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We’ve Been Chock-a-Block Busy This Past Week at CNCCookbook on Cool Stuff for You!

Feb 26, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  2 Comments
ShopFloorTeam

We’ve been chock-a-block busy this past week at CNCCookbook, so I haven’t had much time to write many blog articles.  I apologize for that, but I’ll be back at it with more articles very shortly.
What I’ve been working on may be of some interest, it’s a new approach to helping folks get up to speed with our products faster and easier.  I call it “Bubble Tips.”  Like so many things, it’s easier for me to show you than to explain it in words, so let me put forward a little demo of Bubble Tips:
 
We’ll launch Bubble Tips in G-Wizard Calculator and G-Wizard Editor very shortly as they are nearly complete.  Many of you will have noticed the program we’re using to demo Bubble Tips is obviously a member of the G-Wizard Family, but it is unfamiliar.  That product is our upcoming G-Wizard ShopFloor.
It’s a product aimed at maximizing the organization, productivity, and teamwork of a shop.  It can help a one-man shop, a small shop with just a few people, or a big shop.  I won’t say much about yet, other than to visit GW ShopFloor’s homepage and keep eyes peeled for further announcements.  If you think…

Cellular Manufacturing: Lean Manufacturing Principles, Part 10

Feb 23, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments
CellularManufacturing

This is Part 10 of our series on Lean Manufacturing Principles.
Cellular Manufacturing is a particular model for workplace design that is an important part of Lean Manufacturing.
Many times, shops are organized around particular tasks–all the milling machines are in a department or area, all the lathes are in a department or area, all assembly is in one place, and so on.  The larger the shop, the more opportunity for waste as a part has to visit these departments which are increasingly far from one another and communicate less and less well with each other the larger they get.
By contrast, in Cellular Manufacturing, a subset of every department is grouped together in a tight knit entity called the Cell that specializes in making a family of similar parts.  The idea is bring together the machines, tools, and materials needed to manufacture a particular type of part.  These parts all share similarities in Geometry, Manufacturing Processes, or Functions, so having a specially designed Machine Cell that is optimized for producing them provides many advantages.
As Wikipedia puts it so well:
The major advantage is that material flow is significantly improved, which reduces the distance travelled by materials, inventory and…

Your Secret Productivity Booster: Conversational CNC

Feb 20, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, GCode, Manual, Manufacturing, Software, Techniques  //  2 Comments

NYCCNC has a great video out showing off the Conversational CNC capabilities of the Tormach Lathe and it’s Path Pilot controller:

Take a few minutes and let John from NYCCNC show you how easy it is to make a part with Conversational CNC.  He’s able to go through a series of steps including Turning, Facing, Threading, and Grooving to produce his part in a very short time without needing more than a rough hand-drawn sketch and no CADCAM.  This is exactly the kind of part where if you don’t have Conversational CNC, you’re probably going to make it on your manual lathe instead of the CNC because you’re convinced it’ll be faster to do a simple part on the manual machine.  What I love about this video is it shows just how fast and easy Conversational CNC can be–just as fast and perhaps even faster than any manual machine.
I know most shops keep a manual lathe and mill around for quick and dirty jobs, and I can see how we got there.  The manual machines are often older machines that have been at the shop longer than the CNC’s.  They’re paid for, familiar, and handy to have.  But if…

Our Sale Ends Saturday: Just a Few Days Left to Save!

Feb 19, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  1 Comment
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sale ends Saturday, February 21, because all good things do come to an end.  Sorry!
While the sale lasts, you get 15% off on all orders over $100.  The discount will be taken right in the Shopping Cart, so be sure to click through to see your savings.
There’s lots of great deals out there with this discount.  Now is the time to go ahead and purchase that G-Wizard package you’ve been thinking about, or maybe it’s time to add on to your existing subscription while the savings are here.
Here are just a few examples of our 15% off deals:
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Calculator for $109.65 instead of the regular $129.
–  Get a lifetime subscription to GW Calculator for just $211.65 instead of our regular $249.
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Editor for $169.15 instead of $199.
–  Get a lifetime GW Editor for $254.15 instead of $299.
Want both?  Try these deals:
–  Get 3 years of GWC and GWE for $254.1 instead of $299.
–  Get lifetime GWC and GWE for $373.15 and save over $65.
Been wondering about MeshCAM, the world’s easiest CAM software?  How about…

Using Work Offsets in G-Wizard Editor (New Features)

Feb 18, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, GCode, Products, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments
WorkOffsetHintCoordinates

