Friday, August 28, 2009


CALL FOR DETAILS: 714-325-7052
Please visit the website: for router specifications. Or call: (714) 325-7052
Please visit the website: for laser specifications
CAMTECH CNC Router, Model Z 7
Process area of 52 inch by 104 inch, 5 HP spindle.
Stock, California
AXYZ CNC Router, Model 4010 with ATC
Process area 60 inch by 120 inch, 10 HP HSD spindle
AXYZ CNC Router, Model 6016
Process area 82 inch x 16 feet, 10 HP spindle
Call for more information ( 714) 325.7052
AXYZ and Camtech USED CNC Routers and Lasers
AXYZ 4008 CNC ROUTER, Year 1998, 60” x 96” process area
60” x 96” Vacuum bed, 5 HP Perske Spindle, Pressure foot
10 HP oil vane vacuum pump. AXYZ AMC Control system
PRICE: $19,000, FOB Factory, Burlington, Ontario , CANADA
AXYZ Millennium CNC ROUTER, 39” X 39” process area
3 HP Elte spindle, Pressure Foot, T-slot clamping bed
DEMO MACHINE ONLY – used for Educational Road Shows
AXYZ AMC Control system
PRICE: $13,290, FOB Factory, Burlington , Ontario , CANADA
CAMTECH CNC LASER, Model L-20, Year 2006
52” x 102” processing area, 25 Watt
FOB: Yorba Linda, CA
PRICE: $35,000
AXYZ makes CNC routers up to 10 feet wide by 50 feet long.
GLASSBUILD, Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2
METALCON, Tampa, Florida, Oct. 6-8, 2009
AXYZ CNC Router showroom and demo center in Yorba Linda, California
Ron Morgan - AXYZ Sales (714) 325-7052 cellular
Local Service provided by factory trained AXYZ Serviceman
AXYZ Factory parts and service (800) 361-3408
USED – AXYZ CNC Router, model 5010 ATC, contact Josh Bergler, 626-327-2079.
DIGITAL PRINTING AND SIGN COMPANIES: You need the I-Cut distortion compensation system to cut out parts easily. Call for more information.
Visit this website for more information:
Please call for more information.
Ron Morgan
714-325-7052 cellular

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wine Bottle Racks

Wine bottle racks made in MDF simply using CNC Router

Delcam’s ArtCAM makes intricate carving easy

Shanfari Trading & Furnishing Co (STFC) has found that intricate carvings can be made easily since the company acquired Delcam’s ArtCAM Pro software. Mr Sulemain, General Manager at STFC, believes that the decision to use ArtCAM Pro has paid rich dividends for his company. He has purchased two more routing machines during recent years, while he is full of praise for the support his company receives from Delcam’s Middle East office.

STFC is a part of the Shanfari Group of companies, one of the largest groups of its kind in the Sultanate of Oman and even the Middle East. It has undertaken woodworking projects for the Divan of the Royal Court and also for museums throughout Oman for the last twenty-five years. It has also provided its services for interior design and other turnkey projects to palaces, commercial properties, high-profile villas and hotels.

Mr. Sulemain recalled the events that led to the purchase of ArtCAM Pro back in 1999. “We had just purchased our first CNC router and needed some three-axis software capable enough to generate intricate 3D carvings and their respective toolpaths.” He had invited various software suppliers, including Delcam Middle East, to give a presentation on their products, focusing on how the software solution would be used to design the carvings and then to machine them. After watching the demonstration of the ArtCAM Pro software, Mr. Sulemain and the staff at STFC were convinced that it could solve all their existing issues concerning generation of the most intricate shapes, including the V-carving used for the palace doors.

Mr Hari, in charge of the CNC department, was particularly impressed with the ease of toolpath generation for intricate 3D carvings and the short learning curve. Within one week, his CNC operators had learnt how to generate the toolpaths for even the most complex carvings.

More recently, STFC has been using its ArtCAM Pro software to program the newly-acquired twin-table, four-spindle, Homag routing machine. With the Reichenbacher twin-table, four-spindle machine and a Fanuc-based, twin-spindle system, this takes the total number of machines at the company to three.

Delcam’s ArtCAM used for giant chandeliers

Delcam’s ArtCAM software enabled Adirondack Studios to complete successfully a project to produce five giant chandeliers for the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs, Pennsylvania.

