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post #1 of 32 Old 05-07-2013, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hand tools only?

I am new to this forum, stumbled on it looking for joinery information. Disclaimer: my interest is rooted in CNC work. I am developing software for flexible dovetail machining with v-bits as my current hobby (unequal board thickness and variable angles). Kind of a math challenge.....

But I know some of the woodworking forums are focused on hand tools and manually operated machine tools and CNC content is not welcome. I am not sure here. Please let me know if this is not considered relevant information (I will bugger off then) but I would appreciate links for better places (I know about the CNC-Zone forum).

Thanks, JB
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post #2 of 32 Old 05-07-2013, 08:35 AM
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There's a few CNC guys that post sometimes. Mostly hand or normal power tools, but if you start some threads I'd be interested in reading about CNC methodology.
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post #3 of 32 Old 05-07-2013, 02:07 PM
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While there is an active hand tools sub-forum here, this is definately NOT a hand tools only forum.
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post #4 of 32 Old 05-07-2013, 02:16 PM
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Count me in. I'd like to learn a lot more about CNC woodworking.
Call it just bloody-minded curiosity for now.
I'd like to have some grasp of the capabilities.
Same goes for 3D printing.
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post #5 of 32 Old 05-08-2013, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Cool. Looks like I can get some feedback here
As for my software work on dovetails, I will start a separate thread to give it a meaningful title.

I have been doing various woodworking, especially turning for a long time and made pretty decent stuff but never go to the stage of highly skilled craftsmanship. 2 years ago I started with a commercial small CNC machine (Shark Pro) but got dissatisfied with the performance within weeks. Then I built my own CNC machine, mostly made of Bamboo. I somebody cares to read 409 thread posts, the whole story is on CNC-zone

The machine is still not going to make me a master craftsman, but besides the technical fun and challenge (yes, I am an engineer and enjoy it...) it allows me to do precision work and detailed machining that would be impossible or time prohibitive by hand. That is, not to compete with craftsmanship, but to do different things. So far I just scratched the surface but following a few examples:

some fractal carving pattern:


Salad serving hands, cherry (the bowl is actually turned by hand from mulberry root):


4" tall figurine (myrtlewood):


Making parts for a redwood door (special 8' table extension for my 34" machine):

Finished door:

Last edited by JerryBurks; 05-08-2013 at 01:40 AM.
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post #6 of 32 Old 05-08-2013, 09:59 AM
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Very interesting. I love the salad hands and the bowl. Very nice grain in the mulberry root.
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post #7 of 32 Old 05-08-2013, 11:41 AM
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I love the serving hands! Really cool!
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post #8 of 32 Old 05-09-2013, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the first real project I did with the dovetail software: A storage box for cosmetic stuff that I made as a birthday present for my wife. I made it from a 1" rough cherry board that I found at garage sale, resawed and planed to 7.5mm sheets:



Cutting the pieces and dovetailing with my new program:


All parts finished. I had to change the CNC machined hinges eventually; the thin wood was just too weak.


Partially assembled:


Finished box:


Opened:


Three edged dovetail joint:
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post #9 of 32 Old 05-20-2013, 06:12 AM
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Very cool. Awesome projects.
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post #10 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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In the meantime I finished the software and if somebody cares to buy it I set up a web shop. Since this forum is not really CNC oriented I don't really expect too much but I though to share some of the cool things (in my totally humble opinion) that can be done with it:

User Interface:


Normal dovetails (tapered):



Flat Dovetails:

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post #11 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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A few more examples....

Dowel locked dovetails:



Half-Blind Dovetails:


Dovetails that can be disassembled:
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post #12 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 10:47 AM
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CNC's are here to stay, but I have mixed feelings. Some REALLY cool stuff can be made on a CNC, but craftsmanship goes out the window in favor of simply knowing how to program a computer.
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post #13 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 11:31 AM
(clever wood pun here)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrowful Jones View Post
CNC's are here to stay, but I have mixed feelings. Some REALLY cool stuff can be made on a CNC, but craftsmanship goes out the window in favor of simply knowing how to program a computer.
Well, it is a different kind of craftsmanship in programming. The programming craftsmanship involves clean, efficient code, economy of characters, free from errors, etc. Unfortunately, this craftsmanship doesn't necessarily transfer into the wooden object that is machined. This is much the same as any tool. The level of craftsmanship of a tool maker will not necessarily show in whatever project his tools are used on.

