Woodshop/CNC training

Hi all! New member here, and I already love this organization.

I’m looking to do some simple 2-axis profiling cuts in 1/2" plywood with the CNC router, but I haven’t taken the woodshop basics or CNC specialization courses yet. However, it looks like these are all booked up for the month at least. Is there any way I could get started sooner than that?

Thanks for your help/advice!

Unfortunately the Multicam CNC router is down for repairs but should be up in the next week or so. We have made many changes to the machine and retraining for all existing users has been prioritized over training new members.

To try to make up for that, some of us who are already checked-out are more than willing to help new users with their jobs. If you are okay with someone helping you (and giving you a preview of how to use the machine before you take training that isn’t quite available), reply here and we will help you out when the machine is back up.

As for Woodshop Basics, the best way to slide into a class or a private session quickly would be to attend a Woodshop committee meeting. Woodshop classes are a little different from other committees’ classes in that they are very hands-on and admitting an extra student costs all participants and the instructor an extra 20-30 minutes for an already-long class. So overbooking the classes is rare.

You might have some luck by showing up at a class time and hoping for a no-show’s spot you can take. But don’t expect puppy-dog eyes to get you into a full class.


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Ok, great, thank you! I’d definitely appreciate someone CNC certified helping me get it done.

As for woodshop basics, I think I’ll just be patient and wait for an open class. I don’t mind as long as I can get my project started in the meantime, which I only need the CNC for.

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If it helps you to keep an eye out, try using the filters built into the calendar system to narrow down the WSB offerings. WSB requires the “large woodshop tools”, so filtering on that helps one quickly understand what’s out there and available, WSB-wise:


Thanks for the tip! I was just using Ctrl+F, but the filters will be easier.

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I’ll ping you back when it’s repaired and we can work out a time to get your stuff done.


Is the machine fixed yet?

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Yes. And the obligatory 10+

Thx. Might someone be able to help me get my jobs done sometime this week? I am available in the morning/afternoon MWF and the weekend.

Is your job already in CAD? What about being CAMed in vcarve? Do you have a dimensioned drawing you can share?

My job is super simple, just a 2D profiling cut of a lot of disks of various sizes. I was planning on drawing it up on the the day I meet with someone to CNC it, to save myself a trip. I’ll make sure to show up generously early so I can be sure to have it done before the meeting time. As for CAMing it, my experience is with RhinoCAM so I may need help with programming it properly in vcarve.

I’m trying to get a handle how much machine time the job requires in order to see if it works time wise. I personally don’t have the time to be involved in one-on-one CAM tutorial. I’m sure the other authorized users hold similar views. Is this for a non-profit organization or personal/business? Many of us will go out of our way to help another non-profit org.

Since you are experienced with CAD, why not create the DXF and post it. Maybe the person helping you can CAM it in their free time. Since you aren’t an existing authorized user, running a quick job (15-20 min) is one thing, getting caught up in a 2-3 hour situation is entirely different. Give it some thought.

The job should be pretty quick. I can start with just one 4x8 sheet’s worth of the disks, ranging from about 6-24in in diameter, and make more later when I’m certified. On the CNC I used at my university, this would take maybe 10-15 minutes. I was hoping the CAM would only take a few minutes as well for a simple 2-axis operation, but I’ve never used vcarve so maybe this is incorrect.

This is for an art project I’m looking to sell, so no, not non-profit.

I’ve used CAD before, but I don’t own it, which is why my plan was to use one of the computers at the Makerspace, which is an hour round-trip drive for me. So I’d prefer not to make the file ahead of time, but I could if it’s necessary or if my plan won’t work for some reason I’m not aware of.

Do you know what sort of timeline I’d be looking at for getting myself certified? Have the re-certifications for previously certified members been finished yet? I’d love to do this independently if that’s an option in a reasonable time frame.

Thanks for your time helping me understand this process.

SolidWorks is available on the jump server so you can use it remotely. Fusion360 might be there too but I don’t use it.

If this is just a bunch of circles you can do it directly in VCarve and not bother with CAD.

Thanks for the info! I’ll just do it in VCarve then. And for future projects, remote access to SolidWorks could definitely be useful.

In addition to SolidWorks, VCarve is also on the jump server. It is version 9.5 and I use it from home for all my design work. You can then either run the gcode created from using version 9.5 or do any last minute updates on site using version 11 that is at DMS and then create new gcode. Note that once you update and save using version 11, you can’t back track and edit further with version 9.5.

Thanks for this info! I used VCarve to make the file, attached if anyone wants to look at it.

tessany_circles1.zip (332.8 KB)

Any positive updates on getting help with the machine and/or getting certified? If not I need to pursue other options.

@gsommers @Liamluu @coffeebean @job4goodman @GriffC @MuzLotia @jinenberger

Anyone have the time to cut this?

The request is for 4 ’ x '8 sheet of plywood to be made into a whole bunch of circles with. There is a single tool path for the job. It will probably take at least an hour of time to setup, cut, shutdown, and clean-up. We have the spoil board quadrants for a whole sheet. Obviously you can’t cut all the way through and this will leave a massive amount of clean-up at a 45 degree angle for the job. If @Iterator doesn’t want to attempt the clean up(I sure wouldn’t), then they would also need to bring a 5/8" sheet of spoil board, such as mdf, so you can cut through. I have extracted the pertinent details below. I have no idea if this strategy is ready to go, or might require a few adjustments.

Would either be this weekend or next week for me. First week of school starts today!