For over 30 years, Adirondack Studios, based in Argyle, New York, has helped to design and build themed environments for theatres, arenas, exhibit halls, ballrooms, parks, restaurants, casinos, amusement parks, supermarkets, museums, stadia and marinas. About a year ago, the company began using the ArtCAM artistic CADCAM software to program the CNC routers used to manufacture the majority of the company’s products.

"The software that we used in the past for CNC programming worked fine for routine jobs but many of the projects that we get involved in are far out of the ordinary,” said Bob Gregory, Senior Router Operator. "We spent too much time watching the clock while we were machining and ran into quite a few bugs. Also, the software developer was not as responsive as we wished when we called in for support.”

"We had heard that a number of our competitors were using ArtCAM with very good results so we decided to give it a try,” Mr. Gregory continued. "From the very beginning we felt that ArtCAM was a more finished product, more robust, with much higher performance. The tutorials make it very easy to take advantage of the many advanced features of the software. The support provided by Delcam has been superlative and they do listen to, and implement, user suggestions for improving the software.”

Adirondack Studios’ designers began the construction of the chandeliers by building a 3D model in AutoCAD. The file was imported into ArtCAM to generate the CNC program to machine a positive shape in low-density foam. This was used by a subcontractor to vacuum-form the plastic bowl segments. These were then painted to look like alabaster.

In a similar way, the casting department used ArtCAM to make a mould to cast the grouse models that would be used to decorate the chandeliers. A black-tinted silicone rubber was used to give the grouse the appearance of wrought iron.

The next step was to create a bird’s nest pattern and weave it around the circumference of the bowl. ArtCAM allowed the ways in which the strands crossed each other to be varied for a more natural appearance. "Birds do not use a CNC machine to build their nests so it took considerable effort to get the correct look,” Mr. Gregory said.

Mr. Gregory generated a CNC program to cut the bird’s nest negative shape into MDF. It took only fifteen minutes to create the program compared with at least four hours that would have been needed with the previous software. The mould was used to cast the bird’s nests from the same silicon rubber used for the grouse. Finally, the birds and the nests were glued to the bowl of each chandelier.

The finished chandeliers were then installed in the casino. They formed part of a $208-million renovation of the site, aimed at transforming it into the area’s leading entertainment complex.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving Beyond Squares and Circles

In the late 80s I represented Seattle based Aldus Corporation. Aldus was one of a handful of companies that fostered “desktop publishing”. A combination of software (like Aldus PageMaker), the Apple LaserWriter and the Mac (not to mention the mouse and high resolution monitors) enabled regular folks to publish high quality newsletters, magazines and books. It was revolutionary. I’m seeing a similar revolution underway in design and construction industry with the introduction of products like ShopBot.

We’ve simplified CNC router technology so any shop can do fast, precise CNC cutting, drilling, and machining, and take advantage of CNC production automation. A ShopBot CNC router is robust, affordable, easy to use, and adapts to your production needs.

Like the early days of desktop publishing , many of the early examples are decorative, even whimsical, but in the just a couple of years designers and builders will understand the technology and use it to design products more in tune with natural systems. (i.e. nature does not build with 4×2s…)

Blue Genie’s Magical CNC Art

This post comes from Blue Genie, who uses the power of a CNC to upscale, sculptures for commercial art purposes. Blue Genie uses a 3D laser scanner from Scantech to upscale sculptures usually made out of a modeling clay, it is accurate to 1/100 of an inch. they then use a 4 axis CNC router and CARSO software, to create the piece. check out their photo illustrated process page, for more pictures.

“Our Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) mill sports a powerful 5.5 HP motor. This motor spins router bits ranging in size from 1 in. down to 1/16th in. and the gantry moves the motor around on a 3-dimensional XYZ axis. Milling with the 1 in. bit is quick — great for roughing in large sculptures and cutting out simple shapes.”

“CARSO is the main software we use for manipulating and toolpathing scanned data. Scanned images can be scaled in any dimension to any size and the software will split it into blocks that fit on our machine. Other possibilities include milling in reverse for waste mold casting or mirroring for exact opposites. Toolpathing is when we create the numeric file that the milling machine follows. With VisualMill we can toolpath CAD drawings as well as scans. We can import a wide variety of 3D data including DXF, STL, IGES, 3DM, OBJ and many more. We’ve even milled from a digital elevation model (DEM), which is earth data taken from a satellite.”


the pictures below are a series of photographs that walk us through a project they did for a local library. Using laser scanning they converted the book to a CAD mesh to G Code. enlarging an ordinary book to 2.5′ x 4′.

