Video Test

A very quick test of the new camera setup for the Torque CNC.  The idea is to have the camera able to get a good look at the scene, without interfering with primary operations.

The mount is very simple, and can be removed in moments.  I need to do a little more to really lock it down, but it is already close to being a really functional design.

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It includes a zoomable light so the camera isn’t struggling, especially with the higher frame rate.  It isn’t designed for really high speed work, but it can still slow down a cut sufficiently to see the chips fly!

The Polaroid XS100 really looks the part too.  I decided it would look a lot better without the dust extraction mount, so will come up with an alternative collection at some stage.

This isn’t cutting any specific design – it was very much just a short test of the camera setup

Surfing the curve

There is so much to learn with this CNC thing. It’s very cool. So much potential. The machine itself, the software, and the entire genre.

Oh, and we have progress on the name, I am pretty confident it will be officially tagged the Torque CNC 9060. The 9060 is the model, and refers to the working dimensions: 900x600mm.

Today I wanted to ensure a perfect working surface, so set the CNC up with the Amana RC2251 2+2 Spoilboard bit from toolstoday.com

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This is quite an incredible bit. 2 1/2″ diameter, and the 2+2 design is due to the two replaceable cutters (RC) that are on the sides, and the other two located underneath the cutter, performing a shaving action.

See MDF has a bit of a problem- when it is made, it is done with a lot of compression, producing a really clean, smooth top and bottom surface. But if that surface is removed, it becomes quite furry, with the MDF fibres sticking up all over the place. These second shaving cutters do just that- they shave these fibres, leaving a “real smooth shave”.

The finish of the resulting surface is superb- perfect for CNC work. For those tables using a vacuum surface, some draw the vacuum directly through the MDF, and to achieve that, the hard original outer surface also has to be removed, and again the finish achieved by the spoilboard bit gives that.

I used the surfacing passes to also check the CNC router out. This is a big cutter, so a good load test. I ran the machine with a 40% stepover (this is the amount of cutter that is cutting into the virgin material, in this case 1″, which is significant. I was only running a 0.2mm depth of cut, because the idea is to minimise how much of the spoilboard is lost each time it is planed flat. I also ran the machine at 200mm/sec. 12metres/min, which is positively hurtling along.

With the surface flat, and importantly, parallel with the overhead gantry, time to try another capability of the machine. 3D routing.

I’m using Aspire to generate the code, which is the premium software from Vectric. They have some 3D samples, so as a first step, I used one of those. In this case, a maple leaf.

Using the Amana Tool ZrN 3D carving bits from toolstoday.com the result is rather impressive.

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Faces

Vectric produces some of the most popular software for CNC Routers and laser cutters.

One of their products is a piece of software called the PhotoVCarve, which looks to have an intriguing ability- being able to carve a photo into timber.

So with the YAS CNC 9060 (as the machine is currently called, although the Torque CNC 9060 is another potential name), and an RC 45711 Amana Tool router bit from toolstoday.com, I decided to find out what this piece of software actually did.

Carved into MDF, the image is not as clear as I was perhaps hoping, but then this is a very first attempt. With experimentation in timber choice, depth of cut and router profile, I am sure we can come up with a much clearer result.

When I first saw the result, there was almost nothing to look at, but when viewed from different angles, and different lighting conditions the image jumps right out at you!

This is a fun package to play with!

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The Shed Mag

Latest issue is now in stores, and includes my article on the Tambour Sun Lounge (over 8 pages!)

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Bunnings + Masters

Still = customer fail

Tried to buy some 2400x1200x16mm MDF.

Bunnings: we don’t sell MDF in this store.

Masters: we don’t sell large sheets of thick MDF in Masters. You can only get it 600mm wide. What about 12mm thick?

Even with both these companies pissing in each other’s sandboxes, service is the same as ever (if not ever worse). You’d think it would be the best time for the customer as they vie for our attention (and almighty dollar)

Some first impressions

Very early on in the piece, but some initial thoughts.

The CNC Router is bloody heavy – not sure if it is 200kg, but it is a substantial machine, and for this sort of tool, the heavier the better!  There is no flex, nor uncertainty in the movements.

I’m having a little difficulty with the interface side of things, but that is a Windows machine issue.  Wish these things had Mac software to drive them!  Once I have gotten the computer up and running, switched on the CNC, then plugged it into the USB, it seems to run smoothly.

The controller is particularly heavy duty, and although the control box is large, it has plenty of empty space inside.  Not a bad thing for heat dissipation.

Love the fact that the software starts and stops the spindle – that is a nice feature.

There are still some fundamental things I don’t know about the machine yet – spindle speed range for one, achievable resolution for another.  Standard maintenance practices for the machine for a third.

The machine is designed and built by Keith, from YAS Engineering, who is also the inventor behind the Torque Workcentre. Quite the mechanical genius for these sorts of things!  This is one of the smallest CNC routers Keith has made, most are made to order, and some are monsters.  This model however is being made as one you can purchase off-the-shelf as a standardised design.  I just have serial number 0001!

Again it is very early days, but the comparison thus far between the CNC Shark Pro and the YAS Engineering CNC (don’t know what it will be officially called as yet) puts the YAS machine in a completely different league.  Yes, overall it is about $3000 more, but that extra 25% price (price of the CNC Shark Pro Plus) is more than justified by the significant build quality difference, including the quality (and quietness) of the spindle.  I’d say the 250% difference between the two, but that is subjective only!  The previous job was run at 11pm at night.  The entire neighbourhood would have been banging down my door if it was the Shark running the job – that Bosch router is an absolute screamer (and is only 1/4″).  I was also running the machine at about double the feed rate of what the Shark was performing at, and I was limited by the strength of the router bit, not the maximum potential speed of the YAS CNC.

Just jotting down some thoughts as I continue to get to understand the new machine.

Fast Learner

Here are a couple thousand words depicting progress…..

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‘Nuff said!

Toolstoday.com 46100 1/8″ router bit
80″/min feed rate
20k RPM selected (but not sure if that is achieved on the CNC – have to find out what speed range it is capable of!)

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