overall maintenance costs. We even address the practical issues of maintenance providing hidden panels for convenient lighting access. 5-Axis CNC machining technologies will no doubt continue to indirectly impact LED lighting and we will be there to ASsiST you with your projects every step of the way!

ASST is uniquely positioned to fulfill all aspects of your project. Whatever you need, ASST can build it to the exact specifications you require and the finest quality standards you expect. We look forward to Going Beyond™ to address your exciting project challenges. Contact us now online or call us at 717-630-1251.


Thermoformed reception deskArchitects and Designers are continuing to create innovative geometric forms to satisfy their Client’s branding requirements. While companies today have a need to project an image of innovation and quality, this creates the problem of how to fabricate molds in a quick and cost effective manner. Curved solid surface cladding requires molds to form the heated solid surface to the geometry specified on the architectural drawings.

Creating wooden molds by carving them with power hand tools was initially the way it was done. The problem was how to reduce the exorbitant labor costs for creating these molds by hand. Also, using solid hardwood is expensive and was required depending upon the mold design.

With ASST’s 5-Axis CNC, we have addressed these problems. Labor costs have been reduced for the customer and new innovative sustainable molding materials can be utilized with this technology. We are also constantly looking for the next generation of materials to create our molds for better durability and machining accuracy.

We have found that the only limits to 5-Axis CNC capability is the designer’s imagination and CNC Engineer’s abilities. The evolution of 5-Axis CNC machining will eventually usher us into a world of instantaneous object creation further expanding the boundaries of innovative designs with solid surface. ASST looks forward to the challenges and opportunities this will present!

ASST is uniquely positioned to fulfill all aspects of your project. Whatever you need, ASST can build it to the exact specifications you require and the finest quality standards you expect. Contact us now online or call us at 717-630-1251.


5-Axis CNC MachiningSolid Surface design and fabrication has changed dramatically within the last 25+ years. Architects and Designers today are creating radical designs that include a wide variety of complex geometric forms. Have you ever had an idea for a 3D design in solid surface but decided not to go ahead with it because it was too complex?

The problem has been how to take a 3D design drawing and translate it to a solid surface 3D form. In the past, creating molds and parts with hand and/or power tools would have been cost prohibitive to fabricate. Today, 5-axis machining solves all of these issues, reduces lead times and increases efficiency.

So what is 5-axis CNC machining? The term refers to the ability of the machine to move the bit in five different axes at the same time. 5-axis machines can rotate on additional axes which allows the bit to cut the materials from all directions with no limits. Software programs are utilized to create the 3D models necessary for the CNC machine to cut the required parts.

ASST has an amazing 5-axis CNC router with a 5’x10’ table. Our talented team uses this technology to create 3 dimensional molds for thermoforming solid surface and cutting repetitive complex 3D parts with solid surface materials. Reintroducing thermoformed parts to the 5-axis and final sizing allows very complex shapes to be recreated. This is done at a level of precision that is uncommon in commercial construction. The project process is completed with final hand assembly, finishing and/or shipping and installation to the designer’s desired specification.

Take off the constraints of solid surface in two dimensions. We Go Beyond Surface Level Solutions even in our manufacturing processes. Contact ASST for all of your 3 dimensional solid surface needs.