Introduction: How to CNC: in Three Steps!

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Getting started with CNC can be tricky, it's a powerful method to cut nearly anything, but knowing where to start and understanding the fundamentals can be overwhelming. I break each step down and show you how to complete a simple project from idea to final product.

Tools needed:
1) A PC: The core of CNC lies in software. Will will need three pieces of software:

  • CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program; Inkscape (free!).
  • CAM (Computer Aided Machining) program; MakerCAM (free!) or VcarvePro (not free) will work.
  • CNC controller (Computer Numeric Controlled); G-code Sender (free) for my specific robot.

2) You will also need a CNC machine. I am using a Shapeoko, which I bought as a kit for around $600 and assembled in about 5 hours. This CNC machine uses a Dremel router and an Arduino to handle the gcode.

3) Safety goggles. Always wear them, every time.

Materials needed
1) Wood! I am using 0.25" Maple plywood cut to roughly 7x6 inches.
2) A few screws to secure our material to the CNC table.

Step 1: Draw>Toolpath>Cut

Watch the video :)

Step 2: Use That Knowledge!

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Now that you're one step closer to mastering CNC, try some new projects!

Make a holder for all those SD cards lying around. Download the CAD (.eps file) drawing. This will fit most (but not all standard size CD cases. Good luck!

Comments

KalvinD (author)2015-06-23

This is awesome! Nice write up.

Great information on feed rates!