How does a CNC router work?
In order for the desired paths to be created for this efficient tool to work, software packages are needed which help create toolpaths and NC codes.
The type of machine you have selected determines the processes you need to put in place to get the machine running.
To get things started, firstly, you need to upload a picture or file of the design into a drawing software (CAD).
The CAD ( Computer-Aided Design ) will convert your design into vectors.
Once your files have been converted into vectors, you can now go ahead to select the tool or toolpath that you will like the machine to make
At this phase you have a lot of control over the system;
You could decide to use either a 25-inch v-bit or a 75-bit inch core box bit.
You could also change the speed and cut depth of the router at this stage.
Once you are done selecting the tools, you can now proceed to select the toolpath, which involves either tracing the vectors, cutting outside the vectors or cutting inside the vectors; whatever you decide depends on what you need.
We are now done with our selection of the toolpath, the next step is uploading the vectors into the G-code software ( this can be seen as the control panel of the CNC router ).
The G-code software converts the vectors into G-code where you will see X, Y, Z coordinates. (X is horizontal to the table, Y is vertical to the table and Z is perpendicular to the table).
Now we are working with G-code, our next step is to determine the center point of the hard material ( this is very important for our next stages).
Now we know the center of the material, our next step is to load the material on the table and make it firm with clamps to avoid it moving when the cutting process begins.
After clamping the material to the table, you will need to adjust the machine until the router bit is directly over the center point of the material you marked.
Once the router bit has been adjusted to be directly over the material, you now need to bring it down to meet the surface of the material ( avoid digging into the material with the bit ).
This point should be marked as your absolute zero (creating a starting point once your machine is up and running ).
After noting the absolute zero point, bring the machine up a few inches and you are set to begin.
You can now go ahead to select the run G-code function for the machine to begin cutting your design.