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Posted: 10/13/2020 8:51:34 AM EST
This is a continuation of this thread: Woodworkers: Need Help. CNC Router?

**Might be long, I’m documenting my entire adventure here.**

Skip past the recap if you followed the other thread.

-RECAP-

So… for those not following the other thread, I’ve gone from only owning a couple of tools (cheap drill press, screw drivers, sander, Dremel, Craftsman miter saw) for when I built my own suppressor and my son’s pinewood derby car 11-12 years ago, I’ve decided to get into woodworking.

I’ve literally never so much as screwed wood together and done something with it, and I spent the weekend of Oct 9th and built a couch.  No clue what got into me, but I saw a “shop couch” on YouTube and was determined to make one for my garage cigar lounge.  I got ahold of a 3rd row seat from a Yukon Denali and went to Lowe’s and started buying wood.  Sunday afternoon I had a couch.  I made a ton of mistakes but learned an amazing amount – like cutting wood straight helps.

-END OF RECAP-

OK, my adventure into CNC Routing has begun - I just bought a Shapeoko 3 XXL!  Just got an email it shipped.  Decided to also get everything I need to be successful - the precision collets, end mill starter pack, T- track and clamps, 100 threaded inserts to make a new wasteboard, a BitZero, and a BitSetter.  Total with tax was $2819.  Now it’s off to making the workbench before it arrives.  I’m leaving a little room because I think I want to add an enclosure for a little soundproofing.  I have an old Acer touchscreen tablet I’m going to integrate into the cabinet somehow.

Well, I guess I’ll need a real saw, so I bought one last night.  I have very little room, so I got a compact table saw and a few other cheap tools/accessories I didn’t own (square’s, clamps, countersink bits, work light, air nailer/stapler, etc.).  I still need some kind of dust collection system, if someone can offer suggestion.

I’m going to need an electrician to come in and put a dedicate outlet or two in the garage at some point in the next week or so.  Alright, off to get some wood to start building this table!




Link Posted: 10/13/2020 1:41:24 PM EST
OST
Link Posted: 10/13/2020 6:34:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/13/2020 6:39:53 PM EST by MongooseKY]
Tagged!

I don't know if you do videos, but this would be a great opportunity to share the experience and perhaps encourage others to become Lowcash too  I think CNC is an awesome technology and am very interested in perhaps going down this road at some point.  Be sure to share any gotchas you run into with setup, learning curve, etc!
Link Posted: 10/15/2020 9:06:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2020 9:07:09 AM EST by Lowcash]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MongooseKY:
Tagged!

I don't know if you do videos, but this would be a great opportunity to share the experience and perhaps encourage others to become Lowcash too  I think CNC is an awesome technology and am very interested in perhaps going down this road at some point.  Be sure to share any gotchas you run into with setup, learning curve, etc!
View Quote


Thanks for the support guys!

I've never done any videos, but maybe I'll try some on the iPotato and clip the relevant parts.  I know how to edit videos, so I'll see if I can throw a 5 minute unboxing/setup/leveling video.

UPS sent me a delay notification, so it should be here tomorrow.  I'm off to Lowe's to pick up a ton of materials to build the workbench now.

Here is a preview of my afternoon project.  EDIT: I'm not building my desk out of this crap.

Link Posted: 10/16/2020 8:06:08 AM EST
I have a few pallets but they are so full of nails I'm not sure I'm going to use them for anything.  Saw blades cost more than wood
Link Posted: 10/16/2020 8:19:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2020 8:20:05 AM EST by Lowcash]
This absolutely sucked.  6 hours for 6 pallets.  (That includes 3 cigar breaks and clean up time)




Six more to go.



But take a look at the only thing that put a smile on my face all day.



The router says it's on a truck out for delivery.  Stay tuned!
Link Posted: 10/17/2020 7:53:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/17/2020 7:56:52 AM EST by Lowcash]
The saga continues.  Here is my Friday recap.

The Shapeoko arrived!  I had just gotten in the garage and started prepping more pallets when the UPS guy arrived. (And a pic of the bike I sold right after on Craigslist for $40!)



It seems like the pallets realistically take 20 minutes to carefully remove the boards, de-nail everything, and cleanup.  It just royally sucks.  I might make Izzy's Pallet Pal if I decide to do any more reclaimed wood stuff.

I gotta get moving!  I'm running out of room in the garage.



