This is a compleat overview of running a job from beginning to end, w/ links to appropriate pages.
Design the part
Cocktail napkin sketches aside, this requires that one draw or code the part(s) up on a computer, either in a CAD program, or directly in a CAM program which has drawing facilities, or directly in G-Code. See Designing for Fabrication for further considerations.
List of end-to-end tutorials
Note that there are a number of tutorials available for Carbide Create.
- User:BHSPitMonkey/Inkscape and Gcodetools Tutorial --- detailed, illustrated tutorial
- Tutorial CAD/CAM 3D Diamond-Circle-Square InkScape/MakerCAM --- drawing parts in Inkscape, setting up paths w/ MakerCAM
- Cutting Embossed name plate --- There is a video tutorial for this on the MakerCAM page
CNCZone thread on CAM for a watch case and fixturing: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/tormach-personal-cnc-mill/128923-tormach-2.html#post955484
- Basic workflow 2D --- drawing a part in Inkscape, creating toolpaths with HeeksCNC, simulating toolpaths with OpenSCAM
- Basic workflow 3D --- glosses over drawing a part, but covers using HeeksCNC to create toolpaths, simulating with OpenSCAM
Filetype: The CAD step will create a representation of the design as a computer file, a .svg for many opensource workflow, but a .dxf is typical for commercial workflows and other file types are possible. See File formats.
List of CAD Tutorials
This is more complex than the words, “Computer Aided Manufacturing” would suggest. The following aspects of a job must all be reconciled:
- Source file format (from the step above)
- Material selection
- End mill selection
- Offsets based on Endmill diameter and machine runout
- Feeds and speed
- Order of operations, type (drill, pocket, contour, V-engraving) and direction of cut(s), point of origin and Z-value
Filetype: This will embody the design in a native format (such as MeshCAM's .mcf) which may then be exported as a G-Code file as that series of movements which will move the tool so that it will cut out the part. The typical extension is .nc, other options include .tap and .gcode. MeshCAM for the Nomad will emit .egc which requires Carbide Motion to either send to the machine or copy out as plain text.
Previewing (and optimizing) the Job
See the page Previewing G-Code for a list of programs for this. In some instances, it may be necessary to tweak the G-code commands --- some of the programs afford this capability. For batch changes, see grecode (listed on the Programmatic G-Code Generators page).
Stock Preparation and Workholding/Fixturing
If necessary, the stock must be cut to a suitable size to fit on the machine.
There must be a mechanism to hold it in place, Workholding which may use clamps, a fixture, or a mix of them.
It may be necessary to square or face the stock when it is placed on the machine: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/facing-a-brass-cube/1670
Run the Job
One will need to:
- check the machine
- mount the selected end mill in one's spindle (trim router usually) using a collet of a suitable size to hold it
- place the material at an appropriate place on the work area in an appropriate orientation and secure it w/ an appropriate workholding technique
- connect the machine --- discussion of order of operations here: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=6872&p=54027#p54025
- zero the machine and move it to an appropriate starting position relative to the material. Note that it may be necessary to do this sequentially, one axis at a time, using relative offsets. Note that the zero should be set relative to the center bottom of the endmill. Techniques for this:
- placing a piece of paper at zero and jogging the machine down until it catches the paper
- drill bit --- use a drill bit or other cylinder of known diameter, jog the machine down and move it horizontally until it nudges the drill bit
- placing a conductor of known thickness at zero and clipping a wire for a light or other electronic device to the endmill (or other electronic device)
- using a corner block corner finder or center finder, edge finder (Brown & Sharpe 599-792-9 4 Piece Edge Finder Set) or other device
- use a parallel placed across an edge as an indicator lever --- lower the endmill until it pushes the parallel down so that light begins to shine through beneath the parallel.
- lasers --- http://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-089140301162-Drill-Press-Assembly/dp/B009YERZQA
Jobs with multiple endmills
- Mid job tool replacement workflow
- SO3 Changing Bits with Homing
- roughing and finishing: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6758&p=53306
- one person’s workflow incl. homing: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=6991&p=55190