Introduction to CNC
This conversation, triggered by a simple open question, amounts to a nice overview of the decisions and experiences involved in transitioning a shop to CNC production. October 20, 2013

Shopping for a CNC for the Small Shop
CNC for the small shop has come a long way in recent years, as this conversation demonstrates. There are many excellent options on the market, and many factors to consider. January 3, 2012

Two Workers on One CNC?
Is two men on a CNC machine one man too many? Here's a long, informative discussion on improving labor productivity with CNC equipment. October 25, 2007

Post-Processor Runs Amuck While Tracing Fonts
When you CNC draws crop circles while trying to cut out sign lettering, you know you've got troubles. Here, pros do some detective work and zero in on the buggy code. November 10, 2006

Troubleshooting CNC Crash Issues
This thread never gets to the bottom of the problem, but the conversation about why a CNC is repeatedly crashing does shed a lot of light on programming and mechanical issues with CNC control.May 26, 2011

Linking Spindle RPM to Travel Speed
CNC owners discuss the feasibility of tweaking their control systems to couple bit speed with gantry travel velocity. July 16, 2008

Hand-Coding G Code for a Curved Handrail
Lacking software to automate the job, a CNC operator wrote the code for a complex handrail job on a 5-axis CNC router himself. Here's an extended discussion, with photos, including input from people who prefer the automated route. July 29, 2012

Is a Drill Block Worth It on a CNC Machine?
Including a drilling capability on the CNC can save time and reduce material handling requirements. But depending on your volume, it might not be a cost-effective choice. October 26, 2011

Will Cnc Get Me Out Of The Woods?

CAD-to-Production Options
Some insights into the ever-changing world of drafting and machining software integration as of Spring, 2007. October 3, 2007

Capabilities of a Point-to-Point Router
If you're buying older used equipment, be aware of its limitations and its condition. August 17, 2006

CNC tooling: What's the best?
Solving the problems of worn-out router bits and torn-out melamine. January 3, 2001

Adding a Rotary Indexer to a CNC Router
Detailed thoughts on installing a "fourth axis," similar to a lathe, onto a CNC, to hold and rotate blanks for machining complex pieces. June 29, 2007

Software and Learning Curves for CNC Carving
Finding the carving software is the easy part. Understanding its power and its limitations takes time. January 25, 2013

"Dovetail" Drawer-Box Joinery on a CNC
Strictly speaking, this joint may not be a true dovetail. But it functions the same way, and can be efficiently cut as nested parts on CNC equipment. May 7, 2007

CNC Safety Choice: Pressure Mat or Laser Sensors?
CNC owners weigh the pros and cons of various operator safety shutoff systems. January 4, 2014

Choosing CAD/CAM for Complex Carved Custom Furniture
What programs could handle the drawing and machine control requirements for reproducing an intricate, highly decorated, hand-carved piece of custom furniture? April 19, 2011

Pod and Rail Versus Flat-Table CNC Routers
A long and thoughtful look at what flavor of CNC will best suit a particular woodshop's needs. December 8, 2010

Troubleshooting Hinge Hole Blowout
CNC owners try to help a colleague with a quality problem: blown-out hinge holes. March 12, 2015

Optimizing CNC Joinery for Assembly Productivity
Matching your joinery and assembly methods to your equipment can simplify your operations and boost efficiency. March 12, 2015

Shopping for CNC
A woodworker gets advice on how best to "try before you buy." September 27, 2009

Chip Load and Tool Diameter
Experts and operators discuss the relationship between bit size, chip load, RPMs, and feed speed when machining various materials on a CNC router. August 29, 2006

Maximizing Efficiency with CNC Cabinet Production
A CNC-equipped cabinetmaker explains how he squeezes the most productive value out of his equipment. September 8, 2007

CNC Or Vertical Panel Saw

Standard Layer Setups in AutoCAD
A consistent SOP for organizing the layers in your CAD files can help keep your work organized. Here, several pros show how they routinely manage layers. January 14, 2008

Coding Curves along the Z-Axis on a CNC
Three-dimensional coding is a special challenge. Here, CNC owners discuss how to achieve curves along the third dimension. October 26, 2013

Life Expectancy of Bearings in Spindles
Here is a long discussion of CNC spindle life, cooling methods, and maintenance. February 17, 2012

CNC Router Productivity
Shop owners evaluate the productivity advantage of CNC equipment, and discuss ways to adapt shop methods and processes to the machine's capabilities. October 2, 2007

Melamine Tooling Issue: Grooves Worn Where Tool Contacts Paper
New scratch-resistant melamine facings have created a localized wear problem in tools used to cut the material. Here's an extended discussion. January 19, 2011

Boosting Air Pressure at the CNC router
A discussion of various solutions for a localized problem with occasional drops in pneumatic pressure. June 17, 2009

Chinese Plywood
Cabinetmakers complain about the quality of hardwood plywood imported from China. April 13, 2012

Edge Quality Issues with CNC Nested-Based Router Cuts
Here's a look at the quality-control problem of fuzzy cut edges in panels cut by a CNC router. December 3, 2010

Compensating for Material Thickness Variations
Thickness differences between pieces can cause trouble when machining parts out of sheet goods. But a savvy operator can work around the problem. August 29, 2006

Vacuum Pump Performance, Pump Size, and Altitude
Here's some in-depth and thoughtful discussion of vacuum pump capacity and the factors that influence pump effectiveness. January 7, 2010

What Opportunities Does a CNC Router Open Up?
A shop owner who is considering an entry-level CNC investment learns about how the machine's versatility might help his business diversify. May 15, 2014

Shop-Built Vacuum Pod Solutions
Here's a detailed discussion of making your own vacuum hold-down pods, with a side discussion on laser positioning and router control. February 19, 2013

Engraving a Book Cover in Wood: CNC or Laser?
A very unusual project proposal (thousands of book covers engraved in plywood) leads into a discussion of laser engraving versus CNC engraving. August 16, 2012

Sharpening Technology and Methods for CNC Tooling
Sharpening spiral cutters for CNC equipment is a very complex undertaking. Here is a detailed discussion with full explanations.July 29, 2012

Improving Bit Life and Performance Cutting Melamine on the CNC
This discussion of bit choices and characteristics also delves into how you can fine-tune your operational settings to suit the machine as well as the material and the tooling. March 13, 2014

Aerotech Router Bit Wear & Tear
Is the Aerotech dust-vacuum CNC attachment heavy enough to increase spindle wear? January 2, 2012

CAM Toolpaths for Sweeping Out a Bowl Shape
A CNC operator gets advice on programming his machine to scoop out a bowl in a butcher-block top. August 3, 2009

Hold-Down Solutions for Cutting Small Circular Parts
Here are some creative approaches to holding down the work when cutting out a multitude of small circles on the CNC. August 16, 2009

CNC Router Bits for Solid Wood
If the operation heats up the bits, high speed steel may last as long as carbide. December 2, 2011

Importance Of Aggregate Applications

Maintaining the Direction of Routs on Mirrored Parts
Here's a discussion of the control code that can prevent a CNC controller from introducing climb cuts where you don't want them when cutting out mirrored parts. December 31, 2012

CNC for Veneer Marquetry
Is there CNC equipment that can do fine work with very thin veneer stock? Here's an in-depth discussion. January 3, 2012

Parametric Programming Versus CAD and CAM Toolpath Creation
A request for help in defining a shape mathematically for machine code leads into a discussion of situations where hand-coding and math are better than working in higher-level drawing and toolpath programs. February 19, 2013

Two CNCs, or One CNC Paired with a Beam Saw?
Your machinery choice depends on what you're making. Here are some thoughts about the options. March 22, 2013

Understanding Vacuum Hold-Down
When shopping for a vacuum pump for a CNC, it's helpful to know how vacuum works. February 13, 2009

Machining Matching Male and Female Ellipses
There's many a slip twixt the cup and the ellipse. Here's a long and informative thread on the problem created when trying to program CNC equipment to cut two similar ellipse shapes of slightly different sizes. October 12, 2007

Using DXF Files as CNC Control Input
The latest generation of CNC control software can accept some AutoCAD-generated DXF-format files directly and use them to cut parts, without the need for secondary processing by a post-processor. January 27, 2008

Buying Second-Hand CNC Equipment
People who have been there and done that describe the trouble they've been through with used CNC gear and the payoff. March 21, 2006

Help Needed. Electrical Issue On My CNT

Drafting Spirals in AutoCAD LT
An early learner's question about AutoCAD LT: how to approach the problem of drafting a three-dimensional spiral shape. July 29, 2012

Creating a Custom Stair Handrail Volute
Advanced discussion of how to draw and machine a one-of-a-kind volute. June 17, 2009

Vacuum Techniques for Holding Hardwood Parts
Here's a collection of power-user tips for setting up your vacuum table to hardwood stock down to the CNC table when machining. October 16, 2012

Tips for Cutting Acrylic Parts on the CNC
Detailed, specific advice and explanations for cutting sheet acrylic on CNC equipment. April 21, 2011

Customized Vacuum Setups for Small Parts
This long thread offers detailed suggestions for holding down small parts on the CNC machine. January 14, 2008

Converting Splines to Lines and Arcs
CNC control software can understand lines and arcs, but not splines. Here's advice on how to convert information into useable form. June 28, 2010

Troubleshooting a Tool-Change Software Hang
Manually changing a tool can make some CNC machines stop working because of a software issue. Here's how to troubleshoot and fix. March 4, 2009

Tooling for Shaping Solid Wood Panel Edges on the CNC
A CNC owner gets advice on tool selection and CNC operation for profiling the curved edges of a 2.5-inch-thick solid wood countertop.March 13, 2014

Increasing Automation In A Small-medium Shop

Is a Vacuum Bed Necessary?
CNC owners discuss the types of work that benefit from vacuum-table equipment, and describe other methods for holding parts down. November 8, 2007

The Importance of Tuning Up CNC Equipment
Low end or high end machines, performance and accuracy depend largely on "polishing" the setup. December 10, 2007

Speeding Up Production Cutting Plywood Parts
Thoughts on ways to make production faster on a CNC and on the limits to that. June 22, 2010

CNC-Routing Aluminum
Advice on material selection, tooling up and operating technique for cutting aluminum on CNC equipment. June 26, 2006

Hold-Down Problems with Small, Thin, Porous Parts
CNC pros suggest a range of solutions for holding down small parts during machining. August 3, 2009

Buying CNC Equipment for Woodcarving
A woodworker gets advice on the pitfalls awaiting the unwary buyer of CNC gear. July 21, 2006

Estimating and Measuring Tool Deflection
Troubleshooting slop in the cut, a CNC owner wonders: How much do toolbits actually bend? Hey. You do the math. February 19, 2013

Making the Best of an Underpowered Vacuum
A better vacuum pump isn't in the budget, so a CNC owner asks for advice on improving hold-down performance with spoilboard improvements and other workarounds. November 5, 2013

Compression Cutters And Slight Step At Bottom Of Cut

Shopping for a New CNC
Think carefully about what capabilities you do and don't need, and take a close look at the vendor's tech support system. October 13, 2008

Troubleshooting "Banana Cut" Problems with Melamine
Humidity issues cause some panels to curve or bow when cut. Here, CNC operators discuss possible solutions. December 6, 2006

Shopping for Entry-Level CNC Equipment
Advice on finding good CNC machinery for a small shop at an entry-level price point. January 14, 2009

CNC Efficiency Versus Other Machinery
Will a CNC speed up your operation? That depends in part on what you're producing. July 8, 2014

Hold-Down Problems with Small Parts and Pre-Finished Plywood
Troubleshooting difficulties keeping small parts still while cutting pre-finished plywood. March 26, 2009

Holding Down Solid Wood Parts on a CNC Router Table
Holding small pieces down with a CNC vacuum table is one of the trickiest aspects of CNC work. Here is some detailed advice. May 7, 2007

Tool Control Tolerances for Routing a Hole
CNC pros try to figure out why a CNC router is making lockset holes out of round. The culprit may be a problem with tool compensation in the lead-in and lead-out routine. September 24, 2006

Is CNC Phone Support Free?
CNC manufacturers are typically generous with phone support, but tough economic times may threaten that. August 3, 2009

Doweling on a Point-to-Point CNC
CNC routers can be tweaked for accurate dowel boring, but a dedicated boring machine is a better way to go. August 8, 2008

Dedicated and Gasketed Spoilboards
Advice on spoilboard refinements for holding down small parts during CNC machining operations. August 17, 2006

Line Boring Efficiency and CNC Equipment Speeds
Is a faster or heavier machine really worth it for boring lots of holes? February 19, 2013

CNC Bit Life in Baltic Birch
Baltic birch plywood has hard glue lines and is rough on CNC tooling. Here's a multitude of advice on appropriate tooling and techniques that could help your bits last longer. June 30, 2007

Understanding CNC Vacuum Needs
Detailed info on how vacuum equipment works, how much you need, and why. May 28, 2010

Router Bit Accuracy
Router bit dimension variations may be one limit on CNC machining accuracy. Here are thoughts on why bits may not be consistent sizes, and what operators can or should do to compensate. May 27, 2008

HPL Inlay Production Tips
This thread on routing inlay patterns in high-pressure laminate includes a good lesson about Cutter Radius Compensation, which lets the operator make allowances for tool wear without re-coding the program. October 3, 2011

