Shapeokoed!


A quick update about a new tool we’ve added to the space. A few months back we bought a Shapeoko CNC milling machine. It’s an entry-level CNC machine, meaning it’s small, cheap and simple to assemble. It’s well-suited to smaller jobs (7×7″ working area) and can handle milling wood, plastic, styrofoam, copper clad boards, etc. It can possibly mill some metals but that’s going to take some experimenting. (check out the wiki page for more details about our setup)

 

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(more after the break!)

I’ve been using it to mill soft linoleum bought from a local arts crafts store. I’m going to make some stamps! So far there’s been good progress and I’m gaining an understanding about how the material works. A big problem at the moment is we don’t have any endmill bits for cutting. We have one wood routing bit (waaay too big for making stamps).

So at the moment I’m making do with drill bits – normally this is a terrible idea! Drill bits are NOT meant for cutting sideways…. But really the linoleum is soft enough that the drill bit cuts fine anyways. Though to be fair it’s still a bit tacky and gives kind of a bad finish so I may just spring for proper endmills.

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The finish is good enough and the stamp works quite nicely. Above you see it epoxied onto a piece of wooden dowel. The pads in the paw are a little smaller than they should be – I think I had the toolpath offset wrong. The first pass around the paw should be offset by 1/2 the diameter of the bit – any closer and you’ll be cutting into the paw which is probably what happened here. Overall though I’m quite pleased with the results.

Check back for more updates soon!

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