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Thread: CNC for students

  1. #11
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    Mar 2008
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    Brandon MI
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    The students learn Autodesk Inventor in the 6th grade, so the students know how to draw 3d, I don't know if the Inventor files can be brought into a CAM program and cutter path created, the other coaches know a little more about that, I under stand the parameters need to create cutter path(feeds and speeds) I am just not up on all the programs used to create the tool path.
    Mike
    Brandon MI
    2003 MINI Cooper S JCW#249
    1971 Opel GT
    1985 Ford 3910LP

  2. #12
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike of the North View Post
    The students learn Autodesk Inventor in the 6th grade, so the students know how to draw 3d, I don't know if the Inventor files can be brought into a CAM program and cutter path created, the other coaches know a little more about that, I under stand the parameters need to create cutter path(feeds and speeds) I am just not up on all the programs used to create the tool path.
    Inventor files can be imported directly into Fusion 360 and toolpaths created without modifying the original unless you need to make adjustments. The basic learning videos are located here.

  3. #13
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    Mar 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob La Londe View Post
    LOL - IRL. Just what I was saying. Gotta teach them to use it properly and to maintain it.
    Which is another very good reason to work with Little Machine Shop. School machines get broken. Their business is supporting minimills, so they have parts available that I don't beleieve any other vendor will have for their machines. Parts for a minimill will be way less expensive than any commercial

  4. #14
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    Oct 2009
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    Newport News, VA
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    I'm a mentor with a local FRC team, and I was going through some of these same gyrations. I would say that for the vast majority of the work the FIRST competitions require you can get away with using mostly flat sheet stock 1/4" and below. Our team finished building an 80W CO2 laser cutter this summer, and we're already seeing benefits in how it can speed up the builds. I was working on speccing out a CNC router since we've already got a manual mill with DROs, the big driver here being precise hole placement over much larger spans than a typical vertical mill can provide. In the FIRST forums, there seems to be a lot of people saying their priority list on equipment goes: CNC Router (Sometimes swapped with laser), Lathe, Mill, other.

    Granted, FRC is on a bigger scale than FTC, but I'd say you couldn't go wrong with something with a 24"x24" cut area. Problem is, unless you guys build/make it yourself, you're unlikely to get something *good* for $2k. The 6040 machines are so-so, only super-light cuts in aluminum. The controllers/motor drivers they come with are usually questionable, and as is typical with the Chinese machines, there's a lot of tweaking required to make them function properly (see CNCzone threads for reference). The one you linked at least has supported rails, though there are ones out there with Hiwin linear rails that are way better.

    As far as the software available, FIRST partners with a lot of the CAD vendors, and if you're associated with the team you can even get your own Student copy. I believe our team uses PTC CREO, though I think Solidworks is another one that's available. I was only told about it, I've not tried to get my own copy... yet. They might have CAM partners as well.

  5. #15

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    One advantage to Fusion360 for a student application is its portable. Any student with a decent computer can download it and install it at home so they can work on the same files they work on at school. They can also work on their own projects at home on their own time. Its also free for education. Its also free for startups and hobbyists, so if one of your students goes further on their own when they are no longer a student they can continue to use it. I don't like being cloud dependent, but for your application being cloud based could be incredibly useful.

  6. #16
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    Mar 2013
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    Hojpoj,
    Interested in what you cut with 80 watt laser. Thinking of adding a laser to my machine. What kind of travel speeds are needed?

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Newport News, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    Hojpoj,
    Interested in what you cut with 80 watt laser. Thinking of adding a laser to my machine. What kind of travel speeds are needed?
    Right now it's plywood, polycarbonate, acrylic, and acetal sheet. I personalty don't run the machine so I haven't gotten to see what the feed rates are. Nothing blisteringly fast, though. As our time has been limited, we've stI'll got a lot of learning to do in how to set the parameters and get the laser focused properly to improve the cut quality.

    We'be made our drive gearboxes from the acetal, and it's working so far. We've got a couple events coming up that'll let us torture test the design before the competition kicks off in January.

  8. #18
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    Mar 2008
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    Brandon MI
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    I don't believe you should cut polycarbonate with a laser, I thought it gave off harmful fumes when cut with a laser, you may want to look into it before cutting some.
    Mike
    Brandon MI
    2003 MINI Cooper S JCW#249
    1971 Opel GT
    1985 Ford 3910LP

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Newport News, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike of the North View Post
    I don't believe you should cut polycarbonate with a laser, I thought it gave off harmful fumes when cut with a laser, you may want to look into it before cutting some.
    Might just be the acrylic, I've not been around for all the experimenting. At least all the cutting happens outside!

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