New to CNC
Welcome to the world of CNC! This article
attempts to address the many variables that go into successful use of your ENC
equipment. The article is broken into the following:
- Selecting Your Machine
- Implementing Your Machine
Selecting Your Machine
Before making a purchase of CNC equipment, there
are several thing to consider. First you should define your requirements,
then you should review products, and finally you should begin shopping.
There are several requirements that you need to
consider when selecting a machine. Some are better thought out before
shopping for a machine, others will come after you begin to check them out.
- What is the application you are going to be
using a CNC machine for? What types of materials do you plan to cut?
How large are the materials you need to cut? What type of cut do you
need (will it be 3 axis or more)?
- What level of precision is needed? Wood
workers are typically used to achieving 1/16" tolerances. Do you
need more precision?
- What speed (inches per minute) do you need the
machine to go? Typically manufacturers try to balance the trade off
between speed and precision. Machine speeds are all over the
- What is your level of comfort/knowledge with
similar types of tools?
- What is your level of comfort/knowledge with a
personal computer? Specifically, how much do you know about 2d and 3d
cad packages? If you are not very comfortable with them, do you have a
resource that can help?
- Determine how much you want to spend up front.
- How should I fixture the item I want to
cut? See our fixturing
2. Review Products
There are literally hundreds of CNC machines on
the market today. They come in all types of shapes, sizes. Some are
designed for specific applications, while others are more general purpose in
- Talk to people who are already using CNC
- Visit a CNC shop in your area
- Attend CNC seminars
- Check out internet sites
Implementing your Machine
several steps required to begin using your CNC machine successfully.
Setting your machine is critical to early success. Make sure the platform is
stable and your CNC machine is secure. The less movement that occurs the better.
2. Material Selection
The right material in the right size and
thickness are all important attributes to consider.
3. Fixturing Selection
Proper fixturing will save you time, money and
frustration. See our fixturing
4. Bit Selection
From a bit perspective, we recommend you start
with larger sized bits. They are cheaper and tend to break a little less than the smaller bits. Once you
get the hang of it (count on a month or so) get some smaller bits as needed for
your desired application. Some of our 1/32 in. bits are relatively
inexpensive and are a popular
size for new CNC users.
To select the correct bits for your application,
contact our Technical Support team at 719 488-9640 or
We recommend you plan on spending an extended period
of testing before moving to production. There are several
different variables that you need to work with including:
- Type of cut
- Type of material to cut
- Machine type
- Spindle type
- Depth of cut
- Feed Rate
- Spindle Rate
- Type and size of bit
Once you have secured your bits and identified
your application, we recommend you
complete a sweet spot test.
Here, you push your equipment (machine and bits) to see the outer limits of its
ability, then back it off 20%. For more information, go to the article listed.