Routing Deeper than a Tool's Allowed "Usable Length"
Creative programming lets a CNC user rout progressively deeper into thick material, working around software restrictions on a given tool's maximum depth of cut. August 29, 2006

Troubleshooting Router Errors -- Hardware or Software?
A CNC tech thought his machine's bad behavior was caused by mechanical adjustment problems, but it turned out to be bad numbers in the controller. Lesson learned. April 10, 2008

Panel Positioning for Machining on Both Faces
Advice on maintaining precision when machining both faces of panel stock on a CNC router. April 17, 2009

CNC Productivity and the Purchasing Decision
A discussion of machine output versus shop needs, the outsourcing option, and the planning and preparation recommended before purchasing a CNC router. August 29, 2006

Remote Control Cutoff for CNC Equipment
Ideas for solving a unique problem: shutting off a CNC router while programming and observing the machine remotely. August 21, 2006

Building Your Own CNC Controller
Thoughts on the hardware and software challenges involved in custom-building a controller for an older CNC machine. March 28, 2015

Upgrading the Controller on an Older CNC Device
It's hard to upgrade old equipment to a new computer, but here are some suggested workarounds for getting the most out of an outmoded setup. January 4, 2014

Should a Small Cabinet Shop Switch to CNC Equipment?
Do too many people invest in CNC routers for emotional reasons, asks a small shop owner? In response, CNC users try to zero in on a rational basis for the choice. November 25, 2005

Is A One Man Shop Wasting Time With CNC

Screwing Down a Spoilboard
Here's a detailed discussion of whether, and how, to screw a spoilboard down to a phenolic CNC table when vacuum isn't doing the job. November 27, 2012

Diamond Tooling Versus Carbide
Diamond bits are not best for every situation. Among other factors, they usually require slower feed rates. January 2, 2012

Scarf Joinery on a CNC Router
CNC pros show how they machine scarf joints for continuous pieces like stair stringers and yacht hull planking. December 27, 2008

Spoilboard Material and Vacuum Strength
Variability in MDF material may result in problems with consistent vacuum hold-down. Here's advice on how to compensate. September 8, 2007

CNC-Based Workflow Concepts
A shop owner who's investing in a new CNC router gets advice on re-organizing the rest of his shop to take best advantage of the new equipment. March 28, 2010

CNC Collet and Chuck Choices
CNC pros compare the advantages of different tool-gripping technology. November 26, 2007

Measuring Resharpened Tools
Tips and tricks for finding the true measurements of CNC cutter bits after sharpening. December 6, 2006

Improving Spoilboard Vacuum
Advice on ways to improve your spoilboard for better vacuum and better hold-down of parts. January 7, 2010

CNC Rated Horsepower and Real Capacity
Here's a good discussion of what horsepower ratings mean in the real world. January 2, 2012

Hold-Down Problem when Profiling MDF Panels
MDF panels may bow or warp when large amounts of skin are removed from one face. Here's how to deal with the problem. June 5, 2006

Exporting CAD Files for a CNC Controller
Creating CAD files that a CNC controller will recognize can be a very complex puzzle. Here's one example, with a few lessons learned. June 30, 2007

CAD/CAM Basics for Beginners
Here's a rudimentary explanation of how CAD/CAM processes work, for the benefit of a furniture designer who wants his design produced on a CNC device. March 28, 2010

Programming CNC Equipment from Templates
Advice on "teaching" a CNC to cut out the shape that corresponds to a site-made countertop template. July 29, 2007

Whether to Buy A Larger-Table CNC
Small table sizes can be limiting. Here, CNC owners offer various reasons for investing in a 5x12 table. March 4, 2009

How to Machine Trapezoidal 3D Chair Feet
Suggestions for how a simple three-dimensional shape can be fabricated in quantity from wood. February 1, 2015

Long X And Short Y Axis On CNC

Troubleshooting Bit Breakage in Hardwood
Pros investigate a bit breakage problem. This time, it seems the downshear bit was packing chips into the work. June 17, 2009

Troubleshooting a Sticky Tool Holder
CNC pros try to find the source of a tool-changing problem. March 25, 2007

Giving Vendors Feedback
A discussion of whether and when to tell tooling vendors that you found a better price elsewhere. September 8, 2007

Phase Converter for CNC Equipment
Advice on power conversion equipment for powering a CNC router. October 9, 2006

Climb Cutting Versus Conventional Cutting
Here's a close look at the difference between climb-cutting and conventional cutting on the CNC, with explanations of how each method affects the quality of cut. October 3, 2011

Getting to Know Aggregate Tools
A newcomer to CNC asks for a basic explanation of what aggregates are and how they work and gets one. April 10, 2008

Exporting CAD-Drawn Curves to CNC Software
Considerations on the problem of getting CNC software to understand curved paths (ellipses, splines, arcs, and so forth). July 29, 2007

Purchasing a CNC Router: New Versus Used
CNC users debate the pros and cons of investing in used machines. December 10, 2007

Suitable Bits for Cutting Thick Solid Hardwood
High speed steel (HSS) outperforms carbide in solid wood because of heat issues. But HSS is getting hard to find. How about a carbide spiral fluted hogger instead? January 3, 2012

Blind Dado Versus Confirmat Construction with a Nested-Base CNC Setup
Cabinetmakers describe their experiences with different assembly methods in CNC cabinet production. December 10, 2007

Using Algebra Functions in CNC Woodworking
A discussion of how algebraic functions can be useful in CNC work, along with some specific mathematical code expressions. June 17, 2009

CNC Real World Accuracy
What are realistic practical targets for CNC machining precision and consistency? September 27, 2009

Spindle Fan Failure Headaches
Spindle cooling fans can be a weak point on CNC equipment, causing expensive and time-consuming breakdowns. Here, pros commiserate and offer advice. January 27, 2008

Troubleshooting a "Lip" on the Finish Cut after Onion-Skinning
A CNC owner learns how to get a clean cut on his final pass with onion-skin cutting of parts. March 28, 2010

CNC Design and Control Software for Boat Interiors
Advice on using Rhino software for curved work on boats (particularly the interiors). October 19, 2014

Through Drilling on PTP or CNC Equipment
Advice on clean hole-drilling for panels that will be exposed on both faces. June 29, 2009

Cutting Sheet Aluminum on a CNC Router
Aluminum plate can be machined on CNC equipment designed for wood. Here, pros discuss the considerations involved (and the alternatives). March 21, 2006

CNC Circle-Cutting Accuracy in Solid Wood
CNC pros help troubleshoot when a CNC router cuts circles that look more like ellipses. August 21, 2006

Basic CNC Setup and Maintenance
Leveling, tuning, and caring for a new CNC. April 21, 2011

Commissioning CNC Equipment
What does it take to get a newly purchased CNC machine up and running? May 14, 2006

What Size CNC Table Should I Have?
Larger tables offer versatility and material savings for a moderate increase in the investment. February 19, 2011

Small parts on P2P
Using a spoilboard to solve problems of no suction with small parts. March 20, 2001

CNC Accuracy - Simple CNC Test Routines
How to run a used CNC through its paces to check on the accuracy and repeatability of its cuts and controls. September 3, 2010

Correcting dowel hole runout
Finding and correcting the cause of dowel hole runout in CNC-machined parts. November 7, 2000

Efficiency of nested-based manufacturing
How much time can be saved? January 16, 2002

Hiring A CNC Tech - Need Advice

Flame-Polishing Acrylic Edges
A router may leave scalloped chatter marks on the edge of acrylic pieces, no matter what bit you choose. But a quickly-applied hot blue flame can leave the edge glass-smooth. June 26, 2006

Equipment to Make Carved Mouldings
Is it worth it to buy a CNC or a specialized carving machine for making egg-and-dart mouldings or other carved moulding details? March 26, 2009

"Climb Cutting" and Bit Rotation
A basic introduction to bit rotation, feed direction, and the meaning of left-handedness and right-handedness in CNC work, with some tips on controlling cutter rotation and feed direction. February 8, 2008

Nested Base Output - Nested Base Router Workflow and Productivity
Advice on organizing the loading, cutting, offloading, and labeling process to maximize the number of sheets processed in a day. February 2, 2011

CNC Shop Fire Risk
Hot bits, sawdust, and vacuum airflow add up to a potential for fire, as these stories attest. September 28, 2009

Two-Flute Versus Four-Flute Bits
Are two flutes or four flutes better in a dowel-boring bit? September 25, 2014

CNC-Machining Curved Parts from Hard Wood
Advice on bit choice, feed speeds, RPMs, and pre-roughing blanks. May 22, 2006

Positive Tech Support Experiences
Mission-critical high-tech CNC gear is as good as the company that backs it up with parts, service, and support. March 26, 2009

Tearing Apart an HSD Spindle for Maintenance
Is it worth doing your own spindle bearing replacements? June 17, 2009

Machinery Dilemma: CNC or Beam Saw?
Which machine is right for a given shop? The answer depends on both the volume and the variability of the work.

Why Use a CNC for Drilling Dowel Holes?
Flexibility, accuracy, and speed the advantages are pretty obvious. August 14, 2007

CNC Spindle Rotation
Here's a discussion of router spindle control and the reasons to use "conventional" or "climb" cutting paths. January 19, 2012

Tabbing Versus Onion-Skinning for Small Parts
CNC owners discuss various strategies for maintaining vacuum while you cut out small parts. October 26, 2013

CNC Decimal-Point Quirk
CNC controllers may occasionally ignore instructions when the numbers do not include a decimal point. March 28, 2008

Routing Through an Edgebanded Edge
Tips and techniques for routing into an edgebanded panel edge without tearing the edgebanding loose. February 17, 2006

Clean Plywood Edge Cuts
Bit choice, feed speed, RPMs, and other factors that affect how cleanly CNC equipment will cut routers. June 5, 2006

Solutions for a Curling Spoilboard
You can flip the spoilboard when it curls and flycut the other side, or you can fasten it down at the perimeter with nylon screws. March 28, 2010

CNC Carving Capabilities
A discussion of custom carving and entry-level CNC equipment. December 14, 2009

CNC Machinery for Solid Wood Joinery Versus Panel Processing
A discussion of CNC machine characteristics as they relate to the type of woodworking being considered. August 3, 2009

Point-to-Point and Beam Saw Versus Nested-Base
A short dialogue on a much-discussed topic about alternatives in cabinet-shop automation. April 17, 2009

Melamine Chipping and Drill Bit Selection
Chipping problems encountered while drilling shelf holes on CNC equipment could be fixed by changing to carbide bits, or could be related to panel quality. March 26, 2009

Selexx CNC

Holding Down Small Parts on a CNC
Making vacuum work: details on gasket, pod, and custom spoilboard techniques for holding small workpieces down on a CNC table. February 1, 2015

Vacuum Capacity, Spoilboards, and Hold-down Effectiveness
A nested CNC owner wonders if his vacuum pump has enough horsepower. Others chime in with observations about spoilboards, gaskets, and assessing vacuum pump performance. February 13, 2006

CAD/CAM Software for Curved CNC Work
This discussion of software for curved CNC work includes some interesting photos of unique examples. January 28, 2009

Spoil Board Thickness
A discussion of the fine points of choosing a spoil board material and thickness. January 19, 2011

Crashing the CNC Machine
Accidents will happen, but damaged CNC tables can be repaired with epoxy, and new pods can be machined on the device. March 1, 2006

Why CNC Routers Crash
CNC owners list the programming errors, operator errors, and other snafus that can crash your CNC router. May 14, 2006

Engraving a 3-D Rope Pattern with a CNC Router
Suggestions and advice for programming a CNC router to carve a circular braided rope pattern. January 28, 2009

Building Your Own CNC Machine
It won't be a top-end machine but if you build one, you'll learn a lot. November 27, 2012

Windows-based CAD on a Macintosh
It's not hard to get Windows and Windows-based programs, including CAD, on a new Macintosh computer. November 23, 2008

CNC Versus Panel Saw Accuracy
CNC equipment has a reputation for superior accuracy. Here, cabinetmakers discuss the reasons it may be so. March 25, 2007

Shop-Rigging a Small Vacuum Table for a Pod-and-Rail CNC
Advice, thoughts, and examples of vacuum-table retrofits for CNC equipment. December 31, 2012

Converting a Point to Point CNC into a Flat Table
Here's a discussion of the practicalities involved in modifying a pod-and-rail point-to-point CNC with the vacuum and spoilboard flat table required for cutting parts out of large sheets of material. December 28, 2010

Reliable Edgebanders

Kerfing Plywood for Bending with a CNC Router
A CNC router can kerf out 3/4-inch plywood to make it bendable, but it takes a little tweaking to get there. August 12, 2007

Tool Change Calibration Methods
From fully automated to eyeball-and-caliper manual adjustment, there's more than one way to get tools dialed in. January 19, 2012

CNC Routing on Thick Hardwood Stock
A CNC operator gets detailed advice on bit selection and machining technique for cutting curves into 1.5-inch thick Walnut for a bar top.July 29, 2012

Backup and Restore Issues with CNC SRAM
Troubleshooting a combined hardware and data transfer issue in a CNC controller chipset. February 28, 2012

