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Apple to Build New Solar-Powered Manufacturing Facility in Arizona

Nov 4, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Manufacturing  //  1 Comment

After years of gutting US manufacturing with offshoring, it’s good to hear there’s some new manufacturing being built in America again.  Apple apparently plans to build a new facility in Arizona that they say will create 2000 new jobs.  The story is that this facility will be used to manufacture sapphire crystal to be used in Apple products.  The crystal is used for components like the camera lenses on Apple’s products.  Supposedly the plant will even be solar-powered.
Apple’s products certainly involve CNC machining, and that’s what they’re doing in their new Texas plant.  Check out this video of the Mac Pro, which has some neat shots of the lathe turning of the case that’s being done at their Texas plant:

I understand they turn the cylinder, polish it, then apply the protective coating as shown so they can mill the various openings.  … Read the rest

Turn Your 3D Printer Into a Laser Cutter / Engraver

Nov 4, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, Products  //  6 Comments

This is a neat idea:  J Tech Photonics is offering a kit to turn your 3D printer into a laser cutter / engraver.  The price is not too bad at $224.99.  In exchange you get a 1.7W 445nm laser diode in a housing suitable to attach to your 3D printer, a driver board, and power supply.
Here’s a video of the thing in operation:

One serious reservation I’d have about it after watching the video is it needs to be covered up lest it be a serious safety hazard to your vision or anyone else’s who happens by while it’s running.  … Read the rest

11 Ways to Increase Your Tool Life

Nov 4, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Techniques  //  No Comments
Improving Tool Life

I just got a note from a G-Wizard Calculator customer wanting to know how to maximize his tool life.  He’s doing long production runs and wants to keep the spindles turning as much as possible.  It was a good reminder that this is a topic on a lot of machinist’s minds so here are 11 tips to increase your tool life with lots of links to even more in-depth information in each area:
1.  Use the Right Feeds and Speeds
I have to start right here with using the right feeds and speeds.  I can’t help it–we sell a Feeds and Speeds Calculator (heck, it’s even on sale as I write this) that’s simply the best thing for feeds and speeds since sliced bread.  … Read the rest

World’s First Mac OS X CAM Software + CNC Software Suite

Nov 1, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Guest-Post, Software  //  1 Comment

I get tons of cards and letters from Mac users who love the fact that our G-Wizard software works on Mac OS X natively.  But they want more.  Yeah, sure you can run Parallels or do something similar to get Windows on the Mac and access your CNC software that way, but that’s not what they’re looking for.  Robert G. is offering the world’s first Mac CAM software for those folks.  I’ll let him tell the rest of the story:
Hi- Robert from GRZ Software here again.  Bob was kind enough to invite me to make a big announcement.  MeshCAM, the CAM software that I develop, is now up and running on the Mac.… Read the rest

It’s About Time For a Sale!

Oct 30, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software  //  No Comments

It’s been a while since our last sale, so I figure it’s time we launched another sale.  This one’s a coupon sale–just type “15OFF” in the coupon box on the shopping cart for whatever you’re ordering and we’ll knock 15% off your purchase price.
A few things are different for this sale:
-  Normally we don’t put items under $100 on sale.  But, for this sale, EVERYTHING gets the 15% discount.
-  We’re going to be raising the price of the 1 year subscription to G-Wizard Calculator from $69 to $79 at the end of the sale.  Not only do you get it for $10 cheaper right now, but you’ll also get another 15% off that.  … Read the rest

Did You Try G-Wizard A Long Time Ago? Want To Try It Again?

Oct 30, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software  //  No Comments

Did you try one of our G-Wizard packages (Calculator or Editor) some times ago?  A lot has happened to these products in a short time.  Everything from CADCAM Wizards to Conversational CNC Wizards to our new CADCAM Estimator.  We’ve been busy.  A lot of it was based on feedback from folks just like you.  Some of it has been crazy ideas we came up with all on our own.
Wondering what all has changed?  Oy vey!  It’s a long list:
-  Calculator Change Log
-  Editor Change Log
One thing is for sure–if it has been very long at all since you tried the software, you should try it again to see what’s new.… Read the rest

CADCAM Estimator Update: We Heard Your Survey Wishes!

Oct 28, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Manufacturing, Software  //  No Comments
Cost Estimate Feature Quantity

I’ve just uploaded version 1.997 of G-Wizard Calculator, which is largely a CADCAM Estimator update.  The download page is here.  If you’d like to play with G-Wizard Calculator, its CADCAM Wizards, or CADCAM Estimator, there’s a free 30-day trial available.
Thanks to all who participated in our Cost Estimation Survey, I think most of the feedback has been incorporated with this release.
Let’s go through what’s been added to this new release:
Feature Quantity and Fixed vs Variable Costs
A number of people suggested we add the ability to set a Quantity for each feature being added to the Estimate.  For example, a single part may have a number of holes, all with the same dimensions.  … Read the rest

The US Army Rapid Equipping Force’s new Expeditionary Lab

Oct 25, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  3 Comments

It could well be the world’s most capable air mobile CNC facility.  It’s the US Army’s new Expeditionary Lab:

