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Derby the Dog Runs for the First Time With 3D Printed Prosthetics

Dec 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

The Holiday Season is all about miracles, so I wanted to run at least one story about a miracle CNCCookbook readers might appreciate.  With the help of 3D Systems personnel and 3D Printer, Derby the Dog has new prosthetics that let him run for the first time.
Derby was born with deformed front legs.  He had been able to get around a bit with a special cart, but it wasn’t quite the same as running.  Much to everyone’s amazement, he took off running almost as soon as he tried the prosthetics and has been enjoying them ever since.
There’ve been many stories about the medical side of 3D printing that show how much 3D printing can help.  Orthotic appliances such as prosthetics are a great application as they need to be customized for each patient, even when the patient is a dog.
Here’s a Derby on the prosthetics:

And here is a video with a lot more detail on the story as well as shots of Derby running and playing:…

10 Features Pros Have that Hobby CNC Controllers Dont

Dec 16, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, DIY CNC, Products, Software  //  7 Comments

Hobby CNC Controllers have gotten to where they’re quite powerful.  I recently saw an article on a single chip CNC controller–no need for a PC, just add a few outboard parts and it drives the stepper motors, provides an LCD screen UI, and quite a lot more.  Amazing stuff, and it’s only going to keep getting better over time.  Despite their newfound power, there are a number of features that Pro CNC Controls have that most Hobby CNC Controllers do not.  Here are 10 of them:
1. Better Macros and Subprograms: Fanuc Macro B vs Mach3 vs LinuxCNC
This is one of the biggest ones for me.  The ability to program the g-code in Pro machines is quite a ways ahead of the Hobby Controllers such as Mach 3 or LinuxCNC.  What’s specifically missing so far are branching structures–IF, GOTO, and WHILE loops.  You can only do so much with #variables and subprograms without branching.  Branching is the ability for the g-code to change what it will do based on outside inputs.
2. More and Better Canned Cycles
This is another one that makes a big difference, particularly when programming lathes.  Canned cycles like G71 on the lathe make it…

10 Tool Gift Ideas for Machinists

Dec 13, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Products  //  1 Comment

What to get the machinist on your list for the Holiday Season?  How to help your loved ones get you the right gift if you’re a machinist?
This used to be hard because gifts could be so specialized and hard to find.  In the past I’ve just simply asked that if an item like that appeared on my list, the best thing was to provide a card with a coupon authorizing me to just make the purchase myself.  Things are different now though because of the Internet, which has changed so many things.  You can provide links that make it easy to purchase almost anything, even if the buyer doesn’t know much about machining and would never guess where to find the gift you’d most like them to purchase.  In fact, you can even find most things on Amazon, especially now that they’re listing industrial items.
Here’s my list of Tooling Gift Ideas for the Machinist with links back to Amazon.  I’ve tried to pick out some things that are a little off the beaten path so your machinist gift recipient may not already have them.
These are all items I’ve personally used, and in the spirit of full disclosure,…

Thanks for Participating!

Dec 11, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments

We’re getting great response on our Machinist’s Book Giveaway and on our 2014 Holiday Sale.  Thanks everyone for all your help!
If you haven’t taken advantage of either one yet, click the links, see what it’s all about, and join in.  We don’t want anyone to miss out.
(Careful Santa, that outfit doesn’t look safe around rotating machinery!)…

We Sure Could Use More Twitter Followers!

Dec 9, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  3 Comments

Twitter can be a very effective medium for discovering new stories that you’d like to follow.  We Tweet every new article we publish here to Twitter for example.  Recently, we’ve become tapped out on following more folks on Twitter.  It seems they limit you after you get to 2000 followers so you can’t follow anyone else until you get to more followers. This is a limitation we’d like to overcome–the more we can follow, the more opportunity we have to discover new stories.  While we can unfollow some individuals to make room for new ones, we really hate to do that.  The only way to get an allowance to follow more folks is with your help.
You can help us out a lot if you have a Twitter account if you’ll just follow us.  That’ll give us more followers and hopefully open up the ability for us to follow more Twitter users and collect even more great stories we can pass along to you.
Thanks in advance for following CNCCookbook on Twitter!…

Breaking News: Shapeoko and Carbide 3D Join Forces

Dec 9, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Cool, Products  //  No Comments

This is big news for the CNC For The Rest Of Us Market:  Shapeoko has now joined forces with Carbide 3D, makers of the Nomad CNC Mill.  CNCCookbook has an exclusive interview on this new parternship with Rob Grzesek and Edward Ford.  