Feed Speeds and RPMs for Cuts in Thick Hardwood
Adjusting bit speed and travel may help reduce a screaming sound that happens when machining solid wood on a CNC router. November 26, 2007

Spreadsheet to G-Code?
Yes, there are ways to rig a spreadsheet application to generate simple G-code for controlling CNC equipment. It's an interesting approach, but has practical limitations. May 23, 2007

CNC Routing Chipboard with Two Passes
Here's a discussion of the fine points of onion-skin techniques for cutting small parts. December 2, 2011

V-Grooving in High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Advice on tool choice and toolpaths to cut clean grooves in HDPE material with minimal melting and re-welding problems. August 31, 2009

Vacuum Fixturing - Part 1 of 3
Tom Galzin, a principal of New CNC Router, provides a technical description of vacuum hold-down equipment and explains how it works. (Part One) June 1, 2012

Touching Off Tools: Spoilboard or Material?
CNC owners discuss whether to zero their tools to the spoilboard, or to the material they are machining. July 8, 2014

Getting Initial Vacuum
CNC operator with a spoilboard installed has trouble getting the machine to suck plywood down when first placed for cutting. Pros offer advice. September 24, 2006

CNC Machine Vibration in 3D Path Cutting
Machine controllers may introduce vibration when cutting complex three-dimensional curves. The problem may improve if you lower the acceleration settings. March 12, 2009

Vacuum Sizing Issues
This discussion of vacuum pump needs includes a nice explanation of the principles of vacuum pressure, and some tips on ganging multiple pumps to the same hold-down table. May 4, 2011

Unmanned CNC
Can you safely allow a CNC router to run unattended? August 22, 2013

MDF Spoilboard Effect on Vacuum Performance
Variations in panel porosity can affect the suction through your spoilboard, but other things could also be happening. July 29, 2012

CNC Collet Maintenance and Repair
Collets should not wear out or fail for many years unless something is wrong. Here's advice on keeping the collets in good shape. April 19, 2011

CNC Vacuum Problem
The power you need in a vacuum for hold-down purposes varies depending on your CNC table setup. November 26, 2007

Vacuum Pod Tips
Techniques for achieving good hold-down for machining small parts on CNC equipment. December 6, 2006

CNC-Lathe Hybrids
It's tricky, but yes a four-axis CNC can be rigged to operate as a lathe for detailing cylindrical wood elements. August 3, 2009

Converting Bitmap Images to CNC-Machinable Files
Advice and show-and-tell examples of machining curves when starting with a simple drawing to import. September 15, 2011

Troubleshooting Slipping Router Bits
A thread from the CNC forum discusses the factors that could be causing router bits to slip off the collet on a CNC router. March 21, 2006

Compensating for Bit Shape when Touching Off
When you "touch off" brad point or V-shaped drill bits, but you want the bit to drill all the way through the material, how do you adjust your settings or programs? June 8, 2008

Protecting the Pods During Cuts
Some point-to-point equipment leaves hold-down pods exposed to damage during cutting. Here are ideas for minimizing the problem. February 8, 2008

Making MDF Doors on the CNC
Good quality MDF is one key to success when machining raised-panel door shapes onto MDF. September 18, 2012

Machining PVC Foam with a CNC Router
Advice on feed rates, cutter choice, and RPMs when cutting sheet PVC foam on CNC equipment. March 21, 2006

Hand-Coding to Engage CNC Vacuum
In case the operator forgets to turn on the vacuum, you can code to have the machine do it automatically. November 11, 2006

Hinge holes on a CNC
Boring 35mm hinge holes on a CNC machine. March 20, 2001

Sliding Table Versus Gantry
Pros discuss which type of CNC equipment is better, units with a sliding table or units with a moving gantry. July 21, 2006

Making Your Own Vacuum Pods
Lots of CNC owners have successfully machined or molded their own hold-down pods. Here are some detailed explanations and photos. October 26, 2011

Stringing Together Multiple Controller Macros for Sequenced Operations
Programming tips for creating a main G-code and multiple subroutines to manage a series of different nested operations on one panel after another. March 4, 2009

Troubleshooting Inconsistent Z Axis Cut Depths on a CNC Router
Advice on looking for machine problems that could cause a CNC to lose accuracy and precision on the vertical axis. April 27, 2011

Cutting MDF on a CNC
MDF is rough on bits. Here's a discussion on bit choices and operating techniques. January 13, 2009

CNC Table Size: 4x8 Versus 4x10
CNC shop owners consider the costs and advantages of investing in equipment with a larger table. August 8, 2008

Bit Diameter Auto-Measurement
A CNC owner seeks technology to speed up calibration of his equipment when switching among numerous tools with varying diameters. April 17, 2009

Flush Dowel Joints Using a CNC
Edge doweling accurate enough to allow flush joining of panels edge to edge is problematic on CNC equipment. November 10, 2006

Machining Small Wood Items Without Sanding on the CNC
Can a CNC router make small pieces out of solid wood that don't require sanding for a smooth finish? November 8, 2007

Is a Drill Block Worth the Investment?
CNC owners discuss how a drill block can improve production, and whether that benefit justifies the up-front cost.March 13, 2014

Machining Scallops or Flutes into MDF Panels
With CNC equipment, you can machine any kind of regular or irregular scallops, waves, or flutes into MDF but it can be pricey, and makes a lot of dust. January 26, 2008

Collet Torquing, Collet Maintenance, and Bit Breakage
Fine points relating to collets and bits. June 17, 2009

Sizing CNC Vacuum Pumps
Advice on sizing the vacuum pump to the CNC and its usual tasks. November 24, 2008

Managing Computer Obsolescence with Old CNC Equipment
Microsoft has stopped supporting the Windows XP operating system, but some CNC equipment still relies on it. What are the practical workarounds for machine owners? April 18, 2015

How to Change a Collet
Some collets are unusually sticky and stubborn. Here is how to reason with them. April 30, 2009

Value of Laser Projection Systems
If improved accuracy setting small parts will help you, a laser guide system for your CNC might be a good long-run investment. September 24, 2006

Hoses Failing on A Second-Hand CNC
An incorrect choice of lubricant may have caused hose failure on this previously-owned machine. April 15, 2013

Returning Bad Parts when Having a CNC Machine Repaired
Miscommunication about who is responsible for getting bad parts back to the factory can create issues for CNC owner and manufacturer. January 27, 2008

Routing an Irregular Outline
Woodworkers compare a pin router to a CNC as the device for cutting the outline of a map or other irregular object. February 19, 2013

Spoilboard Resurfacing
Basic spoilboard tips. January 28, 2009

Onion Skinning and Thickness Planing/Sanding
For accuracy and consistency, what's practical and economical: a belt sander, a planer, or a fly-cutter on the CNC? April 21, 2011

Problems Holding Down Thin Sheet Stock
Suggestions for vacuum hold-down solutions when cutting small parts out of thin stock on the CNC router. October 1, 2010

Boring Into Laminate on Plywood
Drilling into laminate-covered plywood poses a special challenge for a CNC router. Here are some tips on bit choice and machine settings. May 27, 2008

Holding Small Cut-Outs in Place
Tiny cut-out pieces created when profiling CNC grill-work can pop out, land on the panel, and cause trouble. Here are some tips on keeping those small pieces in place or controlling where they end up. June 30, 2007

Preventing a Tool Holder from Sticking
Some tool holders stick and make a "popping" sound. The solution: frequent cleaning. December 6, 2006

Purchasing a Five-Axis CNC Machine
Advice on shopping for 5-axis CNC machinery and software. March 1, 2006

Hold-Down and Cooling Problems Cutting Metal
Cooling solutions tend to make the table slippery and interfere with vacuum holding ability. Here are some tips for working with metal on the CNC. April 16, 2009

Cross-Training: Cabinetmaker to CNC Operator/Programmer
An experienced cabinetmaker asks what he needs to learn to get up to speed on CNC equipment. September 28, 2009

How Useful are Zones on a CNC Machine?
An owner shopping for a CNC wonders whether he needs to be able to zone the machine's hold-down and operations capability. March 13, 2014

PVC Machining Tips
Advice on bit choice, speeds, and RPMs for cutting PVC sheet goods with a small, low-powered CNC router. December 8, 2010

Fiddling with the Lead Screw Nut on a Ball-Screw CNC
Long description of troubleshooting and improvised repairs for a worn CNC part. September 15, 2011

Cutting Aluminum on a CNC Router
Basic CNC tips for working with sheet aluminum. December 27, 2006

CNC routing of small parts
How to keep small parts from wandering during machining. January 16, 2001

Speeding Up CNC Feed Rates Around Corners
Advice on how to safely tweak the cutterhead feed speed up when routing corners, to prevent burning. September 27, 2008

CNC Spindle Maintenance and Repair
Careless servicing can cost in terms of equipment life. Here's a useful example and a discussion of smart maintenance practices. April 17, 2009

Vacuum and Spoilboard Issues with Small Plexiglass Pieces
Spoilboard and hold-down suggestions for cutting plastic on the CNC. September 28, 2009

Precision in the Onion-Skin Cleanup Cut Pass
Advice on how to prevent a tiny "lip" from being left on wood edges after the final pass when onion-skinning parts. October 16, 2012

Tooling for Machining Richlite
Advice on CNC tooling that can cope with Richlite, a paper-based fiber composite material. January 21, 2010

Changing Tool Radius Settings in a CNC Controller
Advice on hand-coding some tool settings in a CNC controller. September 27, 2008

Keeping CNC Tables Clean
CNC owners describe onion-skinning, second passes, and other inventive methods to manage dust in router operations. December 8, 2010

Troubleshooting Breakage of Bits
CNC operators help a colleague figure out why his 1/4-inch bits keep breaking in 3/4-inch-thick hardwood. August 29, 2006

Whether to Buy a 5-Axis CNC for Windows and Stairs
Is the versatility of 5-axis equipment worth the extra cost? June 29, 2009

Troubleshooting a Noisy Spindle
CNC router spindles are rebuildable, but the noise problem could have other sources. April 6, 2007

After-Market Tool Holder Parts for CNC Equipment
CNC owners discuss where to find minor accessories for their CNC gear and how to fabricate their own parts from plastic, on the CNC itself. March 3, 2009

Machining Polypropylene on the CNC Without Melting
Cutting polypropylene and similar soft plastics on the CNC is tricky. To avoid melting the plastic, you need the right bits, RPM, and feed speeds. Here is more info. November 29, 2014

Working with Sheet Aluminum on a CNC Router
Advice, tips, and cautions on running aluminum on your CNC equipment. September 27, 2008

Will a Nested CNC Eliminate the Need for a Slider?
Most cabinetmakers agree that a shop with a CNC still needs a table saw sometimes. December 11, 2012

Cutting Flutes Without Burning the Wood
A discussion of tooling choices and cut path adjustments that may help avoid creating burn marks when machining flutes into solid wood. June 17, 2013

Diamond Versus Carbide: Tool Life and Production Trade-Off
Diamond bits last longer, but need to run slower than carbide because of overheating problems. December 2, 2011

Miter-Fold Techniques
A few tips and tricks for effective miter-folding. April 17, 2009

Vacuum Horsepower and Table Size
Rough ideas about vacuum pump sizing and setup for CNC hold-down purposes. April 21, 2011

Vacuum Pump Exhaust Setups
Thoughts on how to exhaust a vacuum pump outside the shop, in order to reduce heat buildup. December 2, 2011

Router Bits Versus Drill Bits for Boring with a CNC Router
It's best to use drill bits for boring holes, especially if you have to bore a lot of them. August 5, 2010

Thrown CNC Tool -- What Happened?
When a tool slips out of the collet while the machine's running, it's dangerous. Here, pros troubleshoot a case. November 26, 2007

Bit Slippage in Tough Material
A CNC owner who's making stair stringers from laminated veneer lumber (LVL) gets advice on good practice for inserting and tightening the bits. September 8, 2007

Two-Head CNC Router Choices
Several suppliers make CNC routers with two independently operating heads and advanced control capabilities. January 14, 2008

Boring Block Bit Set-Up
Advice on setting up a CNC drill bank for good boring performance. October 12, 2007

Buying used CNC and tech support
How much help can you expect from the manufacturer or distributor? January 28, 2002

Avoiding Blowout Cutting Hardwood on CNC
Multiple passes, with climb cutting, seems to do the trick. February 20, 2008

Troubleshooting Fuzzy Cut Edges on Plywood with CNC
Suggestions for programming tricks, climb cutting, bit choices, and sanding attachments for a CNC user who's getting fuzzy edges. August 22, 2013

Limitations of an Older Used CNC Router
A woodworker ponders purchasing some old iron and silicon. June 17, 2009

Feed Rate and Cut Depth for Melamine on the CNC Router
A discussion of CNC settings that work well for machining cabinet parts from 3/4-inch melamine. June 23, 2014

Troubleshooting a Loss of Vacuum
First you need to figure out whether the problem is the pump, or some other issue. July 8, 2014

Replacing a CNC Ball Screw
When a CNC's ball screw fails, you can get an aftermarket part custom-built but is it worth the hassle? June 30, 2007

Calibrating a CNC Spindle
Tips on how to adjust a CNC spindle for accuracy. August 29, 2014

CNC Router or Machining Center?
For complex work on small parts, a pod and rail machine works best. A router table setup is better for cabinet production. But hybrid machines exist that offer the best of both worlds. March 6, 2006

