I recently chatted with a G-Wizard Calculator customer who was having problems with tool life. He had been able to increase it tremendously over what it had been before they had G-Wizard, but it was still unacceptible. He suspected the problem was too much tool deflection and wanted to consult with me for suggestions on what to do.
His company was cutting wooden parts for some custom packaging work from 2 x 12 planks on a CNC Router. They’d started with 1/2″ endmills, but quickly found that the cutting forces were cracking their wooden parts, so they wanted to try a 1/4″ endmill. … Read the rest
Do you find CAM as frustrating and mystifying as I once did?
I remember when I first started messing around with CAM. It was before I got my CNC mill up and running and a little while after I had gotten reasonably proficient with CAD. I got hold of some free trials and couldn’t believe how hard it all seemed. Much worse than CAD. The CAM program was constantly asking me mysterious questions I had no idea the answers to, or it would seem as though the CAM software didn’t understand my 3D model from the CAD package quite right, or sometimes it would just do absolutely nothing and I couldn’t figure out why. … Read the rest
Periodically I pass along resources to help folks who are interested in starting or growing their businesses. I don’t do it often, because that’s not really the focus of CNCCookbook. But I do know that a great big segment of our audience is interested in this sort of thing either because they own their own business or would like to start one up. Having been a 7-time serial entrepreneur (yes, CNCCookbook is my 7th and by far the one I have enjoyed the most!), I do come across some useful things from time to time.
This time, it’s a list of the 23 Websites I have found most helpful to my own efforts. … Read the rest
It’s been a little while since I had a chance to catch one of John Grimsmo’s Knifemaking Tuesday videos, but this one caught my eye when it came through recently. It basically shows the Grimsmo brothers using their Tormach PSG 612 surface grinder on some sheet titanium that they’re preparing to be made into knife parts. What attracted me was the chance to see the PSG in action. It’s a neat little machine. Surface Grinders are extremely handy to have around, but unless you buy a much more expensive automatic surface grinder, they’re pure drudgery to use. The problem is they take off very little material with each pass, and you have to handwheel the thing to make the multiple passes needed to cover the surface being ground in X, Y, and Z. … Read the rest
This is Part 9 of our series on Lean Manufacturing Principles.
Poor communication is the bane of almost any form of teamwork. The more complex the process the team is working on together, the more difficult proper communication is, but also the more critical it becomes to successfully implementing the process.
The somewhat peculiar title for this piece, and its inclusion of Agile Software and Standing Meetings, is due to the ideas behind Visual Factory being evocative of some of the early practices I adopted managing software teams in order to improve their communication. These practices involved creating a “Standing Meeting” that involved gathering my whole team briefly every single day to make sure communication was happening. … Read the rest
Periodically, everyone upgrades their PC’s, whether for opportunity (there’s a more powerful one available!) or necessity (my hard disk crashed!). When that time comes, you face the task of reinstalling all your software.
To help make this process easier, I do a couple of things for my own PC’s. First is I keep a log that lists every piece of software I have installed. It’s just an Excel spreadsheet, and there’s not much more in it than that. But, it’s great to be able to refer to it when configuring the new machine so I don’t forget to install something. Second, I keep a folder on the machine called “CustPC” (for Custom PC). … Read the rest
This is part 3 of our Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop Series.
Time to dive into some of the beefier areas of our workshop, namely what kinds of machines will inhabit these hallowed halls?
Cutting Rough Stock to Shape
Cutting rough stock to shape is an important early step in most projects for our Ultimate Workshop. We’ve postulated an inventory of every imaginable type of material and stock shape, so now we need to cut that stuff down to size. Ideally, we want to get within 0.1″ of our final target dimension, regardless of the shape of the part. Being able to do so typically results in high productivity because cutting rough stock is usually much faster than machining the same amount of material today.… Read the rest
This is Part 8 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.
