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Thread: Newbie to CNC

  1. #1

    Newbie to CNC

    In all my years of woodworking, manufacturing and related jobs I have never work with any type of CNC except when I was in IT and I work on the computers that talk to the CNC. Well I wanted to get into working with a router cnc and I got me one of them chinese 3040T 4 axis for about $450 and it came with what I understand Mach4 controller software. I bought some software to make some type of CAD software to file that the CNC machine can work with and since it has some stuff already preloaded I can work with plus it only cost me $24.95. I got my laptop talking to the CNC and also got a basic shape like a polygon turn into g-code for the mach4 software to see and well its moving the x,y and z axis but not actually routing anything on the piece of plywood just running about 1/2" above the board . But I do believe I got the issue figured out and the issue is that I am setting the zero point before loaded the g-code to the mach4 software and from the youtube videos and blogs I suppose to set the zero after I loaded the g-code of the polygon I want to cut.

    I would like to find something perferably in a book form I can buy so I am able reference why I am doing CNC stuff .

  2. #2
    Not sure of a good book but youtube will have tons of information on how to do everything and more current info than most any book. Find the mach4 forums

  3. #3
    One of our regulars over at Router Forums wrote a book that might help - The Newbie's Guide to CNC Routing

    David
    David
    CurlyWoodShop on Etsy, David Falkner on YouTube, difalkner on Instagram

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by bobby milam View Post
    Not sure of a good book but youtube will have tons of information on how to do everything and more current info than most any book. Find the mach4 forums
    Quote Originally Posted by David Falkner View Post
    One of our regulars over at Router Forums wrote a book that might help - The Newbie's Guide to CNC Routing

    David
    Well thank you both

  5. #5
    And yes, you will need to set the axis zero to the part as it is drawn up in the software. If you told it to make the reference point the lower left corner then jog the machine to that corner and set you XY zero then if you told it to use the top of the material for the Z then jog down and set it off the material surface. Make sure the feed and speed rates for the bit you use are appropraite and tell it to run.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Job setup is an integral part of using any CNC machine, regardless of brand, type or controller software. The specific process varies with the machine and controller, but we all have to "do it". Bobby is spot on that identifying the X-Y "zero" point as well as the Z-height are important. The latter for many machines also identifies the tool length. Z-height can be relative to the material surface or to the machine table, depending on what you specified when you drew your project and/or how your system is designed to work.

    What's most important for you to understand here is that "whatever the process is" for your particular machine and controller software, you need to make these steps a habit so you execute them faithfully for each and every job. Not doing that can result in something mild...like you cutting air as described in your OP...or up to something "magnificently disastrous" where you ruin material, break an expensive piece of tooling and/or knock something out of kilter with your machine and have to reinitialize or realign things.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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