For my midterm project I really wanted to create something big using the CNC. Go big or go home! I wanted to create some sort of furniture- a shelf, a table, or a bench but I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to make. I thought it would be a great time for me to learn joinery also since my previous dovetail project did not work out so well-which I am still planning on redoing but I don’t think it is a good joint for the type of furniture I want. I also accidentally bought 1 inch birch plywood which I later realized was mega strong, sturdy, thick, and heavy to carry! So I looked on Pinterest and found this cool chair.
I was sitting in the shop, having a hard time picturing this 3D chair object into 2D pieces in Vectorworks for the CNC when Chester suggested that I use the 3D program Rhino to better help me picture the 2D breakdown of the parts needed for my chair design. It turns out that it was really great! I was able to design my chair in 3D, and better visualize how the parts would be broken down. I want to practice using it more as I think it is a good tool for me. Because the mill bed is only inches long, I cut my 1 inch birch plywood sheet into 2 using the saw. Since I don’t really have experience using the CNC, I have a hard time understanding how much space is necessary to leave between parts in CAD. Chester helped me to space out my parts in Rhino so that there is just enough room for each part to be milled while saving as much material as possible as to not waste any of the expensive wood. While doing so however, we saw that there wasn’t enough room for all my parts to fit, and that I needed to use my second half of my sheet of wood to mill the last few parts.
A The job produced many of these loose strands that I removed a few times while it was milling.
What I learned:
- Milling furniture, or at least wood that is 1 inch thick takes a hell of a lot of time! My job took over 7 hours to complete (first half about 5, second half about 2)!
- Having my own screws and bits makes a big difference- most of our screws in the shop are shot, and we don’t really have a screwdriver bit- only a part of an actual screwdriver. Also, the length of the screw makes a difference- it must be long enough to go through the wood I am cutting and the wooden mill bed below it, but not too long that its longer than the length of the wood I am cutting plus the bed because or else it will stick up, risking my mill bit to knock into it. Thus having different screw sizes is very beneficial
- Drilling the screws into the wood into the CNC mill bed is best done very slowly as to not break the top of the phillips head
- Raising the in the Mastercam settings is very helpful so that the mill bit does not drag across the wood when moving to mill a different area of the wood. Better to be safe than sorry!
- When doing a big CNC job, and when I want to pause, I need to remember to raise the Z-axis before resuming so that the milll bit spins above the wood before cutting- I just assumed the mill would raise itself before resuming the job but it doesn’t! It needs to be done manually