The legacy of a long past vibrant agricultural community in Haiku Maui are the remaining building that were involved in the canning of Pineapple. These structures have become one with the landscape as if they were giant mushrooms with doors and windows. They’ve been used for industrial purposes and storage for years. The industry has been small scale mostly concentrating on had crafted products such as cabinets and surfboards.
Little prepares the visitor to the Nelson Factory, in the Pauwela Cannery, for the sight of their CNC (computer numerical control) machine. Open a small nondescript door and suddenly you are in the engine room of the star ship enterprise. The scale of this 8000lb. machine is mind-boggling. It can carve a 16 foot piece of anything: aluminum, wood and foam for surfboards, sailboards and stand up paddle boards. It is so big it can shape 3 short boards at once and even pieces of canoes to be assembled later into full size canoes. But despite the display of industrial strength and brute force the devise is surprisingly sensitive: able to shave to a wafer delicate foam for the ultra thin noses of modern short boards while a regular planer would snap the nose off instantly.
The industrial uses are limitless, “Do you need a part for your yacht, race car, telescope or nuclear submarine?” The machine has digital probes which can scan almost any shape to the highest tolerances. And it is in the Pauwela Cannery on West Kuiaha!
The Nelson Factory website is as impressive and high tech as their CNC mill. Click Here to view a video of the CNC Milling machine in action. The website, the videos and 3D displays of the products have all been produced by Photographer Christian Gröger. Be sure to view his striking Haleakala Maui sunrise Pano (choose the full screen view) and his latest project the Kunsthalle Bremen Virtual Tour.