Vacuum Table Pump Options
A description of vacuum pump types and some advice on the limitations of cheap alternatives. June 26, 2006

Tool Compensation

Troubleshooting Fuzzy Edges on CNC-Made Moldings
Advice on reducing surface roughness and fuzz when machining complicated molding details in Poplar. July 15, 2014

When a Spindle Won't Let Go
Tool spindles can be finicky, and sometimes fail to release a tool properly. Here's one example, and a discussion of what could be causing the trouble. January 27, 2008

Cold-Related CNC Air Pressure Problems
Below-freezing temperatures can create problems with pneumatic air supply. June 17, 2009

Securing a Narrow Part to the CNC Table
A CNC operator learns how to hold down the blank for a narrow curved part. June 5, 2006

Smallest Practical Bits for CNC Cutting Work
CNC owners discuss how small a bit can be and still perform cutting tasks well. September 25, 2014

Cutting Stacked Sheets on the CNC
Suggestions for how to hold thin sheets of material down while cutting multiple sheets in one pass. August 24, 2008

Squaring Up Inside Corners of Panel Routs
Advice on machining square inside corners for cut-outs in pre-laminated panels. November 13, 2009

Feed Rates and Speeds for Scribing Metal-and-Plastic Composite
CNC owners offer advice for engraving letters in an unusual composite panel (metal laminated to plastic). December 31, 2012

Troubleshooting Chatter Marks
Imperfect cuts are traced to alignment and bit issues. December 10, 2007

Material Utilization

Aluminum Versus Phenolic CNC Tables
Table material is not a high-priority issue, but here's a look at the pros and cons. March 12, 2015

Simple Radial-Ray Wood Carving Toolpaths
A CNC owner gets tips on creating the toolpaths to reproduce a set of simple sunburst decorative carvings. January 21, 2010

Square Corner Problem with CNC
The owner of a Shoda router with a Fanuc control asks for advice on making true square corners while maintaining fast operation of the equipment. December 31, 2012

CNC Tool Choice to Limit Laminate Chipping
Lots of CNC users experience chipping problems when machining laminated panels. Here's a discussion. June 28, 2010

"Step" or "Jump" Defect on Curves with CNC
CNC owners discuss why curves cut on a CNC router may not be smooth. January 28, 2009

Dealing with CNC Off-Fall
CNCs can rapidly create a huge pile of odd-shaped scrap. Here's how shop owners manage the mess. August 19, 2008

Cutting Sheet Aluminum on the CNC
Advice on bits, cut directions, and lubricating coolant for machining aluminum. September 28, 2009

New CNC User Having Problems

Bit Choice and Dust Control when Cutting MDF
Tips on how to keep dust from packing into the cutlines when machining MDF on a CNC router. February 28, 2012

Do I Need a Five-Axis CNC Router?
A discussion of the rare situations that make 5-axis capabilities a necessity. October 28, 2008

Vacuum Fixturing - Part 2 of 3
Flow and pressure are the key parameters in choosing a vacuum pump for a hold-down system. The two qualities are inversely related. (Part Two of a technical explanation by Tom Galzin of New CNC.) June 1, 2012

Vacuum and Part Size
A question about how to relate vacuum requirements to minimum part size. January 2, 2012

Best Tool Head for Cutting Grooves?
A saw blade or a router bit could give the best results, depending on the situation. December 10, 2007

1/8" Router Bit Feeds and Speeds
The critical factor with a slender bit is depth of cut: too deep, and it will snap. January 2, 2012

Fabricating MDF Doors on the CNC
You can make MDF doors quickly with specialized tooling, or slowly with generic tooling. March 9, 2008

Air Nozzle Control Work-Arounds for CNC Routers
Some CNC control systems have code to switch blower-nozzle air on and off, and some don't. If yours doesn't, a simple hardware tweak might help. July 16, 2008

Finishing Dimpled MDF
A three-dimensional dimpled pattern made on a CNC in MDF needs a metallic finish. It's not going to be easy.

Holding Down 1/4-Inch Materials on a Vacuum Table
Thin panels can be hard to hold down, especially at the edges. Here's some advice. September 3, 2010

Troubleshooting CNC Vacuum Pump Problems
CNC owners discuss a grab bag of possible vacuum pump issues. November 23, 2008

Miter Fold Feed Rates
Tips on grooving MDF with the CNC router for miter fold box corner construction. December 29, 2008

Flat Table Versus Pod and Rail CNC Machines
How to choose the right CNC setup for making furniture parts. February 20, 2011

Uneven Wear on CNC Racks and Gears
Here's a thoughtful look at the causes of various wear patterns on CNC equipment, and appropriate maintenance measures. June 17, 2009

CNC Contour Milling and Bit Breakage
Complex milling with lots of direction changes requires some adjustment of bit speeds in order to keep the cutters cool. August 24, 2008

Making Custom Molds for Storing Objects
Thoughts on two ways to make form-fitting pockets: moldable materials, or CAD/CNC imaging. March 28, 2015

CNC Auto Loader Vs Non Auto Loader

Router Bits for Three-Dimensional CNC Carving
Advice on tooling for a woodworker who's breaking into 3D CNC carving work. July 29, 2012

Estimating price of CNC projects
Formulas for calculating how much to charge on CNC jobs. January 3, 2001

Tool Holder and Collet Maintenance
How often should you clean or replace CNC tools and collets? December 27, 2007

Material for Vacuum Pods or Cups
CNC owners discuss the materials they use to machine their own vacuum pods. August 3, 2009

Eliminating Hand Sanding in Pocket CNC Routs
The right tool, ramping in, and a light finish pass can eliminate most tool scratches in decorative routs. October 3, 2007

Using Boring Tools with a CNC Router Collet
Boring tools can be adapted to a CNC router for use at slower RPMs. October 3, 2007

Machining a Giant Chess Set on CNC
A CNC owner shows off an unusual custom project: Carving giant chess pieces based on 3D scans of small pieces. October 15, 2009

Feed Rate and RPM for Bamboo on the CNC
Struggling to eliminate chatter when cutting bamboo, a CNC operator gets advice on tooling and settings, as well as on specifying tool paths. April 17, 2009

Specifying Router Bit Offsets in Alphacam
Tips on tweaking the router bit settings for cutting closed and open curves. October 14, 2010

CNC Production Rates
A discussion of ballpark numbers: How many sheets will a CNC router cut in a day, and how many before you need a new bit? June 30, 2007

Reducing Tool Wear with Laminated Sheet Goods
Bits wear out quickly when machining laminate. Here's advice on achieving longer tool life. April 21, 2007

Grinding Down Bits when Only the Tip is Worn
ztp If you're cutting solid hardwood in many shallow passes, you may be able to re-grind bits and use them for longer.January 31, 2012

Creating Wavy Surface Patterns in Plywood with CNC Equipment
Tips on how tooling and programming to get that desert-sand-dune look on a sheet of plywood. September 8, 2007

Sticky Tool Holder Syndrome
Cleaning, maintenance and adjustment ideas to stop tool holders from sticking during CNC operation. February 13, 2009

Pin Indexing for Two-Sided Drilling
Here are some ideas for quick, accurate positioning of panels when you need to drill holes from both sides. October 26, 2012

Biesse Rover 30 Error: No Band Sensor Up
Maintenance advice for managing a minor problem with sensors on a CNC. July 29, 2012

Computer purchase recommendations
Choosing the right computer system to run CAD and more. January 3, 2001

Why CNC Sometimes Cuts a Line Instead of an Arc
A variety of input flaws can cause equipment to take a shortcut between the end points of what should be an arc. March 1, 2006

Small Pilot Bits for the CNC
There are several workable options for pre-drilling for #8 screws with CNC equipment. December 10, 2007

CNC Table Base Sizes
Three out of three doctors agree bigger is better. Choose 5x12 over 5x8 or 5x10, and you'll be glad you did before too long. July 29, 2007

Improving Relief Cut Quality
Advice on bits, RPMs, and more for getting clean, sharp cuts in complex relief surfaces. March 1, 2006

Tool Choice for Half-Inch Acrylic
Advice on selecting bits that will do clean work machining thick acrylic on the CNC router. April 17, 2009

What's High Speed for a Top-Quality CNC?
What kind of RPM and feed speed represents top-flight performance for modern CNC equipment? February 20, 2011

Recommended 35mm Drilling Speeds

Holding Veneer Flat on a CNC Table
A CNC operator finds that veneer tends to "bubble up" off the vacuum spoilboard in random spots. Here, he gets advice on holding the material down so he can cut inlay pieces out of it. June 30, 2007

Cutting Stainless Steel with a CNC Router
Short answer: bad idea. February 23, 2008

Material Choices for Shop-Made Vacuum Pods
CNC owners discuss the options for making your own vacuum pods. July 2, 2008

More CNC Basics for Aluminum
Basic advice on cutting aluminum on CNC equipment. December 27, 2006

Bringing In A Cnc

Consistent Dado Joints with Inconsistent Material
Thickness variations in sheet goods make for loose dado joints. Here's how to adjust your CNC settings to deal with the problem. March 27, 2008

Engraving Single-Line Fonts
Work-around options for simple font routing. October 3, 2007

Cutting Sheet Aluminum without Breaking Bits
Bit type and size, feed rate, spindle RPMs, and cooling are the key parameters for success with machining aluminum on a CNC. Here's advice. June 28, 2013

Resolution in 3D CNC Carving
Tips on how to improve the rendering of fine detail in three-dimensional woodcarving using a CNC router. August 29, 2006

Machining Brass with CNC Equipment
Advice on lubrication and cooling when working with sheet brass on a CNC router. June 30, 2007

CNC Routing: Minutes per Sheet
Tracking the time it takes to cut out cabinet parts on a CNC router. August 17, 2006

Vacuum Relief Valves
To save wear and tear on pumps, relieving vacuum during idle time is a good idea. May 15, 2012

Machining Curves in Hardwood
Quick advice about tool choices and tool paths when machining solid Oak on the CNC router. April 30, 2009

Boring MDF Without Blowout
Bit speed, bit material and bit geometry could all be factors if MDF blows out as the drill bit exits the material. November 25, 2005

Improving Particleboard Cut Quality with a CNC Router
Edge tears or voids may be unpreventable, given typical particleboard quality. June 30, 2007

Choosing CNC Lubricant and Maintaining Oiling Systems
Here's advice on choosing the proper lubricant so your oiling lines won't clog, and on unclogging the lines if need be. September 8, 2014

CNC or Conventional Equipment?
Cabinetmakers discuss the value and usefulness of CNC equipment and other alternatives. December 14, 2005

Spoilboard Tips
Advice on how deep to cut into the spoil board, and when to discard the sheet. August 17, 2006

Feed Speeds, RPMs, and Bit Life
"Make chips, not dust" chips take heat off the tool, so to make bits last, set feed rates and RPMs to cut large chips. May 23, 2007

Troubleshooting an Uneven Spoilboard
A CNC owner has trouble getting a uniform flat surface on his spoilboard. December 11, 2012

3/8" Versus 1/2" Compression Bits
The smaller-diameter bits reduce waste, but may deflect in thick material. September 30, 2010

Nesting Laminate Slab Doors

Trueing a CNC Spindle
Instructions on how to "tram" or "sweep" a CNC spindle that has gotten out of plumb. January 25, 2013

CNC Software and True-Type Fonts
A discussion of compatibiity between font software encoding and CNC machinery characteristics. July 29, 2007

CNC Heat Issues: Vacuum Pumps and Electronics
Yes, CNC vacuums throw off heat, and yes, CNC electronics do better if kept cool. May 28, 2010

Machining Metal Laminate on the CNC
Advise on choosing bits and setting toolpaths to achieve clean cuts in metal laminates. March 3, 2010

Excessive Bit Wear when Cutting HPL
A quarter-inch-diameter bit is too small for working with high-pressure laminate, CNC owners advise. January 4, 2014

Vacuum Holding Power and Material Thickness
Is vacuum hold-down less effective when you're machining thinner sheet goods? May 15, 2012

Stable spoilboard material
Choosing spoilboard material that won't shrink, grow or warp. January 3, 2001

Chuck Adapter Collets for Very Small-Diameter Bits
A CNC can drill a 1/16th-inch pilot hole, but you may need a custom-made adapter for chucking the bit. November 29, 2014

Calibrating Depths when Changing Tool Bits
When you replace an old dull bit with a sharp new fresh bit, how do you compensate for the difference in length of the tool? May 13, 2013

Engraving Aluminum in a CNC Router
Compared to machining wood, working with aluminum calls for different tooling, speeds, and cooling methods. July 29, 2012

How To Charge For CNC Services

How Much Vacuum Can the Pump Tolerate?
Pumps come with protective controls to keep them from being damaged by overwork. Here is some related advice on maintaining adequate hold-down of small parts. October 16, 2012

Cutting Speed when Milling Aluminum on the CNC
Advice on bit choice and operating settings to make good time when machining aluminum plate on the CNC. May 27, 2014

Thermwood CNC With E-Cabinets Software

Grinding Moulder Knives with a CNC
Good info on the advantages and limitations of CNC-based knife-grinding setups. October 3, 2009

