CNC Milling Software / Workflow

So you have or are thinking of getting a shiny new Computer Numeric Control (CNC) router, but are unsure of the workflow and skills you will need?Workflow: The general workflow is CAD => CAM => Stream to CNC machine.

CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing
CAM (for our purposes) in short is the process of applying tool path information to your CAD designs and generating G-Code which is the instructions you send to the CNC machine.    G-Code are basic text commands, so eventually you can write your own if so inclined

Xcarve / Shapeoko Driver Settings, Motor Directions and Homing Cycles

We get lots of questions about tuning motor drivers and setting directions so … here goes with a blog post covering the topic.  Its a long read and may seem like too much information…but please persist – its good to know whats happening here as when things aren’t working right and you have the theory… you can fix it. 

After you have wired up the X-Carve/Shapeoko/Ox or similar CNC machine running GRBL,  there will be some settings to update and tuning of the machine required. This is regardless of whether you are using the G-Sheild, CNC-shield, or another electronics setup.

Steps we will cover:

  1. Setting Driver(s) Current
  2. Setting Jogging motor Directions
  3. Setting Homing Motor Directions
  4. Testing Homing Sequences – This section coming soon!
  5. Calibrating the steps per/mm of each axis. This section coming soon!

Shapeoko VS X-Carve VS Heavy Mill – Choosing a CNC router

Recent maker scene developments like the Shapeoko 1 & 2, the OX, now the X-Carve opened the door to build your own CNC without months of research, design, parts sourcing and trial and error. With the new breeds of hobby CNC machines, you can have a machine to enable your hobby instead of a machine to be your hobby.  The simplicity of these machines could barely have been imagined until such kits were designed and the great open source GRBL firmware was released. The magic that was CNC became a simple technology that we could build and operate unlike any other tool in the shed.