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Design for CNC

Book Description

Design, DIY, and computer-controlled fabrication are a powerful combination for making high-quality customized things. Written by the founders of the architecture, design, and research firm Filson and Rohrbacher, this book takes you through the basics of CNC fabrication, the design process, production, and construction of your own furniture designs. Through their AtFAB series of projects, accompanied by an overview of digital techniques and design thinking, this book introduces the knowledge and skills that you'll find widely applicable across all kinds of CNC projects. Not only will you learn how to design, fabricate, and assemble a wide range of projects, you'll have some great furniture to show for it!

While 3D printing has been grabbing headlines, high school, college, library, and other public makerspaces have been making things with CNC machines. With a CNC router, you can cut parts from strong, tactile, durable materials like wood. Once you have your design and material, you can set up your job and let it run. When it's done, you can put the project together for an heirloom of your own. While 3D printing can make exciting things with complex designs, CNCs are the digital workhorses that produce large-scale, long-lasting objects.

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
    1. Who Is this book for?
      1. Designers
      2. Fabricators
      3. Teachers
      4. Entrepreneurs
      5. What Can You Do?
    2. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Designing for Fabrication
      2. Virtual Meets Physical
      3. Projects
      4. Resources
      5. What We Left Out
    3. How to Use This Book
    4. Conventions Used in This Book
    5. Using Digital Design Files
    6. How to Contact Us
  3. I. Designing For Fabrication
  4. 1. A Modern Way of Making
    1. The Geography of Distributed Making
    2. Why Do CNC Projects Look the Way They Do?
    3. A Very Brief History of CNC Furniture
    4. Join the Revolution
  5. 2. End Mill to Furniture Collection
    1. Subtractive Machining
      1. End Mills
      2. Drilling
      3. Cutting Laterally
      4. The Inside Corner Problem
    2. Fillets
      1. Tool Diameter Matters
      2. Exercise: How to Draw Fillets
    3. Toolpaths
      1. Profile Toolpaths
      2. Outside Profile
      3. Inside Profile
      4. Pocket Toolpath
      5. Drill Toolpath
      6. Drawing Smooth Motion
    4. Eight Basic CNC Joint Conditions
      1. Flat Parts From Sheet Materials
      2. Overlap
      3. Edge to Edge
      4. Edge-to-Edge-to-Edge
      5. End-to-Face
      6. End to Face to Edge
      7. Through
      8. Three-Way
      9. Four-Way
    5. Assemblies
      1. S/Z Joint
      2. Tab Assembly
      3. Hanger Assembly
      4. Corner Assembly
      5. Foot Assembly
    6. Structures
      1. Shear
      2. Torsion
      3. Vierendeel
      4. Rotational
    7. Programs
    8. The 5-30 Minute Chair
      1. Iteration and Design Frameworks
    9. Evolution From the Chair to AtFAB
      1. Rotational Stools
      2. Cat in Bag ii Table
      3. 90-Minute Lounge Chair
      4. One to Several Table
      5. Open Storage Cabinet
      6. Poke Credenza
      7. Cellular Screen
    10. AtFAB Furniture Collection
  6. 3. 3D Model to 2D Parts
    1. From Design to Fabrication
    2. Mise en Place
      1. Download Files
    3. Layers
      1. Add Layers
    4. Underlays
      1. Draw Sheet Material
    5. Flattening and Layout
      1. Face Right Side Up
      2. Consider Grain Direction
      3. Leave Space Between Parts
      4. Minimize Material Waste
      5. Flatten and Layout Parts
    6. Components
      1. Create Unique Components
    7. Profiles
      1. Make 3D Parts into 2D Profiles
    8. Cutting Layers
      1. Assign Profiles to Cutting Layers
    9. Export Options
      1. Save as SketchUp 2014
      2. Optional: Export a DXF File
  7. 4. Getting Started with Design
    1. Define a Project Program
      1. Ergonomics
      2. Fabrication Constraints
    2. File Setup For Design
      1. Layer Naming Conventions
      2. Create File, Add Layers
      3. Draw the Cut Sheet Underlay
    3. Massing Model and Stock Material
      1. Create Massing
      2. Model Material Stock
    4. Standards Versus Proportions
      1. Refine Massing Dimensions
    5. Schematic Design: Model Parts
      1. Copy and Modify Stock, Form Seat
      2. Create Bench Sides
      3. Add Front and Back Parts
    6. Using Reference Lines
      1. Form Legs
    7. Modeling Feet
      1. Form Feet
    8. Evaluate and Analyze
