One of the great advantages of CNC over manual machining is the ability to create holes of almost arbitrary size using an end mill that follows a helical path.
For those of you who are manual machinists and still wondering what CNC can do for you, there are nine basic G-codes you must learn today. If you know them, they will turn the CNC Machine into the equivalent of a manual machine with power feeds and DRO’s on every axis. They do this because you can use them as simple immediate commands without having to write a G-code program. You just type in one of these nine gems and the machine will perform that action immediately through the magic of what’s called “MDI” or “Manual Data Input.” MDI is like the command line prompt from DOS for CNC, and it is handy as can be for quick and dirty operations. Each of these nine G-codes is super easy to understand so let’s go through them, one at a time.
It’s fairly common to find machines that have multiple spindle options available. I don’t mean that you can specify multiple options, but that there are actual multiple options delivered with the machine. A very simple example would be multiple pulley ratios. More exotic would be sub-spindles, for example a high-speed auxiliary spindle or speeder on a mill. How does G-Wizard handle multiple spindle options? The easiest thing to do is just to add more machine profiles, where each profile corresponds to one of the options. I recently had a customer approach me about setting up for a Kress high-speed sub-spindle he had mounted on his Tormach for acrylic work. Mounting an auxiliary high-speed spindle, such as the Kress or a trim router, is a very common thing to do, and it can add a lot of flexibility. The high-speed spindle is perfect for Barnett’s gorgeous custom car badge work. It’s all 3D profiling with small endmills and small step overs, so being able to keep the feedrates and RPMs up with the faster spindle really helps get the work done a lot faster. By the way, if you like the idea we’ve got a whole page of similar auxiliary high-speed spindle rigs to give you some inspiration to create your own. Getting back to our story, Tormach sells an inexpensive kit to clamp a Kress high-speed spindle to the PCNC 1100 spindle. And here’s the additional profile I had my customer create for the Kress spindle. The steps required to create this profile were simple. After going to the Setup Tab:
Here at Tormach, we developed our PathPilot Control System in-house so we could adapt the program to the ever-changing world of manufacturing and make updates quick. Along with that, we are always making improvements to PathPilot based on our community of users. The latest update to PathPilot, version 1.9.8 has had some Tormach users raving with excitement.
Manual machining has been around since two-man lathes in 1300 BCE. While the history of milling machines is a little foggy, some historians credit the first motorized milling machine to Eli Whitney, while others claim other inventors like Captain John H. Hall of the Harpers Ferry Armory, Simeon North, Roswell Lee, Robert Johnson, and Thomas Blanchard.
Getting from a conceptual idea to a realized part is an important process to understand, whether you’re a maker looking to invent something for the world or a design engineer looking to get a new project off the ground. Once an idea is developed, the process turns to CAD (computer aided design). Using programs like Fusion 360, OnShape, or Solidworks, 3D models are created to provide a virtual version of your idea.