CNC Machining Workshop

Today I had a CNC workshop with the technical demonstrator Keith. Today I learnt about single sided milling, next week Wednesday shall cover double sided milling.Using software called DeskProto 6 he guided us through the set up of an .stl file for machining. He explained the capabilities of the machines, the cut depths, cut patterns, roughing the design settings, finishing cut settings, how to set up separate files for rough cut and finish cut so that different cutters/bits can be used to get super fine results. We asked questions about complications, common problems and different possibilities for different jobs.
Keith also showed how to set the CNC to cut multiples of the same file using the series function, this takes the object you loaded into the CNC computer and replicates it however many times you want in on the work bed next to each other. You cannot cut multiple files at once. We discussed work sizes on the X,Y and Z axis, how to split up a model into different cut layers that are cut one after another, how to speed up certain jobs and what the limits of the soft modelling rooms CNC machines are. With regards to job times it doesn’t matter how long they are, we can leave it run all night if needs be, the longest are never more than 20 hours, most being around 5 hours. We cannot cut metal. I have been given a booklet created by Keith detailing a simple cut set up. I can now go and use the CNC machines when ever I like.

The main thing I am interested in is milling complicated structures, parts, designs and objects for casting in metal or slip. Another thing I could investigate is milling parts for machines, robots or drones I may want to make… Or even parts for jewellery making or lithopanes. I could also use scans that I record and use them for milling projects.

Now I need to get some practise, so ideally I would do some modelling in some software like Rhino, Solid Works, Blender or SketchUp save it as an .stl file and then mill it out. I will get modelling and see what I come up with!

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