Work Offsets are an incredibly useful feature in G-Code.  They let you run the same g-code at different places on your machine.  So for example, you have g-code for a part but you want to lay 6 parts out on a 3 x 2 grid.  Assign a work offset to the part zero of each of the 6 positions and it becomes very easy to use the same g-code for each part.
G-Wizard Editor has always been good with Work Offsets, but the latest edition (version 1.8 can be downloaded here) has even more conveniences.
Work Offset Hints
The Hints feature in G-Wizard Editor tells you what a line (what’s officially called a “block”) of g-code does in plain English.  It’s really handy when learning g-code, but it tells you all sorts of things that just aren’t in the g-code even if you know how to read it already.  For example, on an arc, it calls out the arc center as well as a bunch of other information.  In this latest release, when a new work offset is put in place, it tells you the XYZ coordinates of the Work Offset.  Something like this:

This gcode sets several work coordinates…

Tormach Moves From Mach3 to LinuxCNC: PathPilot

Feb 17, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  20 Comments
Path-Pilot-Contoller-and-Monitor

We usually don’t do News Stories, per se, but this is really big news in the lower end CNC Controller world.
I just got the announcement today that Tormach is releasing PathPilot for Beta Test.
I’ve had a chance for a while to use the first incarnation of Path Pilot with my Tormach Slant Bed lathe, and I really like this controller software.  It’s been rock solid for me, and since it is pre-configured by Tormach by the factory for their machines, I have had none of the head scratching over configuration that I had when I used Mach3 with my Mill.  The user interface and built in conversational wizards have been very nice as well.
Why Switch?
Here is what Tormach says:
With PathPilot you’ll be on track with a well-supported controller, and one that is engineered by the same people who designed your machine. PathPilot is a development of the Tormach. Tormach will address any bugs found and we will continually be working on improving features, functions, and usability. This is a significant contrast to our original control since the authors of Mach3 announced several years ago that there would be no more updates or improvements.
Basically, they’re…

Our 2015 Kick Off Sale Will Continue For Another Week

Feb 12, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments
funny-sign-bread-bar-beer-1

Our 2015 Kick Off Sale was originally scheduled to end Valentine’s Day, but due to popular demand, we’ll continue it through the end of next week.  The sale ends, Saturday, February 21.
While the sale lasts, you get 15% off on all orders over $100.  The discount will be taken right in the Shopping Cart, so be sure to click through to see your savings.
There’s lots of great deals out there with this discount.  Now is the time to go ahead and purchase that G-Wizard package you’ve been thinking about, or maybe it’s time to add on to your existing subscription while the savings are here.
Here are just a few examples of our 15% off deals:
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Calculator for $109.65 instead of the regular $129.
–  Get a lifetime subscription to GW Calculator for just $211.65 instead of our regular $249.
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Editor for $169.15 instead of $199.
–  Get a lifetime GW Editor for $254.15 instead of $299.
Want both?  Try these deals:
–  Get 3 years of GWC and GWE for $254.1 instead of $299.
–  Get lifetime GWC and GWE for…

Turning and Lathe Feeds and Speeds With G-Wizard

Feb 10, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments
GWizardUniversity

Just posted a new video in our G-Wizard University series.  The G-Wizard University is a set of short videos focused on specific features.  The idea is to make it easy to quickly delve into a good tutorial on how to use whatever feature you’re interested in for our G-Wizard Software.
The quickest way to find the G-Wizard University videos is to click the “Help” menu at the top of any page.  Scroll down and you’ll get to the video section pretty quickly:

G-Wizard University: Quick Video Tutorials…
This latest video is all about how to use G-Wizard Calculator to find Turning and Lathe Feeds and Speeds:

The G-Wizard University has specialized Feeds and Speeds Tutorials for Milling Machines, CNC Routers, and now Lathes.  G-Wizard Calculator has some great features for Lathe Feeds and Speeds that are covered in the video:
–  Calculation of Cut Depth based on insert type and size
–  Surface Finish calculations
And more.  If you haven’t tried G-Wizard yet, be sure to check it out.  We offer a free 30-day trial.…

Results of 2015 CNCCookbook End Mill Brand Survey

Feb 5, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Manufacturing, Products, Techniques  //  12 Comments
EndmillSurvey2015Major

Wow, we got almost 700 votes for some 75 different end mill brands in just a few days.  This has been one of our most popular surveys ever.
Here are the results:
Major Brands
The Major Brands accounted for 75% of the votes.  The breakdown is as follows:

Major brand market share: these brands accounted for 75% of all votes…
The top two brands are Harvey Tools and Niagara, followed pretty closely by OSG, Accupro, Kennametal and Iscar.
Minor Brands
The remaining 25% of votes were cast for the following brands:

These brands account for the remaining 25% of votes…
Conclusion
There are a lot of different end mill brands in use out there.  And nobody has the market sewn up by any means.  Some are premium brands and some are economy brands.  FWIW, I collected price information on a bunch of these brands, and looked specifically at 1/2″ diameter carbide 4 flute end mills.  I chose uncoated where possible and generally was looking for the lesser priced models in any particular brand’s lineup.
A number of things stood out from the pricing analysis and going through the catalogs enough to find the standard model I was pricing:
–  The…