Rob Grzesek is a founder at Carbide 3D and the developer for MeshCAM…
Rob Grzesek is a founder at Carbide 3D, the company behind the Nomad 883, and the developer for MeshCAM, a popular 3D CAM package.  CNCCookbook is a MeshCAM reseller, and we’ve found it to be the easiest CAM package there is for beginners to get started with.  

Edward Ford, founder and designer of Shapeoko…
Edward Ford has 10+ experience in manufacturing (from running machines to overseeing operations) and is the founder and designer of Shapeoko, an affordable CNC machine kit. Thousands of Shapeokos have been sold in the past few years and it has a thriving community.
Here’s the Interview:
BW: Guys, this is really exiting news to see Shapeoko and Carbide 3D joining forces. How did you guys happen to get together and talking about this idea?
RG: Ed is the first guy we approached when we had the idea for Carbide 3D. It…

Lathe Tailstock Basics Plus Tormach Tailstock

Dec 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Manual, Products, Techniques  //  No Comments

I just got the Tailstock installed on my Tormach Lathe and I’m very pleased with it.  Here are some photos:

The Tailstock clamps to the dovetail ways…
The Tailstock clamps to the Tormach Lathe’s dovetail ways and is very sturdy.  Installation is easy if you follow Tormach’s video on the subject.  Here is a shot that gives an idea of the work envelope of the lathe, which is roughly defined by the limits left and right of the chuck and tailstock plus the limits top to bottom of turret and QCTP:

Work envelope is defined by chuck, tailstock, turret, and QCTP…
This is with the slide having travelled fully “up”.  Eventually I will remount the QCTP on a 2/3’s gang plate which will allow me to move it up some.
Many lathes don’t have a tailstock, especially gang lathes of similar size and class to the Tormach.  So why spend the money on a tailstock like this one?
The short answer is that a tailstock gives this lathe tremendously more flexibility–it’s a real asset.  Haas has just put out a great video on tailstock fundamentals which we’ll show in a minute, but let me just run down the basics of…

Announcing CNCCookbook’s 2014 Holiday Sale!

Dec 4, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software  //  No Comments

20% Off Holiday Sale
The end of the year is near, it’s the Holiday Season, and we always like to do our biggest sale of the year at this time.  So, until the end of the year, you’ll get 20% off on any purchase of $100 or more. No coupons or special gimmicks are necessary.  Just checkout and you’ll see your savings reflected in the shopping cart–our gift to you for giving CNCCookbook a great 2014.  We truly do have a lot to celebrate as we’ve now helped over 35,000 machinists, designers, engineers, and people just like you with our software.
Here are some of the savings possible with this deal:
–  G-Wizard Calculator, 3 Year Subscription:  $103.20 – Save $25.80
–  GW Calculator, Lifetime:  $199.20 – Save $49.80
–  GW Editor, 3 Year:  $159.20 – Save $39.80
–  GW Editor, Lifetime:  $239.20 – Save $59.80
–  MeshCam:  $200 – Save $50.00
–  MeshCam Art:  $400 – Save $100
–  Gearotic:  $96 – Save $24
There’s lots more savings possible, and you save even more when you pick up our bundle and volume deals (see our special Deals and Steals page).  The sale ends at the end of the year.  …

3D Printing for RC Plane Modelers and Drone Builders

Dec 2, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  2 Comments

I was an avid model builder in my youth, and carried it forward into adulthood when I was much younger by building RC (Radio Controlled) Planes.  My biggest problem was that the planes took a long time to build relative to the length of time I could fly one before crashing it.  I think I eventually got to a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio, meaning I could successfully fly the plane for about 5 times more hours than it took me to build it.  Not all of that was a function of improving my piloting skills though–I learned how to build those planes much more quickly over time.  Looking at what’s possible today, I can see that times have really changed–it’s almost enough to make me think of taking it up again.  Almost.
The advent of hobby class 3D printers has put a whole new tool into the hands of RC Modelers and Drone Builders that has some serious advantages over the old days of buying a balsa wood kit at the hobby shop.  You’ve got an unprecedented ability to create one off models or to add 3D printed parts to an existing model to make it a better…

The Secret of Quick CNC Christmas Ornaments from Clip Art

Nov 30, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

A great deal of CNC involves precisely dimensioned drawings and 3D models from CAD software.  But sometimes you want to create something where precision isn’t the point.  Sometimes you want to make something more artistic and crafty.  When that happens, my problem is usually that I’m better at modifying art I find than at creating entirely new art from scratch.  There’s no harm in that, we all have our particular talents and weaknesses.  I’ll bet many of you have applications where you’d like to take some Clip Art or Line Art of any kind and quickly convert it to a CAD Drawing that you can feed to your CAM software to CNC.   In this article, we’ll take a look at how to create simple Christmas Ornaments using this technique, but you can use the technique for your own projects too.
Step 1:  Find Some Artwork
Google Image Search is always helpful when searching for an image to start from.  Even if you plan to create your artwork from scratch, it can be an excellent inspiration.  For this project, I used the search “Christmas Clip Art Creative Commons.”  Since I’m writing about it on my blog, I wanted Clip Art that…

