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What is Good Teamwork Worth?

Aug 19, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Cool, Manufacturing, Products, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

What is good teamwork worth to Shop Productivity?  We think it’s everything and we’re working on a new product called G-Wizard ShopFloor that’s totally focused on teamwork in the Shop.
There’ll be a lot more to talk about as it unfolds, but for now, I want to leave you with some brief description and a photograph:

Like our other products, we’ll be associating a graphic of some WWII gals.  We do this to honor the gals and because we’re great fans of that era of American History–The Greatest Generation as Tom Brokaw called them.
We picked out this particular photo because it shows a group that clearly functions well together well as a team.  … Read the rest

Hybrid Machining: Combining Additive and Subtractive in One Machine

Aug 18, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, Manufacturing, Products, Techniques  //  No Comments

If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that there’s been a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing.  It seems like every day brings yet another new consumer 3D printer on Kickstarter of someplace else and it’s not clear what the new kid on the block can do that the old ones won’t.  The consumer side of 3D printing is still very frothy.  However, the industrial side has started to settle.  Business, after all, is less concerned with doing what the Cool Kids are doing (well everyone but marketing is less concerned anyway) and more concerned with what pays the bills and creates profit.  … Read the rest

Value Stream Mapping: Lean Manufacturing Principles Part 4

Aug 18, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments

This is Part 4 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.  You can find the CNCCookbook home page for Lean Manufacturing here.
Value stream mapping is a lean-management method for analyzing the current state and designing a future state for the series of events that take a product or service from its beginning through to the customer. At Toyota, it is known as “material and information flow mapping”.[1] It can be applied to nearly anyvalue chain.
Like the definition says, Value Stream Mapping is used to analyze a series of events that take a product through its manufacturing cycle.  … Read the rest

Trochoidal Milling Feeds and Speeds

Aug 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  1 Comment

I had a customer ask me how to calculate Feeds and Speeds for Trochoidal Milling with G-Wizard Calculator the other day.  G-Wizard is a perfect tool for finding these Feeds and Speeds, but first, what is Trochoidal Milling?
Trochoidal Milling is a High Speed Machining (HSM) technique that moves the tool in a shape called a “Trochoid.”  The link shows the derivation of what a Trochoid is, but here’s a typical Trochoidal Toolpath:

Using Trochoidal Milling to cut a slot…
The idea is each cut is a circular arc rather than moving down the slot in a straight line.  The advantage of Trochoidal Milling is it keeps a constant load on the cutter so you can run higher feeds and speeds.  … Read the rest

We’re Giving Away All Our Software for Free

Aug 15, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  2 Comments

Woohooo, we love free stuff!
Hang on, that title is not exactly the whole story.  Okay, the title was a cheap trick, I admit it.  But we are giving away all of our software for free to one lucky winner.
We know you’re really excited about getting free stuff :).  For the next two weeks, we’re offering a giveaway that’s absolutely every piece of CNC software that we sell:
G-Wizard Calculator:  Lifetime Subscription
G-Wizard Editor:  Lifetime Subscription
MeshCam:  Easy to use 3D Cam Software
Gearotic:  Gear Design and G-Code by the Father of Mach3
That’s all good stuff, and if you add up the individual prices for each of those packages the total value of the prize comes to $918.… Read the rest

Kaizen: Continuous Improvement through Good Change. Lean Manufacturing Part 3.

Aug 14, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments

This is Part 3 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.
The Japanese word “Kaizen” is translated as “Good Change”, and that is exactly what Kaizen programs in Lean Manufacturing are all about.  The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word “improvement”.  However, it has come to refer more to the philosophy of Continuous Improvement as it is practiced in Lean Manufacturing circles.  Wikipedia captures the essence of what Kaizen is all about relative to other Continuous Improvement initiatives very succinctly:
Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement.… Read the rest

Check Out 3DHubs: A Place To Sell Your 3D Printer’s Time and Use Other 3D Printers

Aug 12, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Business, CNC Projects, Cool, Manufacturing, Products  //  No Comments

Are you bemoaning the fact that you don’t have a 3D Printer but you’d like to have one of your designs 3D printed?  3DHubs will take your STL file, help you locate a nearby 3D Printer that’s part of their community, and pretty soon you’ll be off to visit the printer and get your part made.  That’s pretty cool.  I have been thinking about prototyping some parts on the CNCCookbook Rostock 3D Printer and then sending them off to one of the services like Shapeways to get a higher quality print.  This is another approach.  If nothing else, if you live near enough different 3D printers, it would be fascinating to be able to compare print quality from a bunch of them before you take the plunge and buy a particular printer for yourself.… Read the rest

