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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

Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill: Part 2 – CNC Mechanicals

Jan 12, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Router, DIY CNC  //  6 Comments
BallScrews

Here is Part 2 of our Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill design series.  Part 1 was about selecting the Donor Mill.  Part 2 will be concerned with selecting your CNC mechanical components, specifically the leadscrews, ballnuts, motor mounts, and drive system.  We will look into motors, motor sizing, drives, and the ever popular steppers versus servos discussion in Part 3.
Leadscrews (Or should I say “Ballscrews?”)
You’ll be replacing your Donor Mills leadscrews with some alternate leadscrews as one of the first projects you’ll tackle in your DIY CNC Mini Mill.  The mill’s existing ACME leadscrews, even on high quality manual machines, are just not suitable for CNC.  … Read the rest

A Nicely Engineered Double Ballnut Mount to Reduce Backlash

Jan 12, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC  //  7 Comments

This photo series and CNCZone thread link show how Ray Livingston engineered a double ballnut system to reduce backlash:

The components. The bracket that keeps the ballnuts from rotating relative to one another replaces the old clamp for the ball return circuits…

A roll pin acts as a sliding guide between the two ballnuts…

Here is what it looks like assembled.  Disc springs go in the middle to keep the two spread apart and fight backlash…… Read the rest

One Essential Ingredient for Increasing Machine Shop Profits

Jan 9, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  1 Comment
MoneyTorch

Here’s one thing for certain: if you can’t properly bid on jobs it’s going to be hard to manage your profitability.  If your quotes are too low, at the very least you’re not making as much profit as you could and at the worst you could be losing money on your bid.  If your quotes are too high, then you’re probably not going to be competitive and you’ll have to run through a lot more quotes than your competitors for each successful contract you win.  If the situation is bad enough, you may not be winning any business at all.
Recently, I came across a Modern Machine Shop article that suggested that the best shops have a 70% average quote to book ratio, while the average shop has a 51% ratio.  … Read the rest

Ultimate Benchtop CNC Mini Mill: Part 1 – The Donor Mill

Jan 8, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, DIY CNC  //  4 Comments

If you could build the ultimate benchtop CNC mini  mill for your home workshop, what would it look like?
We’ll take a look at that in this multi-part series which is aimed at helping the DIY CNC crowd get a handle on some of the up-front design considerations they should be thinking about for their CNC Mill conversion projects.  In this first part, we’ll consider criteria for choosing which donor machine to start with.
Donor Mill Considerations
First thing in a CNC Mill project is to choose the donor mill the conversion to CNC will be based on.  There are three important considerations if you could choose any donor mill to start from:
1.  … Read the rest

Details: Essential for Successful CNC Design

Jan 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment
LightenedCaliper

CNC has the potential to make any imagined design real, and perhaps successful as a product.  There is an element of art if the design is inspired enough.  Perhaps you’re thinking of designing the ultimate CNC product of some kind.  Maybe it’s purely for your personal enjoyment, or maybe you have in mind something that would be a good Kickstarter project.  One of the things that may help is a good scrapbook of ideas to help stimulate the imagination.  I like to use Pinterest to collect such visual imagery.  It’s available there in great abundance.  As I was recently looking over some of my Pinterest images trying to get ideas for a new PC Case design, I started wondering about some of the different design details CNC can help with and decided to write this post that categorizes some of the motifs.  … Read the rest

G-Wizard Sale Ends Monday

Jan 2, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  No Comments
BallToFace

What beats a soccer ball to the face?  Why our G-Wizard Software, of course!
Just a quick reminder to let you know our G-Wizard Software Sale ends Monday.  This sale offered our biggest discounts of 2013 and there’s only a few days left to take advantage if you haven’t already.
You can take 20% off featured products using the “20OFF” coupon code in the shopping cart:
– Featuring all our top products.
– Sale runs through Jan 6, 2014.
– To see the discount, click the Buy Now button, go to the shopping cart, and enter your 20OFF coupon code.
Here are some of the deals we’re offering:
–  G-Wizard Calculator 3 Year Subscription:  Regularly $129, on sale for $103.20.  … Read the rest

Should CNC Machinists Learn Manual Machining First?