Digital Sculptural Enlargement Process — Scanning Digital Sculptural Enlargement Process — the Scan

Step 1. the book is placed in a digital scanner, and translated into a CAD file

Step 2. here you see the CAD file of book

Digital Sculptural Enlargement Process — the EPS Block Digital Sculptural Enlargement Process — Milling

Step 3. here you see the uncarved block workpiece ready to be cut

Step 4. the CNC mill starts removing material

The Final Product — An Enlarged Book

Step 5. here we see the finished product, sprayed in Polyurea hard-coat, with painted illustrations, sign enamel and added LED “neon” light around the edges.

Candle Holder

Another CNC Router Creation

Elē the baby elephant Key Chain

Elē is a baby elephant. He's an optimistic elephant as his trunk is always pointing up. He brings you luck. You can buy him in any color Ponoko offers, and he comes with a 18 inch (45cm) sterling silver chain. If the color isn't listed below, please contact me and tell me what color you would like.

Interview with Andrew Peerless

Just a couple days after the election celebrations in Chicago, I went downtown to meet with Andrew Peerless. Andrew greeted me on the 12th floor of a high rise near Grant Park, housing the School of the Art Institute’s Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects. A former student of architecture at the University of Michigan and public relations professional of six years, he is currently a Masters candidate in Designed Objects and designer of the Herd table featured at the Deceptive Design exhibit.

After touring the school’s wood shop which housed a CNC router, laser cutter and fabber among other equipment, we sat down and discussed design - from process to paradigm.

IC: What was the most difficult obstacle in coming from your background in architecture and PR to coming for a degree in product design?

AP: Obviously there’s a relationship between architecture and product design, but I’m seeing a perhaps closer relationship between marketing and product design. In marketing you’re figuring out what people want to hear and how to get it to them which is not that different from giving people the products they want, products that are solutions to their problems.

IC: Is there a unifying theme in your work?

AP: I didn’t set out with a theme in mind, but I’ve noticed that a lot of what I’ve done has picked up elements of things generally considered mundane and tried to elevate them.

With my table for the Deceptive Design show- a cow is, at best, sort of a kitschy motif. You know, cookie jars and cows holding signs that say ‘home sweet home’. And to me it was really interesting to try to elevate that motif to something serious. People enjoy that piece because it’s something familiar, but the finish I think is what makes it a serious piece of furniture.

(The cow legs on Andrew’s table are actually sanded and lacquered wood; I thought they were ceramic!)
IC: How do you work through process; do you sketch, go to the computer or like to get to work with materials?
AP: My process has evolved. I started out sketching, but once I learned how to use 3D modeling programs I started jumping into that. Now, I’ve started to move into sketch modeling: taking analog materials to get massing right, proportional relationships, etc.

(above: production images of Contour Box)

IC: If money and materials were no issue, is there a dream project you would like to do?

AP: You know, not at this time. For me, there’s no ‘been there done that’. I believe anything can be elevated by design, so I would appreciate the challenge of any project that came along. There’s still a lot I would like to learn.

IC: What are some of the highlights of what you’re learning here at SAIC?
AP: I’m in a class now that teaches that just because you’re born into a system, doesn’t mean you have to follow that system. We talked about planned obsolescence today. It was a concept introduced to the consumer system post World War II, and it set the tone for everything that’s followed. It’s what we were born into and what we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow. That paradigm has to shift, and it’s the designer’s role to do it.

(above: Drill Lamp)

IC: Speaking of the designer’s role, what are your plans after graduation?

AP: Well, I believe if you want to go out and change the world you should have a good basis first, so I would like to work for a product design consultancy and see where I can go from there.

For any companies looking for a talented designer with a diverse professional background, Andrew will be graduating in May. Visit his website or contact him at misterajp[at]gmail[dot]com.

Many thanks to Andrew for talking with me and showing me around the studio.

Double S Industries receives $99K grant

When a downturn in the economy reduced the number of jobs available for its clients, Double S Industries decided to create jobs of its own.

The non-profit organization, which provides employment assistance to adults with disabilities, is starting two new businesses after a $99,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

In the past, Double S found work for its clients through various businesses in Erie County. Economic changes within the manufacturing and assembly fields drastically affected those employment opportunities, assistant director Laura Nickles said

"A lot of the opportunities that were out there for our clients are no longer there," she said.