With the first 7 installments of our series, you now have a pretty good overview of what Lean Manufacturing is all about. I’ve gotten a lot of great compliments on the series, and I appreciate that. But at the same time, I know there is a contingent out there wondering whether Lean Manufacturing is even the right thing to do for a Job Shop. It’s very easy to look at Lean and conclude it’s only useful if you’re going to be making a whole lot of the same parts for a very long time. … Read the rest
CNCCookbook’s G-Wizard Editor is a full-featured g-code editor and simulator with loads of features. But I want to call particular attention to these 6 Power Features because they have the potential for the biggest savings of time and therefore money when you’re dealing with g-code:
– Hints and Information Tabs: GWE will give you tons of information about your g-code that’s hard to impossible to get any other way.
– Conversational Wizards: Create g-code for common operations with simple point and shoot wizards.
– Soft Limits: Get alarms when your toolpath exceeds the limits you set. Who couldn’t use a simple tool to help avoid many crashes?… Read the rest
This is part 2 of our Ultimate Tony Stark Inspired Workshop Series.
Computers and design are a big part of Tony Stark’s Workshop. Of course Tony has the robotic artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S. to help him get things done, or perhaps mostly to clean up the shop and serve as a comic foil to Stark’s genius. He’s got holograms and a variety of other things going on too that, like J.A.R.V.I.S, we’d be hard-pressed to come by–the tech simply isn’t available quite yet. Fear not, there is plenty of awesome tech that is available for our Ultimate Workshop.
Computers Prefer A Darker Environment
First thing is, we need to house the CADCAM Design and Computer area in a darkened room. … Read the rest
This is Part 7 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.
Kanban Came From Studying Supermarkets Stocking Food
Kanban, which means signboard or billboard in Japanese, is a visual scheduling system for lean and just in time production. While some think of it as an inventory control system, it is more of a logistical chain control system.
Like so many Lean Manufacturing ideas, it was invented at Toyota. It seems they had started studying the way supermarkets stocked their shelves with food just in time with an eye towards applying this to factory production lines. Supermarkets do this to maintain freshness–there’s no use stocking more than just what you expect to sell because otherwise the food spoils. … Read the rest
Our 2014 Labor Day Sale ends this Friday–just a couple days left to save.
We’ve reduced prices on all purchases over $99 by 15% as our way of honoring labor. Click through the order button to see your savings in the Shopping Cart.
Here are some of our most popular deals:
– Lifetime subscription to both G-Wizard Editor and G-Wizard Calculator for $373.15 – Save almost $275 vs buying them separately
– Lifetime subscription to G-Wizard Editor for $254.15–Save almost $45
– Lifetime subscription to G-Wizard Calculator for $211.65–Save $37.35
There are deals on almost everything, check the Deals and Steals page for more details. … Read the rest
Upgrading software is a fact of life. Most of the time its a good thing–bugs get fixed and features get added. At CNCCookbook, we try to keep everyone pretty up to date on the available releases for G-Wizard Calculator and G-Wizard Editor. Most of the time, if a bug is discovered that escaped our testing, I can get a new release up before most people have encountered it. If you’re proactive about keeping up to date, you’ll probably see very few of those bugs.
The downside of new releases is they’re a distraction from your work. You have to stop, go find the download page, wait for the software to download, and then install the software. … Read the rest
As part of our post, “The Art of the Setup Sheet”, we ran a survey to see how shops were approaching their Setup Sheets. Here are the results:
How Are Your Setup Sheets Delivered?
– 87% print them on paper
– 33% make them available on computer or tablet
Frankly, I was surprised and impressed to see such a high percentage online.
How Are Your Setup Sheets Created?
– 60% using office software such as MS Word or Excel
– 20% are handwritten on a standard form
– 20% are generated by CAM software
I was surprised here at the number that are still handwritten. … Read the rest
We’ve all seen photos of unbelievably spectacular garages filled with exotic cars. Some of them are more like museums or theme parks than garages. Jay Leno and Ralph Lauren both have amazing facilities of this kind. But let’s say that in addition to having the time and wealth to do nearly anything you want, you’re also the type to get grease under his fingernails. You know, the Tony Stark type:
Tony Stark in the section of his workshop intended for working on cars talking to Pepper…
Given that unlimited budget, this article series explores what sort of workshop you might create. … Read the rest