HTMAA - Week 5: Computer-Controlled Machining
Week 4 is about computer-controlled machining! Steps:
- Designing the model is the hard part. Inkscape, Rhino, SolidWorks.
- Export DXF of your 2D geometry.
- Bring DXF to PartWorks software in shop computer connected to ShopBot.
- Create tool-paths for all geometry (profile cuts and pocket rasters).
- Pockets are sections that are not cut all the way through.
My project is the first step toward a networked desk. Pockets are etched into the top to embed metal pieces to be used as capacitive touch sensors to trigger various things. A possible connection to IFTTT is considered.
Sketching the project
My MacBook was in the shop, so I was limited to Inkscape for vectors, which was painful and not parametric. That said, the final project fit together very snuggly, so there are hacks you can use to make sure this works. The first one is to use the guides that can be pulled out of each of the rulers on the x and y axis and line them up with the resize guides on the object you're working on.
Chamfering the corners is accomplished by boolean operations, doing a "Difference" operation with 45º rotated rectangles.
Bringing these down to PathWorks is a bit nerve-wracking, but DXF files seem to translate well. It is important to align the x and y axis appropriately because the ShopBot x and y are not aligned as you might expect. Here is an error where paths aren't closed. PathWorks will alert you to these and potentially ignore paths it doesn't think should be included.
Once the pathworks toolpaths are created, in the order that makes sense (i.e. you don't want to cut the outsides before the insides because the tool may shift the piece it is trying to cut), the file is brought to the ShopBot software. You don't get to see a visual representation once in the ShopBot.
Hitting the blue reset button is the solution when you have an error with one of the inputs flashing. This will not reset any of the software settings. Just the hardware.