To keep employment opportunities flowing, business manager Charles Wright filed for a USDA grant so Double S could start its own business.

On June 5, Double S was awarded $99,000 for equipment and inventory to start its own "green" sign shop and a digital archiving management business. The businesses will employ more than 15 adults.

Nickles said Double S Industries Sign and Graphics is an in-house, self-supporting operation that uses computer technology to create "intricately" detailed, extremely durable signs for the general public, non-profit and for-profit organizations.

"The board used for the signs is made from 100-percent recycled plastic milk jugs," Wright said. "The estimated life expectancy of the signs is around 400 years."

"The shavings from the cut sign are sent back to be recycled again," Nickles said.

Wright said it was a "win-win-win" situation.

"We're providing employment for our clients, a service for local businesses and organizations, and we're recycling what we don't use," he said.

Wright said he worked with the software before writing the grant, so he was familiar with the application process and how the system worked.

Nickles said applying for the grant was a tedious job.

"They wanted to know everything in the application," she said. "We had to prove there was interest in the community and how many clients would be working, along with the basic outline of what we hoped to accomplish."

The last equipment for the sign shop was delivered Tuesday. Standing near shelves stacked with 4-by-8-foot multi-colored boards and the expansive CNC router table, Nickles, Wright and support specialist David Baum described how the new businesses will operate.

"We make a three-dimensional sign cut out of colored board through a router system," Baum said. "The computer software tells the router what we're trying to design, and it drills out the info and cuts in the details."

Most of the boards are layered with two colors. The computer tells the router how deep to drill, varying the color, size and shape of the images. Baum said the equipment can produce detail as small as the engraving on a piece of jewelry.

"The whole process is customer driven," Wright said. "We tell the computer what they want, and the computer tells the router what to do. Customers can send their own designs, or we can create them from this software."

Wright said there's at least four local businesses inquiring about the signs, which are weather- and fade-resistant, affordable, low-maintenance and professional in appearance.

Double S Industries Digital Archiving will offer an alternative to storing files in space-consuming file boxes.

"Our clients take the staples out, tape up tears and scan all the paperwork," Wright said. "It all can be stored on disks."
Wright said the digital shop equipment, which included two computers, scanners and software cost about $25,990. The installation, software and equipment for the sign shop totaled $73,000.

"We used all the grant funds to completely purchase what we needed," he said. "It's a great example of tax dollars at work. We want to be better stewards of our tax dollars and be self-supporting."
The shops are taking orders and should be running within the next week or two.

"The whole purpose is to give meaningful employment to MRDD adults," Baum said. "To provide gainful employment for them and an opportunity to make money so they can improve their life through the way they live and the quality of the things they have."

Interested in storing your files digitally or purchasing a new sign for your business/non-profit organization?

Call Double S Industries, 419-626-1048 for pricing and product availability.

Multiple-Profile Router Bit

This multiple-profile bit from Infinity Tools allows you to reproduce dozens of classical profiles with a single bit, saving you money and drawer space — but it comes at a price. Instead of making a single pass with a single-profile bit, you might have to make multiple passes at different cutter heights and fence positions.

If you run hundreds of feet of a single profile, this probably isn’t the bit for you — but if you’re a DIY’er or small shop that runs a few feet of many different profiles now and again, it may be worth the extra time and setup.

The cutter of this particular bit measures 2-13/16″ in diameter at its widest, 1-1/7″ tall, and is mounted on a 1/2″ shank. Infinity makes the cutters from micro-grain carbide, which can be resharpened many times, and the body from fatigue-proof steel coated with silver PTFE to keep wood resin from sticking to it.

The bit will normally run you $70, but evidently Infinity Tools is overstocked and you can get it for $50 plus $8 shipping and handling directly from their website.

CAD/CAM and CNC technology boost kitchen-maker’s productivity

M & M Kitchens of Queanbeyan says it has doubled its sales turnover in four years since fully embracing integrated CAD/CAM and CNC manufacturing processes.

The kitchen company installed Planit’s Cabnetware software ten years ago, enhancing its design processes.

According to the company, customers enjoy seeing how their kitchens will look, and Cabnetware’s computer generated drawings are easy to relate to. The drawings can also help clients refine their chosen design before beginning construction of the kitchen.

