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Announcing the 2014 CNCCookbook Labor Day Sale!

Aug 27, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments

I couldn’t wait–too many were folks asking me questions about purchases and I wanted you all to get in on this sale.  So even though Labor Day isn’t until Monday, I’m kicking of the sale today and it’ll run for a little over 2 weeks–sale ends Friday, September 12.
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.  If you don’t see what you want, drop me a note.  I can also custom quote if you want to upgrade your current subscriptions to lifetime without paying the full lifetime price.
If you can, it would help us greatly if you’ll please tell your friends, like us, Tweet us, post about us on your favorite forums, or do whatever…

The CNCCookbook Software Giveaway is Ending Soon!

Aug 27, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  3 Comments

We’re giving away a big bundle of every piece of CNC software that we sell to some lucky winner:
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
The individual prices for each of those packages have a total value of $918–this is some giveaway!
Now you could spend that much to order all those products (honestly, we don’t mind), or you could enter the contest and maybe you’ll be the one to win all that software for free (we like that too or we wouldn’t do this!).
Enough talking already! Enter and start sharing to rack up as many chances to win our giant CNC software bundle as possible – the deadline is 5pm PST on August 29 this Friday:
Let’s Do This:  Click Here to Sign Up!
PS  Of course there’s a method to our madness.  We’ve recently crossed the threshold of having 30,000 machinists, engineers, and product designers use our CNC software.  That’s a huge milestone from where we started.  Folks love our software, but our biggest challenge as a small company is to get the word out.  That’s what this…

A Toolbox in New York’s Museum of Modern Art?

Aug 25, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  No Comments

Sure why not?  Many mechanical and functional things are beautiful.  This one certainly looks pretty snazzy to me:

It’s called a “Trusco” and you can find them on MoMA’s web store among other places.  The more generic term for them is “Cantilevered Tool Box,” and you’ll find a ton of copies all over the web searching via that name.  It was finding it on MoMA that got my attention, so I wanted to learn a bit more about its history.
The real Trusco’s were invented and are made in Japan from stamped steel.  The finish is enamel.  They’re popular and well known all over Japan, but not so much elsewhere, although I’ve seen them around a few times.  They were designed in 1947 by Keiyu Hisashi.
Apparently a number of folks were as surprised as I was to see a toolbox show up at MoMA because searching for the Trusco reveals a huge number of very recent new articles all at various chic designer outlets.
I like big rolling tool cabinets better in the shop, but I could see one of these carrying a few basic tools in the trunk of my car or truck.…

6 Essential Information Resources for CNC Beginners

Aug 25, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, DIY CNC, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  1 Comment

I get a lot of notes from beginners with very basic questions, and many of the questions boil down to needing to understand the jargon of CNC or needing to understanding how the pieces fit together.  The vast majority of others need to get to the next level of detail and it’s not far out of reach. Let’s face it, CNC requires some understanding of a broad range of topics before you can be productive and there aren’t any good roadmaps all in one place out there to take you through those basics quickly.  Since we have so much information that we give away for free here on CNCCookbook (something like 3000 articles last time I checked, and I add 3-6 more every week), I wanted to put together a good resource list for beginners to lean on in coming up to speed.  You don’t need to read all of this information, but knowing where it is and skimming it enough to know which place to look the next time you have a question will be very helpful to you.  There are a few things that are probably must-reads that I will call out as well.
So let’s get started:…

Standard Work and Takt Time: Lean Manufacturing Principles Part 5

Aug 24, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  1 Comment

This is Part 5 of our Introduction to Lean Manufacturing Principles Series.
Standard Work, Standardized Work, and Standardized Work Instructions all refer to Lean Manufacturing’s approach to documenting and following Best Practices for a particular manufacturing process which are subject to continuous improvement as new ways to eliminate waste are discovered.
To “Standardize” in this context means to document well enough that we can be sure everyone can follow what we’ve decided at any given point in time is the Best Practice for the process.  The documentation also includes data that can be analyzed in support of Kaizen (continuous improvement) and to settle disputes over improvements.  Once you have data, you can try to the alternative and see whether the important metrics such as time or quality are improved.
The goal is not the standard, its the process and its ability to support ongoing efforts at improvement (Kaizen).  The standard is to be created by the people doing the work and not done top-down by management saying, “This is how the work must be done.”  We’re not looking for inflexible autocratic procedures, we’re simply looking to document the Best Practice as it is understood at a particular point in time,…

What is Good Teamwork Worth?

