The Basics

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In recent years, CNC routers, a technology that was once the province of industry, has moved into home woodworking shops. While they are not yet as common as a table saw, many home shop woodworkers have wondered about the practicality of bringing a CNC (computer numerical control) routing system into their shops. Although most small shop CNC systems are not inexpensive, their prices have continued to drop, adding an intensity to the interest of many woodworkers.

With that as a backdrop, the last eZine in this series offered a primer on the basics of how a CNC routing system works. It discussed the general concepts behind the software that drives the machine and how drawings, letters and images are converted to program code that the machine understands.

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In this eZine, those basics were put into practice on a couple of small projects. Using just the information that the company provides with the system — in this case the CNC Shark— these projects were successfully produced. As with any new process, there were a couple of false starts and with them lessons learned. But the primary lesson demonstrated is that mastering this technology is fully within the scope of an average small shop woodworker. The other important point is this: as with learning any new technique, there is no substitute for experience. Practice, even in a process where the wood ends up being cut by a computer, is still the most significant component to success. For more on this, check out the video embedded below.

Make sure you've checked out our other Small-shop CNC Routing:

Sponsored by CNC Shark