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Launching Our 2013 Labor Day Sale Today

Aug 28, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  No Comments

Just wanted to let you know: we’re launching our Labor Day Sale today, and it runs through Sunday, September 8.  We reduced prices on most of our products by 15% as our way of honoring labor.  Click through the order button to see your savings in the Shopping Cart.
Taking advantage of our sale is a great way to get early access to our new CADCAM Wizard.  If you haven’t heard about it already, it’s the next big thing in Feeds and Speeds and a radical simplification of the whole Feeds and Speeds process.  … Read the rest

Introducing Next Generation Feeds and Speeds with CADCAM Wizard

Aug 27, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, FeedsSpeeds, Products, Software  //  6 Comments

I’ve been teasing a bit about the “Next Big Thing” for G-Wizard Calculator, and it’s time to take the covers off so you can see what we’ve been working on.  We call it CADCAM Wizard, and it’s purpose is to radically simplify calculation of feeds and speeds while at the same time giving much more optimal answers.
CNC Software today excels at offering choices; so many choices that sometimes it’s hard to actually decide which ones to take so you can get on with manufacturing your part.  CADCAM  Wizard is a clean sheet of paper redesign of the Feeds and Speeds problem that changes all that.  … Read the rest

The Odd Goings-On Of Burning Man Through a CNC Lens

Aug 27, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  4 Comments
Burning Man 2011

A photo essay of CNC’d things for Burning Man.  Each one clicks through to the source.

Gift Necklaces…

Star of the City is a towering monument honoring NYC’s burner community at Burning Man’s 2013 Circle of Regional Effigies (C.O.R.E.).  In other words, they’re going to light it on fire at Burning Man.

With a Shopbot and “Digital Fabrication Technologies”, this could be yours…

This walking pod is fabricated from welded steel and is capable of actual walking motion…

Serpent car fabricated with the aid of a high definition CNC Plasma Table…

Serpent car pulls a train of lit plastic tanks…

Stars by day…

Stars lit at night.  … Read the rest

Gearhead CNC Art: Skull Piston Shifter

Aug 25, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

If I were a Gearhead CNC’er, what would I make?  Maybe one of these shifters made from a piston.  Hard to say this one was CNC’d, but it sure is cool!… Read the rest

Best Roughing Strategies by Material

Aug 25, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Manufacturing, Products, Software, Techniques  //  5 Comments
pocket roughing strategies

Advancements in Astronomy have largely followed steady increases in telescope power, culminating in telescopes in space like the Hubble.  Similarly, advancements in physics have tended to follow the race to build bigger and bigger particle accelerators.
It helps to have more powerful instruments, regardless of what science you are probing.  And the same applies to feeds and speeds when machining.  As G-Wizard Calculator has become steadily more powerful at manipulating the effects of more and more variables, it has become possible to see behaviors involving complex interactions that were not entirely visible before.  … Read the rest

Tool Centerline Tolerances for Turning

Aug 20, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Manual, Techniques  //  5 Comments
turning tool height gage

Every machinist knows things work a whole lot better when turning if you can get your tool tip right on the centerline.  During my recent trip to Tormach to test their new CNC lathe, I saw this first hand.  I “eyeballed” a tool tip to center and made an OD turning pass.  The cut was fine, but the finish seemed poor.  So, we set the tool on centerline using the ruler trick:
Put a ruler between the tool tip and the workpiece and crank it down so the ruler is held between the two.  … Read the rest

2 Weird Tricks to Tram a Milling Vise

Aug 20, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Techniques  //  2 Comments
vise jaw tramming

So you’re tired of sweeping an indicator across your vise jaws to bring it into tram?  Here’s 2 fast ways to tram a milling vise:
#1 Fastest and Most Accurate
Put a pair of aluminum softjaws on the vise, stick an appropriate endmill in the spindle, and mill a step in the jaws.  Do so with something being gripped in the vise below the step level.
That step is now perfectly in tram because you cut it on the machine.  Put a part on the step and it’ll be in tram and ready for you to go to work on it.… Read the rest

Tormach’s New CNC Lathe: Trip Report

Aug 19, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  11 Comments

I’m just back from visiting Tormach to play with their new CNC lathe.  I’m involved in their pre-release Beta Test program and am purchasing one of these lathes for my own shop.
What’s it like to visit Tormach?
The best word I have for it is “Exhilarating.”  Everyone I met there is very bright, experienced, and hugely enthusiastic about Tormach and the mission they are on.  Greg Jackson, CEO, described it to me as bringing CNC to folks who couldn’t have afforded it before.  They are pushing the lower edge of that price envelope as hard as they can without compromising quality.  … Read the rest

Headed to Tormach For a Few Days

Aug 15, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Products  //  2 Comments
Gang plate + QCTP combo.

