A CNC router machine is probably the most useful tool a hobbyist can own, but the price for a CNC machine on the market is way more than the average hobbyist is willing to spend. You can build your own CNC with very basic tools, little knowledge of machinery, mechanics, or electronics, but be warned, these machines are inherently dangerous, so wear the proper protection and use common sense. At the very least, read the instructions and precautions on every tool you use.
Now, a CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, but that is gibberish. It does hint you to the fact that something is controlled, and probably by a computer. It's really a mechanism that interfaces to a computer to control its movements, similar to a robot, but this machine has a specific function. It cuts or shapes things with this control. In essence, a computer precisely controls a cutting tool, like a router for instance, to cut materials such as wood, plastic or metals into shapes only bounded by your imagination.
This two-part video tutorial will show you how to install the software for a CNC router. What's a software toolchain? Well, my fine feathered machinist... a software toolchain is a "chain" of software that enables the completion of an entire process from design to implementation. When I say chain, I mean a few programs.
In this explanation, the individual software applications are discussed as the process is completed and more details are shown. The toolchain can contain as many as three software applications, or as few as one. Because we are cheap... the latter of the software selections of only one application would be to purchase a CAD/CAM package. CAD, or Computer Aided (Assisted) Design and CAM, or Computer Assisted Manufacturing, can reside in a single application; however, the cost can be astounding. Check out the buildyourowncnc website for more details.
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