The Basics of CNC

CNC is an acronym for Computer Numeric Control.  It is defined as “automation of machine tools by means of computers executing pre-programmed sequences of machine control commands.”  The computer part is obvious, the machine is controlled by a computer.  Numeric means simply that the control program is a series of numbers, describing a tool path, … Read more

Setting up to Cut Something

Setting up the Machine There are several steps you need to do each time you start a job on your machine: Place your workpiece on the router table and fasten it down. Set your machine Zero point so it coincides with the G-Code origin point and your work Load the G-Code and do a trial … Read more

G-Code Reference

G-Code Reference This is a section of some of the more common g-codes and their format and meaning.  Note that not all codes are supported by all machines, so please check to see if your machine supports a code before trying to use it.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are many … Read more

Intro to CNC Electronics

  Finally time for some hardcore electronics! The amount of hardware and software available for CNC controllers is pretty extensive. Several companies offer integrates packages that will do all the necessary functions. There are several approaches, the LPT port powered or external motion controller systems which use MACH 3 software, and the Arduino powered systems. … Read more

Homing and Limit Switches

Homing and Homing Electronics So the machine is now up and running, and ready to make some shavings. There are still a few things you need to know about machine operation. You need to learn about homing and what the purpose of it is, and you need to know a bit about co-ordinate work systems. … Read more

GRBL Settings and Calibration

GRBL Settings and Calibration Now that we have GRBL up and running, it’s time to get the settings for GRBL lined up with our machine.  GRBL has a list of internal variables which must be customized for the machinery connected to the controller. These internal settings consist of things like customizing the steps/mm of the … Read more

Grounding, Noise, and Power Filtering

Grounding of your CNC machine is very important, for safety reasons and enhanced reliability.  Unfortunately, most kits on the market completely ignore grounding of the machine.  This can create safety hazards and intermittent interruption of machine operation due to static buildup and electrical noise. Also, since your machine is generally operated in an electrically noisy … Read more

Homing and the Special Position Buttons

    In GRBL Panel, there are two user programmable buttons Special Position 1, and Special Position 2, that are handy for several purposes.  These buttons are programmable to any position on the machine simply by moving the machine to that position, and programming the button to remember the location.  These buttons remember their position … Read more

Installing and Using a Laser Module on your CNC Machine

Introduction A Laser is a worthwhile addition to your CNC Machine.  It allows you to engrave text, images, and enhance CNC carvings by adding borders, hatching, etc.  Lasers can also even be used to cut thin materials (limited), engrave on cloth, do photo engraving, and many other applications.  However, Lasers are inherently dangerous to use, … Read more