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post #14 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 01:29 PM
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I think you did amazing job .
Cnc machine are way out of my price budget .
How ever It does look good .
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post #15 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 04:26 PM
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Super work and I love the fit of the joinery. Like others, will have to learn to do it by hand as my pocket book won't give it up.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Steve

Viet Nam combat vet 12/68 - 12-70, retired DOD federal worker, shopsmith owner.
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post #16 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrowful Jones View Post
CNC's are here to stay, but I have mixed feelings. Some REALLY cool stuff can be made on a CNC, but craftsmanship goes out the window in favor of simply knowing how to program a computer.
Don't worry. Just having a CNC machine (and hopefully knowing how to use it) does not make you a master woodworker. You can build horrible crap with a CNC machine just as well as by hand. For me it is just another step up from mechanized woodworkig tools like jointers, band saws or router jigs. For that matter, since I have the CNC I get much more use out of my planer, band saw and other standard tools.

The major advantages I see are:
- a method to take a design directly from the drawing to the lumber. A normal user does not have to know anything about programming but should know or learn about design and CAM software. There is sure a learning curve.
- a method of machining precision features that I personally could never do myself by hand. That part of the craftsmanship and skill may actually go away but I would compare it with sewing a high quality dress. Nobody would do that nowadays by hand but use a sewing machine which is still difficult enough and considered craftmanship.
- for the professionals there is also the aspect of productivity as precision production tool for repetitive work. A cabinet maker will have a hard time to be competitive in the future without a cnc machine.
- for me it is also a fabulous tinker toy. I built the machine myself and that was fun.

As for the cost, it depends. Some people have built usable mid-size CNC machines for under $2000 (not easy, though). Finished machines go from $3000 up to unlimited. I have a very sturdy machine with 34"x31"x8" work space and spent maybe $4000 building it.

Last edited by JerryBurks; 06-08-2013 at 05:13 PM.
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post #17 of 32 Old 06-08-2013, 08:48 PM
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I think my biggest gripe with CNC machining and wood is just how indifferent it is to the grain and character of the wood. Don't get me wrong, I am not anywhere near a master craftsman, but machining wood and working with wood are two very different things. Each has a place, but they are more different than two means to the same end.

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Last edited by Phaedrus; 06-09-2013 at 03:38 AM.
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post #18 of 32 Old 06-09-2013, 01:58 AM
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I am not inpressed I could make compound joints by hand.Maybe not as fast but just as nice.There will always be stuff machines cannot do.At some point one may only be a machine operator and not a woodworker.
Would you like a example?

Last edited by Backbevel; 06-09-2013 at 02:00 AM.
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post #19 of 32 Old 06-09-2013, 10:31 AM
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Very nice! I particularly like the dowel locked and disassembleable (is that even a word?) dovetails... they're quite cool.
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post #20 of 32 Old 06-09-2013, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backbevel View Post
I am not inpressed I could make compound joints by hand.Maybe not as fast but just as nice.There will always be stuff machines cannot do.At some point one may only be a machine operator and not a woodworker.
Would you like a example?
Hello Backbevel,
I have no doubt that you can make joints that are as nice or even better by hand. Hand work has the ultimate flexibility if you apply the necessary labor and skill. The problem for me is, I do not have the skill (and probably not the patience). The point of posting the pictures was therefore not necessarily to impress with the results but to show what can be done with this new software. Making dovetail joints on a CNC is not trivial and the few people who do that just emulate the manual process with dovetail shaped router bits, which has many limitations and requires vertical clamping of one board (impossible on many machines).
This new method uses a 30-degree v-bit only on a 15-degree clamping jig. There is some tricky math behind the method to make both boards fit without voids.
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