The company then decided to integrate its computer-aided designing with a CNC woodworking machine, using a Biesse Rover router and borer. The Cabnetware software controls the automated nesting process which cuts, routes and drills the kitchen parts quickly and accurately, minimising wasted material.

Engineered wholly and solely for the woodworking industry, Planit is a screen-to-machine software. It is integrated with the Planit CNC centre, providing a complete screen-to-machine solution which confirms all parts and part operations before sending data to the factory.

$25,000 Lilly grant to buy CNC machine for Southern Wells

Southern Wells will soon become a school for rock. Or at least a place where rock students could come for their instruments.

Teacher Doug Hunt just got word he received a $25,000 Lilly grant to purchase a special computer controlled router, the basis for a program he will use to teach students about advanced industrial manufacturing techniques.

Build a house with a computer, a CNC Router, and a rubber mallet

Imagine pulling up to an empty lot with a CNC-controlled ShopBot router, a rubber mallet, and a pile of 600 sheets of plywood. Add in some unskilled labor and a few days, and you could end up with a livable, permanent structure. Ok, you will need to add electricity, plumbing, and lighting, but thanks to Larry Sass's construction technique, precise interlocking notches and grooves keep the house together tightly without the need for screws or nails. Even the furniture can be built in to the design!

A prototype house was assembled for a MoMA show this summer in New York City.

Thermwood offers refurbished CNC routers

Many small cabinet shop owners have a mental equipment wish list. Now, a CNC router may not be out of reach.
Thermwood Corp. now offers factory refurbished, pre-owned CNC routers, which have been reconditioned and brought to new machine standards.

According to the company, they also are repainted and equipped with the Next Generation Gen 2 Control System, a Siemens drive system with full-diagnostic capability and Virtual Service.

Refurbished machines are priced lower than a new machine and come with a one-year warranty, training and installation.

CNC Router to create imagery for surface pattern design

Ceramic Designer-Maker, Jessie Higginson ( and Autonomatic Cluster Leader, Katie Bunnell recently completed a Crafts Council supported Contemporary Crafts Fellowship combining their specialist skills in hand and digital drawing to create imagery for surface pattern design. The results of their collaboration are currently on show in Re-Route at the Devon Guild of Craftsman, Fri 13th March – Sunday 26th April

Prior to starting the Fellowship our separate practices were involved with surface and the exploration of pattern, colour, line, illustration and mark making for ceramics. Our original aim through participating in the Fellowship was to increase the originality and value of our work by creatively combining our surface pattern skills with a range of new forms, enabling us to relate texture, shape and pattern together. In order to develop a viable product for market we intended to have a range of new shapes manufactured enabling higher volume runs whilst retaining control over the decoration to create limited edition pieces. The core of our project has involved us in researching the ceramic manufacturing industry in the UK, talking to other designers, consultants and visiting factories to find an industrial partner. This research has revealed to us the very sorry state of UK ceramic manufacturing – with the recent demise of Wedgwood/Waterford only serving to highlight this further. Our desire to find a UK company combined support for the British economy, issues of sustainability through local production, and quality control through using a partner in the relatively geographically accessible potteries region of Stoke-on-Trent. We drew a blank.

For the exhibition of work in progress at the Devon Guild we decided to test our relationship as co-designers. Can and how do we work creatively together on the same designs using analogue and digital drawing skills.

Our starting point was based on our previous shared interest in visual representations of plant forms. We wanted to take some familiar plants and transform them into abstracted designs. Inspired by some late Victorian drawing of seaweed and our own local environment we started by photographing isolated samples of seaweed and working together to identify plant structures, shapes and colours that we found visually interesting. Jessie made hand drawings of the seaweeds we selected, scanned them and then Katie manipulated the hand drawing using CAD and CAM programs to both reproduce elements of Jessie’s drawing and to develop new line qualities. The CNC router was used to create large scale drawings using CAD data and this process helped to inform us about the development of imagery for much smaller scale ceramic transfers. Experimentation with the CNC Router has had an impact on the development of designs for other contexts enabling us to work on a new scale, and to think about pattern and design in other mediums, not just ceramic. Through both hand and computer drawing processes we aimed to abstract the seaweed imagery to develop distinct line qualities, line weights, fill textures as well as colour palette. Using these qualities as our building blocks we developed imagery for inglaze, raised paste (low relief), standard digital and laser cut transfers with the idea that these images would layer together to provide a richness and depth in the ceramic glaze surface. We created multiple design elements using these processes providing us with the scope to create designs in the process of collaging them together.

