Thanks to everyone who attended this week’s Sunday Workshop. Particularly, if you kept yourself from going outside on a nice day. And, a special shoutout to those that donated to my By Me A Ko-fi fund. Need that caffeine in the morning.
So, the topic of this weeks workshop was Getting the Most From Your Small CNC. In the workshop I made two key suggestions. First, set up your machine for pass throughs by using pin registration on your CNC bed. Second, with small CNCs being somewhat slow, use your machines to make patterns for your projects. Pattern shaping can often by much faster than making parts directly on a small machine. Combined with the first suggestion, you bypass small CNC size limitations.
Next, I suggested that you build and use my shaper jig. Rather than dedicated shaper jigs for every part, my jig adapts to the pattern and parts you are making. To make the jig you need to reference my July/August 2014 article in Fine Woodworking Magazine. Here’s a link to the article and an introductory video on the project. Because the base jig is built on a grid, the dimensions are critical. If you keep to them, then you can make all kinds of different bases for special uses: longer jigs, bent jigs for dining chairs, jigs for cutting curved parts, etc.
Also, the specific Bessey Self Adjusting Clamps are important as the jig is dimensioned around them. The clamps are model STC-HH20
The fastest way to make these jigs is to use my master template on your CNC. Once you have the template you can double stick tape it onto your blank tops and bases and use a router with 5/8″ bushing plus 3/8 bit and a machinist 1/4″ center punch to mark positions for machining out jig tops and bottoms. Jig construction goes very fast if you use this technique.
The DXF file for making the jig making template are available for free on the password-protected downloads page. To access the files and other project files, just add your name to our mailing list and we’ll send the link and your password.
Use 1/2″ MDF or Baltic Birch Ply and a .250″ bit to make the template on your small CNC. As always, make sure you mic the actual diameter of your cutting bit first and enter it into your CAM program. Otherwise you might be a little tight on the slots you’ll cut with your router.
Here is a link to the video of the April 19 Sunday Workshop. It will be available for two weeks.
Next workshop will be May 3 at 1 pm PDT