NICE!  All done.  That absolutely sucked.  I'm telling you guys, this is a miserable way of getting free wood.  Even if you want reclaimed/distressed wood, it sucks.  That's your PSA for the day.



Time for a reward!



I've got everything "unboxed" from their multiple layers of shipping boxes and protection.  VERY WELL PACKED.  It's all out now, organized where I can find/understand it.  

On the right - main boxes/rails, wiring harnesses, left and right Y-axis and the X/Z, which is now screw driven and not belt driven.

On the left - waste boards sitting on the T-track, sweepy boot, starter bits, router, BitZero, BitSetter, pack of 100 inserts.



My trip to Lowe's to build the Shapeoko table consisted of MDF, 2x3's, (already have 2x4's and some 4x4's) lots of various trim boards, and tools I don't own.  I know most of you do, but I'm just getting started and have nothing.  I picked up a level, speed square, 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 multi-material screws, and a pocket hole jig.

Next purchase - thickness planer.  Anyone have a DeWalt DW734?  Geez these planers are expensive.



Most definitely time for a reward.



Alright, it's Saturday morning now, let me get building.  Wish me luck guys, I'm building this from no plans, just an idea I have.
Link Posted: 10/17/2020 7:57:53 AM EST
OST
Link Posted: 10/17/2020 8:04:18 AM EST
Some pallets are treated with compounds you do not want to breathe

Link Posted: 10/17/2020 10:10:51 AM EST
didn't know i needed one of these til i opened this thread.

Link Posted: 10/17/2020 9:30:55 PM EST
Ok, so here is my Saturday recap.

I started by building a base for the MDF.  And I actually cut it straight!



Added legs & flipped it over.  I used wood glue and brad nails to hold it in place, then countersunk screws.  I used a lot.  Not sure why.



That deserved a smoke while the glue sets.



Flipped it back over and added a 1 1/4" x 6" board as the center stabilizer.  The casters I ordered were HUGE, so I had to improvise and make leg supports.



I guess it turned out ok.  The "nubs" at the casters are sticking out for a reason - I'm thinking of adding something later.  I sanded everything except the MDF with 80 grit then 220.  I rounded all the edges, plus the bottom & legs, in case I snag something.

I measured as I went, cut as I went, and generally created it all on the fly.  For only the second thing I've ever created, I'm happy with how it turned out.



Had to finish off the night with an Oliva - tomorrow I start building the Shapeoko!

Link Posted: 10/17/2020 9:57:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/17/2020 10:18:03 PM EST by uglygun]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Lowcash:
Ok, so here is my Saturday recap.

I started by building a base for the MDF.  And I actually cut it straight!

https://i.ibb.co/hfCBG96/a.jpg

Added legs & flipped it over.  I used wood glue and brad nails to hold it in place, then countersunk screws.  I used a lot.  Not sure why.

https://i.ibb.co/f8vxP4t/d.jpg

That deserved a smoke while the glue sets.

https://i.ibb.co/6JFSvK3/c.jpg

Flipped it back over and added a 1 1/4" x 6" board as the center stabilizer.  The casters I ordered were HUGE, so I had to improvise and make leg supports.

https://i.ibb.co/HhBN0WD/b.jpg

I guess it turned out ok.  The "nubs" at the casters are sticking out for a reason - I'm thinking of adding something later.  I sanded everything except the MDF with 80 grit then 220.  I rounded all the edges, plus the bottom & legs, in case I snag something.

I measured as I went, cut as I went, and generally created it all on the fly.  For only the second thing I've ever created, I'm happy with how it turned out.

https://i.ibb.co/YyKpKnz/e.jpg

Had to finish off the night with an Oliva - tomorrow I start building the Shapeoko!

https://i.ibb.co/cTfts2r/f.jpg
View Quote


Triangulate your table legs or add some gusseting around corners to make it even more rigid.

On some rapid moves my table shakes a bit for my mill and I need to bolt in at least two diagonals to lock it down better.

But then Fusion 360 did away with rapid moves in Gcode exports for personal use free accounts.

But you will be moving pretty quickly with some of your cuts if you wind up doing aluminum with 1/8 to 1/4 O-flute end mills.

I would also take the casters off to put on the ends of your vertical posts and move your bottom 2x4s so they bolt through on the face of the boards.  You are are not getting much actual rigidity/strength with the orientation of those bottom boards.
Link Posted: 10/19/2020 12:10:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2020 12:11:35 PM EST by Lowcash]
Guys - sorry for the length, the video is about 15 mins.  I wanted to capture all the "gotcha's" that came with my build.

