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What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:08 pm
by cannibal
Hello,

I am new to the forum but I was curious;
What do you wish you knew about when you first started using a CNC?

This could be software, or a style of hold down clamp, dust shoe/enclosure, etc.
Thanks!

First post here, love the community behind these mills.
I don't have a machine yet but am saving for a shapeoko 3 xl. Soaking up all I can about this machine before it shows up. :geek:

Re: What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:37 pm
by kayaker
cannibal wrote:Hello,
I am new to the forum but I was curious;
What do you wish you knew about when you first started using a CNC?
I was completely new to the whole CNC router thing before I jumped into the queue for my SO3 landed which ultimately landed at the door early last summer. To be honest, from the day I put down the money (with no experience whatsoever), to the day it arrived at the door, I was able to learn everything I needed to know to get me to where I am now. That includes the Super-PID, metal base, dust collection, bits, speeds & feeds, CAD/CAM, clamping. EVERYTHING you need to get well into the CNC router machining is accessible through this forum and/or its members. Everything!

But there is always something I guess and in my case, it was not finding my way around to Fusion 360 earlier in the process. I tried and paid for a number of different CAD and CAM programs, all of which worked just fine. But investing the time required to get a bit of a feel for Fusion 360 for the simplistic hobbist type CNC'g I do would have been nice to get into earlier and saved myself a few bucks.

All that said, you shouldn't think the knowledge comes to you through osmosis and there is a fair bit of knowledge to acquire. You have to comb tons of threads where you will start to pickup up the pieces of workflow, etc, then dig in even deeper until it all starts to make sense. Then, fire up the machine and crash the spindle into the bed a few times to teach yourself that there is still more to learn. :D

Re: What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:44 pm
by WillAdams
I believe that the most important thing for anyone to do is try out workflows until they find one which they are comfortable w/ — this includes a full machine simulation thank to GrblGru.

Re: What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:30 pm
by Kyleitzen
I've had my machine since February and I have only been up and running for about a month. I started doing lots of research, watching you tube videos, forums. My setup is SO3, V-Carve Desktop, Universal G-Code Sender. I highly recommend all 3. I downloaded the free trial of V-Carve in December and practiced a lot. Upgrading to the paid version once my machine was in. There is a lot of information out there, every question you might think of has probably been asked. Remember when assembling your machine be gentle. Dont over torque bolts and fasteners, you will be surprised how smooth the SO3 is. Do not over tighten the V wheels. The instructions say to turn the eccentric nut 180 degrees, DO NOT. just turn until the V wheel will not spin freely. If you over tighten they will get flat spots but not to fret, they will gradually go back to their norm if you do as I did.

Re: What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:34 am
by heathenx
I would have completely passed on MeshCam. I don't like it at all. It was a waste of my money. I think Fusion 360/HSMWorks Express is where it's at for free and Vectric V-Carve for $$. I can do everything I want with all 3 of those apps.

Re: What do you wish you knew about when starting?

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:30 pm
by fasteddy
I wouldn't have wasted my time and money with the cheap TB6600 controller from China. It was okay for a couple of months, but eventually the magic smoke came out through the course of normal operation. Ended up getting a Gecko G540, and it's been rock solid ever since. So basically I threw away $130 by trying to save money.