CNC Mill Intro

To introduce the CNC mill, we will watch some instructional videos and complete a simple design. A CNC mill is a computer numerical control (CNC) machine that cuts/assembles material using computer automation. Once the designs are drawn in a computer aided drafting program like AutoCAD, the computer instructs the machine head where to move (x, y, z coordinates) and what to do when it gets there (speed, cutting action, etc.).

The Shapeoko CNC Mill looks like this:



 Here is the mill in action (the rails are longer than the model the club has purchased):

To use the mill, the following software is required:

1. Google Sketchup to create 2D part files. Sketchup is a free program for drawing computer models of 3D objects.

2. Use the phlatscripts plugin to generate gcode. Gcode is a machine language that tells the drill bit of the CNC mill where to go in a coordinate system and how fast to cut.

3. Use grbl to interpret the gcode for the Arduino and then send it to the Arduino. Grbl is a free, open source, high performance CNC milling controller written in optimized C that will run on a straight Arduino. Grbl will be installed directly onto the Arduino once. The program we will use to send the gcode is gcodesender.

G-code sender.jpg

Challenge: Build a small emblem to be printed in cardboard.

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