CNC Routing 101

Hello and welcome to the first article of CNC Routing 101. Let me start by introducing myself and giving you a little background.

Greg White

My name is Greg White. I have been associated with Advanced Robotic Technology for a little over 11 years now. In that time I have both programmed and operated ART machines for clients in many different industries, from making playground equipment to machining parts for Aircraft and Luxury yacht manufacturers. My role here at ART has evolved somewhat over the years and now includes not only programming, operating and testing various Routers and Plasma Cutters but also working along with the Research and Development team to further the abilities of not only our own machines and software, but various other makes and designs also.

I have also had the privilege of helping many of our clients to develop and prototype tooling and machining processes for specific materials, some of which had never been successfully cut before.

All in all I would have to say that I have one of the most interesting jobs and enjoy the challenges that come along with each new project.

Enough about me though. Moving on to the purpose of this article, What I would like to achieve over time, using various projects along the way, is to give you as the reader an insight into various aspects of Routing. To expand your outlook as to what can be achieved with a CNC (Computer numeric control) Router and to help answer questions that may arise in your particular industry.

Many people who express interest in a CNC router at first only look at its ability to speed up production and reduce labour costs in one area of their business. The conclusion many come to after learning a little more is that once purchased, a CNC Router can do a lot more than first thought. It can provide the ability to Prototype and develop their current products and also expand the range of services that the company offers. Something that more and more companies are finding is a necessity in these financially unstable times.

The first application that comes to mind when Routing is mentioned is usually timber. So with that we’ll start with a little project of mine that I have been working on for just under a year.

With 3D type work becoming more and more common, I thought it would be fitting to make some samples of what our machines can do and what better way achieve this than to apply this technology to one of the oldest crafts known to man and one that I personally am very passionate about, that of musical instrument making.

An electric guitar is born.

The process from start to finish simply put is as follows.

#1. Research. research. Learn from what works and what doesn’t.

#2. Decide what final result or product you wish to create and stick to it.

#3. Based on all the information you can obtain, Design and model the parts accordingly in your chosen Cad (Computer aided design) Software. In this case I am using RhinoCad.

#4. Once the final model has been checked over, Import the parts into your Toolpathing or otherwise known as Cam (Computer aided machining) software. With this operation being 3D, I chose to use the complimenting RhinoCam. Then apply your various tool offsets and tool paths.

#5. Load the machine with the correct tools and material and press cut.

With each process there is quite a number of factors to consider so we will take each step at a time. Stay tuned for next month’s article where we will analyse the design process a bit further and see how a guitar is designed.

….to be continued. Watch this space for more interesting Routing articles and see how an electric guitar is born.

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