CNC: Great progress and more materials

April 12, 2022

What else did you think we would test with?

The bad news: back to the drawing board Easel

We made more progress this week with our Shapeoko2 CNC machine.

But first the bad news: we can’t use the Carbide Command software to run it. Carbide is the manufacturer of the Shapeoko machines. Their software doesn’t support anything older than the Shapeoko3.

So… we’re still using the Easel web-based software. It’s good enough to do the job.

The good news: it’s working great!

After last week’s initial test with styrofoam, we went full steam ahead with more solid materials.

We started with the easy stuff, MDF, and moved up to plywood and solid pine.

It’s a tradition at ylab to baptise every new machine by having it print the ylab logo. That’s what we did on the first 3D printer we got our grubby hands on, and then with our laser cutter.

We found that the harder the material, the better the results.

Since the carving bits are carbide and rated for aluminum… well, we looked around and found a nice flat piece.

It’s gotta be clamped down solid!

That metal has to be held down firmly. We made good use of Metal Master Miro’s clamping blocks, which we covered in last week’s post.

With the Easel software, we specify the material, and it handles all the speed, cut layer depth and other calculations.

It’s shiny! And those extra little nicks were there before we started.

And… it works! The software sets the machine to make more gradual cuts, to it takes longer.

We probably have another week or two of work to finish learning and testing all the options, document things, lay out usage rules and best practices, and set up a course for everyone else to learn.

Stay tuned for more progress and announcements.

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