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Forum topic by Paul posted 02-11-2021 01:37 PM 744 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paul

5 posts in 567 days


02-11-2021 01:37 PM

I am new to CNC routing. Does anyone know someone in Central Massachusetts (Southern Worcester area) who
would be willing to give me some hands on lessons on using the CNC? I’ve been doing woodworking as a hobby for 40+ years.
Thanks for your help.
Paul M


8 replies so far

View TheWop's profile

TheWop

7 posts in 592 days


#1 posted 02-11-2021 03:48 PM

YouTube is your friend. If you do you not have your equipment and cad cam software you can look at the various options available in your price range. Once you decide you can focus in on the YouTube videos you want to watch for your specific equipment and software. I was in the same place you were about a month ago. I spent a few weeks watching And I kind of got the hang of things.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

8820 posts in 2723 days


#2 posted 02-11-2021 04:23 PM

I don’t live nearby and and am a relative newbie myself but the first step is understanding the software which can be a little confusing, especially if you have never used any CAD software like Sketchup or Fusion 360 before. Many of the machines come with a license to V-Carve Desktop. V-Carve has some excellent tutorials aimed at absolute beginners so if that is the software you have, the tutorials are a good place to start coming up the software curve at least. Once you can convert an idea into a design using whatever software you have, the rest is pretty easy, IMO. Also, what sort of things are you wanting to make? Are you looking to cut out flat patterns to assemble, make signs or do you want to do full relief carvings? Each of those has a different level of difficulty, learning curve and software/machine requirements.

What kind of machine and software stack did you get?

BTW, one option is to see if there are any Makerspaces nearby that have CNC machines. They may have classes for anyone who wants to use whatever CNC machines they have.

EDIT: One more thing…V-Carve offers a free trial of all of their software so even if you don’t already have V-Carve, you can try it and their tutorials for a month (I think) for free.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

809 posts in 3550 days


#3 posted 02-12-2021 12:28 AM

Paul,

I’m not near you either, but CNC is 2/3 computers and 1/3 wood cutting. The advice about about starting with software is good. The ability to create the digital drawing of the part is 40% of the effort followed by defining the cut paths in the software to tell the machine how to cut it. In my opinion, only about 25% of the effort actually involves sawdust.

Obviously I don’t know your proficiency with computers or design software, but the way I got such a good deal on my mid size machine is that guy that bought it brand new way underestimated the software side of the equation.

Your idea to get hands on help is a good one and you might check the local Woodcraft, etc if you’ve got one near you. I’ve seen the one near me do CNC demos on the machines they sell.

CNC opens up a whole new avenue to your woodworking and its worth the effort to learn it. I love G&G furniture but laying out cloud lifts is a pain. Unless I use the CNC and then I can sketch the template in 20 minutes while drinking a cup of coffee and have the template ready to use in about another 20 minutes on the CNC. No bandsaw work and no finicky sanding to the line for me anymore.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Paul's profile

Paul

5 posts in 567 days


#4 posted 02-14-2021 05:39 PM

Thanks for the advice. I’ve found a multitude of videos.


YouTube is your friend. If you do you not have your equipment and cad cam software you can look at the various options available in your price range. Once you decide you can focus in on the YouTube videos you want to watch for your specific equipment and software. I was in the same place you were about a month ago. I spent a few weeks watching And I kind of got the hang of things.

- TheWop

View Paul's profile

Paul

5 posts in 567 days


#5 posted 02-14-2021 05:50 PM

Thanks, Nathan. I’ve downloaded UGS and EstlCam and am slowly learning. I’m using a BobsCNC Evolution 3.
Finally made some progress yesterday. I figured how to import a picture and make a g-code file of it now I just need to figure out how to create my own design. I found a few Makerspacers fairly close and just waiting replies to emails and voicemails.
Thanks again,
Paul


I don t live nearby and and am a relative newbie myself but the first step is understanding the software which can be a little confusing, especially if you have never used any CAD software like Sketchup or Fusion 360 before. Many of the machines come with a license to V-Carve Desktop. V-Carve has some excellent tutorials aimed at absolute beginners so if that is the software you have, the tutorials are a good place to start coming up the software curve at least. Once you can convert an idea into a design using whatever software you have, the rest is pretty easy, IMO. Also, what sort of things are you wanting to make? Are you looking to cut out flat patterns to assemble, make signs or do you want to do full relief carvings? Each of those has a different level of difficulty, learning curve and software/machine requirements.

