CNC inductions project

Hi everybody, I just wanted to make this post to give an update on the inductions/introductions for the CNC. At the moment we are doing this in a rudimentary fashion, so we can let people use the machine, but we will not streamline this until we get the interlocks going in the machine.
This article covers the ins and outs of what we have now.

How it works right now

At the moment, if you want to use the CNC, you need to coordinate with me or @Ryan2 to have an introduction to the machine. After you have done this intruduction, you can use the CNC while being supervised by a CNC supervisor.
At the moment, because we lack an interlock in the machine, we are not granting unsupervised use on the machine. We need the interlock to be able to track the usage of the machine, and if something happens we can use that data to check cameras and such. (more info about this below).

Scope of the induction

The scope of the induction, similar to other inductions in the woodshop, is only meant to give you the rudiments to use the machine safely without breaking it. Any other techniques and workflows should be provided by you, and you can always ask the community for tips and such.
Topics that we will be going during the induction are:

  • Safety
  • Starting the machine
  • Measuring tools and setting work offsets
  • Understanding of jogging and program modes
  • Brief explanation of fixturing using our bleeder board
  • General housekeeping/turning the machine off

Minimal requirements to take the induction

In order for you to take the induction, you should be able to at least come up with G-code on your own (If this G-code is good or not, doesn’t matter, it will be reviewed during your supervised cuts).
This implies that you understand, at least at a minimum (you don’t need to be an expert), some of the following terms:

  • G-code
  • CAD (Computer-aided design)/CAM (Computer-aided manufacturing)
  • post processing
  • Feeds and speeds
  • Tooling
  • Work offsets
  • Fixturing

If you don’t really know what I’m talking about, i would recommend start asking around, maybe come along when a cut is happening. And as a general recommendation, having a project that you want to do, is the best if not the only way to start a good learning pathway.

Having read the following post:

I would strongly discourage people who wants to take the induction “just because”, is better to aim our human resources to people who genuinely wants to make something awesome.

Things that are and are not provided

In order for you to make a cut you need to bring the following:

  • PPE (Mandatory: Safety specs, fitted clothing and close shoes)
  • Tooling (end mills, drill bits, etc)
  • Material to be cut
  • Collets, if we don’t have them
  • Sacrificial board, if what’s around doesn’t suits your project.

At the moment we have available the following for members to use:

  • 80mm diameter skimming tool
  • An assortment of ER32 collets
  • 4 ISO30 ER32 Tool Holders

In the near future, I’ll be adding more collets and holders to our collection.

What to do if you’re a noob and want to get started

If you don’t understand much about this but you want to start doing something I’d recommend the following:

Step 1

Find something you want to cut. After you’ve found it, ask on discord if what you’re thinking is correct or might be better done differently. Things to keep in mind is:

  • Is this material suitable to be cut on the CNC?
  • What kind of tooling I’ll be using?

Step 2

Figure what software are u gonna be using. In order to cut something on the CNC you need to be able to draw or adquire somekind of vector/3d model that can be actually cut. Once you have your project modellled, you have to tell the computer how to cut it (this is called CAM). To do this, you need a software.
At the moment, members have used successfully Fusion 360 and solidworks to get all these done. This implies a learning curve that maybe is too much for most people (mostly if you only want to cut something simple, like a 2d shape or engraving something). If you want to make something simple, i woud recommend to check V-carve pro.

They have really nice tutorials here: Tutorial Browser - VCarve Pro | Vectric

Are you can learn more about how’s implement at the Space here: We got V-carve and it has been deployed

Step 3

If you have completed the previous steps, you should have some G-code of your own and a minimal understanding of the CNC terminology. You can go and take the induction.

Next steps to get CNC usage streamlined

The only thing that’s is impeding having the CNC usage streamline is the lack of an interlock. We are already working on this, and we should be able to get this solved by the end of February.

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