Girish Nanda

Digital needs for woodworkers

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I don't think the cost is that prohibitive.  A low end machine like the Shark is about the same cost as a high end cabinet saw.  That's in reach of a serious hobbyist.  Even 12-20K for a Shopbot isn't completely unreasonable compared to how much money some people throw into Festool and 20" planers and whatnot.  The space for a 4'x8' machine is more of a problem for me than the cost. 

 

 

I suppose it's all semantics, and different for everyone's budget.  But, you are comparing a high end table saw (everyday/project use) to an entry level CNC (occasional use?).  By that argument, everyone who owns a car should not consider airplanes to be cost prohibitive.  High end cars can be as much as low end aircraft.  

 

I agree that lots of folks do drop $4k+ on a piece of shop equipment, but I don't think that is a normal spend and certainly not something done for a tool that we don't foresee needing for most if not every project.  That is all I mean by cost prohibitive.  The value to price relationship seems a bit unfavorable to a hobby shop.  I suspect once you use a CNC you can't imagine living without one, but a TS or Planer just seem more like a staple of woodworking to me.  Of course, that is all just my opinion.  

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I am in agreement with Chris right here.  As my previous post, a CNC would not get used for every single project, and while I would love to eventually get a CNC machine, my focus right now is traditional woodworking machines and tools.  The oldest machine in my shop is my table saw, that I bought used several years ago, and it is right around 30 years old.  Like a 30 year old car, with continued care and maintenance it can and will run well.  But like a 30 year old car, the care and maintenance demands are steadily increasing.  I would love to get a saw that is around $2k.  I can justify this as every project the table saw is my most used machine.  The CNC's in the $2k-$4k are what I would look at as a hobbyist, but even that is difficult to justify (not even thinking about budget) as I don't believe I would use it that much.  I do hope that an entry/hobbyist woodworker level CNC machine becomes more affordable in the near future.  However, a CNC in my shop would probably be my most expensive machine, but would likely be my least used of all my woodworking machines.  I just can't justify that.

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CNC is software driven. This makes troubleshooting tremendously more difficult. My closest friend is the laser engineer for a fab shop. He designs CAD, then programs CNC and has far more difficulty with CNC than the machinery or laser. CNC troubleshooting requires code writing knowledge and/or long calls with the software designers. In this way your analogy regarding cars a planes is spot on. The plane requires a more sophisticated and costly maintenance plan.

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I suppose it's all semantics, and different for everyone's budget.  But, you are comparing a high end table saw (everyday/project use) to an entry level CNC (occasional use?).  By that argument, everyone who owns a car should not consider airplanes to be cost prohibitive.  High end cars can be as much as low end aircraft.  

 

I agree that lots of folks do drop $4k+ on a piece of shop equipment, but I don't think that is a normal spend and certainly not something done for a tool that we don't foresee needing for most if not every project.  That is all I mean by cost prohibitive.  The value to price relationship seems a bit unfavorable to a hobby shop.  I suspect once you use a CNC you can't imagine living without one, but a TS or Planer just seem more like a staple of woodworking to me.  Of course, that is all just my opinion.  

 

Well I'm not going to get bogged down arguing with the analogy, I'll just say that I'm not saying a cnc is right for everyone.  If someone wants to do traditional furniture in traditional ways then it's useless.  It's just not an outlandish amount of money.  You could come out of Lie Nielsen or Lee Valley with 3K of hand tools and still not be done getting them, if you were so inclined.  They just usually get you a couple hundred at a time.

 

I could certainly live without my cnc. It doesn't get used every day.  I am beyond a hobbyist and do this for a living so the equation is different for me.  I got it mainly to be able to add personalization to projects for customers.  But it's there so it gets used for other things and has started opening up my thinking.  I've really only scratched the surface at this point.

 

I don't have any problems with the software.  I don't know any G-code.  I know some programming but I don't have to do any to use the cnc.  The software has its limitations but so does every machine.  The trick is in figuring out what those limits are and working within them, not banging your head against them constantly. 

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I feel like this is a pretty wide discussion about several different points.

The wall street journal is a business who writes stories about business stuff. They are pretty good about finding cool gadgets and startup companies too. We all know that shop bot is a company who makes shop bots. Its only natural for them to progress and develop new technology such as this handi bot.

The whole kickstarter scene is one that is capitalizing on the trend of social media. Going further into the social media as it partains to us, i find the younger, computer savy people who can make things by hand, then photograph it, photoshop their work and upload it to an etsy page or their own website, then make some blog entries about how they made it and the trip they took down the road to get the materials.

I think shop bot is genius to show their portable gizmo to that scene in order to land sales and third party development in the future.

In my humble opinion, this(WTO) group seems to be mostly hobby oriented in the finer hybrid type of woodworking. Most working out of limited space with traditional power and hand tools.

Cnc's in the "trendy" hobby world mostly exist in the community shops where people can take classes and share workspace. There are also tons of hobbiest who have their own cnc and use them for whatever they use them for. Templates, furniture parts, carvings, engravings, signs

If that new handy bot is going to make someone a bunch of money or make someones job easier/ happier they will buy it and capitalize on it. Or just be a show off and stick their tounge out. Cool!

My point is that there will be people whos lives can be enriched by software and technology. There will also be people whos lives can be enriched by straight up makin' dust and shavings.

There is also people who do both.

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Thank you for the thoughts on CNC thus far. There is a concept underdevelopment by an engineer at MIT that I came across for precision but which is slightly different than CNC. It would be great to get your thoughts on this idea. 

 

You use the new device not by looking down at the wood you’re cutting but by watching a video screen mounted above the power tool. There, a dot shows the position of the tool bit — just as GPS on a dashboard or a smartphone shows the position of your car on Highway 88.

 

As soon as you put the tool on the material, it knows where it is. The screen shows you the path you are on, as well as the pattern you’re going to cut. When the bit comes within a quarter inch of the pattern, tiny motors in the device go to work, keeping the tool along its correct route.

 

If you are straying from the path, going to the left, failing to follow the exact design the motors will shift the tool to the right to keep it on the path.

 

All you have to do is get within the ballpark freehand.Then the tool GPS and small-scale computer adjustments guarantee a precise cut.

 


The following is a picture of the prototype

teasersmall.png

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That could be useful for inlay.  One of the problems with inlay with a router is that you can't normally get a square corner on the female pocket.  With a cnc there is a technique sometimes called v-inlay where instead of a small straight bit you use a v-bit instead.  Essentially the female side has "valleys" and the male side is machined in reverse and upside-down so that it has mountains.  With the v-bit you can get a square corner and really small details without using a really tiny easily breakable straight bit.  So if this had the ability of a little bit of z axis control, it wouldn't need very much, I would think it could do that.

 

With or without that ability, to do inlay it would also need a pocketing mode where instead of just following a line it would cut everything inside a shape.  You also need to be able to apply a tolerance to be able to adjust the fit.

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There is a program called solid works its a 3d drafting program, much like sketch up but more advanced, it will spit out a cut list and detail drawing of each component. Very costly but works extremely well, mostly meant for professionals

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