Use Soft Jaws for a 5C Collet Chuck

Nov 30, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC, Techniques  //  4 Comments

This is a great idea I first saw Geof publish over on CNCZone a long time ago.  I got thinking about it again as I was taking my 5C closer on and off my Tormach lathe.

Softjaws with the right ID profile make a fine 5C collet closer…
I’m already set up with a nice lever activated 5C closer, but if you didn’t have such an arrangement, the soft jaws are a cheap and cheerful way to get some 5C collet work underway.…

Giveaway: 4 Books Every New Machinist Should Start With

Nov 29, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Products, Techniques  //  9 Comments

I’m a compulsive book buyer and researcher if you haven’t guessed by now.  If a book looks interested, I’ll buy it and I’ll read it too.  I’m a particular sucker for two kinds of books:
–  Tips and Techniques or Projects:  These kinds of books have bite-sized chapters or sections of chapters.  You can read them by skipping around to what looks interested or going cover to cover, whichever you prefer.  They’re the snack foods of my reading world.
–  Great Tutorials:  These are the books that crack open a whole new subject area in a way that’s approachable.  They give you the basics you need to go forth and learn more easily.  All too often there isn’t one available for some area you’re trying to get into, so when I see one, I grab it even if I don’t think I’ll be interested in the new area for some time.
These four books I recommend every new machinist should start with fit those two categories to a tee.  I’ve got one Great Tutorial and 3 Tips and Techniques books that taken together amount to a Great Tutorial on the practice of machining in general.

CNC Programming Handbook, Third Edition…

Another Shoe in the CADCAM Consolidation Game Drops: Cimatron + GibbsCAM

Nov 25, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Software  //  3 Comments

The CADCAM Consolidation Game continues as 3DSystems announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cimatron Systems for $97M.  Cimatron includes both the Cimatron CAD system and GibbsCAM.  The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.  Both company’s boards have approved the transaction, but regulatory and shareholder approval are still required to complete the deal.  The companies are saying the the transaction was done to bring both product capabilities as well as channel and marketing capabilities to 3DSystems.
Why Do Companies Get Acquired?
In this case, it sounds like Cimatron’s position in the Mold and Die world from both the product and the sales and marketing end were thought to be strategic to 3DSystems.
The are a variety of reasons companies are acquired that usually boil down to the expectation that the acquisition will result in increased growth for the acquiring company.  the acquirer could build it all from scratch, but by acquiring, they want to leverage:
–  Savings in time to build product by acquiring products that are already successful and mature.
–  Savings in time building trust and brand.  This seems to have been a particular interest for 3DSystems who are no…

Not Filtering Your Coolant? Find Out How to Do It Cheaply and Easily

Nov 23, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC, Products, Techniques  //  3 Comments

Do you have a filter inline that cleans fine particles from your coolant?  If you don’t, you really ought to for a variety of reasons:
–  Better surface finish and tool life.  Blasting old chips from the coolant sump directly into the cut will cause the chips the scratch up your work and recutting will reduce tool life.  These problems are particularly severe if you’re flushing your work with coolant contain chips from an earlier project involving a much harder material that the current workpiece.  Imagine showing your nice piece of 6061 aluminum with work hardened stainless chips and then ploughing an endmill through all that–bad for your surface finish and tough on the endmill.
–  You’ll reduce the likelihood of clogging up your coolant system.  Nozzles have orifices and valves have narrow places too that can be clogged by chips and particulates circulating in your coolant.  Worse, if we’re talking about through spindle or through tool coolant, the passages there can easily be clogged.  Most through systems will have a fine filter right from the factory, but you may want to pre-filter with a coarser system based on the techniques we’ll describe.
It’s Cheap and Easy to Filter Your…

What is a CNC Simulator? Plus: 5 Reasons to Use One

Nov 20, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, GCode, Products, Software, Techniques  //  3 Comments

I just put the first two installments in place to launch our G-Wizard University for G-Wizard Editor.  One is a quick walkthrough of GW Editor and the second is entitled, “What is a CNC Simulator?”  If you’re not really sure what a CNC Simulator is, what’s it’s for, or why you’d want to use one, this quick video is a great introduction:…




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