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HomeCNC Wood Cutting MachineCNC Machine Programming Tips | Woodworkers Guild of America

CNC Machine Programming Tips | Woodworkers Guild of America


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  1. Nice overview there. Great starting place for newbies to get a grip on the things common to any CNC such as the concept of the zero in all 3 planes and the weirdness with thier machine. I highly recommend the Full blown Aspire if they can afford it or V-carve (either pro or desktop) if they cant. It has one of the shortest learning curves ive seen for any simple cad program around. The Cam part is also easy to deal with once you learn whats going on with it. That is one of the things I espically like about shopbot products, a decent cad/cam program is included but I run a home brew. From some of the shopbot demos the controller software seems about the same as Mach 3 I use but tailored a bit different. While ANY 3 axis cnc controller is very similar from a functional viewpoint those prompts and safety things can prevent a severe case of stupidity.

    Things like feeds and speeds come later.. 🙂

    I use several cad programs depending on the complexity of the project. Sometimes its basic 2d thing with more complexity than can be reasonably done in V-carve for 2d or 2.5 D. My favorate go to cad proggy for that and where several parts that must work together is solidworks. I just export with a format v-carve can deal with. Then use v-carve to toolpath it.. If its 3d stuff its either Blender ( artsy stuff) or fusion 360 for the usual 3d stuff. V-carve or aspire is all mabyy 80% of the CNC non-professional addicts really need.

    Shopbot and similar products along with all the ardunio based CNCs didnt exist when I built mine. My CNC is a total home brew setup of my own design worked out in Inventor Using Mach 3 as the controller running on a 15 year old desktop I retired but saved. Old computers DO have uses. I just put ALL the toolpaths in one file and turn off the "ignore tool change" in mach 3. It just stops and waits for you to hit start again that way. Its possible to add a bit of code and some hardware and go total automatic with a tool holder. NOT worth the cost for my uses. Its also fully supported as a post processor by almost any cam program to be had.

    New to cnc or the curious NEED more stuff like this.

  2. We use (big) CNC machines to cut and rout big sheets of wood very precisely for entire kitchens for instance. I haven't worked with them personally, but are the principles the same? 

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