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Professional machinists are involved in a highly competitive business. They need to eek out every drop of productivity they can. Recently on Practical Machinist, someone asked where to get the best feeds and speeds chart, which produced quite a bit of discussion from the readership. There’s a lot of wisdom on that board. One individual, who grinds and sells cutters for a living flat out said no such charts are possible because they don’t convey enough information. I agree, charts are limited to just a few variables while our G-Wizard Feeds and Speeds Calculator considers over 50 variables. It would take many pages of charts to convey the types of calculations it makes in chart form.… Read the rest
2011 was a great year for G-Wizard sales, but 2012 has so far trumped it. Sales are off to a great start. We’re in spitting distance of being able to double our installed base, so we decided to enlist your aid in the process.
At some point in the second half of each month, we’ll take stock of how the month is going and whether we think we can achieve our goal of doubling the sales from the same month last year. Based on that assessment, we will offer a limited number of 15% off coupons you can use to purchase a 3 year subscription of G-Wizard. … Read the rest
Let’s assume you have a working CNC machine that you’ve just acquired, but that you know very little about CNC. Let’s further assume it is a mill and that you will primarily be focused on cutting metal. You’re probably ready to start milling custom chopper parts, build a tool changer, or maybe scratch build a Colt 1911 handgun. With CNC, you can build almost anything and you’re chomping at the bit to get started on your pet projects.
Not so fast! Remember, you just got the machine and you’re a beginner. You’re not ready for those projects yet.
Here are 10 things you should focus on to maximize your chances of becoming quickly successful:
1. … Read the rest
I’m in the middle of painting panels for the flood enclosure I’m building for my mill and wanted to pass along a mini-review of the Harbor Freight HVLP spray guns I’ve tried. I started with them more expensive one they sell, #93305:
Not such good luck with #93305…
To be honest, I didn’t have very good luck with the 93305 model. Seems like no amount of adjustment would prevent it from working fine for a little while and eventually spattering to much paint out the nozzle which dripped down all over everything. I followed the instructions, I Googled the heck out of other’s instructions, all to no avail. … Read the rest
Release 1.630 is a minor feature release:
– We’ve added buttons so you can go to the correct web page to Purchase G-Wizard as your trial is running out or to renew your subscription if it is running out. It’s also easy to see how many days are left on your trial or subscription as they draw to a close.
– Added a button to the “Search KB” popup to show all entries.
– Re-evaluated the Rougher Endmill performance and upped the feedrates for it.
– Added 4 user-defineable fields to the Tool Crib so you can track extra information of your own choosing.… Read the rest
Starting the week between Christmas and New Year’s, CNCCookbook began doing quite a few transformations to give the site an overall facelift. We revamped our menus and merged the WordPress blog into the main site (it had been a separate site during most of 2011). In addition, we’ve redoubled our efforts to publish more quality content. The results have been rewarding as our traffic is way up. I’m pleased to announce we now receive well over 1 million visits per year, and that we have over 10,000 of you on our mailing list. For comparison, our traffic during January 2011 was 58,000 visitors versus 104,000 in January 2012–a 79% growth rate.… Read the rest
I like to use larger pictures (the site’s standard is 800 wide) so you can see the details. People these days have larger screens too, except when they’re on an iPad or something similar. When I did the update to our blog recently, I used a WordPress theme called “Boldy” that is a fixed width theme, and it is optimized for 1024×768 screens. Because of that, a lot of the photos were getting cut off on one side. So, I spent a few hours today rewhacking the theme to produce a variable width version that can expand to fill a larger screen.… Read the rest
I’ve been interested off and on in vacuum fixturing for quite a while. My brother is in the design stage of a big CNC router table, and wants to build in a vacuum table capability. I had been dimly aware that it is also applicable to CNC milling operations on metal, but hadn’t really delved into it too much. Then I came across a great article showing how to build a vacuum table over on the MicroSystemsGeorgia web site and it was the impetus for several hours spent researching this method of fixturing.
Here is the table design by Chris Kokourek that got me going:
Here is the vacuum table mounted on the VMC table. … Read the rest
“Corncob” Roughers are endmills that have serrations on the flutes to help break up the chips. You’ve probably wondered what the advantages are for these, so I thought I’d put together a post and talk about them a bit. These roughing endmills are only useful for roughing as the serrations leave tracks on any walls machined on the workpiece. So, unless you don’t care about those tracks, you’re going to need to put up with a toolchange to a finishing endmill and another pass to finish your part. Because of these extra steps, it’s reasonable to wonder about the value of these endmills.… Read the rest
Let’s start out by saying this article is not about troubleshooting a machine that isn’t performing correctly. There are cases where seemingly innocuous commands to a properly set up and adjusted CNC machine do not result in the moves that were commanded.
How can that be possible?
The short answer is that this is caused because there are many approximations and assumptions made every step of the way from your conception, to CAD drawing, to CAM program, to G-Code, to Trajectory Planning in the Controller, to the Servos or Steppers driving the axis, to the leadscrew and other components driving the table, and so on. … Read the rest
If you’ve been reading our blog for very long, you’ll know we’re fans of John Grimsmo’s knifemaking videos. In them he uses a little hobby mill to make custom parts for knives, which he sells to collectors. There is a lot of fascinating and useful information in them, but beyond that, they’re just fun to watch if you have a few minutes and any interest at all in knifemaking. Here is John’s latest video which covers a variety of topics:
In this video he’s working with some Swedish stainless that is well thought of for making knife blades called “RWL34″. The blade design itself is interesting, and John works through a couple of problems he encountered working this tough material, including breaking an endmill due to excessive deflection. … Read the rest
This is an amazing project and video I saw recently on Hoss’s 3D Printer thread over on CNCZone:
3D printing an alien skull in high resolution…
There’s not a lot of information available about how this printer works, but there is a blog with some interesting pictures:
Whistle done in typical RepRap melted filament style…
A whistle done in 50 micron resolution with this high resolution 3D printer…
A ball 3D printed in high resolution…
As you can see, the resolution with this technique is much much higher than the typical hobby-class melted filament 3D printers like RepRap.
Apparently the process involves photo-reactive resin (resin that is cured by light), and they use DLP projectors to create the layers one 2D slice at a time. … Read the rest
Tired of cutting air to see whether your g-code program is going to work?
We just added a new chapter to our G-Code Tutorial that shows how you can use a G-Code Simulator like G-Wizard Editor to help diagnose your part programs.
Lots of good info there about what a good g-code simulator can do for you. If you haven’t already signed up for the free G-Wizard Editor/Simulator Beta Test, now is your chance. Sign up and then use GWE to go through our G-Code course.… Read the rest
One secret to productivity on the mill is to use as much of the envelope as you can. The more parts you pack onto the table, the more it can get done without assistance while you work on something else. When it comes time to pack a bunch of small parts on, the ubiquitous vise is not the right tool. Instead, consider something more like this shopmade pallet system as seen over on Practical Machinist:
16 parts all neatly held by Mitee-Bite’s “Pit Bull” clamps…
The Mitee-Bite Pitbull’s have a sharp edge that jams the part against a stop on the other side as you tighten the socket head. … Read the rest
Here’s a great video from the Eclectic Angler showing his fixture for making the side plates for a fly fishing reel:
Love the use of the toggles to make it easy to pop a new workpiece into place. Note also the pins that position the workpiece at the top and left before the toggles are applied. Ideally, you’d like to use a combination of pins that does not “over constrain” the part. Ideally, that would mean two pins at the top and one on the left.
Because the three pins at the top over constrain the top edge. It only takes 2 points to identify a line, and he’s using three. … Read the rest