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About 4DThinker

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    Manhattan KS
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  1. Putting the CNC to work!

    Looks like prefinished plywood. I personally really appreciate that some company came up with that stuff. I bought a sheet to use for some jigs I designed, and it was less expensive than a sheet of the same quality ply unfinished. Perhaps the local market has yet to find out about it. First sheet came damaged, and so they re-ordered it and had it packed between two other sheets. The yard manager gave me all three sheets for the price of one. 4D
  2. Proximity and Oversight

    In our new shop space we have a dedicated room for our 3 small CNCs. Mostly to keep the noise they make separated from the rest of the shop area. A shop-wide dust collector system is part of the new shop space and hookups for the 3 CNCs are available in this room. All three of these CNCs use t-track and clamps to hold the work in place, and I've found that the clamps and fans on the routers used make any attempt at dust collection less than ideal. The CNCs don't have any obvious way to mount the collector shroud so it can remain in place no matter what the Z-axis does. No obvious way to adjust the brush height when different length bits are used either. My mind wanders to unconventional strategies to collect the dust and chips produced. For the moment we will rely on broom and dust pan along with a shop vac after each job ends. I've pondered vertical panels to keep the dust from falling/blowing off the sides of the CNCs, and a constant ducted air flow to blow everything toward the back of the bed where a wide trough would be hooked to the shop dust collector. This idea crumbles when I see chips and dust wafting up into the air where no strategy will find them. I imagine a positive static charge somehow applied to the dust as it is made, so a negatively charged dust collector will attract it all. My personal shop vac hose does a good job at attracting dust on the outside of the hose pipe when used. This effect seems as though it could be put to use for productive collection. Beyond my technical experience though. Then I imagine plasma obliteration of all dust/chips when it is produced. The dust collector would manage the smoke/ash produced. I don't have good faith in this idea. I'll be re-doing the bed on our Probotix Meteor soon, and I am considering dust collection from below. Build it like a sloppy vacuum bed, so any dust produced would be sucked down through holes in the bed itself. The whole bed area would have a grid of holes for dust to fall through. Even the perimeter outside the cutting area could be open to the dust collection below. Not a simple install, but it may be my best idea. 4D
  3. Putting the CNC to work!

    I agree that if you have the right drill bit then drilling them will be faster. Same is true for many operations that could be done using a CNC.
  4. Putting the CNC to work!

    Those holes are also something you could have done on your CNC. We often use our small CNCs to pocket cut holes in student projects when we don't the right diameter bit to do the job. Mostly large holes where the right bit would be very expensive and only needed for this one job. 4D
  5. It's an HD1 then. A free donation from Nextwave Automation after I met the owner and his wife at a trade show (in Rockler's booth) and showed them what I was doing for my students with my original Shark Pro. There are far more options/choices out there now than 5 years ago. More this year than last. Many companies started in a garage using parts ordered from various sources online and are now in warehouse facilities shipping kits or assembled CNCs all over the world. Controller options. Stepper options. Software options. Web apps have appeared to run CNCs from. I can see the vast difference between what our industrial Multicam CNC can do and these small hobby CNCs can do. I can also see how the simple nature of an extrusion framed CNC inspires custom configuring to do things you just can't do with that industrial behemoth. 4D
  6. We have a Shark HD1 (maybe its an HD2) in the college shop and there is so much play in the router mount that I've demoted it to only cutting 3D parts where there is little material removed on each pass. This is after replacing the warping plastic gantry back plate with their aluminum upgrade, and making a better router clamp from plywood after the plastic one failed. The larger Probotix CNCs are limited to 200ips to keep the threaded X and Y feed rods from whipping. Short rods on the MK2 won't whip at 300ipm. The Nebula and Asteroid use a longer gantry beam that is prone to twisting flex with a heavy router hanging off it and doing aggressive cuts. I notice on their facebook page a prototype 50" x 50" CNC with a beefier 60mm x 60mm gantry beam. No doubt to help minimize the potential flex.
  7. I come from a background where AutoCAD was the CAD program of choice and version 4.0 of VCarve Pro was sorely lacking in drafting tools I was used to using. Fast forward to now and our Architecture students learn Rhino. The new dept. head comes from that Rhino camp and recommends everyone switch over to Rhino and RhinoCAM for creating tool paths to run the CNCs we have. I regularly get horrible Rhino files from students. I have to spend more time deleting crap from and editing these than it would have taken me to completely redraw the simple vectors they needed in Aspire. Aspire is now the best CAD program I know of for direct to CAM vector creation. 4D
  8. The V90 MK2 is made from the same components as their larger machines. The shorter gantry beam and side rails would actually make it stiffer than the large machines. The specs show that the max feed speed on this small CNC is 300ipm and all their large CNCs are limited to 200ipm. The MK2 has less room to accelerate in, so that 300ipm may never be reached except when jogging. I can see the potential of cutting some aluminum on the small machine that I wouldn't attempt to do on my Meteor. I have an interest in making replacement parts for the Z axis assembly which would make it stronger and less in the way of clamps and such when down. 4D
  9. I've played a little with V9 so far, but will get very busy using it when the university starts up again in a couple weeks. I already know the new smart snap feature will save me considerable drafting time. 4D
  10. I've heard all sorts of wise advice for those considering getting a CNC. "Buy your second CNC first!" for example. I benefit from already owning 2 CNCs, but am honestly considering buying another one. Not a larger one. I looked back at the kind of cuts I do most of the time. Most (90%) were joinery cuts that only took up a small area of my Probitix Meteor (26" x 50" cutting area). Any project might consist of flat cuts needing my CNC bed configured one way, and vertical cuts needing it set up another way. Probotix also sells smaller CNCs, down to their V90 MK2 (20" x 13" cutting area) selling for $2999. For my needs though I can get that price down to under $2000. I don't need their MDF spoil board. I don't need the cheap mouse and keyboard and monitor they normally include. We have a spare unity controller that just needs a fuse replacement, so I don't need a new one of those. I don't need their router mount as I have a spare left over when I updated my meteor to use a different (larger) router. I would set this little CNC up on my usual simple base frame, except a little taller than normal. I'd make a version of my adjustable angle clamping jig that would fill the entire cutting area when horizontal, but rotate down to perfectly vertical when needed to hold boards vertically for tenons or related joinery. I have spare monitors, keyboards, and mice I can use. This smaller CNC will take up less than 1/3 the floor space of my Meteor. The smaller design actually has a higher maximum feed speed limit (300ipm vs 200ipm of their larger CNCs). With one CNC always handling the vertical/angled joinery cuts, my older Meteor can be left configured for flat cuts. 4D
  11. Retirement plaque

    Nicely done!
  12. So, OK do I have to have a machine

    Dated cartoon. As I watch each new generation hopefully it will cycle. There was a moment in time when you had to know how to code as well as build your own PC because otherwise there wasn't much you could do with one to waste your time. Now kids have a distracting screen on them at all times and don't have time or need to understand how it works. JMHO.
  13. Thorough work, Mike! And yes in V9 you can type in the dimensions as you are drawing now without moving the cursor over to the dialog box. 4D
  14. Rocking Dino

    One CNC thing to consider if you make another one.... You can run a bit like this down the perimeter line (ON the line) to have the CNC do the roundover while the parts are still on the bed. 4D
  15. Rocking Dino

    My thoughts exactly, HJ. Of course once the tails wags you'll need sound effects and lights. 4D

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