Hold-Downs for Machining Small Hardwood Pieces
CNC operators suggest various ways to hold boards down for machining flutes and other profiles. June 26, 2006

Starter CNC for a Guitar Maker
A guitar maker gets advice on an entry-level CNC setup that will let him make time with artistic electric bodies. August 24, 2008

Machine Malfunction Traced to Small Mammalian Life-Forms
Worth a read for fun: A supposed sensor fault in a CNC device turned out to be caused by an atypical interaction with some rodent incisors.October 26, 2011

Bit Size for CNC Cut-Out Operations
Are there reasons for preferring a 1/2-inch, 3/8-inch, or even 1/4-inch bit for cutting out parts on a CNC router? June 26, 2006

Troubleshooting Bit Breakage
Many different things could cause a bit to break inside the collet. July 21, 2006

Bit Selection for Contouring a Wood Chair Seat
Choose a bit radius that approximates the curve you need to create. July 25, 2010

Cutting Aluminum Composite Sheets
Advice on bit choice and techniques for machining aluminum composite panels on CNC equipment. February 17, 2012

PTP vs. CNC: What's the difference?
Technical differences and applications of point-to-point and CNC routers. December 12, 2000

Cut MDF in One Pass, or Several?
A single pass is faster, but if you have time there might be reasons to make multiple passes. April 20, 2008

Machining Fire-Retardant MDF
Fire-retardant-treated MDF is much tougher on tools than ordinary MDF. Here's some info and some suggestions for tooling. November 15, 2010

Plywood Offcut Organizing Systems
Plywood scraps aren't waste if you use 'em but keeping them saved and sorted is a challenge. There are basic and advanced systems for doing that. January 27, 2008

Cold CNC Machine Won't Run
When a CNC device generates a "too cold" error message after spending the night in an unheated shop, pay attention. March 6, 2006

Bits for Machining Solid Wood
CNC pros discuss bits for solid wood machining that will get the job done and last a long time in service. August 14, 2009

Vacuum Hold-Down with Rough Materials
Advice on how to achieve a strong working vacuum when holding down rough sheet stock on a CNC router table. April 29, 2006

V-Grooving for a Miter-Fold on a CNC
Cutting a V-groove with a CNC's rotary bit has inherent limitations because of bit speed. But there are solutions. March 25, 2007

Troubleshooting Pneumatic Valve Leaks
Advice on valve maintenance and repair procedures. September 3, 2010

Cutting Miters on the CNC
Advice on bits and methods for cutting miters and miter-folds on CNC routers. October 14, 2010

What Transducers Do
On CNC equipment, transducers are used to record actual machine motion for feedback to the controller, improving accuracy and preventing error. July 21, 2006

Maintaining CNC Lube Systems
Oil lines and valves need inspection and occasionally have to be replaced. February 12, 2010

Tooling for MDF Doors on CNC
Getting set up to profile one-piece raised-panel MDF doors on a CNC shouldn't break the bank. December 11, 2012

Bit Choice and Feed Rate for Cutting Small Parts
The machine never reaches full speed when cutting lots of small parts, so adjust accordingly. October 20, 2013

Cutting Rough and Finish Profiles using Alphacam
Figuring out the Alphacam settings to cut smooth curves in multiple passes. October 14, 2010

Phase Converters for Powering CNC Routers
CNC owners report good success with using phase converters to provide three-phase power to their equipment. November 14, 2009

Attaching a Pointer Laser to a CNC Router
Tips and cautions for equipping a CNC with indicator lights for accurate setup and layout. September 1, 2010

Troubleshooting CNC Controller Errors
When a CNC device makes an unexplained move or cut, how can you isolate the source of the glitch? September 3, 2010

Troubleshooting a C Marker Trip Problem
A Thermwood CNC owner gets help tracking an error message to the hardware issue that triggered it. January 4, 2014

Refurbishing Old Tool Holders
Rusted or corroded spindles on a CNC tool holder can be chrome-plated and reground. April 29, 2006

Routing Laminated Strand Lumber Material
LSL material can be very tough on CNC router bits. But solid carbide reputedly holds up well. April 21, 2008

Breaking router bits
Why are bits breaking while cutting exterior-grade MDF? November 26, 2001

Checking Tolerances on a CNC Router
When parts are coming out slightly undersized, start with a few basic troubleshooting checks. October 20, 2013

Measuring Router Bit Diameter
Advice on how to verify whether tooling diameter is correct within proper tolerances. January 12, 2015

Spoilboard Advice for Routing CDX Plywood
Holding down CDX plywood requires a strong vacuum and a good spoilboard, because of the plywood's voids and warping. August 17, 2006

Troubleshooting Melamine Chipping on CNC Equipment
Maintenance steps, different bit choice, or RPM and feed speed modifications should correct a chipping problem. September 7, 2006

Vacuum Lifters for Melamine Sheets
Advice on shopping for shop equipment that takes the heavy lifting out of loading melamine onto the CNC table. July 15, 2014

CNC Tooling for Large Solid Wood Parts
Step-cutting with a relatively light bit can break the tool. Instead, rough out with a large, slow helix bit and come back for a light finish pass. September 24, 2006

Cutting Bamboo Plywood with a CNC Router
Bamboo can be hard on the equipment. Here's some advice about bit choice, feed speed, and RPMs. November 11, 2006

Distressing with a CNC Machine
How some people use shiny new CNC equipment for beating up wood to make it look old and busted. May 23, 2007

Milling Epoxy Tops on a CNC
Thoughts on tooling and dust control for cutting inch-thick epoxy on a CNC router. February 12, 2010

Depth Variations: Is It the Code?
Inconsistent machining is probably a mechanical issue, not a code or controller fault. December 10, 2007

Diamond Bits Versus Carbide Bits
Diamond bits last longer in hard materials, but may not be as sharp for quality cutting. January 14, 2008

Heat Issues when Cutting MDF with Compression Bits
It's tricky to adjust cutter speeds for good chip load and cool cutting in MDF. May 15, 2008

Troubleshooting Vacuum Pressure
Advice on locating the air leak in a CNC vacuum hold-down system, starting with the pumps and moving on to connections and spoilboards. February 16, 2014

Vacuum Pump Oil Temperature Control
Ideas for shop-rigged solutions to warm the oil in an outdoor vacuum pump at startup on cold days. September 3, 2010

Machining Acrylic on the CNC
Advice on the fine points of cutting acrylic. February 12, 2010

Tools Stands and Bench Clamps for Working on Bits
Advice on shop accessories to help with CNC bit maintenance. July 25, 2010

CNC Spindle Alignment, Shims, and Vibration
A CNC owner asks whether there are drawbacks to using too many shims behind his spindle. August 3, 2009

Cutting Expanded PVC Sheet Goods on a CNC Router
Advice on bit choice, feed speeds, RPMs, and related issues when machining expanded PVC plastic sheet material on a CNC router. August 5, 2010

Cutting Marine HDPE
Advice on cutting marine-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE). June 17, 2009

Whether to Invest in a Small CNC Machine
Even a small CNC machine can be highly productive. But a small shop has to think through whether it will suit their volume, workflow, and schedule. July 11, 2007

Minimizing End-Grain Tearout
Tool selection and cutting methods to reduce tear-out of end grain in CNC machining operations. March 22, 2013

Cleaning Tool Holders
Tips on routine cleaning for CNC tool holders. October 27, 2008

Cutting Cedar Without Splintering on a CNC Router
Pros recommend climb-cutting for the first pass, and add other tips. December 6, 2006

Routing Teflon on the CNC
Dealing with hold-down and clean cutting issues when routing small parts from an extremely slippery material. August 3, 2009

Troubleshooting Out-of-Level Machining on a CNC Router
Problems with a mis-alignment between the CNC gantry and the table. February 12, 2010

Bit Wear in PVC with Applied Laminate
Cutting small parts in hard material can be rough on tooling. Here is advice about feed speeds and RPMs, as well as some thoughts on hold-down methods. June 4, 2012

Veneer Folding

Tool Holder Handedness and Safety
For peace of mind, use tool holders that are tighened, not loosened, by the direction of rotation of the tool. April 17, 2009

Buying an Older Model Used CNC Device
CNC pros advise against buying outdated machines from the 1980s. March 1, 2006

Mach 3 Vs Syntec

Machining Curved Casings and Sashes on CNC
How to handle hold-down problems when cutting out large curved parts. April 6, 2007

Protecting Laminate from Scratches on a CNC Pod and Rail
Felt or plastic covers can keep laminate free of scratches. September 3, 2011

Sealing MDF Spoilboard Edges
Quick and effective ways to seal spoilboard edges. December 28, 2014

Software for Making MDF Doors on a CNC
A shop owner gets a few suggestions for door fabricating software to go with his new CNC. April 18, 2015

Cutters for Clean Edges on Maple Plywood
Advice on tooling and CNC settings for sharp cuts in plywood. October 15, 2009

Machining Your Own CNC Vacuum Pods
You can make your own vacuum pods out of PVC. Here's some advice on how to do it. August 14, 2007

Detailing Pre-Hung Entry Doors on CNC
A description of what's involved in equipping a CNC router to prep doors for hanging, including cutting to size and mortising for hardware. November 8, 2007

Appropriate Router Bit for Pocketing
Tooling advice for pocketing. August 16, 2012

CNC Axis Out Of Alignment

Clean Grooves in Acrylic
Advice on machining V grooves into acrylic without re-welding problems. October 28, 2008

Fuzzy Edge Problems with Particleboard Melamine
Fuzz from the edges of freshly cut particleboard is gumming up the edgebander. What to do? Here's advice on bits and cutting methods. April 17, 2009

Comparing Materials for CNC Spoilboard
MDF, LDF, and even expanded PVC all have their good points for use as spoilboards. November 25, 2005

Overheating in Short Cuts
Maintaining the right RPM and bit speed gets tricky when the cuts are short. February 28, 2012

Biesse 13s Even Me !

Low-End Options for Bleed Board Vacuum
A small bleed-board parts hold-down setup for occasional use can be practically powered using shop vacuums. September 3, 2010

Power Lifters for Loading CNC Tables
Loading panels onto your CNC equipment can be hard work. Consider lift equipment to save labor (and avoid injuries). November 11, 2006

Troubleshooting Drill Head Pneumatic Controls
Is an air leak causing the drill head to not drill to full depth? February 17, 2012

Cutting CDX on a CNC
Exterior grade plywood is hard to work with on a CNC router because it won't lie flat. Here is some hold-down advice and some thoughts on bit choice.October 20, 2013

Spindle Load Meter Fluctuations
For various reasons, spindle load meters may display momentary very high readings during normal operations. March 28, 2008

CNC maintenance
How can a small shop deal with CNC equipment breakdown, maintenance and repair? January 31, 2001

Half-inch Versus Three-Eighths-Inch Cutters
Larger bits can work faster. To choose RPMs and feed rate, calculate the desired chip load. June 30, 2007

Attaching an Aggregate and Saw Blade to a CNC Machine
Here's a basic explanation of how you go about equipping a CNC machine with the capability to saw square shapes out of panels. June 30, 2007

Adding Ducting To New CNC

Shop-Built Solutions for CNC Vacuum Hose Suspension
Here's a handful of tips for supporting the vacuum hose on a CNC router to keep the hose out of the way, but free to move. November 25, 2005

Squaring Up a CNC Machine
Here's a step-by-step method for re-calibrating a CNC router that is slightly out of square along one axis. July 18, 2013

"Pecking Not Allowed" Error Message in CNC Code
The up-and-down motion designed to clear chips from a drill gullet is ruled out with some tool selections on a CNC. November 29, 2014

Putting Old CNC Machinery into Service
If it's running, that 1986 machine can be put to work, with or without updated controls. July 21, 2006

Rough and Finish Bit Choices for Paperstone
Paperstone can be routed, but it is a hard, dense material that calls for multiple passes to machine a clean edge. April 19, 2011

Thermwood 53-510 Buying Advice, Retrofit ?

CNC Training

Tracking Machine Time Using G Code

Jamb Hinge Machining on CNC
Tips for a tricky CNC problem: holding down and referencing door jamb stock with a grooved back. January 10, 2006

Tooling Questions

Used CNC buying advice
What to look for when buying a used point-to-point CNC. April 20, 2001

Best Cad/cam Software For The $$.

Machining Acrylic
Bit selection, feed rates, and other advice for cutting acrylic on a CNC router. March 1, 2006

CNC Programming and Pod Positioning
Ways to keep CNC tools from crashing into vacuum pods. May 20, 2009

Reverse-Side Router Indexing
How to index your workpiece and your router for working the back side of a panel. November 8, 2008

CNC Bit Questions?

