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Everything posted by 4DThinker

  1. At this moment 3 of the 4 CNCs I oversee are in storage awaiting final inspection of the new shop building they'll be moving into. My personal Probotix CNC controller and associated linux PC are on the bench opened up for cleaning out. After finding that closet winPC dead I figured these other two boxes could need a cleaning. I had thin air-filter material taped over their inputs, It got thrown out. I'll have to get some more filter material to replace it as I'm out here at home. 4D
  2. 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
  3. I originally posted this on Vectric's forum, but as it makes sense to post under this topic I'm sharing it here again. Sometimes a part that needs a little CNC work done on it is too small for any conventional bed clamp to hold down. I have used my drill press table vise on occasion, but it is rather tall. More useful on my CNC shark which has better Z clearance than my Probotix Meteor. Most wood vise parts are 1/2" BB plywood and cut out on my CNC. One small part on the bottom was a thinner piece of scrap plywood. I spaced the holes out so the vise would slide into 2 tracks of my CNC bed. Discovered by accident that the hole spacing also works in the solid t-track bed of my CNC Shark. Apologies for the B&W images. Accidently had the wrong setting set in my photo software. The 3/8" x 16 threaded rod pushes against a 5/16" vertical aluminum post embedded int the front vise jaw. Keeps the jaw from spitting. No handle designed for it yet. I turn two nuts jammed together on the end with a box end wrench. 4D
  4. 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
  5. I just bought and paid for my upgrade to Aspire 9. So far I'm not completely thrilled with the new drafting features although they are much better than they were in earlier versions. Anyone who is interested can download their free trial to check and see if the new features will be worth investing in. 4D
  6. I found where they are saved, and among all the clipart there are several dated 7/5/2017 which I assume are the new ones added. Number of new files in the following subfolders: The names of new files in each folder:3D tabs:_Circular_Rectangular_TruncatedAnimals:Winged_Lion-50611-AHorse_Head_6-50472-AHorse_Head_4-50440-ABorders:Ornamental_Border_15-57691-AOval_Burst-50426-ASplat_Frame-50516-ADecorative:Round_Flourish_2A-58031-AScroll_2-57983-ASimple_Fleur_1-57647-AHorizontal_Flourish_11-57574-ASwag_2-57471-AStaff-57458-AFloral_Drop_2A-57438-AFloral_Drop_and_Bow-50379-ACrown_and_Shells_2-50318-ARoman_Fasches-50299-AObjects and People:Cherub_4-57238-ADance_Paire-57161-AJewelers_Graphic-50484-ASkull_3-50165-ASkull_2-50130-APlants and Fruit:Stylized_Thistle-58464-AStylized_Shamrock-58463-APanel_of_Roses-58193-AFiddleheads_2-50241-A 4D
  7. Very true, John. Since we added CNCs to our furniture design shop there has been no end to the creative work our students have created and produced with the help of a CNC.
  8. Yes, but only for Aspire owners/updaters. I can't tell you exactly what is included (yet) because I haven't been able to figure out where they are saved to after unzipping the file on my laptop. 4D
  9. Spindles (not routers) are designed to run continuously and are what should be used if doing a lot of time consuming 3D carving. They are generally brushless so won't suffer the wear down of brushes that happens with routers. The tiny amount of wood removed using a 1/32" ball nose doesn't put much stress on the spindle, it just has to keep cutting for a looooooong time.
  10. Looks like it was probably part of the 3D file to me. My general rule for what the CNC should do is anything that can't be done more efficiently using any other tool in my shop. Not sure that internal bevel could be done any other way than using a CNC. I've gotten to the point (when helping my students) that most profile outlines of furniture parts are easier to do using some other shop tool, or a combination of tools. Detail carving, 3D contoured shapes, and most joinery are almost always better done using the CNC. 4D
  11. Beautiful! A bear in the woods ON bare wood. What could be better!
  12. Not yet, David. They add a numbered periodic save feature during the 8.5 update. Not the same. You do have a few export options to output what you have selected though including: .DXF, ,PDF, .EPS, .AI. .SVG. You can Save Aspire file (.CRV3D) as simpler VCarve files (.CRV) if your Aspire file doesn't have any Aspire specific features in it. 4D
  13. True. But that has been true for every previous upgrade except for some of the minor bug fixes. To me it doesn't matter. Having the latest version ensures I can open a file from any previous version AND the same latest version. If my vectors are needed by someone who doesn't have V9 then I can export as .DXF which can be opened in most CAD programs. 4D
  14. What I do when I'm opening an existing 8.5 file is save-as and add V9 to the end of the file name. That leaves my older file intact and since V9 doesn't overwrite 8.5 I can still open those files using 8.5. So far I'm a fan of the single or double sided file choices, the very much enhanced drafting/smart snap features, the 2 sided (at a time) rendering engine (which also seems much faster), the added spin/turning modeling feature, and the dimension entry while you are drawing a line or shape, etc.. There is more yet that I haven't played with. Array copy toolpaths for example. When 8.5 came out the single feature that made it worth the upgrade price to me was the moulding toolpath. V9 has much more in it than 8.5 does, but if 8.5 does all you need it to then that $400 may be better saved for something else. 4D
  15. Version 9 of VCarve/Aspire have a new 2-sided toolpath and render feature. Toolpaths that are on the bottom can be created in their own "tab" but within the same file. The rendering engine now can preview your material with toolpaths cut from both sides. I loaded in my Aspire 8.5 file which had the vise parts in it, and was able to separate out the backside cut from the top side cuts. These renderings are of the same material. I am going to love this feature! 4D
  16. Be sure and check the HELP feature... now instead of a local PDF it is all online. Wondering how well that will go over with those who keep their PC off the internet. Many features and live key clues not yet demonstrated shown in there though. 4D
  17. I'd like to add that where I work we also have Enroute, which came with the Multicam CNC the college bought. I still have a running copy of version 5, but the college has pretty much abandoned using it. The shop technician that now oversees that CNC prefers Rhino+RhinoCAM. All our students are taught how to use Rhino so he doesn't have to teach them a new program. I started with VCarve Pro, which came with my original CNC Shark. I'm the only teaching professor that knows how to run a CNC so VCarve/Aspire is what I prefer. I cut all the student projects that aren't ideal to cut using the large Multicam. I do dust off my copy of Enroute every now and then, but find it almost cryptic to use. As far as I know, RhinoCAM does not have post processors for LinuxCNC. I haven't checked Enroute for compatible LinuxCNC post processors. 4D
  18. Once I have the molding in place, I double-stick tape/clamp/hot glue a stop block in front of the molding to keep it from sliding down.