Learn How a Professional Dreamworks Sculptor Finishes His 3D Prints

Feb 5, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Beginner, Blog, Techniques  //  No Comments
RobertPostProcess

3D printing is great–it lets you produce models of almost anything reasonably easily.  It only has a few drawbacks:
–  The print material (resin or filament) can be expensive.
–  Printing can be slow compared to subtractive processes.
–  Parts require some post-processing for best finish.
This article focuses on the post-processing.  In particular, I want to offer up a video from FormLabs that was done with Robert Vignone on his post-processing workflows.  Robert works with Dreamworks as well as his own Mold3D.com company.
Robert’s workflow at a high level makes a lot of sense:

The video provides full details on every step of the process, including which products he used, where to get them, and how to use the products to do the finishing.

While we’re on the subject, there was also a great FormLabs article on finishing a clear canopy for an R/C Airplane model.  If you’re a 3D printer, it’s definitely worth subscribing to their blog, whether or not you have a resin printer.  This post-processing workflow has a lot to offer for filament printed (extruded) models as well.…

Help Us Kick Off 2015 With a Sale!

Feb 4, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments
TiptoeHedgehog

What are you doing to make sure 2015 is an even better CNC year than 2014 was?  We’re not tip toeing around at our end.  We’re getting things started off on the right foot with a 15% off sale.  That’s right, you get 15% off on all orders over $100.  The discount will be taken right in the Shopping Cart.
There’s lots of great deals out there with this discount.  Now is the time to go ahead and purchase that G-Wizard package you’ve been thinking about, or maybe it’s time to add on to your existing subscription while the savings are here.
Here are just a few examples of our 15% off deals:
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Calculator for $109.65 instead of the regular $129.
–  Get a lifetime subscription to GW Calculator for just $211.65 instead of our regular $249.
–  Get a 3 year subscription to GW Editor for $169.15 instead of $199.
–  Get a lifetime GW Editor for $254.15 instead of $299.
Want both?  Try these deals:
–  Get 3 years of GWC and GWE for $254.1 instead of $299.
–  Get lifetime GWC and GWE for $373.15 and save over $65.…

What Are the Most Popular End Mill Brands?

Feb 3, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Products  //  5 Comments
EndmillAsst

What are the most popular end mill brands?  Let’s find out by surveying our readers:
Take the CNCCookbook 2015 Endmill Survey
We’ll put up the results as soon as we get a decent number of responses.  Be sure  you’re signed up for our email newsletter so you don’t miss hearing the results!  You can sign up below:…

What is Your CNC Machine’s Hourly Rate?

Jan 29, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Products, Software, Techniques  //  2 Comments

Do you have hourly billing rate figures for all of your CNC Machines?  It’s handy to know what you need to be able to bill out a machine at to pay for the cost of having it sitting on your Shop Floor.  G-Wizard Calculator includes a super simple Machine Hourly Rate Calculator that makes it easy to come up with good numbers to use for your hourly rates.  I’ve just uploaded a new video as part of our G-Wizard University series on this:

The Hourly Rate Calculator is part of the CADCAM Estimator module for GW Calculator, which makes it easy to put together machining feature-based quotes of your Jobs.  If you haven’t tried GW Calculator, check out our free 30-day trial.  If nothing else, you can use the 30 days to calculate hourly rates for all the machines in your shop.…

How Can I Calibrate the GW Editor Run Time Estimates for My Machine?

Jan 27, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments
SimTimeAdjust

Each machine requires a little different calibration.  In G-Wizard Editor, you have the following adjustments available:
Max Rapids
How fast can your machine rapid?  This is the value GW Editor will use (acceleration adjusted) in its estimates.
Spindle 0-max rpm time
How fast does your spindle change speeds?  GW Editor factors in a time based on this number every time you change spindle speeds.  You can measure it easily enough with a stopwatch if you don’t have a spec in your machine manual.
Tool Change Time
Every time the tool is changed G-Wizard charges this much against the clock.
Coolant On/Off Time
Likewise, every time you turn coolant on or off, G-Wizard charges this much against the clock.
Acceleration
Acceleration has a huge effect on simulated timings, but is one of the hardest parameters to get an accurate value for.  If your manufacturer won’t quote a number (and even if they will–it can differ from machine to machine depending on a variety of factors), you’ll have to measure the acceleration.  The best way is to test with interpolated holes.  Use G-Wizard Calculator’s Interpolation Mini-Calc to see what acceleration is required for a particular hole.  See if the recommended feedrate results…

Total Guide to CNC Router Workholding

Jan 26, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Router, Techniques  //  No Comments
Oil-Sealed-Liquid-Ring-Vacuum-Systems

Just posted another installment in our CNC Beginners Cookbook series:  The Total Guide to CNC Router Workholding.  In this article we delve into everything from vacuum tables to T-Tracks to using polymer nails for CNC Router Workholding.
Enjoy!…

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