If you won't ever build a Shapeoko, you can skip this and wait for the pics/video later this week of it in operation (hopefully).

Link Posted: 10/19/2020 3:29:40 PM EST
OST

Looking forward to see how things go.   Thinking about some projects myself
Link Posted: 10/20/2020 8:56:59 AM EST
I found your narration and photos to be interesting - I need to get my smaller, older, ShapeOKO back into service 'soon' - watching your efforts is helping to motivate me...

Link Posted: 10/20/2020 10:23:33 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By targetworks:
I found your narration and photos to be interesting - I need to get my smaller, older, ShapeOKO back into service 'soon' - watching your efforts is helping to motivate me...

View Quote


Thanks!  
Link Posted: 10/23/2020 9:20:44 AM EST
Success!

I didn't have the marker attached very well, it appears, but the "Hello World" program was as successful as I've seen most online.  This was from late last night.

I'm going to add a bottom shelf to the table today so I have a place for the shop vac.  I just realized there is nothing available to hold the hose up over the machine, though.  Not sure why that never occurred to me before.  I guess I'll need to get working on an enclosure as well.

Today I'm going to install the T-track table and wire the BitZero and BitSetter to the motion controller.  I'll post pics and any problem I run into along the way.  Then I'll make a circle or star in some wood, just to ensure I've got it dialed in.

From start to finish, if I can build this anyone can build it.  Everything is done with the parts and tools they supply.  The instructions are as wonky as everyone says, but they are written by people who have built countless machines, so they no longer think the way a new person does.

I have bare bones mechanical aptitude and it wasn't difficult to build.  If you're going to build one, take a look at my video on the assembly process, but otherwise strap in for a wild ride - I've got a 3-day weekend and a lot of Red Bull!

Link Posted: 10/24/2020 8:58:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/24/2020 8:59:55 AM EST by Lowcash]
Ok - need some help guys!

Failed To Load Title


I tried to make a simple sign and the router just hovers over the material cutting the pattern in air.

I've used both a manual zero and the BitZero, both having identical results.  


I'm thinking it's my code?  Here is my Carbide Create file and Gcode file if anyone has any ideas.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G3ga71eI8rqVF8q-ai6J2NCSTdI9-0_-/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YfY_J0JUlcXUj7-nq3-Cf3e6UDHeQ_Lj/view?usp=sharing


Tried changing the material thickness, etc, etc.  I've changed so many parameters I'm sure I've passed over the correct option at this point.
Link Posted: 10/24/2020 5:14:29 PM EST
Check your work coordinate system for start point.

I use Fusion 360 so no idea how the carbide system goes about generating code.

There is likely a setting you are missing from your clearance height and your work surface.
Link Posted: 10/25/2020 6:40:45 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:
Check your work coordinate system for start point.

I use Fusion 360 so no idea how the carbide system goes about generating code.

There is likely a setting you are missing from your clearance height and your work surface.
View Quote


That was it, thanks!  I used a different piece of wood that I originally measured.  They were .10" difference in thickness, and that was just enough to cause the issue.
Link Posted: 10/25/2020 7:13:13 PM EST
Well I've made a ton of mistakes putting the accessories together, specifically the T-Table, but I've got everything sorted out now.  After a bunch of failed cuts I mostly figured out what my problem was.

After a couple of test cuts I made a sign for my neighbor who let me borrow a tool.  Trial and error, but it worked!  I needed to try different endmills and V's, so that is why the font is different.





Then, one sign for me!

Link Posted: 10/28/2020 8:35:40 AM EST
This thing is way too loud to use late at night in a suburb, so I'm building an enclosure.  Not to mention the dust is absolutely insane.  First, I'm building a platform underneath for the dust collection system.

I bought a cheap Harbor Freight shop vac for $44 (Bauer 6 gallon) to abuse and leave running while the cutting is happening, and a dust cyclone to pre-filter the dust and debris.

Using particle board and painting the inside of the enclosure white to help with lighting.  I'm going to add some kind of LED lighting system, too.

Progress so far:







Link Posted: 11/1/2020 4:07:47 PM EST
Still not a fan of the work bench layout.

Lot of strength and rigidity loss in how joints and orientation of 2x4s are layed out.
Link Posted: 11/2/2020 9:16:49 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:
Still not a fan of the work bench layout.