How Shops Are Investing to Be More Competitive: Survey Results

Aug 11, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  1 Comment

The results are in for our Manufacturing Competitiveness Survey, and they’re fascinating to say the least.
Here’s what we found out:
Are Shops Investing or Standing Pat?
Every single shop that participated in the survey is investing during the coming year.
What Specific Goals Are Shops Investing in Achieving?
Here’s what Shops are trying to accomplish with their investments…
The investment goals are quite interesting.  The top three are Faster and More Reliable Delivery, Superior Quality, and investing to Open New Markets.  To me, these kinds of goals reflect businesses that are confident and looking to expand.  Also, Faster Delivery and Superior Quality seem tailor-made to address the weaknesses of offshoring.  … Read the rest

5S: Organize for Productivity. Lean Manufacturing Part 2

Aug 8, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments

This is Part 2 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.
5S is all about the productivity implications of organization.  A place for everything and everything in its place really matters if done with an eye towards manufacturing productivity.
The term “5S” derives from 5 Japanese words that all start with the letter “S”, but we can also use 5 English words that mean the same thing:
Sort (Seiri)
Set in Order (Seiton)
Shine (Seiso)
Standardize (Seiketsu)
Sustain (Shitsuke)
We’ll delve more into the exact meaning of these words in the 5S methodology shortly, but for now, consider that they describe a process for organization the workplace in such a way that everything is Easy to Find, Easy to Use, and Easy to Put Away from a production perspective.  … Read the rest

Neat CNC Router-Made Standing Desk Requires No Fasteners

Aug 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Manufacturing, Products  //  8 Comments

Before there was metal, there was wood, at least in my shop.  I didn’t get into CNC at that point in my life, many years ago, but I was way into custom cabinetry.  I always admired the Japanese designs that required no fasteners–everything was held together through a cunning combination of tension and pegs.  Someday I hope to get a CNC Router table going in the shop and return, at least a little bit, to doing some projects in wood.  Meanwhile, I do enjoy seeing what others are up to with their CNC Routers.  One of the things that intrigued me most about CNC was that it isn’t just a faster way to do most things, it’s a way to do things that just simply can’t be done any other way, at least not by mere mortals like me.  … Read the rest

SOLS Systems Launches Custom 3D Printed Orthotics

Aug 6, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

I’ve said for a long time that a great use for 3D printing is personalization.  The disadvantages of additive manufacturing versus subtractive (traditional machine tool) manufacturing are minimized when we’re talking about making a one-off.  3D printers have been known as great prototyping tools for a long time, but there are classes of product where each unit is a one-off due to personalization or customization needs.  Custom 3D Printed Orthotics are one such market.  Here is the SOLS Orthotic:

SOLS Orthotics are made from 3D Printed Nylon with an anti-microbial coating in the color of your choice…
The company offers the Orthotics with full customization for the shape of your foot as well as the colors of the materials used to make them.  … Read the rest

Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles, Part 1: What is Lean Manufacturing?

Aug 4, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  2 Comments

I can already see from preliminary results of our Manufacturing Competitiveness Survey that there’s a lot of interest in Lean Manufacturing, so I thought I’d put together a multi-part series that introduces the guiding principles of Lean Manufacturing.  I am also adding a Home Page for Lean Manufacturing to our CNC Manufacturing Cookbook.
Before we can get started, we need a good definition of, “What is Lean Manufacturing?”
If you search for it, Google has choosen a definition from the EPA as the best:
Lean manufacturing is a business model and collection of tactical methods that emphasize eliminating non-value added activities (waste) while delivering quality products on time at least cost with greater efficiency.… Read the rest

Manufacturing Competitiveness Survey

Aug 1, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments

We put together a survey that helps evaluate what shops are investing in to improve their competitiveness and why.  If you are part of a CNC manufacturing operation, please tell us about your shop’s competitiveness plans.  We’ll share the results soon when we’ve gotten enough responses so everyone can see the trends.
Take the Survey Here.  It’s Fast and Easy!… Read the rest

Are 3D Printers the Ultimate Burglar Tool?

Jul 30, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog  //  6 Comments

I came across a fascinating article in that talks about using 3D printers to make keys.  Wired Magazine is talking about it too.
The trick is to use a photo of a key taken with your smartphone to produce a model suitable for a 3D printer.  From there, the rest is easy: a plastic key works fine in most locks to get you in as long as it is made reasonably accurately.  The required accuracy is well within the capabilities of even a relatively cheap 3D printer.  All that’s needed is good enough access to your house key (or other keys) for long enough to make a decent photo.… Read the rest

Results of Our DNC Survey

Jul 30, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Manufacturing, Software, Techniques  //  2 Comments

Every CNC machine user needs a way to get g-code programs onto their machines.  Our recent DNC Survey was aimed at understanding how people are going about doing this.  Here are the results:
Use DNC:  59%
Use Memory Cards, Direct Network Connection, or Other:  41%
This is not surprising.  DNC is going to be more common at larger shops, at least shops with multiple machines.  It does give some idea of the readership’s propensity along those lines though.
What do you use DNC for?
     Downloading G-Code:  88%
     Drop Feeding G-Code:  56%
     Monitoring Machines:  6%
Assuming you use DNC, which features do you take advantage of?  … Read the rest




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