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10 Most Popular CNCCookbook Posts for the Past 12 Months

Oct 24, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments

It’s been almost a year since we did a “most popular posts” article.  I like to do them from time to time because sometimes people miss the good stuff and because I like to know what really turns our readers on so I can research and write more of the same.
Here are the Top 10:
#1 – 10 Tips for CNC Router Aluminum Cutting Success
This has been one of our all-time most popular articles.  People want to be able to cut aluminum on their routers, including mini-routers and the new generation of small CNC mills.  It’s all doable if you know the secrets and frustrating as heck if you don’t.… Read the rest

First Nomad CNC Mills Have Been Delivered

Oct 21, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Router, Cool, DIY CNC  //  No Comments
BellaAndBoxes

I’m sure it’s been a long hard period for Carbide3D but they’re finally ready to celebrate a major milestone–they’ve delivered the first Nomad CNC Mills.
Just to recap, Carbide3D had an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign that launched their company.  We’ve written about their Apple-style vertical integration approach to making the world’s easiest CNC Mill before, and we know co-founder Rob G. well because he makes the MeshCam CAM software CNCCookbook sells (on sale for 15% off as we speak).  In fact, integrating MeshCam with the Nomad is one of their many secrets to making a far better mousetrap for non-machinists to get their feet wet with CNC.… Read the rest

Resin-Based 3D Printer for $249? You Gotta See This

Oct 20, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, DIY CNC, Products  //  1 Comment
NanoParts

There are always wonders on Kickstarter.  Sometimes they seem entirely too good to be true, and sometimes they are.  Caveat Emptor as the old saying goes.
This incredibly inexpensive resin printer really caught my eye, but it is so inexpensive it does make me wonder about it.  Can they really produce a functional 3D Printer this cheap?
Time will tell, but I did sign up for the $249 unit.  I have no idea what I’ll use it for, but it was just too cute to pass up.  It’ll go nicely with my miniature CNC Router.
This little 3D printer is called the iBox Nano, and is a Kickstarter project.  … Read the rest

Installing a Tool Turret on the Tormach Lathe: Part 1

Oct 20, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Products  //  1 Comment
IMG_1445

I’ve been using my Tormach Lathe a bit more lately and got tired of tripping over the crated tool turret, so I decided it was time to get it installed on the machine.  In Part 1, we’re just rigging it into the position.  The turret is substantial and you wouldn’t want to do this without a hoist:

An engine hoist works great to rig it onto the slide.  Chuck guard was removed for this task.

And here it is in position with the chuck guard reinstalled…
An engine hoist works great to rig it onto the slide.  It’s held in place by 6 M8 x 50 socket head cap screws on hardened washers.  … Read the rest

The Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop, Part 6

Oct 19, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Techniques  //  1 Comment
PrecisionEpoxyFloor

This is part 6 of our Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop Series.
You didn’t think we were done building a Tony Stark-inspired workshop, did you?  I just needed a little break to do the research involved for the next installment.  That’s really what the series is about–looking out for the way cool products that any Super Hero’s Workshop would have, but that most of won’t be able to afford.  At least not right away. Prices keep coming down on things and one day, maybe, just maybe, they’ll finally be within reach.
For Part 6, we’re going to talk about Metrology gadgets.  … Read the rest

Halloween Sale: No Tricks Only Treats!

Oct 19, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments
DDLM1

Hey, nothing spooky about 15% off is there?  We’re giving 15% off any purchase over $99 for our Halloween sale.  Just place the order and you’ll see the discount automatically taken in the shopping cart.  Sale ends when Halloween ends, Oct 31.
Here are just a few of the great deals you can get with this sale:
G-Wizard Calculator: 3 Year Subscription is $109.65.  So if you were thinking of a 1 year for $69, you can get 2 more years for just $40.65.  If you prefer a lifetime versus subscription, you can get a GW Calculator lifetime for just $211.65.  … Read the rest

Introducing G-Wizard University: Video Training for G-Wizard Software

Oct 15, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  2 Comments

We’re embarking on a new program to make training for our software fully available as short easily digested YouTube videos.  The plan is to do one or two new videos each week until we’ve covered our products top to bottom.  The first video is up and is an introduction and basic walk through of G-Wizard Calculator for new comers:

There are two new home pages:
G-Wizard University for Calculator
G-Wizard University for Editor
I’ll do a certain amount of jumping around to try to cover the most common questions and newly introduced features.  Hopefully a steady regimen of releasing a video or two a week will enable us to reach a helpful critical mass fairly soon.… Read the rest

New Goodies for G-Wizard Calculator Users

Oct 10, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  1 Comment
CCWRecalcBtn