Cutting Rosettes with CNC Routers
Be careful CNC router spindle bearings aren't designed for a lot of plunge cutting. June 26, 2006

CNC-Routing PVC Sheet Material
Bit choice, speeds, and related issues for routing Sintra and similar materials. February 17, 2006


Dust Contamination of CNC Cooling Equipment
A word of warning: Cooling fans or air conditioners attached to your CNC can fill with dust and catch fire. December 28, 2014

Troubleshooting Swirl Marks from CNC Bit
Pros suggest several flaws that could be causing swirl marks created by a tool tip in flat areas. March 6, 2006

Left-Hand Tools and Tool Holders
Tools that rotate counterclockwise require tool holders that won't loosen from the effect of that rotation. February 20, 2011

Busellato Jet 2000 CNC Whit Genesis 2.2

Surfacing a Spoil Board with Enroute
Little adjustments help you hit the edges. June 17, 2010

Hold-Down Tips and Tricks
How to hold down materials that are too rough for a workable vacuum seal. February 12, 2010

Best Bit for Cedar?
Choosing a good bit to mill solid cedar boards for curved decking. May 27, 2014

Sanding CNC Carvings
Advice on final sanding for complex CNC carvings. May 20, 2009

How Helpful Is Pre Mill

Using a 10-mm Dowel Drill in a CNC Router
Should work fine, but keep an eye on it. June 17, 2010

Replacing the Monitor on a CNC Router
Used monitors are easy to find these days, and the changeout is not difficult. May 14, 2006

Importing DXF Files into Biesse Works
Tips on directly importing DXF drawings into the Biesse Works machine controller. March 28, 2012

Cutting Cast Acrylic on a CNC Router
Multiple passes with the right cutter will give you an excellent edge. December 6, 2006

Mortising Sharp Inside Corners on CNC Equipment
A few suggestions for making inside corner cuts with a CNC machine. April 6, 2007

Drilling Deep Holes in White Oak
Advice on CNC settings for drilling holes in hardwood. May 20, 2009

Routing Openings in Solid MDF Doors
Tips on using a CNC machine to rout openings for glass in solid MDF. March 1, 2006

Diamond Bits for Cutting Laminate on CNC
Far more durable than other alternatives, diamond bits are cost-effective despite their high price. August 21, 2006

Troubleshooting Fray in the Cut
Advice on bit choices to eliminate fraying in the cut on a CNC. August 16, 2012

Converting Point-to-Point Routers to Flat Table Setups
A quick look at the parameters involved in converting a pod-and-rail machine to a flat table, spoilboard setup. October 1, 2010

Torque Wrenches for Tool Tightening
They help. December 10, 2007

Biesse NC1000 And XP Vulnerable

Tooling for Marine Grade Plywood
The glue in marine plywood can tear up cutting bits quickly. Here, three tooling suppliers suggest some tougher tooling. October 26, 2011

Cutting StarBoard on the CNC
Advice on feed rates, RPMs, and bit choices for cutting StarBoard high density polyethylene on the CNC. December 28, 2014

Troubleshooting Chipping when Cutting Acrylic on the CNC
Bit issues and speed settings can create chipping problems when machining acrylic. June 17, 2009

Old Versus New Collets and Tool Holders
Don't overlook collet and tool holder maintenance. July 22, 2013

SCM Routech: PLC44 Vacuum/Equipment Request

Screen Brightness on a Rover 321 Screen
Those displays are adjustable, you know. April 21, 2011

Top and Bottom Rounding Over and Sanding on the CNC
Back-side machining (but not sanding) of complex shapes is practical on a CNC equipped with pods. October 15, 2009

Milling Expanded PVC on CNC Equipment
Bit choice, feed speeds and RPMs for cutting cellular PVC. November 10, 2006

Folding Corian
CNC owners describe successful efforts at miter-folding Corian using CNC aggregate tool heads. October 15, 2009

Holding Down Veneer on a CNC
Suggestions for holding veneer down when cutting out curved shapes on a CNC. December 11, 2012


Bit Breakage, Cut Depth and Bit Diameter
With a thin bit working in thick material, multiple passes may be needed to keep from breaking bits. October 26, 2012

How Thin Should You Wear Your Spoilboard?
When should you swap out your worn vacuum spoilboard for a new one? CNC operators report their experiences regarding minimum spoilboard thicknesses. May 23, 2007

Standard Router Company

Do Titanium-Coated Bits Last Longer?
In wood machining, a titanium coating on bits does not seem to bring benefits. March 27, 2008

Homing a CNC Tool Changer
A brief description of the procedure for homing the tool changer in a CNC that has been shut down for too long and forgotten its settings. June 30, 2014

Cutting Cellular PVC
A few tips for machining cellular PVC on CNC equipment. May 20, 2009

Machining Brass on CNC Equipment
Bits and feed rates for cutting 3/8-inch brass. March 1, 2006

Milling PVC Foam with an Aluminum Laminate Face
Selecting the right tool and cutting in two passes are the keys to success. October 15, 2009

Machining Fence Pickets

Surfacing a Spoilboard
How and why to "flycut" an MDF spoilboard. August 17, 2006

Unfolding and Flattening CNC Design Options
Is there software out there for creating a design to be machined on a flat surface, then wrapped around a 3D shape? Here are some suggestions. January 27, 2008

WoodWOP Wine Rack

Miterfolding Plastic Laminate

Rover 13s Shutting Down Unexpectedly

Beisseworks Can't Untool Spindle

Fuzzy Finish with Ballnose Tool in Plywood
Could be the bit is dull. But here's some advice on technique as well. May 13, 2013

CNC Modification: Remote Control Cooling
Informative video: a CNC owner adds an air blasting hose and nozzle with remote control to his equipment. September 25, 2014

Cutting Stuctural Laminate

Machining Small Parts on a CNC Vacuum Table
Quick tip: to maintain vacuum, onion-skin and cut out the smallest parts first. November 25, 2005

WoodWOP Wine Rack

Morbidelli Universal 3618 NB CNC

Basic differences, CNC vs. P2P
The basic capabilities of these two types of computer-driven woodworking machine are explained. January 3, 2001

Source HSK63F Tool Forks For Unique CNC

Cutting Aluminum-Plastic-Foam Panels
Advice on a challenging problem: how to cut composite insulated metal air-conditioner panels. February 23, 2008

CNC Vacuum for Veneer Bagging
A CNC vacuum has plenty of power to clamp glue-ups even on the side. January 3, 2012

Rotary Lathe and Router Setups for a CNC
Here's a quick look at how CNC can incorporate a rotary axis holding the workpiece with a router doing the cutting. July 29, 2014

Braking Resistor Busellatto Optima

Biesse EKO And Lazy Susan Cabinet Parts?

Nested Side Panels
Watch as a CNC router drills and cuts out parts for melamine cabinets. Fine craftsmanship as practiced by gigantic, noisy robot machines. July 12, 2007

Beaded Profile In Pvc

Solid Surface CounterTop
Watch as a CNC router cuts out and profiles solid surface countertops. July 12, 2007

Aspan To Xilog 3


Biesse Arrow W OSAI 10 Control

Biesse Rover C 6.4 Vs. SCM Morbidelli M800

CNC Maintenance

Alpha Cam 2010


Spring Or Hydro Collet

- 782942

- 776314

The Take on Tooling
Advances in tooling technology are helping to change the face of the cabinet and furniture industry. This reprint from Fine Woodworking magazine rounds up the latest news on progress in tooling manufacture, and outlines how improved cutters are bringing diverse new capabilities to CNC-equipped shops ......

CNC Choices: Hardware Versus User Interface
Some of the most powerful equipment has hard-to-use controller software. What does that mean for the buyer and operator? April 29, 2012

Expected Service Life for a CNC Spindle
How long should a CNC spindle last before it needs replacing? That depends on many operating conditions, including tool sharpness, type of cooling system, and ramping parameters. August 24, 2008

Dovetail Drawers on a CNC Router
A wide-ranging discussion about cutting dovetail drawer joints on a CNC. November 8, 2008

Rounding Over Part Edges on a CNC
A long discussion of how to set up a CNC router to round over furniture part edges after cutting the shape. September 15, 2011

Beading Face Frames on a CNC Router
Here's how one shop machines the joints for cabinet face frames using CNC equipment. January 21, 2007

Shopping for a CNC Machine for Window and Door Construction
Accuracy and hold-down effectivess are key attributes for good mortise and tenon machinining in solid wood. June 29, 2009

Tooling and Settings for Machining Laminated Particle Board on the CNC
Advice on bit selection, feed speeds, RPMs, and other parameters for working with laminated or melamine-surfaced MDF panels on a CNC router. January 4, 2014

Cutting Stacked Sheets of Quarter-Inch Material
A roller hold-down system is a big help for machining stacks of material. But can that capability be added to an existing machine? January 19, 2011

Supporting the Dust Collection Hose for a CNC Router
Ideas for sliding support to suspend the vacuum hose in a way that lets it freely follow the CNC machine's travel. November 8, 2007

CNC V-grooving
Suggestions for tooling and techniques. March 23, 2002

Dust Collection for MDF Dust
Advice on controlling fine dust produced while machining MDF on a CNC. January 14, 2013

Tool Choice and Settings for Crisp Laminate Cuts
CNC operators discuss carbide versus diamond tooling, feed rates, and bit speeds to get good cut quality when machining laminate. August 24, 2008

Routing phenolic paper
A discussion of the best bits and techniques for cutting phenolic paper on a CNC router. November 15, 2000

Moving in the Z Axis when Machining Melamine
CNC owners consider whether it's worth moving the tool in the Y axis while cutting, in order to extend bit life. August 14, 2007

Pod And Rail Machine Processing Aluminum

Tool Diameter Measurement Precision
What tolerances are involved in mating a shaft to a cutting tool? January 12, 2015

Complex Shapes on a Flat-Table CNC Router
A discussion, with examples, about cutting complex art shapes, bas-relief, curved mouldings, et cetera, on a flat-table CNC. December 11, 2012

Dovetails on the CNC
The CNC may not be the fastest way to produce dovetail joinery, but if you have spare CNC time available there are ways to do it. Here are suggestions. March 22, 2013

Considering CNC
Another long thread about the realities of adding a CNC to an already well-equipped shop. April 8, 2008

Beaded face frames on CNC
Developing the right CNC setup for beaded face frames. February 13, 2001

Fragile Points on Textured MDF
High-density fiberboard may be better than medium-density fiberboard for sculpting a contoured surface. September 28, 2009

Holding Down and Machining Curved Material
Advice on rigging up clamps or vacuum jigs to hold down arched sheet material for CNC machining. March 4, 2009

CNC Equipment for MDF Door Production
Advice on choosing the right CNC setup for milling doors from MDF. October 9, 2006

Custom Door Profile: Custom Cutter Versus CNC Solution
While searching for a particular profile cutterhead for his shaper, a cabinetmaker learns about a possible way to get what he needs from a CNC-equipped shop. April 29, 2013

Troubleshooting Tearout on End Grain
A furnituremaker gets advice on avoiding tearout when machining Maple end grain with a roundover bit. October 19, 2014

Tear-out on raised panel corners
Eliminating corner tear-out on raised panel cabinet doors when using CNC equipment. November 7, 2000

Diamond Versus Carbide Bit Life
More opinions on how long a cutter bit should last. July 4, 2005

Selecting the Right CAM System
A CAM systems administrator outlines the top considerations involved in choosing computer-aided manufacturing software. August 16, 2005

Microvellum Users Assess New Version
An extensive and detailed look at the powerful drawing-to-cutlist integrated application's traits and quirks. August 29, 2005

G Code Trick
Writing code that repeats itself at different xy locations. June 4, 2004

The Importance of G-Code
Does a machine operator need to know G-code? Or are modern machines smart so we don't have to be? Opposing sides raise some dust in this thread from the CNC forum. August 30, 2005

Determining CNC feeds and speeds
Where to begin in a world with no standards. June 19, 2003

Nesting Bleeder Board Material
CNC users dissect the options. January 24, 2005

CNC Code -- Causing a Line to Be Ignored
Code which will exclude a line from the program. June 4, 2004

Feed rates and spindle speeds
Programming CNC machines at the proper feed rates. August 13, 2002

CNC tooling slippage
Could it be the collects, the cleaning, the cones... what? July 9, 2002

Selecting CNC Machinery
Choosing a machine to best suit your operation. January 28, 2004

Parametric Code Examples for CNC
CNC beginner gets help on coding parametric data. March 17, 2005

CNC pod table
Homemade pods and more. (CNC Forum) March 23, 2003

Moving to CNC: Worth the Investment?
A small-shop owner is considering whether to invest in a CNC router. In this thread, experienced pros help him evaluate his options. July 24, 2005

Creating Curves on CNC Equipment
Instructions for cutting curved shapes can be hand-programmed, but it makes more sense to draw in CAD and import the shapes to the CNC controller. October 26, 2005

Performance of Resharpened Bits
CNC router bits should take several resharpenings before performance drops off. October 18, 2005

Z axis oscillation code
Programming the Z-axis of a router to use more of the cutting length of the tools. February 19, 2002

CNC Machine Build Quality
A shop owner's considering a CNC purchase wonders why one machine weighs more than a similar competitor. But as he learns, quality construction depends on more than weight. October 18, 2005

Fishtail problems with CNC router
Could it be the CAM package or controller? February 19, 2002

CNC feed rates for melamine
Concerns on purchasing a CNC router and software for cutting melamine. August 12, 2001

Troubleshooting a Morbidelli Tolerance Error
When the controller reports a tolerance error, the cause is probably mechanical. Pros get the details and probe the mystery. July 1, 2005

CNC Dowel Hole Drilling Accuracy
Pros help a programmer troubleshoot inconsistencies in dowel hole placement. October 1, 2005

CNC Routing From PDF
Definition of a tap file, and whether or not PDFs provide precision. August 17, 2004