Our mentor for the project was Autonomatic Research Fellow, Tavs Jorgensen.

Drawing made using a CNC Router

ICE carving with CNC Router

Breaking free from traditional ice-sculpting methods, London-based ice specialist, Eskimo Ice have employed a pioneering, accurate and time-saving approach that allows them to accept increasing orders and concentrate on adding the final intricacies to their pieces by bringing Delcam's ArtCAM Pro into their studios.
ArtCAM Pro, the advanced CADCAM (Computer-Aided Design & Manufacturing) software package in the ArtCAM range meets the preferred working methods of many a designer.
Clemente Gava, Chief designer at Eskimo Ice, always provided their sculptor with design prints for replication. With ArtCAM, however, the process can now be taken one step further. By importing the files directly into ArtCAM, he is able to modify design elements and calculate the necessary toolpaths to CNC machine the majority of ice using their router.
Clemente comments that, ''ArtCAM is extremely easy to use and comes with a range of helpful tools. ArtCAM's relief layers and tools, for example, make it really easy to create & modify my designs. If I need to change part of my design I can just click on the relevant 'Relief Layer' and change it without having to recreate the whole piece. ArtCAM also has what it calls a 'Project Tree' that allows me to keep all my 3D models together.''
He continues, ''ArtCAM's toolpath strategies and simulations are vital for us as they allow me to find the fastest and most efficient method of machining. Before machining I can simulate how the carving will look with my chosen tools and make any necessary changes which prevent wasting time down in the ice-carving studio.''
When creating the ice sculpture to promote China's oldest beer, Harbin, at the Taste of London Food Festival, incorporating their coloured logo wasn't a problem for Eskimo Ice. ''Re-producing Chinese characters accurately by hand would be extremely difficult, but with ArtCAM all we had to do was set the toolpaths around the imported characters for them to be machined, eliminating any potential errors.
'In addition, as the logo needed to be built up of three separate colours we were able to machine the separate layers of ice and paint them with our pre-made dye. Once the dye had frozen all we had to do is set the layers together.''
Percy Salazar, their world leading ice-sculptor has worked with ice for a number of years, to create life-sized cars, elephant luges and entire rooms built from ice. As such he is well accustomed to the difficulties of hand-carving such a volatile medium; spending hours chiselling away in below freezing temperatures to create the basic shape before adding detail to the design.

Due to the nature of ice and the pitfalls of hand-carving, Percy used to sculpt designs larger than the proposed size to allow for human error or splintered ice. (A practice particularly necessary for creating straight lines or curves, due to the level of accuracy required.) Severe breaks in the ice would cause hours of delay as he would have to start again from scratch.

Percy believes that ''ArtCAM's area clearance saves us hours. It can remove a large bulk of ice, almost halving the time I need to work on it. Without ArtCAM creating the St Paul's cathedral and Big Ben for the Taste of London Food Festival would have proved a lot more time-consuming, whilst creating the spokes on the wheel would have been almost impossible.''

Eskimo Ice proprietor, Gavin Marks, believes that ''ArtCAM has made a significant impact on our business and there is still more potential in the software that we have yet to tap into.''

If you would like to find out more about the ArtCAM software range please go to: or e-mail: artcam ( @ ) delcam dot com

A bit of advice: cooling can lengthen tool life

A bit of advice: cooling can lengthen tool life, Purdue expert says
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Rado Gazo inspects a router
Rado Gazo, a Purdue University professor of wood processing and industrial engineering, found that cryogenically treating router bits, as well as cooling them while they cut, can increase the tools' lives - in some cases doubling them. His findings were posted in the early online edition of the Journal of Materials Processing Technology.
"Excessive heat is a major contributor to premature tool wear," Gazo said. "In metal machining, you put water on the tools to keep them cool, but you can't do that when cutting wood."
The tungsten-carbide router bits that Gazo tested use cobalt as a glue to hold the tungsten-carbide molecules together. Friction heats the bits as they make cuts, causing a chemical reaction that results in the loss of some cobalt.
"At high temperatures, the cobalt melts and evaporates," Gazo said. "As that glue vaporizes, the tungsten-carbide particles simply fall off."
Gazo was able to show that either cryogenically treating the bits to harden them, blowing cooled air on them during use, or doing both, improved the life of tools and kept cuts clean later in the tools' lives. Cryogenic treating requires cooling the tools to -300 degrees Fahrenheit and then bringing them back up to ambient temperature, a process that can cost just a few dollars per pound of tools.
Gazo used a router bit that had not been cryogenically frozen or exposed to cool air during use as a control and cut more than 100 miles of tool path in a medium-density fiberboard. Bits that were not frozen but subjected to a blast of 40-degree and 20-degree Fahrenheit air during use increased tool life by as much as 25 percent.
A bit that had been cryogenically frozen but not cooled during use increased tool life by about 65 percent over the control. Blowing 40-degree air on that bit increased its life 85 percent, and using 20-degree air increased tool life by 217 percent. Bits with less wear, and thus longer lives, also gave cleaner cuts for a longer period into the tests. The tools also consumed less power and created less noise during cutting

