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Browsing articles from "January, 2011"

There’s Something About Knobs and Buttons

Jan 31, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

Got some photos from CNCCookbook reader Kelvin V of the custom CNC control panel he built for his router. Very cool:

More control panel pix on the CNC Control Panel Page……

Engineer, Heal Thyself!

Jan 26, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

This is a fascinating article that came to me by way of MAKE Magazine who found it on UK site theEngineer. It involves an engineer in the UK building his own aortic prosthesis to overcome a condition known as Marfan syndrome, an inherited disorder that affects the connective tissue of the body. It was causing this fellow’s aorta right below the heart to expand like a balloon to the point where it was at risk of popping and causing a fatal heart attack. The doctors gave him a choice of either risking the sudden catastrophic heart attack or undergoing surgery to replace that section of aorta with a mechanical valve that would lead him taking Warfarin for the rest of his life. He chose a third option and worked with doctors and researchers to build a custom-fit reinforcing “glove” to hold the aorta in place where it needed to be.
They gathered the data for the shape of the implant with MRI, used CAD to generate a 3D model, and then used 3D additive machining to create a mold over which conventional high strength medical polymer textiles could be applied and formed into the correct shape. Here is the mold:…

Too Much Stickout Can Ruin Your Day (And Your Cutter & Job!): Use G-Wizard to Check It

Jan 22, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

Somewhere early in my machining background I internalized the virtues of minimizing tool stick out. I remember very early purchasing a set of screw machine length twist drills just because they were shorter and less likely to flex than the jobber length many are used to from the hardware store. I could see and feel the difference quite easily. I also don’t buy many long cutters–they cost more money and you’re tempted to hang those lovely flutes out there too far.
But, not everyone has had the evils of excess stickout ingrained. Recently I was reading a post over on PM by a machinist who was unhappy at G-Wizard because he’d broken his endmill after running some feeds and speeds he got from it. Not a happy story. I hate breaking a cutter, although for me, it mostly happens when I fat finger an MDI move and rapid into something, LOL! BTW, I’ve trained myself just not to use G00 in MDI. Life’s too short, but I can be patient while the machine moves at a feedrate that is slow enough I can press the big red sphicter button if I screw up the MDI.
Getting back to our story,…

Knowledge-Based Machining Comes to G-Wizard!

Jan 21, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  2 Comments

Knowledge-based machining comes to the G-Wizard Calculator with the latest release 1.026. The Cut Knowledge Base is now live. It’s a special purpose database where you can record your experience with various cutting parameters as an aid to tuning up your feeds and speeds.
“Knowledge-Based Machining” is a popular buzzword in the high-end CAM market today because it involves capturing a shop or machinist’s best practices and making it easy to reuse the best practices on all jobs. Every time we make a cut, we have the chance to try something new and perhaps learn from it. If you record the data, it’ll be there for you when you need to know what worked and what didn’t.
Most of the time, you can go faster than the manufacturer’s recommended feeds and speeds, the trick is knowing under what circumstances. The role of the Cut Knowledge Base is to help you determine how much faster, record the circumstances, and be able to reuse that knowledge every time you sit down to create a new g-code program, or perhaps to help tune up your existing programs for better peformance. Until now, you had to buy one of the higher-end CAM packages (Siemens…

CNC’d Art From Old CD’s and DVD’s

Jan 19, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, CNC Projects  //  3 Comments

Hat tip to Make Online and Google Image search for vectoring me onto this cool little CNC project:

They’re made by CNC’ing old CD’s or DVD’s, which gives them that shimmery look. That’s a cool scrap material for doing art projects.…

Custom Tool Data for a Sandvik R390 90 Degree Face Mill

Jan 19, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

G-Wizard has the ability to import custom tooling data so you can set it up with your manufacturer’s recommended surface speed and chipload. Our list of downloadable tool profiles is available on the download page. It can make quite a difference. For example, here is a 2 1/2″ wide cut, 0.050″ deep in 4140 with the Sandvik R390 and CT1030 grade inserts:

614 rpm and 14.7 ipm…
The default facemill data for the same cut would have us using running 217 rpm at 9.8 IPM. That’s a material removal rate of 1.2 versus the 1.8 ci/minute with the factory data. It pays to set up at least your “big gun” and most commonly used cutters with the factory data to get that little extra performance potential from them. G-Wizard will still perform all the appropriate compensation around that raw data. Information on how to setup the custom tooling information may be found on the Setup documentation page.…

New WordPress Theme and Migration Plan

Jan 16, 2011   //   by   //   Blog  //  No Comments

I notice the traffic over on the WordPress blog has been picking up steadily. Just so you know what’s up with that, it’s a copy of the content from’s blog presented with more traditional blogging software (WordPress). The original blog (and I can’t tell which one you’re reading so the wording is awkward!) has each page hand crafted in Dreamweaver. That’s great for the project or cookbook “recipe” pages, but we don’t gain much doing that for the blog. Hence I want to ultimately quit hand crafting blog pages to free up more time to do the other stuff (can I get a “Yay”?).
I’m not going cold turkey though. I run the two in parallel. I am gradually copying posts from the historical archives into the WordPress format. That makes it richer. In addition, you can write comments on the posts and you get a link to each post, which is handy if you’re into bookmarks are want to refer someone to a post without forcing them to page down to find it. Links to individual articles also makes search work better if you’re trying to find some article you know you read but can’t put your fingers…