Things will be quiet here for a few days as I travel to Tormach to see their new slant bed CNC lathe.  I have signed up for the Beta program, and this will be a hands on training session at the factory.  Of course I will take tons of photos and report back what I learn.  Should be fun.
Meanwhile, here are a few tempting photos:
The modular tooling “pallets” are a neat idea, and allow the machine to be configured in a variety of ways.  I’m signed up for the Gang Tooling + QCTP combo, and I’ll get the extra gang pallet so I can go full gang tooling or use it with QCTP and tailstock.… Read the rest

New Features in G-Wizard Editor Version 1.25

Aug 13, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software  //  No Comments

While most of the software development focus is currently on a major G-Wizard Calculator revision, I did get a new version of G-Wizard Editor together that has some nice additions.
Release 1.25 is a minor release that adds:
- Panning is now scaled to the zoom level of the backplot so it is much smoother and feels more “right”.
- Rewrote the axis trident position code so it stays in the lower left corner of the backplot and doesn’t bounce around so much.
- Added M998 Goto Tool Change Position to the Mach3 Mill post.… Read the rest

Coming Soon: Major Feeds and Speeds Innovation

Aug 12, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software  //  3 Comments
Mad scientist at work...

Our G-Wizard Calculator is the market leading Feeds and Speeds calculator and also the most innovative.  But, I recently came up with an idea that I think will totally turn things on their head–a major new innovation.  It will make Feeds and Speeds radically easier for the Beginner, and radically more efficient for the Pro.  What I mean by that is Beginners will have to know a lot less as well as provide a lot less information to get back good feeds and speeds.  At the same time, Pros will be more efficient not only because they too provide less information, but also because this new approach will deliver higher Material Removal Rates due to a fresh look at how to optimize feeds and speeds.  … Read the rest

28 Feeds and Speeds Features to Try in G-Wizard Calculator

Aug 9, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software  //  No Comments
material database

Nobody ever uses all the features in a piece of software, not even the power users.  People use what they need, what they’re used to, and what they understand.  As soon as the tool solves the problems readily at hand, most people stop looking for more functions.  They assume the next time they have a problem is the best time to look.  That’s not a bad strategy, but sometimes you can solve problems you never even knew you had if you’re familiar with everything a product can do.  With that in mind, I wanted to publish a little “Mini-Guide” to 28 intermediate and advanced Feeds and Speeds feature our G-Wizard Calculator has.  … Read the rest

Get Kids Into Manufacturing With Guitar Building Camp

Aug 8, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Manufacturing  //  2 Comments

I love this idea.  As a musician (keyboard player) all all-around music lover, I understand the power of music.  There’s not much that’s more powerful when it comes to influencing positive change because it reaches out and grabs you at an intuitive level.
In Indiana, the Wells County Economic Development started a summer camp program where twelve lucky junior-high aged students designed and built their own electric guitars in the Southern Wells High School guitar building workshop.  In the process they learned how to do some CNC machining, project management, and quality control.  … Read the rest

In the Trend to Devalue Workers, Recognize Your Inestimable Value and Get To Work

Aug 8, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  No Comments

I have a blog for entrepreneurs and business owners called Smoothspan Blog.  It’s popular among folks like Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs.  I just put forward an article that’s relevant to any audience about the trend to devalue workers.  In it, I offer some advice about how to make lemonade from the lemons life hands you.
If you fancy owning your own business, give it a read and take that leap of faith.… Read the rest

Molding Robot Parts from 2-Part Polyurethane Plastic

Aug 5, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC, Techniques  //  No Comments

It’s always fun to see what Kenneth Maxon is up to lately on his robot projects.  He has a well equipped CNC workshop and does intricate work that is beautifully detailed.   Here’s a photo essay of his latest project he sent along so everyone could see:

Here’s a view of the mold which is in 4 parts.  It’s capable of making parts in 2 different configurations…

Mold parts clamped together and ready for the 2-part polyurethane treatment…

The 2-part plastic is not poured, it is injected.   Kenneth says:
I’m often  asked how one gets the material to ‘pour’ with such a high surface area to  cross section aspect ratio. … Read the rest




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