Lot of strength and rigidity loss in how joints and orientation of 2x4s are layed out.
View Quote


So you've mentioned.

It's been used several times and the Shapeoko doesn't shake whatsoever.
Link Posted: 11/2/2020 9:45:02 AM EST
Finally have dust collection installed and caulked.  Very happy with all of my math on hole size, hose length, material type, etc.  It all fit surprisingly well.



LED's installed - first rough mockup without the doors/full top.  Kinda hard to tell, but they are super bright.  No access holes cut yet.



Exterior painted (khaki-ish color) and ran white conduit is the back corner for the LED power leading to a lower rear access hole.  I wanted to use up any extra paint we had around and knew a white exterior was going to look dirty in 10 minutes.  Roof won't be screwed down so I can access the machine if necessary.



Pretty darn bright in there.  The white definitely helps.  Bought some lexan for windows.  My first two attempts at doors failed horribly.  Bought a couple new bits (.0625" Flat, surfacing bit, etc.), some double sided tape, and the Carbide corner square.  Also ran a modified hole pattern to account for the t-track before I started.  Not sure if I mentioned that.

Tons of cleanup to do, along with making the bottom enclosure for the supplies and the shop vac/dust separator.

Looking forward to my first projects!
Link Posted: 11/2/2020 11:48:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2020 11:57:41 PM EST by uglygun]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Lowcash:


So you've mentioned.

It's been used several times and the Shapeoko doesn't shake whatsoever.
View Quote


It isnt just that but as you pile on the weight, like adding the enclosure, there will be stressed fasteners and joints where it will begin to overly rely on the fastener.

If you should consider redoing the table look into 4x4s for your vertical posts and then do a half lap or crosslap with the 2x4s bolted through.   Weight will transfer through into the 2x4s better when rotated 90deg on axis and increases surface area with the lap joints into the 4x4s and down to the casters better.

I am not trying to argue or be insulting.   Just something to consider as you add weight to the table.    I wont mention it again and dont mean to set the thread off track.



On the note of your CNC.   Have you tested it for tram yet to see how true your spindle is for 90deg?

Stupid Simple Tools has a really nice dual dual indicator gauge for testing tram.

I am getting ready for my next aluminum project making custom badges for my 66 Mustang.   My previous project showed how far out I was from being true vertical.    I finally shimmed my router head so I am out only .005 inch across 6 inches on my Y axis and nearly perfectly level on my X axis.

Spoil board results were much smoother which will hopefully translate into better cuts and longer tool life.


Also, get yourself a set of feeler gauges.   Can be helpful when going to materials other than wood.  Can set your tool to be .001 inch off the work surface.

Also a dial indicator could be helpful for certain setups if you start using a vice.

Fixturing is one of the biggest things I am trying to figure out for moving forward.   Really want to figure out a way to use a vice that doesnt eat up a ton of my Z axis useable space.


Some of my fixturing came from 3D printing custom parts for holding my carbon fiber off the Tplate.   Allowed me to slide in 200x300mm plates without having to reset my zero or WCS because all my plates oriented off the same fixed point in space.


I often prototype with the 3D printer then move over to the carbon fiber or aluminum piece.
Link Posted: 11/3/2020 6:24:50 AM EST
coming along nicely, looks good.
Link Posted: 11/5/2020 8:48:45 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:


It isnt just that but as you pile on the weight, like adding the enclosure, there will be stressed fasteners and joints where it will begin to overly rely on the fastener.

If you should consider redoing the table look into 4x4s for your vertical posts and then do a half lap or crosslap with the 2x4s bolted through.   Weight will transfer through into the 2x4s better when rotated 90deg on axis and increases surface area with the lap joints into the 4x4s and down to the casters better.

I am not trying to argue or be insulting.   Just something to consider as you add weight to the table.    I wont mention it again and dont mean to set the thread off track.

View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:


It isnt just that but as you pile on the weight, like adding the enclosure, there will be stressed fasteners and joints where it will begin to overly rely on the fastener.

If you should consider redoing the table look into 4x4s for your vertical posts and then do a half lap or crosslap with the 2x4s bolted through.   Weight will transfer through into the 2x4s better when rotated 90deg on axis and increases surface area with the lap joints into the 4x4s and down to the casters better.

I am not trying to argue or be insulting.   Just something to consider as you add weight to the table.    I wont mention it again and dont mean to set the thread off track.



