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    • #2637
      Darrell Peart
      Moderator

      I for one, am especially in need of more knowledge regarding CNC. I am not one to delve into the minutia and CNC seems to be mostly minutia .
      My lessons on the CNC are usually learned by trial and error ( emphasis on error).
      One thing I have learned after some early frustrating results was the importance of tool offsets. This is especially important when
      attempting joinery that relies on inside and outside contours.
      See the attached jpeg

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    • #2639
      Darrell Peart
      Moderator

      Here’s a dxf of the above illustration. It might be easier to read.

    • #2655
      Mick Simon
      Moderator

      A hard lesson learned. If my project requires that degree of precision, I always make a test cut with the tool I’ll be using, measure the actual cut kerf and enter that value as my tool diameter. Most modern controllers allow for cutter compensation at the controller level, but if you forget to override it when you change tools it can be a headache.

      • #2656
        Darrell
        Keymaster

        Thanks, Mick.
        Sometimes the simple solutions and most obvious elude me. I had not thought of measuring a test cut. I have been
        measuring the cutter but that does not take into account any wobble or other unknown variables. It would be much easier to measure the actual cat made!
        thanks!

      • #2749
        James Snow
        Moderator

        That has been my issue when having pieces that have to fit into one another…..like a dado for a cleat say…..how do you account for that in Aspire Mick?

      • #2750
        James Snow
        Moderator

        That has been my issue when having pieces that have to fit into one another…..like a dado for a cleat say…..how do you account for that in Aspire Mick?

      • #2787
        Mick Simon
        Moderator

        The way I do it is to make the test cut and measure the actual width with an accurate caliper. That becomes the value you enter as your tool diameter in Aspire.
        For instance, if my cut width is .247″, I define a tool as an end mill with a .247″ diameter. Make sure to enter the actual value in the Diameter box in the tool definition. I’ve had students name it .247″ diameter end mill and assume that was going to change the cut characteristics.

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    • #2688
      Chris W
      Participant

      I posed this question to Mick and he suggested I post it in the forum so here it is.

      For cnc I would have to buy the machine itself, the i2r for example and then a software correct? I have watched some fusion 360 videos. You mention vectric, which would be vcarve pro I am guessing. How do I decide on the software? I would like to be able to access good training courses. I have found one for F360. I am not sure about vpro. Any direction you can provide is appreciated.

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    • #2697
      Chris W
      Participant

      Mick’s response:

      Regarding software – there are two types of software you’ll be dealing with; CAD/CAM where you make the drawing, apply toolpaths and generate the code to run the router, and the controller software which is the interface between the controller and the router. For now, let’s only worry about the CAD/CAM software. As I said in my previous message, there is no one size fits all. Many CNC machine companies package software with their routers. Some don’t. Think of the router as a printer. You can use a Mac, a Windows computer, a tablet, a phone, whatever and still print with the same printer. All you need is the correct driver for your combination. In CNC terms, that’s called a post processor and normally comes in the CAD/CAM package. It translates the code generated by the software so that your specific router (printer) cuts it correctly.

      In choosing software, first decide what you want to do with the router. Do you want to cut cabinet parts, furniture parts, templates, signs, 3D models – what do you want to make with it? Then look at the capabilities of the software package you’re looking at. At the top of the list should be capabilities, then support, then expandability, as in a basic, intermediate and advanced modular offerings. Here’s where I shy away from recommending F360 to folks with no CAD/CAM/CNC experience. It’s a very full-featured, complex and incredibly capable package – if you want to build a rocket. The learning curve is steep. We make furniture.

      I recommended the Vectric family of software – Cut 2D, Cut 3D, V-Carve, V-Carve Desktop, V-Carve Pro, Aspire… because it checks off all of the above priorities. You asked about support – Vectric has well over 200 training videos on their site that are by far the best I’ve seen in 30+ years in the industry. F360 is pretty much self-taught after finding videos on YouTube, etc. Now, F360 is free for anyone not using it commercially and making over $100,000 a year with it. V-Carve Pro is $699, I think. V-Carve is the better value IF you put a value on your time. The comment I made earlier about some companies packaging CAD/CAM software with their machine – by far most are including Vectric because they take the overwhelming majority of the software support off the machine maker. That’s huge for a CNC router manufacturer who wants to only support the machines. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I’ve spent about 10 years of my life answering software questions when I should have been selling machines. That was before Vectric came along.

      Hope this helps.

      Mick

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