Nice G-Wizard Mention from NYCCNC

Jan 16, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Got a nice mention of G-Wizard as well as some insights into how this machinist likes to manage his tooling for his CNC mill:
Thanks to NYCCNC for the video!…

10 Questions You Could Answer If You Had a Cut Knowledge Base

Jan 15, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  1 Comment

First question you might like to answer is, “What the heck is a Cut Knowledge Base?”
Simply put, a Cut Knowledge Base (hereafter referred to as a “Cut KB”) is a way of organizing your notes about what worked and what didn’t to make it easy to answer all sorts of interesting questions. All good machinists keep notes and try experiments to see what they can learn and improve on. If you’re doing a job that involves a manufacturing a lot of parts, you have an opportunity to do some experiments on successive runs to try to improve your productivity and drive down costs. If you’re only doing a few parts, or if the parts are extremely expensive, the notebook is even more valuable because you can’t afford to do these experiments on your paying work.
Some of the very high end CAM packages have a Cut KB facility, but most don’t, at least not like what I’m describing. Many are starting to talk about knowledge-driven machining, but this is how to really take that bull by the horns and get some results.
Adding a Cut KB to the G-Wizard Machinist’s Calculator is the current priority, and you can already…

Got My Enclosure Page Up…

Jan 15, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects  //  4 Comments

I’ll be tracking my Mill Enclosure project from its own page. Here is the overall rendering:

IH CNC Mill Enclosure rendering……

From the Archives…

Jan 15, 2011   //   by   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Just for fun, and because there are quite a few archives, I thought I’d add the link above where you can click for a random CNCCookbook post. This is by no means are whole archive since it ties back to my site that has only the more recent postings. It will grow steadily over time, though as I am committed both to writing new posts (natch!) and to backfilling the WordPress archives until I have it all moved over. Do keep in mind that WordPress is an experiment right now and the page remains the main event. WordPress is there for me to experiment with layouts (I probably won’t stick with the rather dark one that’s there as I write this) and to provide folks a place to get an RSS feed for CNCCookbook.
For a complete index with all the archives, try the Index page.…

Got a Good Start on a Pig Trough…

Jan 7, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects  //  No Comments

But, seeing as how I don’t own any pigs, I decided to call it a chip pan for my mill enclosure instead. After getting a note from a reader that got me to looking over my enclosure idea notebook, I couldn’t resist getting started. Just a couple of progress photos for now, but I’ll write up the whole thing once it’s done. My brother runs a picture framing business, so he handles the woodworking end of our projects… Takes a pretty good sized trough for the IH Mill!

You know they’d be happy in that chip pan!…

The Short List for Online Marketers at Small Businesses

Jan 5, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  No Comments

My other blog is about entrepreneurship in the technology startup world (not to mention Cloud Technology, Mobile Computing, and Social Networks) and I’m a serial entrepreneur who has done 5 companies so far with a sixth (right here, baby!) underway. As such, I follow a lot of small business and entrepreneurship resources–I subscribe to nearly 200 blogs for that information. A number of our readers here at CNCCookbook run a manufacturing business of one kind or another. Some of them are running job shops while some are manufacturing their own products. As a result, I try to pass along a little small business wisdom every now and again, but not so much as to detract from the overall theme of CNCCookbook. Here is my first installment of business thinking for the New Year. All small businesses share a common problem: how to get more customers (and often, how to get more of the right kinds of customers). The web is a potent resource to all of these businesses, and one you want to make use of. Towards that end, if you like to read blogs, I wanted to give you my short list of must-read bloggers for small businesses. I…

Amazing Projects with CamBam

Jan 4, 2011   //   by   //   Beginner, Blog, Cool, Software  //  No Comments

Some of the lower end CAM programs are capable of some amazing work. Here are some samples done with CamBam: A 747 made from aluminum. Very cool 3D work! Watch chassis with “tabs” for fixturing… Watch part… There is the part installed… CamBam scored pretty well on the CAM Survey (below). I’m starting to see why!…

Idea Notebooks

Jan 2, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects  //  No Comments

CNCCookbook is nothing if not one big idea notebook, but I keep special pages I call idea notebooks for things I haven’t built yet, but expect to and want to collect notes for. I’ve got a number of different idea notebooks including: CNC Control Panels: What should be on your control panel? Coolant Collars: A handy way to dispense flood coolant that clamps to your spindle. Mill Fixture Plate: Makes modular fixturing and setups a snap. Souping up a Drill Press: Something to be productive on while your CNC mill is chugging away on its own. Press Brake Attachments for your Press. Better than a brake, not as good as a real Press Brake. Belt Sanders: I built a disc sander, now I need a belt sander. Handy machines! Electronics Boxes: How to build a neatly wired enclosure for your CNC electronics. High Speed Spindle Add-On: Attach a high speed spindle to your existing spindle. Home Shop Hall of Fame: Amazing man caves! Lathe Tooling Organizers: Keep those QCTP holders in order. Machine Aesthetics: Just some good looking stuff. Machine Enclosures: Keeps chips and coolant inside and machinists outside! Parts Gallery: CNC Parts Made in Home Shops. Plasma Table Gallery:…



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