Tool Touch-Off
CNC operators discuss their preferred methods for touching off tools. November 12, 2005

Universal spoil boards
Making universal spoil boards for different machines. January 15, 2003

Cutting Rosettes with a CNC Router
Hold-down is the big challenge. Here are a half dozen suggested solutions. October 8, 2005

Making Crown Moulding on a CNC Router
Tips and tricks from those who have tried it. October 8, 2005

How do you do it? -- CNC Programming
Programmers share their methods. August 17, 2004

Considering a CNC Router Purchase
A four-man shop wants to bring its CNC work in-house, and gets advice on evaluating equipment options. November 12, 2005

Drilling Problem
Participants help troubleshoot a "boring" challenge. February 25, 2005

Changing Splines to Polylines
Easy AutoCAD tips for a quick change. December 26, 2004

Spoilboard Choices
CNC owners discuss the options for spoilboard material and dimensions. October 1, 2005

Bar Codin' Blues
A Visual Basic script can generate bar codes for inputting CNC instructions. April 10, 2005

To Nest or not to Nest?
A spirited discussion on which is more productive: nest-cutting parts with a CNC router, or using a beam saw and point-to-point machining center. June 30, 2005

Variables in Parametric Programming
Forum participants guide a user through programming customization techniques for an Andi CNC with a Fanuc 18I controller. January 24, 2005

Buying Used CNC Equipment
Is a good deal on used iron worth the potential headaches? Pros share opinions and experiences. August 30, 2005

Machine Design For Complex Carving
It's hard to do, and might not pay off. April 10, 2005

Software for Nested Parts Production
Users discuss the virtues of ASpan, AlphaCam, and AlphaDoor. August 30, 2005

Powering a CNC Router Using a Phase Converter
It works fine, say those who are doing it but there are a few details to consider. November 12, 2005

First CNC for Furniture Production
While considering his options for a first CNC, an owner asks colleagues for their recommendations. February 25, 2005

P2P Origin Placement
Best postitioning for running gables on a point-to-point router. March 14, 2004

Smooth Surfacing of MDF Using CNC Equipment
Material choice and cutterhead selection affect the smoothness of a CNC-profiled MDF surface. CNC sanding is also possible. May 16, 2005

Liquid Ring or Rotary Screw Vacuum Pump?
Vacuum pump types compared. May 16, 2005

Alternatives to spoil boards
Looking for a new option for a CMS router. October 2, 2001

Troubleshooting Tool Marks in MDF
A CNC process leaves circular tool marks in an MDF substrate that telegraph through the pressed finish lamination. Unfortunately, this may just be in the nature of the materials. August 29, 2005

Cutting Solid Phenolic with CNC Equipment
Pros discuss bit choice, feed rates, RPMs, and more. October 26, 2005

Upcut, Downcut Or Compression Tools
Which is better? It depends on the use (and your technique). April 10, 2005

Troubleshooting Inaccurate Cutting with Dual Tables
Mechanical backlash or a control problem could be causing performance flaws in a dual-table CNC setup. Here are tips of finding the source of trouble. May 16, 2005

Bit Selection for a CNC Router
A shop owner gets advice on what bits he'll need for his new CNC router, along with tips on bit care and re-sharpening. August 30, 2005

Bit Life in Melamine
Bits wearing out too fast? Consider the tips in this thread from the CNC forum. November 12, 2005

CNC Router for Guitar Parts
A newcomer to automation gets basic advice about using CNC to make guitar necks and bodies. August 30, 2005

CNC Dust Brush Issues
Brush strips around CNC routers may pick up sawdust and chips and drop them during tool changes. Here, equipment owners discuss alternative dust skirt materials. October 1, 2005

Bit Choice for Routing Hardwoods with CNC
Experienced hands provide tooling advice. August 30, 2005

Troubleshooting A Drilling Inconsistency
Professionals diagnose a case of inaccurate drilling. April 10, 2005

Holding Down Nested Plywood Parts
Vacuum alone may not hold parts in place well enough, but there are many ways to get around the problem. Here's an assortment of tips and techniques. July 24, 2005

CNC Vacuum Pump Sizing and Elevation
Altitude affects the efficacy of a vacuum pump for CNC hold-down applications. Here's some info on how to make the adjustment. May 16, 2005

Machining Hinge Mortises in Veneered Doors with CNC
How do you avoid blowing out the veneer? There's more than one way to do it. August 30, 2005

Chip-out on HPL panels
Solving problems with chip-out during CNC machining. August 12, 2001

Laser Alternatives
A discussion of laser layout equipment, software, and a low-tech shop-rigged alternative. July 2, 2005

Making Pocket Holes with a CNC Router
Depending on the job, setting up the CNC device to rout and drill pocket holes may be faster than using a dedicated pocket-hole machine or jig. July 24, 2005

Making Small Parts with a CNC Router
A CNC beginner gets advice on various ways to hold the work in place. August 8, 2005

Chip Load and Cutterhead Characteristics
Different CNC tool designs call for different chip loadings. May 16, 2005

Pump Capacity Requirements for Vacuum-Table Work
Necessary pump size varies depending on many factors. November 12, 2005

"Parametrics": Defined and explained
An explanation of parametrics in CNC machinery programming. June 13, 2001

Machining aluminum
Determining the feed speed and other details for machining aluminum. July 24, 2001

Limits to Vacuum When Routing Small Parts
A newcomer asks what size parts he should expect his vacuum table to manage. Experienced hands discuss his problem. July 2, 2005

Maintaining Vacuum on CNC Equipment
Considering pipe sizes, pump setup, and a vacuum reservoir tank. June 30, 2005

Bit Life in High Pressure Laminate
How many sheets should you be able to cut before a bit wears out? Comparing carbide with diamond, and a discussion of feed rates and settings. July 3, 2005

Countersink Drilling with CNC Equipment
A custom-made one-piece step drill bit is your best bet for countersinking success. May 16, 2005

Melamine Chipping
Is it the bits, the feed rate, the material? Pros troubleshoot a case of melamine chipping on a new CNC unit. June 30, 2005

Planing and Smoothing with CNC Equipment
Fly cutters and spiral heads can smooth surfaces. Some foreign shops have also developed planer-head CNC tooling. May 16, 2005

Compression Bit Size: What's Best
Half-inch bits run faster, but the 3/8-inch size wastes less. April 10, 2005

3d Cnc
Programming 3D work on a CNC. August 26, 2004

CNC vs P2P
Defining the difference between P2P and CNC. June 13, 2001

Nested base manufacturing
Switching from a P2P to a CNC router, and taking on new software and a new process. August 29, 2001

Cutting Techniques for PVC Board
A fabricating shop has problems working with expanded PVC foam board. Colleagues share advice on cutter choice, feed rate, and more. July 11, 2005

Buying Used PTP Equipment
Reliability and service can be issues, say those who've done it. August 30, 2005

Where to Put the Vacuum Pump
Some CNC owners find their vacuum pumps perform better when located in a space that communicates with the outdoors. May 16, 2005

Keeping the Spoilboard Down
Plastic screws work, and surfacing both sides might help. March 17, 2005

Routing Slots into White Oak with CNC Equipment
It's rough on bits, but what are the options? Pros suggest some possibilities. October 8, 2005

Understanding Chip Load
Explaining the term "chip load" --what it means, and why it matters. June 19, 2005

Duplicating Existing Parts
There are simple ways, complicated ways, and software solutions when you need to image a part into a useable CAD/CNC file. July 11, 2005

Cutting 3/4 Melamine on CNC
Advice on bit type, feed rate, and RPM. July 3, 2005

Why CNC Machines Slow Down on the Curves
Actual feed rates are slower than the programmed rate when the cutter has to trace a curve. Pros in the know explain why. June 28, 2005

CNC Router Tables: Is Bigger Better?
Shop owners tell why a larger table is often a good investment. October 18, 2005

Preventing Vacuum-Pump Overheating
Clean filters, a working bypass valve, and supplemental ventilation will help keep your vacuum pump cool. May 16, 2005

Cutting a spiral groove
Suggestions on how to cut a clean spiral groove. June 13, 2001

Machining Aluminum with a CNC Router
Lubrication, holddown, RPMs and feed rate are the issues noted in this discussion. November 13, 2005

Smooth Plywood Cuts with CNC Equipment
Advice on preventing "fuzz" when cutting out plywood parts. October 26, 2005

CNC Router Bit Size
Pros select why to choose a larger or smaller bit. July 3, 2005

Which Parts to Cut with a CNC Setup
A shop owner has just bought a CNC machine, and wants to know what he should use it for. Short answer: "Everything." August 30, 2005

Holding Down The Spoilboard With Nylon Screws
Drill and countersink the screw holes. April 10, 2005

Questions From A New CNC Owner

Entry Level CNC

Managing Long CNC Carving Operations
Thoughts on how to handle situations when a complicated carving process may run for more hours than your shop is usually open. December 14, 2009

Slow-Opening CNC Program Files
CNC owners troubleshoot a case of excessive lag time when opening program files. January 14, 2008

Bit Deflection with 3/8-Inch Bits
Tiny "nibs" at the entry and exit points of cuts: what's the problem? Could the bits be deflecting, or is there some other cause? October 1, 2010

Stiffening a CNC Rake
A technician comes up with a shop modification to stiffen the rake attachment on an SCM Pratix CNC machine. February 15, 2015

Noisy Vacuum Pump
Is loud operation a trouble sign with a vacuum pump? May 6, 2009

Machine Cutting Out of Square
A CNC router that cuts out of square may need one of several mechanical adjustments. September 3, 2010

More on Improving Dust Collection on a CNC Router
Ways to modify and tweak your CNC device for better dust collection. October 9, 2006

High-End Versus Low-End CNC Routers
Pros discuss the cost versus capability tradeoffs when considering a CNC investment. November 8, 2008

Holzher Evolution CNC Vs. Pod And Rail

Cut Center

True Cost of an Entry-Level CNC Machine
Don't forget the extra "little" costs that can add up: accessories, re-wiring, downtime, et cetera. October 3, 2007

CNC Stair-Building Capabilities
A CNC can speed up complex stair-part fabrication, and also improve accuracy. September 28, 2009

Dust Protection for a CNC Computer
CNC owners discuss how to keep the computers that control the machine cool and dust-free. April 18, 2006

CNC Crash-and-Burn Stories
CNC routers can start fires when things get out of control. Here are some photos and some stories. January 19, 2012

CNC Vacuum Pump Placement
Placing the pump at a distance, or even outside, helps keep the noise down. October 3, 2007

Phase Converter for a 20-HP CNC
Machine owners share experiences with finding ways to supply three-phase power in sufficient quantity and quality. June 17, 2010

CNC Compressed Air Needs
CNC owners discuss compressor, tank, and pipe setups for good performance. October 13, 2008

Main Spindle Air Noise

Is CNC Equipment Practical for a One-Man Shop?
A long and thorough analysis of the value of an investment in CNC equipment for the small shop, this thread should be read by anyone considering the upgrade to CNC. August 23, 2006

Advice on Choosing a CNC Router
Here are some detailed thoughts on matching a new piece of CNC equipment to your needs and your budget. October 26, 2011

Cost of running a CNC router
Choosing the right CNC machine based on projected capabilities and costs. November 29, 2000

Cutting Complex Shapes in 1/2-inch MDO
A long thread of advice and discussion for an unusual CNC project. December 6, 2006

Calibrating Wood Thickness for CNC Part Production
A CNC shop needs help figuring out how to achieve consistent thickness on stock before sending it to the CNC for cutting into small parts. The discussion ranges over belt sander accuracy, planer choices, onion-skinning techniques, and more. April 21, 2008

Choosing a CNC Router
This long and detailed thread covers a lot of subjects relating to the pros and cons of various CNC characteristics and capabilities. October 19, 2014

Configuration for Cowards
Basics of configuration December 5, 2001

First Cnc

Flat-Table CNC Versus Pod and Rail or Beam Saw
What starts out as a question about energy usage of various equipment turns into a detailed discussion comparing CNC equipment with other choices in terms of efficiency and output. January 23, 2012

Shop-Built CNC Vacuum Table
A detailed discussion of how to fabricate a vacuum table for an older CNC. December 9, 2008

How Powerful a Vacuum Does a CNC Router Need?
A discussion of vacuum pumps, regenerative blowers, and spoilboard techniques for maintaining a strong hold-down vacuum. March 27, 2008

Phase Converters for CNC-Equipped Shops
If you need 3-phase power for a CNC machine as well as other equipment, you should consider your phase converter choice carefully. The wrong setup could damage your equipment. July 9, 2007

Shopping for a CNC Router
Solid generic advice on getting the right machine for what you do at the right price. July 13, 2010

Cleaning Out a CNC Auto-Lube System
A shop owner gets help figuring out how to get the auto-lube system on an old, poorly-maintained Biesse Rover up and running again.August 22, 2013

Setting Up CNC Equipment
Advice on managing the setup and shakedown process for a new CNC router. May 28, 2010

Repairing a Rusty Spindle Taper on a CNC Machine
Cleaning off rust is doable, but more severe pitting could cause trouble. September 23, 2013

Nested Base Production without Tool Changing
Tool changers add a lot of versatility. But are they a necessity? Maybe not. March 22, 2013

