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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