Make your machine work for you

5. April 2018 15:44

By Leland Thomasset, Taghkanic Woodworking


If you have a nested-based CNC and you're simply using it to make cabinet parts, you’re leaving money on the table. You should be utilizing your machines in unique ways, so that it becomes a profit center.

Consider your CNC as another employee in your shop.  As an employee, the machine needs to contribute to your bottom line. If your employees simply did the job that was required, would you give them a raise or promote them?  Would you even keep them? We all want employees that go above and beyond what we ask them to do, but why would we accept status quo from our CNC?

Start by thinking outside the box – quite literally, the cabinet box, that is. To create more than just typical cabinet parts, you need simplified processes to get more out of your CNC router. By doing other types of projects, you keep your CNC busy throughout the day instead of just when you need the parts cut for the cabinets.  By fully employing your machine, you can secure additional projects that are difficult for others to do. With a little ingenuity and input from others, they will be easy for you to do on your CNC.

When you start working on projects that are not simply flat sheets, you will need to come up with a solution for workpiece holding. For nested-based machines, it’s typical to use a vacuum table to hold materials in place. For smaller parts or mirrored machining, some fixtures have the part screwed from behind. As a suggestion, though, create a pocket in a secondary sheet of material to hold the part precisely where it belongs. For example, if you have a sign that you need to machine and you think the vacuum will not hold it, then you could put a piece of material on the table and make a cut-out for the part to nest into. Then, you place the part into this cut-out. When you do this, you know your part is precisely where it is supposed to be in relation to the work that needs to be cut into it.

Inventive ideas like this will help your CNC do more, be more efficient, and make additional revenue. To learn more, attend “Boundary-pushing with your CNC” during IWF to learn tips and tricks from myself and two other veteran CNC owners.

Come learn more about this topic at the "Boundry - Pushing with Your Nested - Based Router" session at the IWF Education Conference.


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