So, a lot of people assume CNC machining is easy. All I have to do is feed a Jpeg into my computer and a part pops out of the machine a few minutes later. I wish it was that simple. I have done this before on another forum, and thought it might be interesting to do here also.
Here is what I have to do to make a 'simple' box for a saber (you should all know which saber by now).
First, I need to create the 3D model in my modelling program and export it as an .iges file for the CAM program.
Then I import the 3D model into the CAM program and program the first operation.
Then I gather the tools I will need for this operation.
Before I can cut, I have to set up the part blank in the vice and set up my coordinate system of the blank.
After the first tool is done, this is what I have - the top is faced, the outside is profiled and the inner cavity is roughed out.
Then I use a 1/8" endmill to make the corner radii inside the box tighter.
Now I go back to the CAM program to program the second operation.
Gather tools again.
Reset the coordinate system after flipping the part over.
Face the bottom flat so the part height is correct.
Yup, back to the CAM to program the third operation.
Gather the tools for the third operation.
Set up the coordinate system from the finished profile of the box.
Mill the bottom features.
Back to the CAM again to program the fourth operation.
Gather tools for this operation.
Setup the coordinate system for this side of the box.
Mill slots and pocket.
Center drill the two holes.
Drill the two holes.
Tap the two holes (by hand with a tap handle held in the quill).
Did I mention those are .0469" diameter holes and a 0-80 tap?
Back to the CAM a final time to program the bottom radius.
Gather the tools for this operation.
Setup the coordinate system for the bottom of the box.
Mill the radius.
And there you have one box finished.
Just lather, rinse, repeat.
Bear in mind. I do not redo every single step for each part. I setup one operation and run all the parts before I advance to the next operation.
Oh, and for these keeping score, I did not break a single tap in doing all 118 holes.
Simple as pie, huh?