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Setting Up Work For A CNC Machine
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Setting Up Work For A CNC Machine

So you want to set up work for use on a cnc machine? Well there are some important steps to go to when setting up your work for a cnc machine. Below I will give you some steps on setting up everything and some of the common mistakes people make when doing so:

1. Decide whether or not to go in-house or outsource

You are going to have to decide whether you want to do everything in-house, outsource some parts of the process or outsource everything. The main things would be file creation and actually getting something cnc routed or cut. Remember that many businesses do not have their own cnc machines, so doing this in-house is not really a viable option.

Doing things in-house sounds great, but cnc machines can be expensive. A small desktop machine could cost you up to $10,000 for a 3 axis machine. When you are talking about larger routers, you could easily pay $50,000 and upwards.

Outsourcing cuts out the cost of the cnc machine, but you will need to make sure you outsource to the correct company. This could mean going in and getting some quotes. A good plan is to have your file almost ready and exported so the cnc programmer or technician will be able to give you an accurate cost of how much something will cost to get cnc routed and what the potential lead and work times may be.

2. Double check for compatibility, materials and cnc requirements

Remember to always double check what you are making for compatibility. Different materials and processes require a buffer in terms of extra material, or they need to be clamped down somehow. Always work this out to see what the tolerances are for different machines.

3. Ask for previous samples

When looking to hire a cnc or plc technician for the work, make sure they have samples of projects they have done before. Always go for the cnc technician that has worked with similar materials, finishes and size requirements. Some machines are better for different applications, so this step is very important. Machines that may cut larger pieces of wood may not be suitable for cutting or routing out circuit boards.

4. Make sure you set up the files correctly

This is an important one. Make sure the scale is set correctly and that you find out what will be the right file. This is critical for making sure the plc programming goes according to plan and that the g code can instruct the cnc movements correctly.

Remember to always check every step of the process and make sure you understand exactly what you are getting before making a costly commitment.


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