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What is a CNC Machine?

CNC generally means Computer Numeric Control and typically refers to a system whose work is controlled by a computer. The most common use of CNC, and the one relevant to us, is the name given to devices that, under computer control, can cut, etch, mill, engrave, build, turn, and otherwise perform manufacturing operations on various materials. Typically, a CNC machine can move a cutting or 3D printing head in 3 to 6 axes, which means that it can position that tool head at a precise pole in or on the equipment to create the cut or operation desired at that area. By moving the head through various points, the cutting head can cut or sculpt the design represented by a data stream of the computer’s positioning edge. By controlling a CNC machine through a computer, the user can create a product on-screen, convert it to CNC-readable form and then send that data to the router CNC machine for it to produce a copy of the item intended. The purpose of the DIY Desktop CNC system is to provide that powerful capacity to go from theory design to physical product with an inexpensive, compact, adaptable desktop-size system.

How to Use the CNC Router

  1. There are several components to plugin before we can get started – four, to be exact. They are:
  2. Power on the Route box by turning the ON/OFF switch.
  3. Then push the green button to start the remote.
  4. Turn on the dust collector – (remember to check the dustbags)
  5. Start the table by pushing the white button.

Choose your end mill – intro.

There are several different points to select from when conducting a project on the CNC router. The router bits are limited to using are known as endmills, and they take on several different shapes and sizes. I’ll give a brief crash-course on end mills here. Following are the aspects I hope you will fully understand between completing this course and embarking on your first router CNC routing project:

  1. 1.Number of flutes
  2. 2.Endmill shape: Flat vs Ball nose vs V-bits
  3. 3.Sizing

CNC Router Safety:

    • put on eye and ear protection every time. The Shop will supply both goggles and earplugs.
    • Keep the place clean and free of tools and loose materials.
    • Never leave the router running unattended. If not available at the moment, if you need to go, please ask someone to keep an eye on or pause the job.
    • Never lean on the table or rest hands or feet on the router while it is running.
    • Do not attempt to make adjustments or relocate the material while the router is running.
    • Use the dust collector or vacuum when the router is cutting.

There are three main areas of any CNC system.

  1. The mechanical elements
  2. The electronics
  3. The software

Mechanical Considerations

  1. Basic machine layout
  2. Lead screws vs ball screws
    1. Lead screw/Ball screw mounting
    2. Isolation from the drive motor
  1. Stepper motors vs Servo motors : Stepper motor size b. Torque, current, and inductance
  2. c. Four, six, or eight leads?
  3. Spindle motor
    1. Trim router
    2. Air-cooled DC spindle
    3. Water Cooled
  1. 3 phase spindle

Electrical Considerations

  1. Stepper motor drivers
  2. Power Supplies
  3. Breakout board or smooth stepper
  4. Limit switches
  5. Touchpad
  6. Computer
    1. Touch display
    2. Keyboard, mouse
    3. G-Code import
  1. On machine generation
  2. Thumb drive
  1. Network
  2. Pendant
  3. XBox controller
  4. Vista CNC
  5. Wireless Pendant

Software Considerations

  1. Linux based systems
  2. Windows-based systems
  3. Design Software
    1. AutoCAD / Draftsight
    2. PCB CAD packages
    3. Other design packages
  1. CAM Software
    1. CamBam
    2. V-Carve / Aspire
    3. Other Cam packages