      1. Scale
      2. Iteration
    9. Evaluate and Refine Structure
      1. Add a Center Beam
    10. Organize with Components
      1. Define Components
      2. Flatten Model, Layout Parts
    11. Design Development: Joinery
      1. Joinery Organization
      2. Draw Seat Reference Lines
      3. Draw Sides Reference Lines
    12. Make Joinery
      1. Create Seat Slots
      2. Make Joinery on Front
      3. Make Joinery on Sides
      4. Make Hanger Assembly
      5. Form Foot Assembly
    13. Analyze Bench Joinery
      1. Evaluate Joints
    14. Design Refinement
      1. Evaluate the Overall Design
    15. Sniglets and Fasteners
      1. Draw Sniglet and Hole Components
      2. Model Sniglets
      3. Model Holes
    16. Visualize and Simulate
  8. II. Virtual Meets Physical
  9. 5. Precision-Fit Plywood Joinery
    1. Plywood
      1. Selecting Materials
    2. Nominal Thickness
      1. Calipers
    3. How to Digitally Dial In Joinery Fit
      1. Designed for 19mm Plywood
      2. Measure Your Materials
      3. Scale Your CAD File
    4. Scaling, Offsetting, and Parameters
      1. Why Scaling Works
      2. Why Offsets Don’t Work
      3. The Parametric Solution
    5. Prototyping
      1. Partial Prototypes
      2. Test Pieces
      3. Scale Prototypes
  10. 6. Machining For Designers
    1. Machining Begins with Material and Tooling
    2. Spindles and Speed
      1. Chip Formation
      2. What Is a Milling Machine?
      3. What Is a Router?
      4. High-Speed Spindles
    3. Machining Variables
      1. Relating Everything to Everything
      2. Where to Begin?
    4. CNC Router Anatomy
      1. Safety
    5. Workholding Strategies
      1. Screws and Clamps
      2. Vacuum Systems
    6. End-Mill Anatomy
    7. Collets
    8. End-Mill Geometries
      1. End Types
      2. Flute Types
    9. Feed Direction
      1. Conventional Cutting
      2. Climb Cutting
      3. Feed Direction Strategies
    10. Ramp Moves and Tabs
      1. Smooth Ramps
      2. Spiral Ramps
      3. Tabs
    11. Pockets
      1. Offset
      2. Raster
      3. Stepover
    12. Depth of Cut
    13. Putting It All Together
      1. Troubleshooting
  11. 7. Modeling Software to Machine
    1. From CAD to CAM
      1. Digital/Physical Alignment
      2. Units
    2. VCarve Pro
      1. Download and Install
      2. Open VCarve and Create a New File
    3. Job Setup
      1. Job Type
      2. Job Size
      3. Z Zero Position
      4. XY Datum Position
      5. Design Scaling
      6. Modeling Resoluton
      7. Complete Setup
    4. Importing Vectors
      1. Import Stools SketchUp File
      2. Layout of Imported Data
      3. Create Circles/Arcs
      4. Component/Group Handling
      5. Data to Import
    5. Vector and Layer Adjustments
      1. Align Cut file to material stock
      2. Ungroup Vectors
      3. Join Open Vectors
    6. Creating Profile Toolpaths From Vectors
      1. Rotational Stools Toolpaths
      2. VCarve’s Multi-Menu Interface
    7. Fastener Hole Toolpaths
      1. Select Profile Toolpath Operation
      2. Open the Tool Database
      3. Select 1⁄8″ Tool
      4. Cutting Depths
      5. Edit Passes
      6. Machine Vectors
      7. Name and Calculate Toolpath
      8. Simulate Toolpaths
    8. Seat Inside Profile Toolpaths
      1. Select Profile Inside Vectors
      2. Create Seat Inside Profile Toolpaths
      3. Simulate Inside Profiles
    9. Outside Profile Toolpaths
      1. Turn On Layer, Select Vectors
      2. Select ¼″ Tool
      3. Create Outside Profiles
      4. Simulate Outside Profiles
    10. Adding Ramps
      1. Add Smooth/Spiral Ramps
    11. Toolpath Order
      1. Define Cut Sequence
    12. Simulation and Analysis
      1. Visualize and Analyze
      2. Quality Control
    13. Save Toolpaths for Fabrication
      1. Toolpath Summary
      2. Save Toolpaths to File
      3. Ready to Fabricate?
  12. 8. Rotational Stools
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
    3. Measure and Scale
    4. Cut and Evaluate Fit
      1. Evaluate the Lazy Stool
      2. Evaluate the Lively Stool
    5. Troubleshooting
      1. Measure
      2. Analyze
      3. Adjust
      4. Evaluate and Iterate
    6. Assemble
    7. Fasteners
      1. How to Drill
  13. 9. Cat In Bag ii Table
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
    3. Finishes for CNC Projects
    4. Partial Prototyping: Using a Test Piece
      1. Measure and Scale
      2. Measure Material
      3. Scale Test Piece CAD file
      4. Assign CAM Settings
      5. Evaluate Your Test Piece
      6. Prototyping Finishes
      7. Record Settings and Adjustments
