Carbide Create Software

Once you assemble your CNC the next step is learning the software.  After about 3 weeks, I can say that learning the software and how to convert files to SVG has had its difficulties but for someone who isn’t currently using these programs for my employment its fairly straight forward.  First off, SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and for most of us our picture files show up as JPEG.  SVG files are 2-dimension files which allow for carving and cutting.  Like many of you who are currently considering buying a CNC machine the learning curve on the software weighed heavily on my mind.

My approach from the beginning of this journey with my CNC has been simple, learn it in stages, get better each day.  I of course got giddy when I realized I could carve my own logo, which I happened to already have the SVG file for.  So, the first thing I did out of the box was launch Carbide Create, input my logo, set the tool path and feel like a complete failure when nothing looked remotely like the Ginger Wood Works logo we all know and most of us love.

At this point I stepped back, reevaluated my skill set, and reminded myself of my plan to learn on each project.  I took a look at the sign that was mangled and realized it was way to small, and my bit was too large.  More on Bits in a future blog.  Next I decided that I was going to design some local themed signs that maybe my friends and family would be interested in supporting this new hobby.   I found a Buffalo silhouette and went to town creating some unique Buffalo NY designs.

My theory was correct, make some local signs, offer them up to friends and family and test the market.  I did this while learning how to design, upload, convert and carve each of these different designs.  Here I was learning the software, while showing myself that there is surely a large market just with your aunts, uncles and High School friends.

Stay tuned, because in the next couple blogs I’m going to speak to carving bits, new ideas I have coming, and how I am going about making this machine pay for itself, a topic I know many of you out there want to hear about!

 

 

 

 

Shapeoko Assembly

When my Shapeoko XXL arrived on my doorstep I was both excited and anxious. Now that it had arrived it was time to assemble it. The first thing you notice when you begin opening the large box your machine is in is that its filled with smaller boxes which are clearly labeled. There is no confusion as to what is in each box.  Here is a link to my Instagram showing the boxes lined up.    Once the boxes were laid out, I went to work assembling the base and each axis.  The instructions provided by Carbide 3d are impeccable.  Each Step has detailed instructions, Pro Tips, and things to be cautious about.  You can take a look at the instructions here.

Assembly for me took around 4 hours total, which was mainly because I was taking my time, learning the machine, the parts, really diving into the directions so I knew what I was working with.  This came in handy in the next phase of assembly.  I will refer to this as the period of time where I was able to test out the Carbide Support teams ability to help me troubleshoot some electrical problems the machine was having.  Out of the box, it was determined that I received a bad power supply, which Carbide is aware of and is quickly working to rectify a bad shipment of power supply’s they received from a vendor.  In my case, it ended up damaging the control board which the Carbide Support team of Meg and Will were able to identify simply from my videos and pictures of my machine.

Once the power supply and controller where replaced the machine struggled to find home.  For those not familiar with this process, consider the Claw machine at your local Game Room, each time you have finished trying to grab the prize, it returns to the starting location.  The culprit was simple, the X and Z axis motors had been accidently packaged wrong.  Jorge at Support quickly identified the symptoms and gave me an easy fix to this, swapping the X and Z wires in the controller.

Its always been my opinion that in every product there will be things to work through.   Although eager to get cutting and some frustrations grew as I worked through the trouble shooting, I was impressed by the Carbide Support teams ability to diagnose and fix my assembly problems.   I should note that each time Carbide3d identified a faulty part they overnighted me the parts to rectify my concern.

In closing, the assembly process is pretty fool proof.  Carbide3d pre-assembles the motors, has the wiring harnesses ready click into place, and as stated everything is labeled clearly.  Having watched others struggle with CNC machines built by other companies I can say that I did not feel I needed an engineering degree to get my cutter up and moving.   I must note that this machine was sent out to me by Carbide3d with the opportunity to review and use this machine.

 

Here is a link directly to the Shapeoko XXL for your to check out the machine I have. 

 

 

 

Mobile Planer Stand Scrap Wood project

Every piece of equipment in my shop has to be mobile, and multi-functioning. I also enjoy using scrap wood to make cool storage and work spaces. With those things in mind, I created the mobile planer stand. This things got wheels, lights and a whole lot of space for #stickerswap fun. The plan is to store the planer underneath when not in use to give myself an additional space to work on. Below are the scrap pieces I used, as well as some links to grab the parts I did actually pay for.  This Mobile stand was created using Kreg Jig Pocket holes to join the pieces accurately and effectively.  For questions on assembly, feel free to connect with my on Instagram and Facebook both links are on my home page! Happy Building.

 

Here is a link to check out the Kreg Jig products and get started on this build.   https://www.kregtool.com/store/c13/kreg-jigsreg/

*4 pieces either 2 by 4 or 2 by 6 wood for the vertical frame.

* 3 pieces of 17 inch long 2 by 4 for the under side of the cart

* 2 pieces of 24 inch 2 by 4 also for the under side of the cart.

* 1 sheet of 1/4 plywood to cover the outside and the bottom shelf- cut into three pieces of 24 inches, by 19inches. as well as 1 piece for bottom shelf that is cut to size.

* 24 inch by 24 inch piece of 3/4 inch plywood for the top of the cart

* 4 wheels, with brakes- http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-2-in-Soft-Rubber-Swivel-Plate-Caster-with-90-lb-Load-Rating-and-Side-Brake-49509/203661074

* LED lights- https://www.samsclub.com/sams/accent-lights-multi-color/prod19542442.ip?xid=plp:product:1:1