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Discussion Starter #1
But I chickened out and used a pencil instead of a toolbit:laugh:

It's kind of boring, hopefully I will get better soon :dunno: Still lots of :read to do!

 

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Good first outing with your new CNC mill! :good2:

I like how you used a pencil as your test mule. Next thing will be to try something with curves in it to see how faithful it is doing something more complex.
 

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Looking Good Ken!

And the fun has begun.
 

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Oh that is so cool ! :good2: ! There is no way in the world you could do that manually without a making a little 5 mil "oops, wrong way" hickie. (well, at least I couldn't...)

Have you used the CAD program before, or is it part of the learning curve? And once you have the drawings, how hard is it to set up the control program (or are they all one in the same?) ? I know my new PCB software is kicking me as far as learning all the features, and I've been around that block a few times before. But the learning time is all worth it.

The 3D printers have peaked my interest, but the cost and time to learn a 3D CAD program cuts down the peak.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh that is so cool ! :good2: ! There is no way in the world you could do that manually without a making a little 5 mil "oops, wrong way" hickie. (well, at least I couldn't...)

Have you used the CAD program before, or is it part of the learning curve? And once you have the drawings, how hard is it to set up the control program (or are they all one in the same?) ? I know my new PCB software is kicking me as far as learning all the features, and I've been around that block a few times before. But the learning time is all worth it.

The 3D printers have peaked my interest, but the cost and time to learn a 3D CAD program cuts down the peak.

Pete
Pete, I have used no CAD or CAM programs before so it's all new to me...I know how to crank the handwheels on the mill but this CNC stuff is unlike anything I have ever done.

There are two programs involved to do this:

1> The CAM (Computer Aided Machining) which is on the same lines as CAD. You draw the part using the same principle as CAD with the help of wizards and defaults like squares, rectangles, circle, ect. You also define machining parameter like the size of the cutter, depth of cut, speed of cut in inches per minute, material thickness, pocketing, rough cutting, finish cutting and the list goes on almost forever.

Once the part is drawn and all the machining details are worked out and defined, the program produces something called "G-Code" which is a cryptic language used to control machines. Think of it like the ols "basic" computer language of many years ago. You can also just write the G-Code manually if you want/can. This is where the huge learning curve is.

I am using a program called CAMBAM that is gear toward hobbyist's like me. It is well written and supported, has great features and most importantly is affordable.

2> The CNC software, it takes the G-code that the CAM software produced and tells the servo/stepper motors what to do and how fast. All interaction to the motor controllers/drives are done thru the parallel ports on the PC that's quickly getting extinct. The USB converters will NOT work, yet anyway. I am using a program called MACH3 that meets all the same criteria of the CAMBAM software. Once you have the G-Code, importing it into the CNC s/w is easy as well as cutting your part-asumming your machine is already setup and built like mine was.

Since the price of the software, BOB's (break out boards), power supply's, servo/stepper motors, and other hardware has plummeted over the years there are many guys building homemade CNC router and plasma cutting tables, and converting mills and lathes to CNC as well.
 

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The 3D printers have peaked my interest, but the cost and time to learn a 3D CAD program cuts down the peak.

Pete
What you need done Pete? Maybe I can help and make a buck at the same time.

Once the part is drawn and all the machining details are worked out and defined, the program produces something called "G-Code" which is a cryptic language used to control machines. Think of it like the ols "basic" computer language of many years ago. You can also just write the G-Code manually if you want/can. This is where the huge learning curve is.
G-code, not to be confused with G-spot, I believe was originally developed by a company called Gerber way back when...hence the "G" in G-code. I've heard it's very archaic; but works well enough to become a de facto standard in the CNC business; just as AutoCAD DWG/DXF files are the de facto standard in the engineering drawing business, even though Autodesk now offers better design products than their flagship AutoCAD product.
 
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