I just uploaded G-Wizard Calculator Release 2.56 for PC and Mac users.  There are a couple of nice goodies in this release that have been widely requested by the user base:
Manual Recalculation for CADCAM Wizards
Folks on machines that are a little slower have never really liked the automatic recalculation for CADCAM Wizards.  It can be a little slow and distracting if you’re trying to change more than one parameter at once.  Well, no more.  Recalculation is now manual.  There’s a big recalc button in the top right corner.  The “Recalc” label turns red when it needs to recalculate, like this:

Recalc button is right above the graphical “Pocket” icon…
Take your time filling out all the parameters you like and press “Recalc” when done to get CADCAM Wizard to do its thing.  … Read the rest

The Coolest 3D Printed Project I Have Seen To Date

Oct 10, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

German genius Dieter Michael Krone has 3D printed a gun that automatically folds and launches paper airplanes:

Cool beans!  Don’t you just want to take that thing up to the top of the Empire State Building or something?… Read the rest

Secrets of How to Use Customers to Validate Your Business Ideas

Oct 9, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Techniques  //  3 Comments
listening post

Whether you’re trying to put together a Kickstarter project, launch a new product another way, or start a new business, it’s important to find some way of validating your idea before you get too much invested in it.  I’ve written an article over on my business strategy blog, Smoothspan, that talks about how to do that.  While it is oriented towards software companies, it’s principles are just as applicable to almost any other business idea you might want to test.
Here is the article:
Secrets of When and How to Talk to Customers at a Startup
Give it a read and I hope you’ll find it helpful for your own business needs.… Read the rest

The Ultimate Tony Start Inspired Workshop, Part 5

Oct 8, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  No Comments
color_cmy_helmets

This is part 5 of our Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop Series.
In this installment, we’ll be taking a look at what sort of 3D Printers a workshop like this might include.  There are a number of different 3D Printing technologies available, and no one process is suitable for all parts, so we’ll take a look at two different categories: plastic and metal printers.
Why Do We Need a 3D Printer?
Aside from the cool factor (which is undeniable), why would a workshop like this even need a 3D printer, let alone two?
There are two strong answers to that question.… Read the rest

Go 2 HAL If You Want to Go Fast

Oct 8, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments
Halstead1

Here’s a project fit for our mythical Tony Stark Workshop, except this one’s real and being done by Australian Paul Halstead who has a great track record of finishing some amazing motorsports-related projects.  What happens when you take two Corvette LS7 motors and siamese them together to make a 14 liter 16 cylinder motor for a supercar?
Check out the pix:

They’re hoping to see 1200HP from this configuration.  There’s some series machining work left to make it all a reality.
Halstead has done a number of other projects including an unbeatable full race De Tomaso Pantera that’s near and dear to my heart.  … Read the rest

Making a QCTP on a Tool Room Lathe More Crash Proof

Oct 8, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Techniques  //  2 Comments
QCTP

Machine tools crash, it’s a fact of life.  If you haven’t ever crashed yours, it’s like getting that first scratch on a new car–inevitable and a little bit heartbreaking when it happens.
There are lots of things we can do to try to reduce the likelihood of a crash ranging from running all the g-code through a simulator like G-Wizard Editor to requiring all g-code to “cut air” before it touches a real workpiece.  These things all help, but the machines and their operators are not infallible.  At some point we get a bad tool offset in the table, there is confusion about exactly which tool is which, or some other error creeps in.  … Read the rest

Lean Manufacturing and Agile Software Development: Kissing Cousins?

Oct 2, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments
LeanManufacturingWordCloud

I just put up an article on my Smoothspan Business Strategy Blog that details my Agile Software Development methodology and talks a bit about the history of Agile and mentions Lean Manufacturing.  If you’re curious about Agile Software Development or Scrum (another Agile Methodology), it’s worth a quick read.
It’s interesting to compare and contrast the ideas in our Lean Manufacturing Principles series with these Agile software development ideas.  Given my background in helping develop some of the ideas behind Agile as well as my current focus on Manufacturing, it should come as no surprise that these two have been percolating together in my head with some fervor.… Read the rest

The Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop, Part 4

Sep 30, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments
RomiC420

This is part 4 of our Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop Series.
In this episode, we’ll go to the very heart of the shop, at least for CNCCookbook readers.  Yes, that’s right, we’re going to take a look at what sort of mills and lathes might be appropriate for a shop like this.
Turning:  Toolroom Lathe
Lathes are somehow fundamental and intuitive machines for many machinists.  We have to make a lot of round parts because rotary motion is so common, and round parts are what lathes do.  Lathes are simpler to get our heads around many times.  There are simpler options for work-holding on lathes than mills.  … Read the rest

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