What kind of machine and software stack did you get?

BTW, one option is to see if there are any Makerspaces nearby that have CNC machines. They may have classes for anyone who wants to use whatever CNC machines they have.

EDIT: One more thing…V-Carve offers a free trial of all of their software so even if you don t already have V-Carve, you can try it and their tutorials for a month (I think) for free.

- Lazyman


View Paul's profile

Paul

5 posts in 567 days


#6 posted 02-14-2021 05:57 PM

Thanks, Mike.
I took your advice, and I registered for a class at a Woodcraft in Mass. I’m fairly proficient with a computer, but new to the G-code and CAD systems.
Thanks, again
Paul


Paul,

I m not near you either, but CNC is 2/3 computers and 1/3 wood cutting. The advice about about starting with software is good. The ability to create the digital drawing of the part is 40% of the effort followed by defining the cut paths in the software to tell the machine how to cut it. In my opinion, only about 25% of the effort actually involves sawdust.

Obviously I don t know your proficiency with computers or design software, but the way I got such a good deal on my mid size machine is that guy that bought it brand new way underestimated the software side of the equation.

Your idea to get hands on help is a good one and you might check the local Woodcraft, etc if you ve got one near you. I ve seen the one near me do CNC demos on the machines they sell.

CNC opens up a whole new avenue to your woodworking and its worth the effort to learn it. I love G&G furniture but laying out cloud lifts is a pain. Unless I use the CNC and then I can sketch the template in 20 minutes while drinking a cup of coffee and have the template ready to use in about another 20 minutes on the CNC. No bandsaw work and no finicky sanding to the line for me anymore.

Mike

- MikeDS


View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

809 posts in 3550 days


#7 posted 02-14-2021 08:05 PM

Designing for CNC is along the same track as thinking about a regular woodworking project. There are a few key differences that bear keeping in mind.

A few ways I “adjust” my thinking when I’m designing with CNC.
First, I tend to think small to big and surface to bottom when designing for CNC. Using standard tools, I might get the part cut to size and then do the detail work. Using CNC, I’ll do the detail work early in the program. For example, in a recent thread there was a discussion about rounding over edges on a CNC. In normal ops you might just through a round over bit in a router table and round all the edges needed at the end. In CNC, I’d probably use a plunge round over bit and do it first.

Secondly, order of operations becomes bit sequence and whether you need to reposition the workpiece at any point. Determining best grouping of cuts to minimize bit changes or minimize the number of times a piece has to be moved is part of the planning. Sometimes, I’ll intentionally add additional cutting time in order to avoid having to change a bit. For example, I could switch to a 1/2” bit and cut a 1/2” dado or I can use a 1/4” bit and make some extra passes. If i have a bunch of other 1/4” work to do I’d probably do the dado with the 1/4” bit rather than switching.

Third, no sharp inside corners. Rotating bits leave round holes, so you’re not going to be able get square interior corners. Things like mortises, etc have to be designed with that in mind or you end up doing a bunch of chisel work later. Cut a mortise with rounded ends, use the CNC to cut a template for your router to create a matching tenon with rounded ends. It won’t impact the strength and its quicker overall.

Fourth, If you absolutely need to reposition a workpiece, then think about the piece you’re moving and the cuts you’re making. If it can’t be easily registered off the fence after cutting, I’ll often create negative templates for the piece out of MDF to positively register the piece after a series of operations. this can save significant time, especially if you are going to cut more than one or two.

Lastly, clamping and work holding need to be considered in light of the big and router path. Nothing like crashing the router collet into the clamps to get your attention. There are plenty of designs for clamping for CNC and there are plenty of non-standard solutions. One thing I like is to side clamp using a threaded insert or wedges, good side pressure will keep a workpiece in place (for most operations) and can be set up very low profile if needed.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View TerriK's profile

TerriK

10 posts in 276 days


#8 posted 04-20-2021 11:30 PM

If you use Vectric V-carve, Mark Lindsay has great videos. I’m also new to CNC so I feel your “pain”. Little by little!

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