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Old 04-24-2013, 01:39 PM
de5 de5 is offline
Cobra Owner
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Honea Path, SC
Posts: 917

Here's the best advice I've ever received, and it came from Johnny CNC:

"Home the machine, then turn off your local zeros by typing G92 and hitting Enter.
Move to a location that has no fixtures someplace near the homing corner if possible. I'd make it on whole numbers on X and Y, something like X2Y2.
Put in a 1/4" endmill, disable your soft limits and drill a hole a half inch into your spoilboard.
Record the location you drilled the hole at.
From now on, you can always check to see if the homing switches are screwing you up by moving back to the XY location and see if you can lower your tool directly into the hole you drilled."

If your machine isn't homing consistently, you want to know it at the very beginning...before you start using home positions to machine fixtures. If "HOME" changes slightly every time you initialize the machine, you're never going to get repeatable results. Thanks again Johnny!
Charlie Hind
Cobra 404 ATC with 12 tool positions & 4th Axis (2012-present)
(2006-2012 - K2 CNC... sold in 2012 to buy the Cobra)
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:31 PM
Joey Jarrard's Avatar
Joey Jarrard Joey Jarrard is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Calhoun, GA
Posts: 3,205

I have a few!!
  1. Buy a yellow cnc
  2. Buy one you can grow with as growth with a CNC is going to happen
  3. Oil your rails and bearings
  4. Always check to see if the spindle is on before you grab it
  5. if you have a sports car you buy good tires, so buy good bits it does make a diffrence
  6. If you have a issue call Luke, Sorry dude had to put that in
  7. Always know that no matter how bad you screwed up McGrew did it first & that Mick does not ever sleep
Joey Jarrard

US Router Tools
888-720-TOOL (8665)
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:33 PM
anix396 anix396 is offline
CAMhead Legend
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 194

Johnny for sure!!!
Al Nix
Stinger III, FTC, 8"Z
1.7 KW Spindle, Laser
WINCNC, Aspire
40W GCC Laser
Wide Format printer, cutter & Laminator
Adel, GA
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:33 PM
Joey Jarrard's Avatar
Joey Jarrard Joey Jarrard is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Calhoun, GA
Posts: 3,205

Oh yeah if you get advice from a guy that has the last name of CNC (Johnny) you can take that to the bank, it is good!
Joey Jarrard

US Router Tools
888-720-TOOL (8665)
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:02 PM
eandico eandico is offline
CAMaster Owner
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,281

Make sure the power is on.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:34 PM
ChrisAlb ChrisAlb is offline
Stinger Owner
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Killeen, TX
Posts: 152

A few more to add to the list....

1) Review all the design software training videos while you are waiting for your yellow machine. When done, review them again. You will be glad you did.

2) Become an active viewer of the CAMheads CNC forum and soak up as much ‘stuff’ as you can about your machine and its capabilities.

3) Visit other CNC related forums (Vectric, CNCZone,SawMillCreek, etc.) to see what others are doing with their CNC’s.

4) Explore the multiple methods of material hold down so you have the right one in your hip pocket when you need it.

5) Learn from the mistakes that you and others make. Wood is expensive…….

6) Use common sense and be safe. If you are uncomfortable with something you are about ready to do, stop and think it over. Find another method you are comfortable with to accomplish the task.

7) Understand what each bit is capable of and use the right bit for the right job.

8) Review bit ‘feed and speed’ data as necessary to avoid ruining a bit or to get the most out of them.

9) ‘Try’ to keep your CNC work area clean. This includes the CNC machine itself.

10) Have fun……..
Chris Albright

Stinger SR23, Porter Cable 2.25 hp
Vacuum Table
Z-Plate / Laser
Aspire 8.5
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:40 PM
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JohnnyCNC JohnnyCNC is offline
Camaster Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,148
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Great tips guys. Chris, 10 good ones.

I think this is a great thread for entry level operators/owners and for the rest of us too. It never hurts to take a step back, humble yourself and read what others are suggesting.

I do it all the time. I try to learn from all of you here.

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:49 PM
Gary Campbell's Avatar
Gary Campbell Gary Campbell is offline
CAMaster friend
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Marquette, MI USA
Posts: 2,854

My top 6:
1) Backup Machine Setting and OS files often!
2) Verify your X,Y and Z axis locations by moving to those locations after the zeroing is complete. (and prior to running a cutting file)
3) Do not accept "default" tool settings in CAM software as being appropriate for your cutting.
4) Test (experiment) with new combinations of bits, materials prior to cutting your files. Best edge quality, and often bit life, is often obtained by increased feed rates and reduction of RPM. Find the "sweet spot" for your combination with your eyes and ears.
5) Develop a system to "check" each and every parameter when toolpathing a design. Learn how each affects the cutting operation.
6) Follow maintenance recommendations.

A few more: When troubleshooting problems.... Assume that:
The spoilboard is NOT flat
The XY, & Z zero's were NOT properly set
The bit was NOT the diameter that was used for toolpath operations
A V Bit was NOT the angle that was used for toolpath operations
The material was NOT held properly
(add a few more for good measure)
Make your best (or most logical) guess at a solution. You should be correct or at least very close. As you gain experience you will learn methods to check for operator errors, usually of omission. Take nothing that was done for granted. These will become second nature with time.
Gary Campbell
CNC Technology and Training
The Ultimate Woodworking Machine

"There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary logic, and those who don't"
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:57 AM
David Flake David Flake is offline
Stinger III Owner
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chickamauga GA
Posts: 102

Do not attach your vacum hose next to your laser wire. Because the hose clamp can catch the laser wire and rip it out.
Fair Winds and Following Seas

David Flake
Chickamauga GA

Stinger 3 with Recoil
Aspire 4.0 and PhotoVCarve
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