New Year’s Resolutions For CNC Users!

Well, "resolution" is a strong word, perhaps intentions would be a better word to describe the ideas we all convince ourselves we will follow through in the upcoming year.

I won’t even joke about going to the gym or losing weight, eating healthier, etc. Perhaps this year, it's time to focus on things we really should do to keep our obsession with engraving and lasering going, there’s at least a chance that we could actually manage these.

So, let’s start the year as we mean to carry on.

1. Clean Workspace 

    Clear your workspace – does this look familiar?

      Time for a good clean and tidy of the work area, where you (well me) have brushed the work surface of your machine(s), well that’s not really clean, is it?

      Lift it up, move it out of the way and give the area a real clean. A good vacuum and dust around the area will make you feel virtuous if nothing else.

      2. Machine Maintenance

      Now you have a nice workspace, treat your machine(s) to a bit of TLC as well.

      For your 3018, the Yora 3018 Maintenance Kit provides you with replacement bits that you may need. 

      Have a read of the blog Yora 3018 – Pro gets a present for suggestions on how best to clean your machine.

      For the 6550, the Yora 6550 Maintenance Kit provides you with replacement timing belts, guide wheels etc. to get your 6550 back in tip-top shape.

      Remember to clean your laser lenses carefully and regularly and clean the machine thoroughly, you’d be amazed how much dust & soot the laser generates that accumulates on guide rails and so on.

      3. End Mills / Bits

      What about your end mills / bits? I will shamefully admit to this box being mine.

      There is no organization to it, no way of telling what is what, without getting it all out, even my collets are all loose in there.

      So, before I start any more carving or engraving this year, I have promised myself to sort them all out into type and then size using my Yora 6 Inch Stainless Steel Digital Caliper.

      Then, I think my first carve will be to make a bit holder, where I can then laser the sizes on, or at least I’ll sort them into small boxes of the same type. I’m not expecting miracles, perhaps start small.

      4. Stock Materials

      Am I the only person with a CNC machine that looks at everything in shops wondering what I could make from them?

      Just looking would be ok, but I see stuff and then decide I should buy one, one wouldn’t be so bad, but the thinking goes I’d better get a few so I can try it out, perfect the techniques required and then have some for stock to sell.

      That’s when I come home with 20 chopping boards or 50 A4-sized magnetic white boards (yes, really), 30 circular mirrors and so on and so on….

      Time to be ruthless and decide what I’ll be concentrating on and get rid of the rest, unless you’re in the fortunate position to have lots of storage space, this will come to you as well.

      So, clearing out some of this will give you lots of ideas about what you could do, but stick to your guns, sell the stuff you don’t plan to use, clear some space, and have some extra room to store what you intend to use. 

      5. Test Materials

      Test box of materials, exactly how many pieces of each material do you need for testing on? Yes, this is my box again, I don’t really need 8 pieces of bamboo chopping board to test on, especially not all the same size and shape.

      For testing of placement of images, it is better to have the right size and shape, but there’s nothing to stop you from using the same piece more than once. It’s time to get rid of all the extra bits of wood, ply, glass, mirror, acrylic, cork, etc.

       

      6. Software

      Ensure your software is up to date. Check that you’re using the latest version of your software of choice.

      Lasergrbl

      Lightburn

      Easel

      Keeping the software up to date will make sure that the latest developments are available for you to use, new shortcuts, additional tools, you might be surprised what else you can do now with the software you’ve already got used to using.

      7. And finally...

      This could be the hardest resolution yet, try to spend a bit more time with friends and family, not every spare hour in your shed, workshop, spare room or wherever you’ve set aside for yourself! You don't want them to forget you. And, you may get ideas and more inspiration from spending time with them.