Outside the Expeditionary Lab, it’s containerized with easy hook ups and integrated satellite communications…

Inside is a fully equipped CNC workshop including this Haas OM-2 office mill with all the goodies, including a 5-Axis trunnion…
The idea behind this project is to improve logistics and innovation right on the front lines where the soldiers who know what they need and have the most experience are located.  The Expeditionary Labs are fully equipped:
-  Haas OM-2A Office Mill with 5-Axis Trunnion Table
-  Solidworks CAD workstation
-  3D Printer
-  Welding and Plasma Cutting Gear
-  Full video-conferencing
Each lab costs about $2.8M and is equipped with its own electrical generators and heating/cooling system.  … Read the rest

Getting Up To Date With G-Wizard Calculator Releases

Oct 24, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, FeedsSpeeds, Software  //  No Comments

We’ve had a rapid-fire string of GW Calculator releases lately and I wanted to bring you up to date on everything added through this morning’s release–version 1.997.  Here is the scoop:
Release 1.996 is minor feature release:
- Added new material “Graphite” for the EDM crowd.  Folks involved with EDM have requested this for quite some time so I finally got it done.  Thanks for your patience.
- Added spot drilling option to CADCAM Hole Wizard.  Just tick the checkbox and a spotting pass will be added.
- Added chamfer with spot drill option to CADCAM Hole Wizard.  Just tick the checkbox and hole chamfering with the spot drill will be added.  … Read the rest

30 Features to Try in G-Wizard Editor

Oct 23, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software  //  No Comments

We can’t serve up 31 Flavors of ice cream, but we can easily give you a list of 30 features to make sure you try in our G-Code Editor.  If you don’t already have it, sign up for the free 30-day trial to test out any of these on your own g-code.
Okay, here goes, in no particular order, a brief description of 31 features you should try in G-Wizard G-Code Editor:
1. File Compare:  When there’s too many versions of the same g-code program running around.
Ever wonder what was changed between two versions of the same g-code program?  Now it’s easy to tell.  … Read the rest

Checking and Measuring Toolholder Runout on a CNC Milling Machine

Oct 23, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Techniques  //  9 Comments

It’s important to make sure your toolholder runout is within spec if you expect to get proper performance from your CNC milling machine.  Runout is the tendency to spin the tool around a centerpoint that is not the tool’s center.  It makes the tool wobble instead of spinning cleanly and increases chiploads.  It’s a particular source of tool breakage for smaller cutters because runout is additive to chipload.  In other words, if you have a toolholder with 0.003″ of runout (that’s terrible, by the way!), and you’re endmill is only rated for 0.004″ of chipload, then you can only program a cut with 0.001″ of chipload (0.004 – 0.003) or you’ll exceed the cutter’s chipload limits.… Read the rest

Scary Robot Videos for Halloween

Oct 22, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

I was trying to think of a couple of good Halloween posts for CNC Cookbook and decided to do one fun one (3D Printing Jack O Lanters) and one a little more scary.  People have typically painted robots as scary machines bent on killing human kind.  So far, nobody has built such things yet, but the defense industry is certainly interested in the possibilities.  Here are a few video takes of what the early technology looks like.

The Boston Dynamics Wildcat has a natural gait.   How’d you like to have one of these locked onto your infrared signature and chasing you across the battlefield?… Read the rest

3D Print Some Jack O’ Lanterns for Halloween

Oct 22, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

Making ornaments and decorations is a tailor-made task for 3D printers.  Here’s a couple from a post over on 3D’

Neat little USB-powered Jack O’ Lantern…

3D printed Jack O’ Lantern lights…

How would you ever make something like this without 3D printing?… Read the rest

CNC Machine Hourly Rate Calculator

Oct 21, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Manufacturing, Software  //  6 Comments
CNC Machine Hourly Rate Calculator

Our CADCAM Estimator (an add-on module for G-Wizard Calculator) has a Machine Hourly Rate Calculator.   A lot of shops use the notion of hourly rate on machines to help with job cost estimation and quotation, but there’s not a lot of information available about how to calculate a good hourly rate to use.  Here’s what the CNC Machine Hourly Rate Calculator looks like:

CNC Machine Hourly Rate Calculator…
The basic strategy is to determine the machine’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over its useful life and then divide that by how many hours it will be used.
Let’s go over each piece of data that must be entered:
-   Purchase Price:    This is the price to purchase the machine and its basic tooling.  … Read the rest

V12 Espresso Machine: La Dolce Vita!

Oct 17, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

If you can imagine it, you can build it with CNC.  That’s what I love about CNC.
Here is a ridiculously cool Espresso machine, made up to look just like a V12 engine.  The ultimate garage accessory?

Crema on that espresso shot looks good…

Love how the put the heat colors on the exhausts!

The cups are made to look like little pistons and con rods when flipped upside down…

Manufacturer’s Plaque…

Wouldn’t be right without a red valve cover version!
 … Read the rest




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