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So I have access to a CNC machine at work...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Got a new job a few months ago at a manufacturing company that makes custom-built walk-in coolers/freezers. The sheet metal department has a punch-style CNC machine that can handle down to (i think) 20-guage stainless steel or 18-guage mild steel. (might be 18/16, anyway...). It will also punch 1/8" aluminum.

I was doing a little bit of "reconnaissance" today and asking my supervisor what goes into writing programs for the CNC machine and whether I'd be able to bring in programs I'd written at home and use scrap metal to punch stuff out after work hours. The answer was a "maybe", so it looks like I'll have to do a little more convincing.

Anyway, looking for some suggestions as to what would be a good starter/sample project to do once I get permission to use the CNC. I was initially thinking some type of simple tech bench / motherboard tray. Eventually, I'd like to get to the point where I can make parts for full cases.
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post #2 of 6
Well, never used one but if I were planning on learning, I'd start with basic shapes and then move to more advanced shapes.

For example, first a square, then a perfect circle, then a 5 pointed star, then cut the points off the star to make a pentagon.

Stuff like that, just to get the hang of it, you could also just do those on the scrap metal so your boss wouldn't get mad if he saw you cutting things for personal use. Then you could move on to making personal things when they know you know how to use one properly, and have some decent examples and things.
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The Iron Giant
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post #3 of 6
you lucky dog
Nano Optimus
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Well the CNC is a punch-type, not a laser. So it doesn't really have a concept of "shapes". A shape is just a sequence of punches in a specific order with a specific spacing between each punch. It's an archaic machine, I think the machine itself was made in like 1984 so it's using an Apple I or Apple II for the programming terminal. Which means the "language" used to program it is probably extremely simplistic, while probably also being extremely clunky. Anyway, I'll do a little more research tomorrow. Depending on how much freedom of use I'm able to get, I may be able to do custom parts for other forum users. No guarantees at this point, though.
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2x WD Raptor 74GB 10K 8MB (RAID0) LG BD/HD-DVD/DVD-RW Combo Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (RTM) Gateway FHD2400 1920x1200 2ms 
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Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP 2560x1600 8ms Deck Legend Frost XFX 850W Modular 80PLUS Silver Cooler Master HAF 932 
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post #5 of 6
Not sure why I expect CNC machines to be all laser and/or pressure cutters nowadays.

Well, my bad. Considering it uses its own language and not CAD I guess you could just go ahead and try anything.
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The Iron Giant
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Laser CNCs are much better when you have lots of varied types of shapes/parts you need to cut out. The punch type CNCs are great when you're doing lots of the same thing over and over, although they suck at doing things outside their scope. For example, to cut a circle, this CNC (It's a Strippit brand if anyone cares) does what's called a "nibble", where it punches 50-100 small circular holes next to each other, effectively drawing a circle out of smaller circles.

I think I came up with the first set of things I need though... new vertical posts for a server cabinet I bought recently.
Workstation
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-920 D0 EVGA X58 SLI Micro BFG GeForce GTS 250 OC 1GB 24GB (6x4GB) G.Skill Sniper SR2 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD Raptor 74GB 10K 8MB (RAID0) LG BD/HD-DVD/DVD-RW Combo Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (RTM) Gateway FHD2400 1920x1200 2ms 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP 2560x1600 8ms Deck Legend Frost XFX 850W Modular 80PLUS Silver Cooler Master HAF 932 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G9 12"x12"x3/8" Polyethelyne 
  hide details  
Reply
Workstation
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-920 D0 EVGA X58 SLI Micro BFG GeForce GTS 250 OC 1GB 24GB (6x4GB) G.Skill Sniper SR2 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD Raptor 74GB 10K 8MB (RAID0) LG BD/HD-DVD/DVD-RW Combo Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (RTM) Gateway FHD2400 1920x1200 2ms 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP 2560x1600 8ms Deck Legend Frost XFX 850W Modular 80PLUS Silver Cooler Master HAF 932 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G9 12"x12"x3/8" Polyethelyne 
  hide details  
Reply
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