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New G-Wizard Editor Release and GWE Webinar Recording Available for Download

Feb 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software  //  3 Comments
guitarcat

I just uploaded G-Wizard Editor v1.46.  It contains several handy improvements:
– Changed so all tools are automatically made visible at startup. Had people turn off tool visibility, quit, come back later, and wonder why the tools weren’t visible in the backplot.
– Add a “My Post Isn’t Here!” button to Setup.
– Fixed problem that prevented setting color of tool in backplot.
– Fixed some problems saving spindle power curve parameters on the machine profile.
– Added the ability to put a hole at a specific XY in the Conversational Hole Wizard. This saves some steps over using the Grid layout to do it.… Read the rest

Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill Part 4: Motion Performance

Feb 6, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC  //  9 Comments
BridgeportMotionPerformance

This is the fourth installment of our Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill series.  The series is dedicated to helping DIY CNC’ers work through the design considerations and tradeoffs for their CNC Mill projects.  Here are the installments so far:
Part 1:  Donor Mill
Part 2:  CNC Mechanicals (Ballscrews and Such)
Part 3:  Close Loop vs Open Loops (Servos vs Steppers)
The next thing I want to get into is Motor Sizing, but before we can do that properly, we need to understand what Motion Performance will be required from our machine.
To put it simply, Motion Performance is how fast our feedrates need to be.  … Read the rest

CNC Project Ideas: Reskin Something

Feb 5, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  3 Comments
Tennuis

I hear you’re a machinist, you’ve got access to CNC machines, and you’re dying to do a cool project that your friends will love.  Youo just need the right idea.  How about this:
–  Take an existing product.
–  Discard, some all, or none of it.
–  Create a new skin for it that radically changes the product to something MUCH better.
That’s a Reskinning Project.  There’ll all over the web if you look carefully.  Here’s some ideas to get you fired up to Reskin something:
PC and HiFi Case Mods
Reskinning PC’s and HiFi’s has been going on a long time and there are some very cool results out there.  … Read the rest

3D Printing for Patternmaking and Foundry Work

Feb 3, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

Sand such as is used for casting is a good medium for 3D printing.  The green sand already used for casting is a combination of ingredients that help it to hold the shape of the pattern placed in the sand.  The pattern is a reproduction of the part to be cast so that the sand forms a negative image of it.
In 3D printing the mold is built up layer by layer in typical 3D printing style.  Binder chemicals are used to lock down the sand in the proper shape.  Casting hollow parts requires cores, which can also be 3D printed at the same time.  … Read the rest

Two Webinars This Week: GW Calculator and GW Editor

Feb 3, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Software  //  2 Comments
OLD RADAR

We had some technical difficulties last week–apologies to all who tried to attend but couldn’t.  The software had some problems that didn’t show up during practice (natch!).  I have now switched to using GoToMeeting for webinars, which is what several of you recommended.  All that said, we did manage to hold our first webinar for at least a few attendees and I promised those who didn’t get in a repeat performance with better software this week.  I had also intended to do one for G-Wizard Editor, so that means we’ve got two webinars lined up:
Introduction to G-Wizard CNC Calculator
When: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
Topic: Get a guided tour of G-Wizard CNC Calculator and learn how easy it is to get high quality feeds and speeds.… Read the rest

And Now for Something Completely New: CNCCookbook Webinars

Jan 29, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  1 Comment
1950s-3d-movies

One of our biggest missions at CNCCookbook is to make things simpler.  Part of that is getting information out in whatever format people want to consume.  Not everyone consumes information in the same way.  If you haven’t guessed from all the many articles running around on CNCCookbook, I am partial to reading.  But, I also understand the value of images and of video.  It seems like I never get enough videos made to cover all the topics people would like or sometimes even to stay current with all the new features in our G-Wizard software.  More recently, I have had an increasing number of folks as for live telephone support.  … Read the rest

Why I Love CNCCookbook: A Chance to Make a Difference

Jan 29, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Cool, Manufacturing, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments
1a35329u_3

One of our users posted a note in our User Club today that made me feel good.  Here’s what he had to say:
I just got my yearly review at work, 4.28 % raise! Hey Bob, 6 months ago I knew nothing about milling. I couldn`t even spell VFM. I spent 14 hours training on what buttons to push before our mill operator went on vacation. I searched the internet for info. on milling and came across your web site. Every night after work, I read the vast amount of information you have posted on milling. I purchased both GWE and GWC.… Read the rest

Tormach Lathe Tooling and News on a Shipping Date

Jan 28, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  18 Comments
ERHolder3

I wanted to give another update on my Tormach CNC Lathe this week.  I’ve been one of the Beta Testers.  Good news is that Tormach has announced the Beta Test is winding down and they’re hoping to make first sales in Q1 2014–right around the corner, in other words.  I know from my perspective the Beta Testing has gone extremely well with only minor teething troubles, all of which were corrected.  In addition, the Beta Team gave Tormach a number of constructive suggestions for how to improve the already very nice machines and most all of these were accepted.
I want to talk just briefly about the Tooling for the lathe.  … Read the rest

Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill: Part 3 – Closed Loop vs Open Loop

Jan 27, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC  //  5 Comments
OpticalShaftEncoder

Here is Part 3 of our Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill design series.  Part 1 was about selecting the Donor Mill.  Part 2 was  concerned with selecting your CNC mechanical components, specifically the leadscrews, ballnuts, motor mounts, and drive system.  We will look into the ever popular Closed Loop vs Open Loop (steppers versus servos) discussion in Part 3.
Introduction:  Lots of Choices
The first thing to note about this segment of our DIY CNC Mill Design Series is that there are a LOT of choices around how to drive the ballscrews for your machine’s axes.  In the interest of brevity, we’re not going to dive into every single nook and cranny of this complex world.  … Read the rest

Von Dutch’s Toolbox

Jan 24, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments
dutchstools

I saw this one over on Garage Journal, which is a very cool web site if you like garage and home shop organizational articles.  Here is Von Dutch’s tool box:

I love it just for the hand lettering (if you didn’t know, Von Dutch was an amazing pin striper of hot rods, among many other things) and the great yellow color.  I love rolling tool boxes and seem to buy another one each year.  You can never have enough drawers and if you wait for the sales, they are way cheaper than the commercial style Lista-type cabinets.  I buy the nicer ones with the ball bearing slides.  … Read the rest

What’s Dell Going to Do With 5000 3D Printers?

Jan 23, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments
ZortraxM200

Just read an interesting story on 3Ders.org:  Dell has just ordered 5000 3D printers from Polish-maker Zortrax.
Zortrax went through a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of the printer, and they’ve now launched their product and are apparently geared up for very large orders such as this one from Dell.
It’s a slick looking machine with capable specs at a very decent price ($1895):

Zortrax M200 Plug and Play 3D Printer
Specifications
Build volume: 205x205x190mm
Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
Layer resolution settings: 100, 150, 200, 300 microns
Filament: 1.75mm ABS, PC-ABS and Nylon
SD card holder
Three different printing speed modes
Weight: 16kg
The sample 3D prints from their web site look very high resolution:

All this just begs the question:  What’s a company like Dell going to do with 5000 of these cool 3D printers?… Read the rest

Results from the 2014 CNCCookbook CAM Software Market Share Survey

Jan 20, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software  //  8 Comments
CAM2014HighEnd

We just completed our 3rd CAM Software Market Share Survey.  We did the first one in 2010 and our second one in 2012.  Each one garnered several hundred responses in a very short time, and so should be a statistically significant sample of respondents.  I’ll be grouping the results into three categories based on their pricing just as I have in the past:
–  High-End:  These are packages priced at the High-End and that typically are sold by dealers.
–  Tiered:  These are packages that can be had in a range of configurations from fairly inexpensive up to packages that compete with the High-End.… Read the rest

A 3D Printer for Mad Max, Martian Astronauts, and Burning Men

Jan 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool, DIY CNC  //  3 Comments

This was just too cool to pass up.  Suppose you are in a post apocalyptic dessert world or perhaps an astronaut on Mars.  You’d like to do some 3D printing, but there’s no source of filament.  Just dessert and sunlight as far as the eye can see.  Well, if you had this 3D printer, you could use solar power to fuse dessert sand into glass:

Totally impractical?  Yes.
Totally cool?  YES!
The technology is similar to laser sintering, but with sand and sun power focused by a big Fresnel lens.
(Thanks to Trevor for bringing this video to my attention)… Read the rest

Take the 2014 CNCCookbook CAM Survey

Jan 16, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products, Software  //  8 Comments

Another year is upon so it is once again time to do a big survey.  I like to alternate CAD and CAM surveys year by year.  We did a CAD survey last year and a CAM survey at the end of 2012.  These surveys are very popular because we always get several hundred respondents and I know of no other place to get a good cross-section of machinists participating in a survey so we can all see the relative popularity of these packages.  In addition, by comparing the results year over year, we get a chance to at least glimpse the gain or loss of market share by these different players.… Read the rest

Extreme CNC: Diamond Wire Cutting Granite Into Exotic Shapes

Jan 16, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment
GraniteBench

Here’s something you don’t see every day–granite being cut by a giant CNC diamond wire cutter into these exotic shapes for art and architectural use.  Here are some samples of this kind of work:

Pretty amazing work from stone!
And here is the Breton CNC Machine that makes it possible:
As you can see, the machine somewhat resembles a giant bandsaw.  There are two axes of movement enabling it to take slices out of the stone with a diamond coated wire.  For the more ordinary task of slicing a big block of quarried stone into slabs suitable for counter tops and the like, they make multi-wire machines that slice straight down and create many slabs at once.… Read the rest

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