Aug 19, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Cool, Manufacturing, Products, Software, Techniques  //  3 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.  They look confident, good at what they do, happy, and enthusiastic about it–exactly what GW ShopFloor is all about.
Sorry to be a tease, but GW ShopFloor is a BIG vision that will be unveiled a little bit at a time.  It’s focused on teamwork and on helping solve a lot of problems that every Shop needs to solve.  It encourages Lean Manufacturing Principles, but you don’t need to be a guru or have black belts in anything to use it.  It’s based on solving the…

Hybrid Machining: Combining Additive and Subtractive in One Machine

Aug 18, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, Manufacturing, Products, Techniques  //  1 Comment

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.  Companies like GE are successfully launching large scale manufacturing of components that are best made via 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing as the Business/Industrial world prefers to call it.
In fact, Gartner has elected to put Business use of Additive Manufacturing in a favorable spot on its famous “Hype Cycle:”
Gartner 2014 Hype Cycle…
Let’s briefly digress to talk about what the Gartner Hype Cycle is.  Gartner is one of the more prestigious groups of industry analysts.  They make their living selling research reports which help companies to understand the underlying trends in…

Value Stream Mapping: Lean Manufacturing Principles Part 4

Aug 18, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Business, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  1 Comment

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.  At least that’s how Lean Manufacturing uses it, though it is important to keep in mind that there are many other uses in other areas.  Using the Value Stream Mapping methodology to improve your systems works like this:
1.  Identify what target  you want to analyze.  Perhaps it is the entire manufacturing process for a product.  Perhaps it is some Kaizen-derived target that will the the subject of a Kaizen Blitz.
2.  While on the Shop Floor, sketch out the current value stream map which shows how things are being done today.  This map needs to show all the…

Trochoidal Milling Feeds and Speeds

Aug 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software, Techniques  //  3 Comments

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.  Some Trochoidal paths create a more “D” shaped toolpath and don’t do a complete circle each time.
Now how do we use G-Wizard Calculator to figure out the Feeds and Speeds for such a path?
Actually, it’s pretty simple.  Here is one all set up:

Feeds and Speeds for a Trochoidal Milling operation to cut a slot…
First, you set up the material and tool.  We’re cutting some mild steel with a 1/2″ 4 flute carbide endmill.
Next, you…

We’re Giving Away All Our Software for Free

Aug 15, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  5 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.
Now you could spend that much to order all those products (honestly, we don’t mind), or you could enter the contest and maybe you’ll be the one to win all that software for free (we like that too or we wouldn’t do this!).
Enough talking already! Enter and start sharing to rack up as many chances to win our giant CNC software bundle as possible – the deadline is 5pm PST on August 29:
Let’s Do This: Click…

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. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (“muri“), and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity: “The idea is to nurture the company’s human resources as much as it is to praise and encourage participation in kaizen activities.”
Kaizen is daily, so truly continuous.  We don’t have to stop everything and…

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.
If you do own a 3D Printer, does it sit idle most of the time or even much of the time?  Mine does.  I mostly fire it up on the weekends when I have time away from writing software and articles for CNCCookbook.  I tell myself it’s okay to do these kinds of projects during the week because it’s all for the greater CNCCookbook good, but…

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.  It only makes sense that shops that are still around and still investing are well aware of what they have to do to compete with lower cost labor markets.
How Do Existing Versus New Investments Compare?

Existing versus New Investments going forward…
Comparing existing versus new investments gives us some unique insights.  First, the data are sorted in order of the popularity of existing investments.  So, CAD software is the most common investment among our audience while Additive Manufacturing is the least common.  The red bars stacked on…

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.  That all sounds like a good idea, right?
The decision making process used to arrive at the 5S organization for the shop involves a dialog with the staff that leads to a greater shared understanding of how they do their work, which is also a useful by-product.
Let’s start by going over each of the 5 terms or phases to see how they’re implemented.
Sort (Seiri)
Sorting is a critical…

Neat CNC Router-Made Standing Desk Requires No Fasteners

Aug 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Manufacturing, Products  //  10 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.  CNC Router joinery is one such application that I’ve written about in the past.
This article is about a neat little standing desk that requires no fasteners.  It is held together by tension, much like the Japanese designs I mention:

These neat little desks are 100% made in America of maple plywood using a process the makers call “Digital Manufacturing:”




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