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CNC Milling for Makers

Book Description

Until fairly recently, machining has been a high-cost manufacturing technique available only to large corporations and specialist machine shops. With today’s cheaper and more powerful computers, CNC milling and 3D printing technology has become practical, affordable, and accessible to just about anyone.

Tabletop CNC machines are every hobbyist’s dream, providing the tools needed to cut and shape materials such as glass, wood, plastics, and aluminum.

In CNC Milling for Makers, author Christian Rattat explains how CNC technology works and he walks you through the entire milling process: starting with a blank piece of material, Rattat takes you step by step through to a finished product.

Rattat offers advice on selecting and purchasing the best machine for your own particular needs. He also demonstrates how to assemble a machine from a kit and explains all the steps required to mill your first project. Moving past the basics, Rattat introduces a variety of cutting tools and provides hands-on examples of how to use them to mill a wide variety of materials.

Table of Contents

  1. 1 Introduction
    1. 1.1 What Is Milling?
    2. 1.2 Gantry Milling for Hobbyists
      1. 1.2.1 The Machine Table
      2. 1.2.2 The Milling Motor
      3. 1.2.3 Feed Rate
      4. 1.2.4 All About Milling Tools
      5. 1.2.5 Features and Add-ons
    3. 1.3 Raw Materials
    4. 1.4 CNC Milling
      1. 1.4.1 CAD
      2. 1.4.2 CAM
      3. 1.4.3 Machine Control Systems
    5. 1.5 Alternatives to Milling
    6. 1.6 Personal Safety and Risks
      1. 1.6.1 Motor and Cutters
      2. 1.6.2 Electricity
      3. 1.6.3 Fire Hazards
      4. 1.6.4 Hazardous Materials
      5. 1.6.5 Safety in the Workplace
  2. 2 Your Own CNC Router
    1. 2.1 Choosing the Machine for this Book
      1. 2.1.1 Inventables X-Carve
      2. 2.1.2 Stepcraft-2/600
      3. 2.1.3 Other Models
      4. 2.1.4 Making a Decision
    2. 2.2 Assembling the Kit
    3. 2.3 Step 1: Assembling the X-Z Connector
    4. 2.4 Step 2: Mounting the Z Axis
    5. 2.5 Step 3: Assembling the X Lead Screw and the Sides of the Gantry
    6. 2.6 Step 4: Assembling the Gantry
    7. 2.7 Step 5: Assembling the Main Frame
    8. 2.8 Step 6: Final Mechanical Assembly
    9. 2.9 Step 7: Installing the Electronics
    10. 2.10 Step 8: Assemble the Machine Table (5 minutes)
    11. 2.11 Step 9: Installation and Startup (30 minutes)
      1. 2.11.1 Grease the Rails and the Lead Screws
      2. 2.11.2 Install the Software
      3. 2.11.3 Prepare to Align the Lead Screws
      4. 2.11.4 Connect Your Machine
      5. 2.11.5 Align the Lead Screws
    12. 2.12 Alternative Software
      1. 2.12.1 Installing the Hardware
      2. 2.12.2 Installing and Configuring UCCNC
      3. 2.12.3 Running a Test Job
    13. 2.13 Your First Workpiece
  3. 3 Milling Tools
    1. 3.1 Milling Tools
      1. 3.1.1 Teeth and Flutes
      2. 3.1.2 Cutting Length and Shank Types
      3. 3.1.3 End Mill Materials
      4. 3.1.4 Cutting Speed and Feed Rate
      5. 3.1.5 Cooling and Lubrication
    2. 3.2 Which Tool for Which Material?
      1. 3.2.1 Solid Carbide End Mills
      2. 3.2.2 Unusual Types of Cutters
      3. 3.2.3 Long Mills
      4. 3.2.4 Forming Cutters
    3. 3.3 Upcut and Downcut Milling
    4. 3.4 Tool Maintenance
  4. 4 2D Milling in Practice
    1. 4.1 Clamping the Workpiece
    2. 4.2 Softwood
      1. 4.2.1 Example #1: MDF
      2. 4.2.2 Example #2: Poplar Plywood (using inappropriate parameters)
      3. 4.2.3 Example #3: Poplar Plywood (using appropriate parameters)
    3. 4.3 Hardwood
      1. 4.3.1 Example #1: Solid Beech (right-hand spiral)
      2. 4.3.2 Example #2: Solid Beech (left-hand spiral)
    4. 4.4 Perspex and Polycarbonates
      1. 4.4.1 Example #1: Perspex
    5. 4.5 Extruded Foam
      1. 4.5.1 Example #1: PVC
    6. 4.6 Engraving Plastic
      1. 4.6.1 Example #1: Engraving Plastic
    7. 4.7 Aluminum
      1. 4.7.1 Example #1: Aluminum
      2. 4.7.2 Example #2: Facing an Aluminum Blank
    8. 4.8 Brass
      1. 4.8.1 Example #1: Brass
    9. 4.9 Aluminum Dibond
      1. 4.9.1 Example #1: Aluminum Dibond
    10. 4.10 Glass
  5. 5 Machine Upgrades
    1. 5.1 Enclosure
    2. 5.2 Vacuum System
      1. 5.2.1 Centrifugal (Cyclone) Separator
      2. 5.2.2 Vacuum and Connectors
      3. 5.2.3 Dust Extraction in the Enclosure and at the Tool
    3. 5.3 Aluminum T-slot Machine table
    4. 5.4 Clamps and Clamping Blocks
    5. 5.5 Machine Vise
    6. 5.6 Tool Length Sensor
      1. 5.6.1 Fitting a Tool Length Sensor
      2. 5.6.2 Configuring the Tool Length Sensor in WinPC-NC
      3. 5.6.3 Using and Adjusting the Sensor
      4. 5.6.4 Using the tool length sensor with UCCNC
    7. 5.7 Underwater Milling Using a Water Bath
    8. 5.8 Additional Emergency Stop Button
  6. 6 Advanced Milling Techniques
    1. 6.1 Isolation Milling
      1. 6.1.1 How to Configure Eagle
      2. 6.1.2 Milling a PCB Using WinPC-NC USB
    2. 6.2 Underwater Milling
    3. 6.3 2.5D Milling
      1. 6.3.1 CAD
      2. 6.3.2 CAM
      3. 6.3.3 Milling
      4. 6.3.4 Slots, Pockets, and Facing
  7. 7 Looking Ahead
    1. 7.1 Replacement Parts
  8. Glossary