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4DThinker

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Everything posted by 4DThinker

  1. High precision CNC work

    Looks great! For a little more precision you could have had the CNC cut the chamfered edge as well. Begin saving for a robot arm. When you have one it should be able to clean mold off, insert and hold the plug in place while the glue dries, and fetch you a beer from the fridge. 4D
  2. Tool Changer Survey.

    If you use a router for any part of your woodworking then the number of bits you might use for a single job would still be of interest to me. Before I had a CNC I might use 3 or 4 router bits in a hand held router or a router mounted in a table with a fence for one furniture project.
  3. I'm looking for data on how many unique bits a CNC operator uses for a typical job they run. I do mostly joinery cutting and use at most 2 bits and usually only one. The occasional 3D cut will use an end mill for roughing and a ball nose for finish. 2. Flat 2D/2.5D cuts may use a V-bit for v-carving or inlay, and maybe a downcut spiral end mill for first passes and an upcut spiral end mill for the rest. So I'd say I average 1.4 bits per use, or 2 hole bits. How many bits do you use on average for your CNC projects? Just the number for each individual board clamped to the CNC. Thanks for participating! 4D
  4. Thought Provoking

    I'm not claiming that computer skills alone are enough to make a craftsman. I'm stating that if a craftsman who already is very skilled adds a CNC to his shop and masters its use then he is now more skilled than he was before adding the CNC. Much the same as we get more capable as we add any new skills to our repertoire.
  5. Walnut cutting board

    Simply gorgeous!
  6. Thought Provoking

    IMO a pointless TED talk. Nothing is made by hand/hands alone. Hands are just one of the tools some humans use to fashion useful or decorative things with. Everything made by humans is human-made. Automation starts when we first realize we can make our hands do exactly what we are thinking. We have automated those randomly flailing infant hands. There is no creative difference between two original human-made things no matter how they are realized. Your hands may have pulled a saw back and forth, or moved a mouse back and forth to draw a toolpath to make the CNC move back and forth. I'll suggest that controlling the mouse and using the CAD/CAM software was a higher level skill than moving a saw through wood was. You can always truthfully claim "You made that" if you are the human who instigated the realization of the final product from raw materials. "Craftsman: a person who practices or is highly skilled in a craft; artisan." states nothing about the process that craftsman uses to produce his/her fine product. If you have added CNC processes to the repertoire of "tools" used to get from idea to finished piece then IMO you are an even MORE highly skilled craftsman. 4D
  7. Thinking about the guys at Probotix

    I'm with you. They are a great bunch of folks and one of the best companies I've ever done business with. Thoughts and prayers from my corner of Kansas for sure.
  8. Dust and Chips

    The more you cut, the more chips and dust you generate. When a router is used, there is often a fan in the router that blows down while it is cutting. That breeze will blow chips away from the cut with enough force to keep them from being sucked up by a brush perimeter shop vac collector in place. I honestly haven't found a way to get "perfect" collection of the debris generated while the CNC is cutting. If I know I'll have to suck/sweep some up after a cut, then it is less damage to my ears to NOT use a shop vac and simply let the chips fly. The "other" thing most jobs produce is very fine dust that wafts through the air and will end up on everything in the shop. To keep this out of my lungs I mount a filtered air cleaner right above the CNC beds in our furniture design shop. When the wood being cut is making more dust than chips I also wear a dust mask. 4D
  9. Putting the CNC to work!

    When I was a kid that footwear was called 'thongs". Now I can see how the name was co-opted by string bikini bottoms and related wear, but I sure wish a flip flop was a gymnastic move rather than what seems like a very cheap name for inexpensive summer shoes. 4D
  10. New Spoil Board

    I recognize that Shark. Mine also came with a slotted MDF top and white plastic frame parts. I never had a problem with the MDF tearing out or failing, but I did add an offset center slot to increase the size range of parts I could clamp using the clamps shown in your photo. Two clamps were never enough though and I bought two extra when I ordered my Shark to add to the two it came with. They work fine on the Shark but if you'll be using this idea on a Probotix CNC then you'll need to be careful where you put them. The Z axis rail bracket comes down with the router and can bottom out on high profile clamps or their bolt if they are too close to the back edge of your material where you'll be cutting anything. If you use this idea on top of the default MDF bed you'll also lose 3/4" of Z axis travel. More critical on a Probotix CNC than it is on the Sharks. 4D
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. CNCs can be dangerously noisy. They can produce copious amounts of potentially toxic chips and dust, Best to leave the room and let them finish on their own, except for the inevitable calamity that will happen while you are gone. I do my design, drawing and tool path creation in a room far away from the CNC. The files are either saved to a network drive I can access from the Linux PC by the CNC, or saved to a thumb drive which I carry down to the CNC room. I also occasionally open a file in my linuxCNC controller software to realize something is wrong about it. Knowing this I've kept a Windows PC in a closet of the CNC room which I can use to quickly edit a file. This PC is only used for quick edits, being hooked up to the network for access to my source files. The poor thing is only a few feet from the CNC though, and suffers like any human does. I found this closet PC dead yesterday. Overwhelmed no doubt by the noise and dust. The second black box I've killed with a CNC. The point of this post is that the closer a thing (human or hardware) is to a CNC the more abuse and assault it suffers. We protect ourselves with dust masks and hearing protectors and safety glasses and such because we can't be too far away from our running CNC. The PC and controller that run your CNC must also be protected with filters over their intakes, and periodic, thorough cleaning. I failed to protect my poor closet windows PC. 4D
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Retirement plaque

    Nicely done!
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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

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