Fair enough, and valid points, but it's moot now since it's built.  However, I wish I would have made it 6" bigger all around, and made the enclosure differently, so I will take your suggestions when the time comes to build a new system.

Originally Posted By uglygun:

On the note of your CNC.   Have you tested it for tram yet to see how true your spindle is for 90deg?

Stupid Simple Tools has a really nice dual dual indicator gauge for testing tram.



Only done the "poor mans way" that Winston Moy showed in his video, but I'm getting the "stupid mans result".  But at $80, I think that indicator gauge you referenced is a steal.  Thanks.

Link Posted: 11/5/2020 9:30:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/5/2020 9:33:35 AM EST by Lowcash]
Another update.  I'll post better progress/enclosure pics next, but didn't think about it.

I bought a spoilboard surfacing bit and ran a few .015 passes across the surface.



Had some spare wood that was all approximately the same size (using calipers), so I glued it, hit it with a hand planer, and burned it.  Let me say this, I've learned A LOT about glueups and the importance of keeping flat boards flat.  I didn't notice at the time, but although the wood was perfectly smooth, once clamped down it was clearly cupping.  Completely ruined the project (you can see the height difference in the pic below).

Heading to Lowe's now to get some pipe clamps, etc.

OH!  Adjust the router bit/dust boot height orientation to ensure you don't have a huge gap where the vacuum won't suck up the dust.



Same thing happened to this one, but I put a ton of work into measuring, staining, burning, etc, so I'm going to try it.  Although it wasn't cupped, it was glued right-side up so some slats aren't the same height.  I should have glued it up-side down to make it all level on the flag side.  Again, lesson learned.



Outside of the stars not being equal depth due to varying material thickness at x-axis zero, it didn't turn out horribly.



Added some identical slats secured with 1" brads and stapled some picture hanging wire across the back.  Put felt feet at the bottom and it's all done.



If nothing else, I hope my misadventures have been entertaining so far.  At best, if I pass along a single tip to a single person, it's been worth the time.

Stay tuned!
Link Posted: 11/5/2020 9:48:42 AM EST
Keep posting! I’m envious!
Link Posted: 11/5/2020 2:19:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/5/2020 2:30:55 PM EST by uglygun]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Lowcash:


Fair enough, and valid points, but it's moot now since it's built.  However, I wish I would have made it 6" bigger all around, and made the enclosure differently, so I will take your suggestions when the time comes to build a new system.



Only done the "poor mans way" that Winston Moy showed in his video, but I'm getting the "stupid mans result".  But at $80, I think that indicator gauge you referenced is a steal.  Thanks.

View Quote


Dont make my mistake with the tram tool.

I accidently hit my return to home or gross Z axis jog while it was chucked into the router.

It would have been fine had my tool been parallel to X axis.   But it wasnt.   It was rotated 90 degrees.

So as it withdrew the router head on the Z axis it crashed my literally minutes old tool into the bottom of the Router Z axis plate.   Bent the damn tool.

So I had to order a new holder for the dial indicators and develop a very methodical way of not fucking up my tool again.


Currently looking into some mod-vices from Saunders machine works but my Tslot plate would likely need to be replaced to return some functionality/drop my height so I have room to start using vices.




As for laying out your boards and such.    I will be at a similar point soon with an epoxy enlay serving tray or cutting board I want to do.

I figure if I use 1/2 x 2 inch strips I am gonna set up a jig on my drill press to drill for a centered dowl on each end.   Once boards are ready for glue up I will run the dowl down through and then do a blind cap on the ends so you never see the dowl.   Will get glued and clamped to be let to sit for a few days.

Any uneveness will see my CNC used with the spoil board surfacing bit to mill the thing flat with a surfacing bit just like I would do with my spoil board.   Once that is leveled on both sides I will worry about fixturing for the design layout/cutting as well as hopefully doing a final route on the outter profile to bring it to the size I want accounting for the dowels not getting exposed.
Link Posted: 11/8/2020 7:39:26 PM EST
When you get to where you think you are ready to try aluminum hit me up.

I can help with speeds/feeds that have been working for me with everything from .250in o-flute to 1/8in ball nose to tiny little 1/32 end mills.


Fusion 360 and remaining stock maching ops are the way I got this guy finished today.

Link Posted: 11/8/2020 9:39:40 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:
When you get to where you think you are ready to try aluminum hit me up.

I can help with speeds/feeds that have been working for me with everything from .250in o-flute to 1/8in ball nose to tiny little 1/32 end mills.