Gazo said manufacturers would likely find cryogenic treating an affordable option for increasing tool life in tungsten-carbide tools. Applying cooled air, however, would be best evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
"You've got to figure out the safety and whether it is worth the trouble of setting up," Gazo said. "This is worth investing for a company that wants to save money on tools. There is a benefit to be had."
The Purdue Center for Advanced Manufacturing provided funding for Gazo's research. Vortex Tool Co. and EXAIR provided materials.
Gazo said the next step in his research would be to test other tool treatments.
Writer: Brian Wallheimer, (765) 496-2050,
Source: Rado Gazo, (765) 494-3634,
Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer,
Agriculture News Page

Rado Gazo inspects a router as it makes cuts in a sheet of medium-density fiberboard. Gazo found that cryogenically treating and then cooling router bits as they make cuts could extend the lives of the tools. (Purdue Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)

CNC Handplane

Didn’t Thomas Edison discover a 1000 different ways NOT to make a light bulb? I figured I have 999 more attempts to make a hand plane with my CNC before I start getting discouraged, by that measure.

My plans are to make a wooden hand plane with my CNC router. My plan is to cut a few prototype bodies just to make sure I have all my toolpaths ‘dialed in’ where they should be. This phase will also tell me if my equipment is up to snuff. (I already learned that I will probably need to get some longer mills. Maybe 4 inchers)

I also need to make a consistent method for attaching the blank and then being able to machine the entire outside and inside of the body. I devised a plate made from MDB (in the picture) with T-nuts. I then drill the blank slightly long, counter bore the holes to take 1/4-20 hex screws of varying lengths, depending on the piece. This part is working pretty good so far.

Now, the first body is probably not even a good shape for a plane but this was about getting the equipment performing the way I expect. That piece is nearly 8 inches long (not including the hold downs). Everything started pretty good. I used a 1/2 inch end mill for the first roughing pass. I had planned a 1/4 inch end mill for a 2nd roughing pass but opted against it. This is where I made the mistake. As I was running a relief cut with a 1/4 inch ball nose, I ‘dragged’ the bit and lost a few ‘steps’. This cause my X axis reference to be off. This is evident by the ‘stair-steps’ inside the pocket (they should have been removed) and the ridges on one end. Regardless – This is failure #1 and it provided some valuable lessons for me. As long as I make progress, I don’t mind messing up. This is gonna be fun!

P.S. Once I get my workflow and equipment dialed in, would anyone be interested in doing some trading of services? I’m offering some CNC services for plane iron. (Preferably, if you can make your own and they are thick). I could probably cut saw handle blanks really easily. Jig templates, etc. Name it. (As long as its smaller than 12X20. :)

Thanks guys!

Here are some pictures

1/2 inch end mill – 1st roughing pass

Failure #1 in all its glory!

by Matt - My Websites - - Hand Tools :: - Small Shops

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alphacam to Integrate with OgeeTek 3D Analyzer

