CNC Woodworking Random Tips & Tricks
These days, as in all the other fields of interest, CNC woodworking still has some areas where manufacturers, woodworking professionals, hobbyists and amateurs may only have some scant knowledge of, or perhaps may not have tried them, or have only heard about them.
The following are a few random tips, information bits, techniques and other aspects in CNC woodworking (routing, machining, drilling, and others) that had only been uncovered recently.
Some CNC woodworking programs have to be manually inputted into the machine control. Writing small sub-programs (others call them templates) will save you some sizeable time (and keystroke efforts), most especially on codes that are repeated over and over.
Cutting a precise angle
If you need to cut a precise angle on the material, do the set on the machine itself using a protractor. Then, write a program to follow the angle with an indicator. Done this way, the part can be bumped around while the machine is doing the indicating part.
The standard cutting jobs for panel boards are usually done by many 2-D panel cutting programs. Wastage, however, becomes a problem especially if the job is big enough.
Many pros would turn to popular 2-D panel cutting programs to ensure optimization of the materials used and to lessen the discards. Today, many pros and enthusiasts have now known that less expensive but dedicated 1-D stock cutting programs abound almost everywhere in the market.
Mirror images are perfect when creating right and left-hand parts. Experts, however, warned to watch it out when machining the mirrored part. If the first part was programmed using G41 and climb milling, machining the mirrored part needs at least an extra 0.01 to the rough cutter.
The reason is that on the mirrored part you will be doing conventional milling. This is where the cutter tends to go into the finished surface.
Machining both ends
Sometimes, a job requires you to machine both ends of a part held on a vise and you also need to try using one of the tools for the stop. Simply take ½ of the tool’s diameter and add 1/16 and incorporate this into the program.
You can then bump the part against the tool, press the cycle start button, and the tool/stop moves out of the way.
These days, woodworking software freebies are all over. They include calculators for computing board feet, wood movements, wood selection, moisture content, drawer sizing, shelf sag rates, cost estimates, and many others downloadable for free.
There are programs that create cut lists for doors, drawers, cabinets, furniture pieces, etc. There are many free design programs, too, for wood shops and cabinets, although there are not very many with regards to full-featured free CAD application.
CAD for woodworking
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the software needed to design such objects as disparate as a piece of furniture or the space shuttle. The program provides capabilities like zooming, rotating, copying, stretching and so many other commands.
Some have template libraries as well as applications for shading, texturing, and simulated 3-D.
Indeed, CNC Woodworking had really come a long way since the early days of squiggly pen and paper renditions of jobs and projects.