Fusion 360 and remaining stock maching ops are the way I got this guy finished today.

https://i.imgur.com/08sLY9T.jpg
View Quote
What material thicknesses, alloys, and machine are you using?
Link Posted: 11/8/2020 11:40:01 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wookie1562:
What material thicknesses, alloys, and machine are you using?
View Quote



6061 aluminum.   Have done up to 1/2 inch aluminum for some of my drone parts.   I have a 4 inch Z height with 19 inches on X/Y so that gives me some fair room to work.

Router mills are nit the most rigid so usually you are using a fraction of the mill diameter as your depth of cut.   But wingle flute mills let you take advantage of 16-20k rpm and crank the feed rate way up.

The machine is a Millright Mega V.   I got it for a song because I got in on the kickstarter for it sept of last year.   Saved about 500 off what it retails for.

It has some things I dont like about it but some things I do.

Mainly my machine is a downsized version of their 35x35 that is meant to also have a plasma torch head for doing plasma cutting over a water table.

The way my machine has everything hung from above it made it decent for submerged cutting of carbon fiber which was my primary intent for this machine.   Have cut a fair amount of carbon fiber(6mm sheets) with a burr bit and thanks to it being under water it causes no dust.   My table empties into an aquarium under the table where I run the water through filtration to capture the debris in an aquarium polishing pad filter.   When I am done I toss the filter in a ziplock and it's all done/cleaned up.



The initital offering of my mill came with some questionable fasteners.   Hopefully they upgraded to grade 8 or above allen fasteners rather than the relatively shit phillips screws that came with my kit.


My build is a rack and pinion arrangement which does a fair job but the lead screw and backlash stuff out there, some shapeoko models I believe, are better options I feel.
Link Posted: 11/9/2020 9:08:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/9/2020 9:24:12 PM EST by Lowcash]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By uglygun:
When you get to where you think you are ready to try aluminum hit me up.

View Quote


Will do - thanks, that's awesome!

I want to do a reverse logo brass carving for burning my logo into the back of projects.  No idea where to get the brass, what bit to use, etc.  I saw Winston did a video, but I don't recall he spoke on those details.


Link Posted: 11/9/2020 2:02:45 PM EST
I am sitting here thinking about milling new end plates for my gantry to raise it about 6 inches.

If I do that I could then engrave some custom logos for the valve covers on my 331 stroker motor.
Link Posted: 11/9/2020 9:38:40 PM EST
I think I'm starting to get the hang of it!  I need to clean up the edges and trim a few inches from the bottom and that's a pretty nice piece for my buddy.



Found an awesome local lumber place today and picked up some Walnut, Cherry, Red Oak, Poplar, and Knotty Pine.  Going to make some various signs and attempt a cutting board.  Because 1) I don't have one, and 2) it seems all beginning woodworkers make a cutting board.

Link Posted: 11/12/2020 9:17:52 AM EST
It was a nightmare figuring out how to "pocket" out material and leave the rest raised, but it seems like I figured it out.

So far, so good.  Any ideas on something fun to make?



Link Posted: 11/16/2020 10:16:21 PM EST
Ok, mission accomplished.

Made this for a friend, I guess I did what I sought out to do when I got it - make one of these signs.

What do you think?

Link Posted: 11/16/2020 10:37:28 PM EST
Sweet!  What is the software like that drives the machine?
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 9:48:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/17/2020 9:49:53 AM EST by Lowcash]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By digitalebola:
Sweet!  What is the software like that drives the machine?
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Massive learning curve - both the design software and the motion controller.  I could make a basic "Hello" carved into wood in about 10 minutes.  After that, it gets really hard.

If I had a mentor, I could figure it all out very quickly.  The problem is if you want to do XYZ and don't know how, you spend hours on YouTube and forums trying to figure it out, almost always because you don't know what it's called in order to get the search you're looking for.

I spent hours trying to center a circle within a star, only to find out from Carbide 3D themselves via their forum that Carbide Create thinks the circle and star are ALREADY centered, relative to position (First pic).  So, they said draw a circle around the star, then select the outer and inner circles together and click "align centers".  Bang, centered.  Easy as that.  (Second pic)

I would not have figured it out on my own.





However, throughout all the failures, I now know what NOT to do, so after ruining several expensive cuts of wood, and sheading lots of tears, I'll never make that specific mistake again (but plenty of new ones).

