This weeks Skill Builder was to use the CNC router and get familiar with simple 2D drawings in VectorWorks (CAD), creating basic cutting operations in MasterCAM (contour cuts and pockets)

I tried downloading and installing Vectorworks but I had some issues in installing it.

The important tip is to keep the drawing in the top quadrant of the XY axis which I did not follow earlier and created the file again.The next step was exporting the file in the DWG format.

The step by step instructions given in the skill builder material helped in getting clarity on the process. I used a I am using a 1/2″ straight end mill and 0.75″ thick plywood.

The next step was to select the Toolpaths –  Contours or Pockets. I tried to understand the concept of Clock out, count in. If the arrow is pointing in a clockwise direction, the mill will cut on the outside of the shape.  If the arrow is pointing in a counter clockwise direction, the mill will cut on the inside of the shape. I tried to figure out which of these would work best for the results I wanted to achieve.

I then confirmed these operations while watching the animation. I then created the G code and saved the nc file to the pen drive.

I then secured my material on the spoil board using screws.

The next important step was setting the X,Y,Z origin. Then I clicked the “Zero” button and selected “All”.


My job went on pretty smoothly – and I kept vacuuming after every minute to keep the material and bit clean.