Mick S

Intro CNC projects for students?

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I'll be teaching the CNC for Woodworking class again this Spring. One of the things I want to do differently this time is to start out with a choice of maybe 3 simple projects that the students can customize to their needs. For example, I'm thinking of a mortising fixture that I made that's a hybrid of Philip Morley's and the one from FW a few years back (a variation seen here in Derek's post) that could be made to fit the student's router of choice. Maybe a toolbox to transport their hand tools to class. You get the idea.

Any thoughts on this, given that the routers at school are ShopBots, 24" x 32" tables? I'm looking for ideas for 2D plywood or MDF projects that would utilize most of the 2D drawing and tooling options for maybe 2 - 3 weeks before moving on to more advanced projects.

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Have all of the students do a Coaster for their drink cups! These are fun projects! 

A 3" or 4" square or round with a simple design and using two colors of wood and a 60 degree carving bit and a 1/8" or 1/4"  profile bit should do the trick for most. They would have to either draw or import a SIMPLE design without frills, make sure the design is correct or correct it, lay the tool paths for the BASE and then do a mirror image of the original (I do mine in a separate file) for the INLAY. Of course the big learning curve here is the manipulation of the software and possibly importing artwork, turning their design into what they want, then exporting something that will export gCode for the CNC system with the right post processors used to match the CNC System. Both the Base and the Inlay (opposing color) are cut, fitted together as a check fit, then pulled, glued, fitted and clamped together for curing. Once cured the parts are VERY CAREFULLY band sawn apart, sanded, and finished. Voila, the coasters are completed.

Errors?   Sure, the students are going to have them!

Reading?   Sure, as the students are going to have to learn something like INKSCAPE to do their designs.

Frustrations?   YEP! Lots of times there is frustration over trying to get the software working like you need it to and frustrations when the CNC System doesn't do what it was supposed to do.

LEARNING?   YES, this is ALL a learning experience. It uses minimal wood and other resources and is something if goofed up it isn't a costly waste.

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Thanks for the reply, JayGee, and welcome to the forum!

This spring semester will be the 3rd time for me to teach this course and like my students, I'm learning a lot. First, start slow with a very basic 2D project in plywood. This semester it will be Bob Van Dyke's Multi-Use Rip Fence. We have SawStops in our wood shops so we can make a few of them for student use. In the other traditional classes I teach I find myself dragging mine up to school several times every semester.

I'll divide the students into groups with each group working on a different component of the project. From there we'll move into a slightly more complex individual 2D project, selected from any of 4 I've already drawn up and made on the router. They'll have to measure and duplicate the project. Then we'll move on to a slightly more advanced individual project similar to what you suggested, or maybe an inlaid cheese tray. Finally, they can move into a simple 3D project. 

We use Aspire, so I'm planning to base the CAD part of the semester on Vectric's excellent tutorials. I've gotten really good feedback from the previous classes and it fills up fast each time we've offered it. 

1 hour ago, JayGee said:

Errors?   Sure, the students (and the instructor) are going to have them!

Reading?   Sure, as the students (and the instructor) are going to have to learn something like INKSCAPE to do their designs.

Frustrations?   YEP! Lots of times there is frustration over trying to get the software working like you need it to and frustrations when the CNC System doesn't do what it was supposed to do.

LEARNING?   YES, this is ALL a learning experience. It uses minimal wood and other resources and is something if goofed up it isn't a costly waste.

 

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On 1/19/2020 at 6:22 PM, BillyJack said:

I think these would be interesting challenges...

 

fcef6509d37030a363a875fcab870b1a_original.jpg

CNC_chair.jpg

Those are fun projects. We used to make similar designs - mostly rocking chairs - to hand out at trade shows.

Here's a quick project I ran over the weekend just to get them pumped up a little.

IMG_12282.jpeg.db51727e0503d9f47248df5063da83a4.jpeg

IMG_12303.jpeg.8639efb2a9847b9392355fa0c5bf3275.jpeg

IMG_12351.jpeg.56f03135b3070ef00386e686d333319e.jpeg

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