Perfectly flat material is an absolutely requirement when you're a beginner.  I can't stress that enough.  The machine deals in tolerances of ten thousandths of an inch.  It can actually make two different cuts at .0001 and .0002, but when you get to bigger values, like .125 and your material isn't perfectly flat, it will be .125 on the left where you zeroed you Z axis and it will be .130 on the right.  Sounds small, but it will be extremely noticeable, trust me!

In the CNC world, jointers are more important than planers.

Link Posted: 11/17/2020 11:53:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/17/2020 12:07:30 PM EST by uglygun]
You really should start looking into Fusion 360 now so you can start playing with how to make drawings and 3D models.

I get you are working/learning one program for carving which is a lot.

When you get tired of that taking a break to play in Fusion360 could be a bit of a break.

It is gonna take 6-9 months before you start to orient with that software and be fairly comfortable(off axis planes, splitting models, importing drawings/svgs, making an SVG).  That will help for when you get closer to wanting to do something like a working part you will have fewer things to sort out with the manufacturing portal.


Even with it a bit neutered feature wise(biggest issue is rapid moves have been put behind a paywall), from what it was at 3 months ago, it is still hugely powerful.

Also hugely useful if you should ever get a 3D printer.
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 12:12:10 PM EST
Another software option:

Vectric VCarve

Very well-written, solid software.

Link Posted: 11/17/2020 12:38:24 PM EST
Yeah, you're both right.  If I'm going to spend this much time on something I should go with a much more robust design tool.

I had ruled out VCarve Desktop because those jerks limit it to 24" x 24".  If you want larger I need VCarve Pro and the price goes from $349 to $699.  That is ridiculous for larger sizes, regardless of other features.

Fusion 360 looks free for basic features.  I can't imagine I'll need any of those advanced features any time soon.
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 12:39:39 PM EST
I'm still working on how to make "better" cuts that show less toolmarks.  I know there are ways, because I've seen the end results, but not sure where/how to start figuring it out.
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 12:50:27 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Lowcash:
Yeah, you're both right.  If I'm going to spend this much time on something I should go with a much more robust design tool.

I had ruled out VCarve Desktop because those jerks limit it to 24" x 24".  If you want larger I need VCarve Pro and the price goes from $349 to $699.  That is ridiculous for larger sizes, regardless of other features.

Fusion 360 looks free for basic features.  I can't imagine I'll need any of those advanced features any time soon.
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One thing nice about the VCarve stuff is that you can start off with the desktop version to get your feet wet, and if you need to move up to larger size routing later, you just pay the difference in price between Desktop and Pro... they credit you for the full price of the Desktop version, in other words.

But yeah, the stuff ain't cheap - but it's good.  I think they do have a free trial version you can download to play with it a little if you're so inclined.

Another drawback is that VCarve doesn't really include 3D *design* tools... if you plan on creating 3D models from scratch, that means moving up to Aspire, which is in a whole different price league (~$1800, if I remember correctly).

Just depends on what you're gonna do with it in the long run.  I've been cranking out stuff on my homebrew CNC router for 5+ years now, and have never had a need to move up to VCarve Pro or Aspire... don't do big signs or anything, and I'm not enough of an artist to do much of my own 3D modeling.  I just stick mainly with downloaded .stl's and a few models purchased from Design & Make.  There's still a lot you can do within those limits!
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 12:53:54 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Lowcash:
I'm still working on how to make "better" cuts that show less toolmarks.  I know there are ways, because I've seen the end results, but not sure where/how to start figuring it out.
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One way to do it is to reduce the "stepover" in the bit setup... basically how much one run overlaps the next as the bit is moving back and forth.  Less stepover looks better, but increases routing time... sometimes pretty significantly.
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 1:03:59 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Lowcash:
I'm still working on how to make "better" cuts that show less toolmarks.  I know there are ways, because I've seen the end results, but not sure where/how to start figuring it out.
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Depth of cut/step over/finishing pass.


V-carve may be more oriented towards V-shaped bits and doing single cuts on a line or profile.   The only option may be doing multiple depths/even step diwns so it isnt all done in one deep single cut.


Link Posted: 11/17/2020 1:45:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By midmo:

One way to do it is to reduce the "stepover" in the bit setup... basically how much one run overlaps the next as the bit is moving back and forth.  Less stepover looks better, but increases routing time... sometimes pretty significantly.
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Ok, that makes sense.

Originally Posted By uglygun:


Depth of cut/step over/finishing pass.