Jan 1, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog  //  9 Comments
get set cnc training

Let’s kick off 2014 with a topic machinists love to chew the fat over:
Should CNC Machinists Learn Manual Machining First?
I’ll go on record as saying I learned it first and based on that experience I think it is very beneficial but not a requirement.  I say that because learning manual first limits the number of new concepts a beginner has to master.  Jumping directly into CNC, particularly if we’re talking about every aspect from CAM to chips, is a much bigger commitment.  OTOH, many feel it is a requirement every CNC machinist should fulfill.
I’ve prepared a survey so we can quantify everyone’s opinions about the matter and maybe see what the consensus is among machinists on this topic.  … Read the rest

CNCCookbook’s Most Popular Pages and Posts of 2013

Dec 30, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments
popularity-contest

2013 is just about done and I can say with certainty what the most popular pages and blog posts have been for CNCCookbook over the course of the last year.  If you didn’t catch these the first time through, be sure to check them out as they’ve gotten a lot of attention from your peers.  What follows are the pages and blog posts listed in order of popularity.
Most Popular Pages
G-Code Course:  Our g-code course has been a perennial favorite since the beginning.  Where else can you find such in-depth g-code training completely for free?
G-Wizard Calculator:  Of course a great many visitors to CNCCookbook check out the G-Wizard Feeds and Speeds Calculator.… Read the rest

G-Wizard Editor version 1.37: Improved Time Estimates

Dec 26, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software  //  No Comments
Stopwatch

A number of people use G-Wizard Editor to give them accurate information on how long their g-code programs will take to run.  Accordingly, I made a number of improvements to GWE version 1.37 to make it more accurate.  For example, there is a new simulator adjustment on the Machine Profile page that lets you apply a percentage fudge factor to the time calculations for each machine.  Typically, GWE is too optimistic due to acceleration issues–machines frequently can’t accelerate the cutter fast enough to travel at the the specified feedrate.  We’ll be looking into adding acceleration in various ways to GWE’s calculations in Q12014, but for now, the simulator percentage adjustment can help quite a bit.… Read the rest

Happy Holidays

Dec 24, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  1 Comment
HappyHolidays

Happy Holidays from your friends at CNCCookbook.  2013 has been a wonderful year for us and we thank you all for that.  2014 promises to be even more exciting with many new products and features on the way.  
We wish you and yours a Joyful Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Happiness and Peace.
See you next year!… Read the rest

Latest Neat 3D Printing Products

Dec 22, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments
Solidator2

We’ve only got one weekly CNCCookbook Blog email newsletter left for 2013, and I’ve decided two things about it.  First, it’ll be short–people are busy with their holidays.  And second, it’ll be about fun cool stuff, again, because people are busy with their holidays.
This installment is a compendium of cool 3D printing products that I’ve come across.  I did a comprehensive sweep of my information sources, and while I can’t claim to have found everything, I’ve found a bunch of very cool 3D printing products I wanted to pass along.
 
Solidator
The Solidator is a novel DLP-based high resolution 3D printer that’s being launched as a Kickstarter project.  … Read the rest

Announcing Our Biggest Sale of the Year!

Dec 17, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  6 Comments
holiday-party

2013 is almost done, so we wanted to hold one last sale for the year, and it’s a doozy.  We’re offering our biggest savings of the year: take 20% off featured products using the “20OFF” coupon code in the shopping cart.
– Featuring all our top products.
– Sale runs through end of 2013.
– To see the discount, click the Buy Now button, go to the shopping cart, and enter your 20OFF coupon code.
Here are some of the deals we’re offering:
–  G-Wizard Calculator 3 Year Subscription:  Regularly $129, on sale for $103.20.  Plus, if you have at least 3 years of subscription history, we’ll upgrade you to lifetime with purchase of 3 years.… Read the rest

Using G-Wizard Editor’s New Soft Limit Alarms to Help Spot Crashes Before They Happen

Dec 16, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, GCode, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments
HSRPEInfoTab

Nobody likes it when their CNC machine crashes, and there’s no way to absolutely 100% guarantee that you will never have a crash.  Crashes are hard on tooling, parts being machined, fixtures (seen a vise that’s been milled on top recently?) and machines.  They can really get in the way of your productivity.  Most of all, they’re hard on machinists.  Nobody really wants to crash a machine, although we deal with it when it happens.  And just because you can’t prevent them with 100% certainty, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring every tool at your disposal into play to help prevent crashes.… Read the rest

Mail Bag Monday: Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

Dec 9, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog  //  1 Comment
MailBagMonday

We get a lot of correspondence here at CNCCookbook.  I try to respond to all of it, and I usually succeed, but not always.  If I miss one of yours, or seem slow, feel free to ping me with another email.
Most of the mail is questions about our products, how to use them, whether they have certain features, are they suitable for certain circumstances, and so on.  Some is feedback about the products.  The latter doesn’t get a lot of attention, mostly because it doesn’t need a response other than, “Thank You!”  I really appreciate receiving feedback of all kinds, but the folks who take time out of their busy schedule just to tell me how much they like the software have no idea what a shot in the arm that can be for us here at CNCCookbook.  … Read the rest

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