  19. If you've never used a CNC, and aren't sure what they are capable of, then buying your first one can be a trap. Why? Not all CNCs are capable of cutting the same things. I started with a CNC Shark back when all I knew about CNCs was what the letters stood for. It kept busy cutting profiles and pockets and VCarving, and such. Much the same stuff that everyone else was cutting with a 3-axis CNC. I occasionally bumped into needing a larger bed. The software had a tiling feature but it was only as good as my accuracy at aligning the large part after I shifted it to cut the 2nd half. I had dreams about using that Shark to cut furniture joinery but its design didn't lend itself to clamping boards vertically or at an angle under the bit. No limit switches or cable chains or E-stop on the CNC itself either. My college decided it needed a CNC for the college shop, and they ended up with a nice large Multicam CNC with tool changer and vacuum bed. Great for pockets and profiles and VCarving and some 3D contour work. It stays busy, but has no obvious potential for clamping boards vertically or at an angle under the bit though. I eventually decided I wanted a larger CNC, and looking around I came across the Meteor CNC made by Probotix. Frame made of t-slotted aluminum extrusions. Two Y motors to move the gantry, and no part of the gantry moving under the frame. I had its MDF top off to add t-track to it when I realized that open area under the bit could be configured for all sorts of jigging and fixtures to hold large or long parts under the bit. I redesigned the base I had my Meteor on, leaving a top off the table to keep clear all that space inside and under the Meteor's frame. Now I can cut things the Shark and Multicam (and 98% of the CNCs out there) can not. I convinced my college to buy 2 CNCs from Probotix over the next two years. One has a rotary axis included. Both have bed configurations that are (relatively) easy to change to accommodate just about any part or project for joinery or detail work. I had no idea you could cut joinery or bulky projects on a CNC when I bought that Shark. It took having one to discover what it couldn't do. Honestly I had no idea my Meteor could cut joinery or bulky projects when I bought it. Using it revealed it had that much greater potential. My Shark has greater Z clearance under the gantry. It gets used occasionally for 3D carves into thick (tall) material, but that's about it. The Meteor cost almost the same as the Shark. It does most of what the Shark could do. AND it does far more of what It turns out I really wanted to do with a CNC. I don't feel like I wasted money on that Shark. My Meteor makes me happier though.
  20. Sure John, but the larger your CNC is the harder that will be. I've seen many CNC Sharks enclosed just the way you describe. If you had a Comet or the smaller V90 MK2 from Probotix it would be reasonable. You have to remember to keep access to the bed easy to accomplish though. Routers/spindles generate heat as they run (thus internal fans or water cooling) and so your ventilation will also be about removing heat. Stepper motors also run warm. The controller and PC will also generate heat so best to keep them out of any box you make to surround the CNC. 4D
  21. Looking great! You won't be disappointed and by upgrading now you should also get the upcoming update to version 9 for free. 4D !
  22. I does, and it is pretty close with 2D/2.5 D cuts, but much worse with 3D cut times. If you keep a record of estimated VS actual cut times then there is a variable you can change to adjust the estimate for a closer guess. Hover over the created tool path in the list and cut time is something it will show. I use that feature more for a relative comparison. I often can tell me such things as "will this cut using the moulding tool path take longer or less time than a 3D finish tool path"? 4D
  23. I use routers until my college will let me upgrade our two Probotix CNC to spindles. I keep my variable speed routers (with speed dials that go from 1 to 6) on 5 max and keep a close eye on them as they cut. We don't do much 3D work though, but I've had a few projects that took 5-6 hours. I recommend water cooled though as those don't have a fan that will reduce the effectiveness of any dust collection. Spindles also generally require 220vAC so be sure you have access to that in your shop. I would never let a project run without being able to at least listen to it as it cuts. If it looks like I need to leave during a long 3D cut then I pause the job, write down the current G-code line I'm on, then STOP the file and shut the CNC down until I can get back to it. You do have the ability to start a job on any line of the G-code, but since the router/spindle start command is usually in the beginning of the file then be sure you've started up your router/spindle before running the G-code. 4D
  24. Thanks David. BTW for grip I glued some 180 grit sandpaper to the jaws. The plywood edges were just a bit slippery. If I had started out knowing the photos would be BW I'd have work on the lighting for more contrast and perhaps a little shadow drama.
  25. I'll accept credit for having a useful set of experiences that helps me understand most of what there is to know about CNCs. The biggest advantage I have, though, is experience using a CNC which began several years ago with that original CNC Shark. I was at one time a naive and ignorant rookie. It takes what you've got, HJ. You very quickly mastered getting your CNC to make what you want it to. No small ability. I frequently see CNCs for sale by those who bought one but never figured out what to do with it. I know of a few sitting abandoned in high school shops because no one there has the imagination or desire to see their potential. 4D

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