V-carve may be more oriented towards V-shaped bits and doing single cuts on a line or profile.   The only option may be doing multiple depths/even step diwns so it isnt all done in one deep single cut.
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I hear about finishing passes a lot - no idea what that is or means.  People on YouTube tend to toss that around like everyone know what that means.  Can you explain?
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 4:07:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/17/2020 4:31:11 PM EST by uglygun]
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Originally Posted By Lowcash:



I hear about finishing passes a lot - no idea what that is or means.  People on YouTube tend to toss that around like everyone know what that means.  Can you explain?
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So say on your Z axis you are cutting down into the material along the Z axis is your axial cut.

If you are moving on your x/y planes with the side of the cutter doing step overs at the same Z height, that is the radial cut.


Both can have finishing passes applied.  Sometimes together and sometimes seperately.

Say you are going 1/2 down on your axial cut with even Z step downs.   You might take passes of 1/8 inch per drop down for each cut.

But on your final pass, that is going to be a set up as a finishing pass.    This pass is going to be slower feed rate and it is also going to only be maybe 1/16 of 1/32 of material(for like aluminum).

This has a much lower force acting on the machine allowing it to nibble away down to the final dimensional height with greater accuracy.


Can also be applied to radial cuts.

Because machines like yours and mine do not have the rigidity of HUGE professional mills, we have to be limited in our step overs(and step down/depth of cut) or we bork the machine and cutter.     If I am using a 1/8 end mill my step over is like a max of 1/8 to 1/4 of my end mill diameter(for aluminum) depending on my depth of axial cut.      But when I apply a finishing pass I am likely only looking to remive the final .05in of material to clean up any flex/rigidity issues in my machine from the previous deeper cuts.


Real mills are often taking depths of cut on the Z axis of 2 or 3 times the diameter of the tool being used.   Their step overs can be roughly 1/4 to 1/2 the tool diameter as well.    Huge amounts of material being removed.

But I can tell you our machines are usually best off(for aluminum) with only maybe 25% of tool diameter for cutting into the axial depth of cut while carefully watching the step over at like 25% of tool diameter at max.

For instance my 1/8in ball nose end mill runs at 20000rpm, feed rate of 40in per minute, and only a .005 inch step down per pass.    This doesnt overly bog the tool down as it steps down along a radius or compound edge.    I also have to consider clearing the boundaries of the part so the tool isnt diving into the material on radial cuts.



That is where Fusion 360 has been helpful.   I have literally sat in my drone nursery for an entire 12-16 hours in one day while putting movies on and playing with designing shit, moving to the manufacturing side to then do tool paths, and then go back to redesigning.

Do not get me started on learning how to do components and then integrate them into a drawing so you can literally assemble the entire thing in virtual space.   That is where you end up modeling every little part and doing test fits.    Becomes kinda perverted when I have the 3D printer going, my CNC going, and I am sitting there running Fusion 360 designing tool paths for the next part.






Mind you, a year ago, I was literally at the place you are now in terms of starting CAD/CAM.    I didnt even have my mill yet, it came Sept of this year.

I had a bit of a head start on part design from buying a 3D printer furing the summer of last year.   It took seperate programs to turn drawings into 3D printed rubber/plastic parts.   But my actual CAD/CAM with cutting anything from wood or Carbon Fiber didnt happen til like mach of this year.


In Fusion360 can simulate tool paths and various tooling path strategies til blue in the face.   The speeds and feeds could be hugely off, that is where I saw my machine shit the bed with 3 and 4 tooth end mills(again aluminum) which were meant for alower RPM rigid professional machines.    But that was honed in on through trial and error after moving to correct 2 flute of O-flute single edge end mills.


I could see where wood is forgiving in one way and unforgiving in another way.



Think like sand paper.    You could sand down your part with that 400 grit paper but you will be there all day.   80 grit(multiple passes roughing) gets ya closer to being there quicker.   Then ya get that last bit with the finishing pass.
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 6:48:56 PM EST
Thanks for the detailed reply, I appreciate it.

I'm going to try some cuts and see if I can play with the stepovers and change these defaults in Carbide Create.

One of the defaults I saw in there once was a 75in feed rate and a 15in plunge rate when I changed tools.  

I'd still be cutting.  Like, WTF?  If someone didn't know better, and I barely do, you'd run these defaults and have a 6 hour cut on a 12x12 sign that said "Hello".
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