The seamless transition from solid model to CNC program is close to the top of every woodworker’s wish-list. Now, Alphacam and 3D Analyzer have teamed up to make this goal a reality. With the ability to import solids from Parasolid and ACIS-based CAD modelers, as well as native solid files from CAD vendors such as Autodesk, Alphacam Part Modeler or Pro/ENGINEER, Alphacam is the ideal software partner for 3D Analyzer.
integration of Alphacam and 3D Analyzer
Using commands specifically developed within Alphacam, imported solid assemblies can be identified, tagged and exported directly into 3D Analyzer. Configurable scripts within 3D Analyzer automatically apply the jointing technology between assembly parts, such as Rafix, and CAM and Dowel. Cutter technology, also applied within 3D Analyzer, prepares each part of the assembly for export back into Alphacam. On import, the powerful Alphacam package automatically machines, nests and outputs the code for each part ready to run on any CNC router.
Darren Duane, managing director OgeeTek, European distributor of 3D Analyzer software, states: “Linking Alphacam and 3D Analyzer enables the automatic manufacture of assemblies created within any solid modeler. Additionally, the combined industry knowledge and experience of Alphacam and OgeeTek means manufacturing has been fast tracked to create seamless integrated environments and increased profitability for our customers. We see this as the ultimate link between CAD and CAM.”
About Alphacam
Alphacam is a comprehensive CAD/CAM system for the manufacture of metal, wood and stone parts of all types, from simple 2D parts to complex 5-axis components. The emphasis behind the development of Alphacam is to provide customers with productivity, reliability, and flexibility because improving these attributes in any company will help increase profitability.
For further information visit or
About OgeeTek 3D Analyzer
3D Analyzer software is designed to eliminate costly manual procedures and to automatically add machining operations to CAD drawings. Historically, manually generating code was a time consuming task. Clients who have implemented 3D Analyzer have noticed a 60% increase in their overall efficiency. Several construction standards are supplied within 3D Analyzer; incorporating screws, cams, dowels etc as well as many custom requirements. Integration with several 3D CAD applications in conjunction with an easy to use interface makes 3D Analyzer a strong market-leader.
For further information, visit

Monday, August 17, 2009

MecSoft Joins C.R. Onsrud for Aerospace Composite Products

MecSoft Corporation, the developer of VisualMILL computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software, has partnered with C.R. Onsrud of Troutman, NC to quickly integrate a new router solution for Aerospace Composite Products of Livermore, CA – a valued MecSoft customer.
After three (3) years of successfully working with VisualMILL, Aerospace Composite Products decided it was time to upgrade their CNC router. They needed higher tolerances across a 5’ x 10’ table, and also a more powerful spindle. “Onsrud was an easy choice, with excellent customer service and a great reputation for building 1st class CNC routers,” mentions Justin Sparr, Vice President at Aerospace Composite Products. He continued by saying “We also wanted to support a domestic manufacturer,” thus making C.R. Onsrud a natural fit.
Although Onsrud was not familiar with VisualMILL, after a few conversations with MecSoft technical support, it was determined that MecSoft would continue to meet their needs with the new router. Of course, nothing is certain until the day of implementation…
“On the day of implementation, MecSoft and Onsrud came through with flying colors,” exclaims Sparr. The Onsrud technician, who had never worked with VisualMILL before, was able to easily access the post processor editor and begin modifying the post to match what the new router required. As the Onsrud technician was only available for 2 days, the quick integration with VisualMILL was essential to provide enough time to focus on the router setup. They were cutting production parts on the new router by the end of the first day.
“MecSoft Corporation’s partnership with C.R Onsrud brings together state-of-the-art machining software with one of the best-performing router machines in the industry” says Anita Anand, Senior Vice President, Sales and Operations at MecSoft. “The new bundled solution offers a revolutionary, easy to use, affordable solution to the wood working industry.”
About C.R. Onsrud
C.R. Onsrud, Inc. offers a comprehensive line of high-precision machining products including 3, 4, and 5-Axis CNC Routers, Inverted Pin Routers, as well as a complete line of tooling and accessories. Onsrud is well known for superior service capabilities, high-tech training facilities and an extensive Applications Engineering department to further reinforce our pledge to provide the industry with the best products, service, and customer support! For further information please contact C. R. Onsrud sales at 800-638-8185 and ask for Richard Comer, Tom Flowers, Clint Morton, John Akin, or Andy Turner.
About Aerospace Composite Products
ACP Composites is a custom composites manufacturing and distribution company dedicated to providing solutions to specific design requirements. ACP specializes in producing composite panels, tubes, and rods for a variety of industries including medical and aerospace.
For further information about Aerospace Composite Products or any of their services, please call 925-443-5900, or visit their website at
About MecSoft Corporation
MecSoft Corporation is a leading provider of Windows-based CAD/CAM software solutions for manufacturing parts in a wide variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, education, general machining, and mold & die.
For more information, visit