Think before you take the CNC plunge
WOODWEB technical advisor Brian Personett offers some food for thought to those thinking about purchasing CNC equipment. November 15, 2000

Supporting Traveling Dust Collection Ducts
Here's a good look at several shop-rigged solutions for bringing dust collection ducting to CNC equipment under low ceilings, with freedom to match the equipment's travel. August 15, 2011

Dust Control Blower Mod for CNC
Here's a look at a shop-rigged dust control modification to a Holz-Her CNC: a blower that drives fine MDF dust out of the cut grooves so that the dust collector can grab it.October 16, 2012

Machining Solid Surface Material on the CNC
Advice on bits and feed speeds for milling solid surfacing. September 18, 2014

What Tools Will My New CNC Replace?
A cabinetmaker contemplates buying a CNC, and thinks about how to make room for it on his floor. November 26, 2007

Extending Bit Life in Laminates
Some HPL laminate panels are extremely rough on CNC tooling. Here are suggestions for choosing bits that will last longer. January 31, 2012

CNC Dust Collection Connections
Dust collector hose joints that move a lot are subject to wear and failure. Here's some insight into the problem. April 21, 2007

CNC Dust Collection Improvements
CNC owners discuss ways to boost the effectiveness of CNC dust collection and keep the table and shop clean. March 12, 2009

New CNC For Custom Cabinetry

Troubleshooting HSK Spindle Release Issues
Dust and dirt can cause problems with HSK spindles. Here's how to fix them. September 30, 2010

CNC Bit Choice and Dust Collection
Will an upshear bit improve dust collection effectiveness on a CNC? November 26, 2007

Supporting the Dust Collection Hose for a CNC Router
Here are some proven solutions (with photos) for supporting the dust collection ducting for a CNC router, while allowing the hose to move freely. December 29, 2008

Locating the CNC on the Shop Floor
Loading, unloading, workflow, and air supply are considerations when fitting a new CNC into the shop. August 21, 2012

Keeping Parts Dust-Free in CNC Production
Tips for keeping parts clean as they come off the CNC. October 27, 2008

Working Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic on a CNC
Tips and cautions for machining FRP on the CNC. Choose bits carefully and beware of the dust. October 25, 2007

Carbide Cutters Wearing Out in Melamine
CNC users troubleshoot a case of short bit life in melamine. December 14, 2005

Tool Speeds and Fire
Thoughts on how to prevent the tool overheating that could set your material (and your shop) on fire. October 15, 2009

CNC Tool Overheating and Fire Risk
Tips on CNC feed rates and rpm's to reduce the risk of ignition in composite panels. November 23, 2008

Static Cling Problem When Routing Melamine
Advice on eliminating the static charge that causes dust to cling to workpieces when machining melamine panels on the CNC router. July 10, 2009

CNC Off-Load Devices
Thoughts on accessories for pushing cut parts off the CNC table. December 24, 2009

CNC Spindles: Air-Cooled Versus Liquid-Cooled
Liquid-cooled spindles are a little more complicated. Is it worth it? January 14, 2008

Using Robot For Stair Routing

Grounding a CNC Router
Stray voltage can zap your operator and also fry your electronics. Here's how to ground the machine. January 21, 2007

CNC dust collection
Installing a flexible hose for dust collection with CNC machinery. March 14, 2001

Keeping Vacuum Pods Clean
Dust can clog the vacuum pods on CNC equipment. August 29, 2006

Choosing Flute Compression Bit Size

Whether to Invest in a CNC Machine
Should a part-time woodworker with a small shop make the jump to CNC? April 18, 2015

Nested Base Versus Beam Saw and PTP
A closet system fabricator and installer describes his journey through various shop equipment situations. May 26, 2014

Custom Architectural Woodwork on the CNC
A request for ideas for making some custom quarter-round mouldings turns into an extended discussion of custom techniques and the value of hand labor versus computerized production. February 19, 2008

Does Outsourcing Cabinet Parts Make Sense for a Small Shop?
Cabinetmakers discuss the pros and cons of having parts cut by another shop. January 26, 2008

Communication Between Cabinet Shops About Outsourced Work
A busy cabinetmaker who needs to send work to another shop for cutting on CNC equipment wishes the other shop would meet him halfway on the transfer of information. A debate ensues. January 31, 2012

Fabricating Radius and Curved Mouldings
Here's a detailed discussion comparing two approaches to creating curved and arched mouldings: the CNC route, or the dedicated moulder and shaper setup (which may involve templates). July 13, 2010

Labor and Cost for a Complex Wood Window
The fine woodwork for a custom decorative window can be painstaking and slow. Here are some detailed thoughts on methods and the time involved (including an interesting description of doing the work with a CNC).June 12, 2013

Sanding Problem with Hemisphere Mouldings
A woodworker asks for advice about sanding a complex moulding that's coming off the CNC with a rough surface. But the answer turns out to lie with improving the CNC side of things. September 17, 2014

CNC Router Versus Vertical Panel Saw
Which to invest in? It all depends on the shop's needs and the business plan. January 8, 2007

Machinery Choices for Slab Door Production
A discussion of which machinery will best optimize productivity: a beam saw, a panel saw, or a CNC? May 15, 2014

Flattening a Long Plank: Planer Versus CNC
CNC wins the argument, but we have fun getting there. December 6, 2012

Ways to Machine Radiused Casings
Woodworkers discuss various methods of making curved mouldings, including CNC and moulder techniques as well as ways to join segments. December 2, 2006

Square Hole Production
Woodworkers brainstorm about how to machine decorative square holes in a wood faceplate. May 8, 2012

CNC Equipment, Beam Saws, and Cabinet Shop Effiiency
Cabinetmakers discuss one shop owner's real experience, as compared to the promised efficiency boost of his new CNC. October 14, 2009

Countersinking Confirmats in Melamine
Troubleshooting a problem with getting cabinet assembly screws driven flush. September 28, 2009

Wrapping a Cone with Crown Moulding
Practical math and hands-on approaches to a tricky crown moulding problem. February 28, 2012

Fabricating Pyramid-Shaped Raised Panels
Advice and thoughts on how to machine a raised door panel that looks like a very low pitched hip roof. November 5, 2013

Router Overheating
Woodworkers discuss how hot router bits and collets should be expected to get during normal operation, and what might cause them to overheat. September 7, 2006

CNC Choices and Blind Dado Versus Dowel Cabinet Construction
This wide-ranging discussion centers on CNC machinery capabilities in relation to different methods of building cabinets. November 25, 2005

Outsourcing Cabinet Carcase Parts to CNC Shops
Here are some detailed thoughts on how to interface with a CNC-equipped shot to get custom cabinet parts made to order. April 20, 2008

Pricing For Small Orders
When you make your living with volume production, how do you cope with occasional one-off requests? January 26, 2008

Blind Dado Joinery Versus Dowels or Confirmats
A cabinetmaker asks whether he should switch to blind dado construction to eliminate a boring and screwing step. April 24, 2014

Basic descriptions of various types of routers commonly found in wood shops, including CNC router equipment. November 13, 2008

Time Needed to Produce Cabinets with a CNC Router
Cabinetmakers compare notes on the machine time and assembly time to make cabinets with a CNC, as opposed to working with a beam saw and line boring machine.May 27, 2014

Should the Shop Owner Master the CNC?
August 19, 2013

Should engineers do parts drawings?
Product engineers can draw impressive sketches. But should they be expected to write code? November 15, 2000

Creating Custom Curved Moulding Profiles with a CNC Router
Any good CNC router can create mouldings, using either a ball-end cutter or a custom-ground bit. In this thread, pros provide a few pointers on the process. November 25, 2005

Panel Processing Time with and without CNC
A CNC shop and a cabinetmaker using conventional equipment compare the labor time used to cut up and bore an entire kitchen. January 1, 2012

CNC Routers Versus Jobs for People
Despite employees' fears, a new CNC will not replace people it will make their lives better. June 11, 2010

CNC Sign Making as a Side Business
For a well-equipped CNC shop, routing wood signs for signmakers who mostly do other types of sign is a viable business niche. March 11, 2009

MDF Doors: One-Piece Versus Two-Piece
This discussion about fabricating MDF doors includes a closer look at why MDF warps, and about the difference between premium and commodity-grade material. July 13, 2010

Efficient Face-Frame Shop Process
Thoughts on making face-frame beaded inset-door cabinets efficiently, relying mainly on a CNC router. October 27, 2008

Shaper Heads on CNC Machines
A "shaper aggregate" offers a whole new way to do curved mouldings. Here's some introductory info on the technology. August 14, 2007

Vacuum Panel Lifter
Here's some basic info on vacuum panel lifters how they work, setup, and use. April 21, 2011

Doweling Machine Choice: CNC or Not?
When is it worth having CNC capability in doweling operations? December 2, 2011

Selling Used CAD or CNC Software
You can transfer a software license to another buyer, but there are formalities involved. November 23, 2008

Troubleshooting Melamine Chip-Out Around Bore Holes
Drill bit type and drilling speed control can reduce chipout on two-sided melamine panels, and there are also touch-up solutions for minor chipping problems. February 26, 2007

Heavy-duty CNC router recommendations
Suggestions choosing for a good-quality CNC router, offering adequate tech support and training. February 28, 2001

New Way to Fabricate Laminate Counter Edges
One craftsman's suggestion for a new way to create the edge detail for a laminate countertop. October 27, 2009

Cabinet Back Strategies for CNC
A discussion with drawings of ways to machine cabinet backs and sides for convenient and strong assembly. May 15, 2011

Replacing Electronics for Big Iron
Here's a tip: shop around for parts or components before you buy a whole new touch screen, display, controller, or similar electronic element for shop machinery. You could save a bundle. January 2, 2012

Dowel Hole Layout for CNC Boring
A CNC gives you flexibility in dowel-hole spacing. So what do you choose? March 9, 2008

Cost Per Sheet for CNC Part Cutting
A cabinetmaker looking to outsource parts gets some rough ballpark numbers as of 2007. January 27, 2008

What's an Overhead Router Good For?
CNC router owners say they still find lots of uses for their old, "obsolete" overhead pin routers. August 21, 2006

Using CNC Vacuum as a Glue Press
You can use a CNC vacuum table and plastic sheeting for an improvised "vacuum bag" for laminating panel goods together. Who knew? January 9, 2008

Shutter Manufacturing
Be a fly on the wall as a CNC router cuts out parts for louvered arched wood shutters. (Leave the sound turned off for this one.)July 12, 2007

CNC Versus Conventional Equipment for Entry Door Construction
Woodworkers wax poetic as they discuss the practical considerations, the historical ramifications, and the spiritual significance of evolving technology in the field of door construction. January 23, 2014

Five-piece doors on CNC
Doing raised-panel work on a CNC router. November 26, 2001

Door and Window Building: CNC Versus Traditional Machinery
Here's a thoughtful and sophisticated conversation about the proper place of CNC equipment and traditional shapers, mortisers, etc., in custom door and window production. October 3, 2011

Machinery and Methods for Creating Complex Stair Rail Shapes
Here's a long and detailed thread with photos about the production choices for crafting complex custom railing shapes. June 8, 2011

Payback Period for an Investment in CNC Equipment
CNC owners discuss how quickly new machinery can be expected to pay for itself. May 14, 2006

Speeding Up CNC Router Production
Tips on operation, loading and unloading for efficiency. December 26, 2004

CNC configuration
Building a CNC router. May 1, 2003

Going from handcrafted to CNC
Discussion of P2Ps, dedicated boring, edgebanders and other equipment, software and processes. August 29, 2001

To nest or not to nest?
Is nesting appropriate for all shops? June 4, 2003

Shop Productivity With a New CNC
It seems more efficient to go on cutting parts manually than to program the CNC... what's missing? October 5, 2004

Dadoing techniques
Using a router to make dados. June 24, 2002

Keeping the CNC Operator Busy
Productivity tips for operators while nested part runs are in progress. March 17, 2005

Blum's Process 32 Manual (PDF)
October 15, 2003

Cabinet Machining and Assembly Options in a CNC Shop
Accuracy and efficiency are the goals. How you get there can vary, depending on your machinery choices. December 7, 2008

Power Cost for CNC Machining
Juice to run the machinery is a small percentage of CNC operating cost, but it's not zero. October 14, 2010

CNC Versus Traditional Machinery for a Start-Up Shop
Here's a long, detailed, and thoughtful discussion about the ideal equipment investment for starting a cabinet shop, focusing on whether to jump into CNC right from the get-go. October 18, 2011

Whether to Invest in a CNC Router
Here's a long, thoughtful, and detailed thread comparing the advantages of a CNC router to other efficient setups, and considering whether buying a CNC is a good move for a small shop facing cut-rate competition. September 30, 2010

Figuring Out Woodshop Power Requirements
Amps, volts, watts, horsepower, and all that jazz: here's an instructive thread on how to figure out if a building's power supply will support your plans for shop equipment. July 9, 2007

Making Square and Octagonal Handrail Caps
Is a CNC router or an old-school rotary lathe the best way to machine a profiled square cap for a newel post? February 27, 2015

Routing Flutes Across a Board: CNC Versus Jig Rig
This thread has some practical suggestions for routing flutes across the width of a board, and some good arguments for farming the job out to a shop with a CNC. August 5, 2010

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