The First Computer Controlled Blow has been Struck

No photos yet (will take some this afternoon), but I’ve successfully run my first couple of jobs on the CNC Shark.

It was remarkably easy, at least in the sense of creating a basic design in VCarve, saving it as a toolpath, then importing it into the Shark Control Panel.

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It is a shame the software only works on Windows, so I dusted off an old laptop to use.  Then dusted it off again a few times while the Shark was cutting!

Control_PanelThe G Code is the exported toolpath from the V Carve program.  You can run the file once loaded, but obviously it is probably better to set up the starting point for the tool first!

That is what the Jog tab is for.  You can move the cutter manually (via the computer) to the start point, and set it to touch the work.  This is then set to be the zero point. (0,0,0)  Run the file (which will not actually start until you confirm the router is turned on).

Off it goes, on its pre-determined path, opening a new path for woodworkers.  I certainly do not see this replacing more traditional forms of woodworking, and this will not be everyone’s cup of tea.

To parallel this with another experience – I was a very active photographer back in the days when photography was solidly in the realms of chemistry and traditional methods.  I was also very comfortable creating and manipulating images with PhotoShop and the like.  But when the two worlds firmly met, and the chemical photo world was swept away under a tidal wave of digital cameras, so did my undeniable passion for photography.  I still take photos, but at a rate only a fraction of that before.  Part is my remaining disappointment in the current cameras – the quality of the build, their longevity, but also how every man and his dog suddenly thought they were photographers because of what the camera was able to do for them, and not their real knowledge, skill and fundamental understanding of the principles of photography.

I don’t see that woodworking is at that point yet, and inherently it will never fully get there – photography can fully translate and remain in the virtual world.  Woodworking, whether from the outset, or after some computer work with CNC programs, has to put tool to timber in the end.

People look at photos.  They touch, hold and handle the end result of a woodworker’s efforts.

I will be very happy to incorporate CNC into my woodworking.  Not to replace other methods, but to add an additional tool to the arsenal.  And a powerful, versatile tool at that.

The CNC Shark range can be sourced from Carbatec, and seen in operation on Stu’s Shed 😉

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