    5. Apply Test Piece Settings to the Full-Scale File
      1. Cut and Finish
    6. Assembly
  14. III. 2D & 3D Modifications
  15. 10. 5-30 Minute Chair
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
      1. Develop a Program
      2. Select Materials
    3. Design Decisions: 2D and 3D Modifications
      1. 2D Design Transformations
      2. 3D Design Transformations
      3. Working with Scale Prototypes
      4. Exercise: Transform the Chair into a Bench
    4. Measure and Scale
    5. Create the Partial Prototpye
      1. Prepare File
      2. Prepare Toolpaths
      3. Cut, Assemble, and Evaluate
    6. Adjust and Cut Chair
    7. Assemble
  16. 11. 90-Minute Lounge Chair
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
      1. Select Materials
    3. Design Decisions: 2D and 3D Modifications
      1. 2D Modifications
      2. Exercise: 3D Transformations
    4. Measure & Scale
    5. Partial Prototpye
      1. Prepare Toolpaths
      2. About the Pockets
      3. Create Pocket Toolpaths
      4. Simulate
      5. Cut Sequence for Complex Parts
      6. Pocket Cutting: Top Down or Bottom Up?
    6. Assemble and Evaluate the Test Piece
      1. Evaluate Fit
      2. Evaluate Cut Depth
    7. Adjust and Cut Chair Files
    8. Assemble
      1. Using the Jig
  17. IV. Parametric Transformations
  18. 12. Parametric Design
    1. What are Parameters?
    2. AtFAB’s Parameters
      1. Tool Diameter
      2. Material Thickness
      3. Shape
      4. Module
      5. Dimensions
      6. Details
    3. Designing Parameters
    4. Parametric Case Study: the Cat in Bag ii Table
      1. Functions, Variables, and Limits
    5. Parametric Processing Applets
      1. Installing and Using the Apps
  19. 13. One to Several Table
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
      1. Establish a Program and Dimensions
      2. Select Materials
    3. Parametric Transformation
      1. Parametric Design
    4. Using the One to Several Table App
      1. Set Overall Conditions
      2. Prepare CAD File
    5. Measure & Scale
    6. Create the Partial Prototpye
      1. Prepare File
      2. Prepare Toolpaths
      3. Cut, Assemble, and Evaluate
    7. Adjust and Cut Table
    8. Assemble Table
  20. 14. Open Storage Cabinet
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
      1. Establish a Program and Dimensions
      2. Select Materials
    3. Measure Two Materials
      1. Find TCMAX
      2. Find TDMAX
    4. Parametric Transformation
      1. Using the Open Storage app
      2. Set Overall Conditions
    5. Prepare CAD File
      1. Layout Parts
      2. Prepare for CAM Import
    6. Calculate the Scaling Multiplier
      1. Scale Toolpaths
    7. Create a Partial Prototpye
      1. Prepare File
      2. Prepare Toolpaths
      3. Cut, Assemble, and Evaluate
    8. Adjust Cabinet Files and Prepare for Cutting
      1. Cut Pockets on the Correct Side
    9. Cut Cabinet
    10. Assemble
  21. V. Moving Parts and Large Structures
  22. 15. Poke Credenza
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin
      1. Materials
      2. Patterns and Modifications
      3. What to Draw?
    3. Measure and Scale
    4. Create the Partial Prototpye
      1. Prepare File
      2. Adjust Slots
      3. Prepare Toolpaths
      4. Prepare Toolpaths for Sliding Doors
      5. Cut Sequence
      6. Cut, Assemble, and Evaluate
    5. Adjust and Cut Credenza
      1. Cut on the Correct Side
    6. Assemble
  23. 16. Cellular Screen
    1. About the Design
    2. Before You Begin a Large Project
      1. Materials
      2. Manage Parts
    3. Measure & Scale
      1. Scale CAD file & Test Piece
    4. Partial Prototyping Large Projects
    5. Create the Partial Prototpye
    6. Screen: Multi-Sheet Workflow
      1. Assign toolpaths to each sheet
    7. Cut Screen File and Stage Parts
    8. Assemble the Screen
  24. VI. Resources
  25. A. Design Resources
    1. Design Repositories
    2. Recommended Reading on Design
      1. Design Thinking
      2. Open Design
      3. Parametric Design
      4. Human Factors and Ergonomics
  26. B. Sourcing Materials
    1. Tips
    2. Materials We Like
      1. Plywood and Other Sheet Materials
      2. Coatings & Finishes
      3. Hardware resources
    3. Sheet Materials Beyond Plywood
      1. Engineered Wood Sheeting (MDF & OSB)
      2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
      3. Composites
      4. Acrylic
  27. C. Machining Resources
    1. Bibliography and Recommended Reading on Routing
    2. Tool Vendors
    3. Tool Recommendations
  28. Glossary
  29. Index
  30. About the Authors
  31. Acknowledgments