One of the most amazing machines they have is the "ShopBot": a CNC Router/Engraver.
They have 3 of them, a desktop, a medium and a large size.
Since I started, few weeks ago, I took all the classes required to use the Shop Bot (3) and unleashed my creativity!
In this instructable, I will show you how to use the sotware available for you at TechShop to quickly create nameplates and virtually review the result.
In this way, you can familiarize with the software before you take the ShopBot classes, and waste no time once you can access this fantastic machine!
All you need is a TechShoop membership, and your creativity!
Step 1: Start the Design
TechShop has for you to freely use, one of the easiest and coolest software: VCarve Pro.
So, Open it and click to "Create a new file" (1) and insert the dimensions of the piece of wood you want to carve (2), in my case,9"x6", set the thickness (0.75"), the upper corner as Z Zero, the lower right corner as XY Zero, and leave the rest untouched. Click OK
Step 2: Create the TEXT
(4) Write your Text in the "Text" box, select your font, the alignment and the text height.
Text Alignment refers to the origin you defined earlier, and as you can see here, the origin is right of the text.
Experiment to see the different results. Click "Apply" to update the design, and when satisfied, click "Close"
To center the text on your piece, select the text by clicking on it and then click the icon "Center in Material" on the "Align Objects" menu (5)
Step 3: Design the Border
Click on "Draw rectangle" in the "Create Vectors" menu (7), select the Corner Type you want (i selected "Radiused internal", for a fancy finish), draw the rectangle on your design and click "Apply" and then "Close" (8).
Left click on the rectangle and center on material as in the previous step.
Now you should see your text and the border neatly aligned with the material.
Make any adjustment you need and then save the project before proceeding to the next step.
Step 4: Define the Toolpaths
On the top right corner, move your mouse over "Toolpaths" (9) and click the little pin to keep the window from sliding back (10).
Select the border you defined earlier and click on "Create Profile Toolpath" (11).
The 2D Profile Toolpath appears (12)
The most critical parameter to define is the "Cut Depth", you want to be exactly the same as your workpiece, so that you do no go over and damage the board underneath (I now, we are just simulating the process here, but better do things right and learn the right steps, you won't be sorry!).
So, measure the thickness of your workpiece and enter it.
Define the machining path as "On", and "Conventional" as the direction.
Since the tool will cut through the material, you need to set "Tabs" that will keep the external shell in place (and, in the real world, will be cut away).
Set the length and thickness, check the "Create 3D tabs" box and click "Edit Tabs": the "Toolpath Tabs" menu appears (13); select "Constant Numer" and deselect the rest. Hit Add Tabs and place 4 tabs on the border as per figure 14. Click Close, call the toolpath as you like and click Calculate.
Step 5: Preview the Toolpath in 3D
Once you click calculate, the view switches in 3D and shows the toolpath, with all the passes the tool will make to execute the job. Just click on "Preview Toolpath on the Preview Menu (15) and voila'!
Step 6: Define the Name Toolpath
In the V-Carve / Engraving Toolpath menu (18) click "Select" to select the V-Tool, and chose Ball Nose (0.125 inch) and click OK (19).
After you understand the basic process, you can come back and experiment with different tools and see real-time what's the result look like.
Leave everything as is and click Calculate. The toolpath will show in the 3D Preview window (20).
Step 7: Preview the Name Toolpath
If you did not anything wrong, you should see your project come to live (in a virtual way!)
Don't hesitate to experiment, you cannot damage anything now, but be careful and take the 3 classes on CNC macining and always, in doubt, ASK THE TECHSHOP STAFF, they are very helpful!
See you soon with more instructables!!