Best Practices for CNC Router Maintenance

With practically unlimited capabilities and options, CNC routers are essential for companies that want to increase and improve their production offerings. To protect the investment in this technology, it’s important to establish a thorough maintenance program to ensure the life of the equipment and minimize costly downtimes. Yet despite the risk, maintenance is often an

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CNC Router Training Requires More Commitment Beyond “Lip Service”

For companies that invest in CNC router equipment to manufacture cabinets, furniture components, countertops and other wood, metal and plastic products, initial and ongoing training is essential. To be effective, training begins at a basic level with how to setup the router table correctly. Determining how to program a router path to cut the materials

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Crumbling Foundations

About a year ago, I took a teaching position in a technical school, teaching woodworking to adults.  Interestingly, the courses that I now teach are basically the same courses that I myself took 40 years ago at the same school. The purpose of the courses is to teach the basics of woodworking to adults who

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5-Axis CNC Routers

This year I went to IWF Atlanta with the same objective as I did two years ago. That is, to research the 5-axis routers offered for sale. While I think all of us have some familiarity with CNC routers, I’d like to briefly describe the operation of these remarkable machines. I’d also like to describe

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From Design to Fabrication—Crossing the Chasm

In custom manufacturing, there has been an enormous disconnect in getting design information into the fabrication process. Most industries have been working hard on closing this chasm in the past several decades and the computer has helped tremendously. The custom woodworking industry has lagged behind in some ways but we have the potential to remedy

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Reaping the Benefits of Your 3-D Model—Part 3

This will be my final article on the benefits building a simple cabinet using Rhino. Hopefully, some of you have made the effort to follow along with the previous series and actually build it. If so, you’ve seen that it’s really no more difficult than 2-D drafting. In fact, as you become more familiar with

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Reaping the Benefits of Your 3-D Model—Part 2

In my last article, I showed how we can dimension a model directly in “model space.” This gave us a clear, 3-dimensional picture of our product along with overall dimensions. This can be used to verify that what we’ve created is what it should be. We could even have a client sign off on it

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3D Modeling—A New Way of Looking at Things

I want to illustrate how 3D modeling will allow you to build and visualize your projects electronically before you cut any wood. I’ve described the process in previous articles but now I want to bring the point home by actually showing pictures of how this works. As a reminder, the benefits of 3D modeling include:

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Affordable 3D Modeling for the Small Shop

I just returned from a conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia. The Industrial Design program at the college includes furniture design. In fact, you can see samples of furniture designed by students from SCAD and other colleges during the IWF in Atlanta. The conference I attended was put

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What to Look for in a 3-D Modeling Program

In this article I’ll continue to focus on direct modeling programs.  These programs address the needs of woodworkers who produce custom products.  They offer a completely new method of producing shop drawings.  That is, they allow your draftsman to create a model of your product before you begin to cut wood.  A model created in

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