Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Tell Me What You Wanna Cut

CNC Cutting Service is new to local customer. In almost all cases, guiding the customers to provide information to fulfil his/her needs is a must.

Obviously, saying "YOU DESIGN, I CUT" is not even close to enough information...

Similarly, "I want a cabinet", "I want a chassis", "I want a box" are not specific enough too...

In this article, I will go through what I find helpful to a meaningful transaction.

All I really need is a clear idea of what you are after.

These tips may seem pretty basic but they can save you time, and money.

  • Send something in writing:  Email, or Letter is fine, or just Email an image.
  • Don't spend to much time on plans to start with, a quick sketch or photo of what you are really after plus if needed a chat on the phone will cover most thing.
  • It's better to get a rough sketch to us sooner than a fine drawing later.
  • If you want simple shapes like circles, rectangles, triangles or quadrants, a simple list with radius or diameter and the thickness plus quantities.
  • In a perfect world we like longer lists on an excel sheet with each dimension in a separate cell. If you don't know what I'm on about ignore this.
  • prefer sizes in millimeters but if you happier with inches or centimeters please state which. We just need to understand what you want. 
  • If you can send a CAD drawings or vectored files please do.
  • If possible put all parts, and instructions on a single file.
  • If your not a CAD person don't worry we can still read Bits of paper,  Word Doc's, PDF's, JPGS, Spreadsheets, etc. 

    Tips to sending CAD files for CNC routing machining

    • Importing from Apple Mac vectorworks can still cause problems but it is very rare
    • It's always a good idea to also send a PDF file so we can check against the CAD file, which can sometimes be corrupted when converting to our CAD/CAM software.
    • Intersecting curves, and lines need to connect.
    • Lines on top of each other can cause problems.
    • We can sort these things out but if their are a lot of curves or shapes it can be very time consuming.
    • Scale should be 1 - 1 full size. Not vital but a good idea.
    • We machine from files in millimetres so millimetres are preferred.
    • Polylines with thicknesses should be set to thickness zero.

    2D Files

    • All the parts on a single of CAD file grouped in material, and thicknesses.
    • If we have 20 or 30 individual files to handle it's harder to get an over view for quoting, and key file can be missed.
    • Notes, and details on the file are very useful. Files can be loaded on different computers stations, and emails, and note become separated.
    • Using layers for groove depths board thicknesses different hole sizes an be very useful.
    • Early version of DXF, and DWG are can be more reliable than the latest version.
    • When we transfer data via DXF we will use version 13 or 2000 if possible.
    • We find DWG slightly more stable than DXF.
    • If you have a 3D model it is always useful for getting an over view.
    • It can take time to convert a 3D file into a 2D file so send the 2D file as well.

    3D Files

    • We Machine with V-Carve Pro & AutoCad for preparation
    • We can take most 3D Solid and Surface files.
    • Mesh files like STL can loose definition when the parts are large.
    • An indication of the block size is always useful.

    Tips for Adobe Illistrator users sending files for CNC Routing.

    • If you can send the file as PDF as well it can be a great help.
    • Files can sometimes change when tranfered to other programs. PDF's give us a visual double check.
    • It's a good idea to put scale reference like a 500mm square with a dimension on the file with free flowing shapes. Some time's the scale will change when changing from Illustrator to CAD.
    • We can import Adode Illustrator so machining directly from your files is possible.
    • If you want text machined explode the fonts to turn them in to graphics. If you send text as fonts, and we don't have your font a different one will be substituted, and your elegant font can come out as Helvetica. Again a PDF can give us a quick double check.
    • Send the your file as an Adobe Illustrator file not as a DXF.
    If you use Illustrator to convert to DXF curves can be broken into small steps that take up a lot of space, and lose accuracy.

    Examples of files for CNC routing

    • We like all the information on a single file.
    • Some times the file becomes separated from the Email.
    • From starting to writing the CNC machining program takes just a few minutes.
    • This saves time, helps prevent error's, and keeps setup cost to a minimum.

    This example shows material, holes numbers with detail, and a couple of dimensions.

    This job was more complex but the principle is the same.

    CAD drawing of parts for a 10 metre boardroom table

    We grouped the different thicknesses of MDF in to boxes.
    The 12mm MDF (bottom left) was used a templates for the veneer.
    The narrow strips are templates for the Hardwood edging. (top centre 25mm box)
    25mm parts are machined upside down with work top key hole cut outs.
    This may seem a bit chaotic

    I sincerely hope that the above information is helpful to you like they are useful to me.

    Any comments are welcome. Please feel free to comment. Need your comment to horn my communication skill.

    Pleas Please Please!


    1 comment:

    1. spelling salah for please its suppose to be please not pleas