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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2020

    Complete Newbie here.......

    I am a woodworker of 40+ years (flat work and lathe) that has decided to venture into the CNC world. No programming or cnc experience at all so am ignorant when it comes to this, but am willing to learn as best I can. I purchased a 6040Z 4 axis machine (of course from China) and am in the process of set up. Will likely download and then purchase the license for the Mach4 software for this. I have a few (which I am sure will turn to many) questions.
    Since I have a WIN 7 computer and no parallel port for the program, am buying a UC100 adapter for compatibility. (As advised by the tech at Mach support). He said he will help me set everything up once the hardware arrives. I want to be prepared to do a lot of test runs once this is up and running and need to purchase bits. The machine collets are 6mm and 1/8" shank. Without breaking the bank, can anyone guide me to what basic bits I need to start? I want to eventually do 3D relief, signs and cylindrical designs.
    Any and all help will be appreciated.
    Hope to be active on here.
    Tim "Knothead"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Complete Newbie her.......

    I suggest starting with a 6mm and 3mm 2 flute TCT flat bottom and the same in ball end,together with a 90degree engraving tool for V-carving and similar.Be sure to get an engraving tool and not just a 45 degree bevelling cutter.The other thing you need is to get hold of some software and learn to use it.E.ven if you don't produce Gcode,you need to explore all the possibilities and alternative approaches to arriving at the desired result.Do you have any feelings about which software to use?For signs,you might find F-engrave good and it costs nothing,as a result of Scorch's generosity.

    I use Freecad myself for design and toolpaths and it is very capable,if a little quirky,and has a post processor for Mach 4 in the latest version.There are lots of tutorial videos on youtube.There is a lot of enthusiasm for Fusion 360 among hobbyists-although that has waned a bit since they abandoned the free usage model.If that doesn't appeal,the Vectric products have a following and don't cost too much in the greater scheme of things.Cylindrical work may be a bit beyond your controller if it necessitates adding a 4th axis.Incidentally,adding your location to your profile would be helpful for some recommendations.

  3. #3
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Re: Complete Newbie her.......

    I'd recommend an ethernet UC400ETH over a UC100. It's about $25 more, but more powerful, more noise immunity, and room for future additions. It's made by the same company as the UC100, and the only thing you'd need to do differently is use a different cable.

    If you are in the US, get a 1/4" collet, as you won't find any 6mm shank bits unless you order from China.

    I always recommend buying bits as you need them, or you run the risk of buying bits you'll never use.

    You'll likely always find uses for 1/8" and 1/4" downcut spiral bits. Carbide tipped straight bits are cheaper, and may be better for practicing.

    For 3D carving, tapered ballnose bits in various sizes. The smaller the bit, the more detail you're carvings will have, but they'll take much longer to carve.

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

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