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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 02-28-2013 04:37 PM 1283 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RussellAP

2950 posts in 936 days


02-28-2013 04:37 PM

I admit that when I first encountered CNC, I was intimidated. It’s natural. I work very hard to come up with designs and shapes and literally work my ass of to get ultimately something inferior to what some computer driven machine can do.
Being intimidated by machines is stupid.
This CNC stuff is great and adds a dimension to woodworking that hasn’t been seen since China 3000BCE.
I remember a star trek episode where some children were working on a chunk of wood, sculpting it with hand held lasers no bigger than a pen.
I guess the point is, although I can’t consider what the machine does as woodworking, I can say the guys that work with them are artists, designers, programmers, and lets not forget with all that nerd stuff that they still do the woodworking after the CNC is finished. I can imagine that there are some crazy problems to solve in some of this stuff and it gets my respect.

I hope I was clear and this doesn’t start any fights.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.


51 replies so far

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woodsmithshop

1144 posts in 2195 days


#1 posted 02-28-2013 04:48 PM

I feel pretty much the same way, it can be used to make some parts faster and more consistent , I sometimes use a lathe duplicator to be more consistent in size etc.

-- Smitty!!!

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DS

2131 posts in 1070 days


#2 posted 02-28-2013 04:57 PM

Technoloogy is merely an accellerator, not the art, nor the craftsmanship itself.

A CNC machine by itself will do nothing.
Someone still has to have an idea, translate that into programming that cuts something, then take that and put together his/her creation.

“GIGO” (Garbage In – Garbage Out, Good In – Good Out) has never been more true than it is using a CNC machine.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Bob817

650 posts in 1032 days


#3 posted 02-28-2013 05:03 PM

I too have mixed feelings about this subject, I find myself always leaning to what was done before there was so much modern machinery. I find it fascinating how woodsmen had to use there minds and hands to do woodworking without plugging in the machine.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 936 days


#4 posted 02-28-2013 05:18 PM

James, it was done with a CNC, I just checked.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1808 days


#5 posted 02-28-2013 05:24 PM

If I have computer software that allows me to make all my mistakes virtually and non-destructively, with endless undos/redos, then I think that takes away what makes fine art truly FINE art. As I mentioned in another similar thread, the amazing part to me about great works of art is that there is risk involved with every stroke of the brush. When carving by hand, there is risk in every chip.

I am much less impressed when a woodcarving is produced without those risks, regardless of how great and “artistic” the subject is. It’s art, but it’s more like graphical art to me than it is fine art. They are different.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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DS

2131 posts in 1070 days


#6 posted 02-28-2013 05:32 PM

Jay, you make that sound like a CNC machine never miscuts anything and there is no risk involved…

The machine cuts exactly what the fallable humans tell it to cut. There is no interpretation layer on the machine that says, “Hmmm, I’ll bet he meant that to look like a butterfly, maybe I won’t make this erroneous cut accross the middle of his piece.” It just moves from point X to point Y and so on even if that destroys everything, or catches the material on fire (Yes, I’ve done that twice this year already), or it takes your pricey exotic lumber and wrecks fifteen blanks before you get exactly what you thought you were going to get.

Obviously, it is not the same, and I doubt anyone will argue that it is the same— but it is not without risks.
Perhaps, it has even greater risks.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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darthford

532 posts in 574 days


#7 posted 02-28-2013 05:42 PM

BANG…(smoke) SCREECH, GRIND these are sometimes the sounds of CNC

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Kernel

7 posts in 602 days


#8 posted 02-28-2013 05:44 PM

Is there anyone out there with CNC or lathe duplicator interested in turning hickory wooden golf shafts on a volume basis? I would ask here first as there is a degree of pride and true craftsmanship from what I read and glean from continuous readings in your forums.

Thanks all.

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 936 days


#9 posted 02-28-2013 06:02 PM

James, I’m asking the original poster.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2043 days


#10 posted 02-28-2013 06:04 PM

”This CNC stuff is great and adds a dimension to woodworking that hasn’t been seen since China 3000BCE. ”

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1125 days


#11 posted 02-28-2013 06:09 PM

I am firmly planted in Cosmicsnipers camp. We are talking about 2 different sets of skills, woodworking and programming. I would add to cosmics statement that CNC also takes away serendipity. How many of us have not made “design changes” simply because of a mistake or wrong cut, sometimes these changes result on a better piece, sometimes they result in firewood, either way you learn something. With CNC there is not room for mistakes, but there is no room for improvements either, everything is ruled by a strict set of instructions which allows for no deviation.

For this reason CNC requires a greater discipline in design, but it restricts the freedom of changing course halfway.
I view CNC work in the same light as digital photography. Take 10000 shots, pick the one you like and fiddle with it in the computer, print 100 times the same shot until you get what you want. DS251 just wrote:

wrecks fifteen blanks before you get exactly what you thought you were going to get.

Which sort of proves Cosmics and my point, this is not woodworking it is design and programming. With wood work you only get one chance to get it right, not 15.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 608 days


#12 posted 02-28-2013 06:23 PM

I loved operating the CNC at the shop I used to work at. Students would come out with their 3D models for me to cut out and they WERE artists. I learned to appreciate those projects for the beauty in them and for the amount of time the students spent modeling on the computer..Students would spend weeks, some even months just on the computer getting their model perfect. So I guess I have an appreciation for the amount of work that it takes on the computer model, especially if it comes out really beautiful, but I prefer handmade projects better because of the craftsmanship that was put into it and with the risk involved like what Cosmic is saying.

edit* and Jorge also

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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DS

2131 posts in 1070 days


#13 posted 02-28-2013 06:23 PM

James wrote ”The picture you posted is just blocks with the tops rounded off, all glued together.”

You are probably correct that these are individual blocks glued together.
Though, I would not assume a CNC made peice requires it to made from a single slab of wood.
The individual blocks could have been made on a CNC then assembled into the final piece.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1808 days


#14 posted 02-28-2013 06:30 PM

@DS251 – The risk you incure with CNC comes in your ability to understand the processes and program it. Good programmer; less risk. But regardless of the operator/programmer, you have the luxury of thinking about the output before finally pushing a single buttom to operate the routine. I liken this more to a computer graphics programmer who envisions some art and creates code to do it…only they are spared the result of crashing the router in their beta-tests. :)

I just get a kick outta CNC guys who want to pretend they are artists in the same vein as somebody who does it by hand. Nobody disputes that the output isn’t impressive, nor that it doesn’t take tremendous knowledge and ability. But it’s in no way the same.

Goto my webpage listed in my signature. Look at my astroimages. Whatever artistry you see there results from my expertise and knowledge of the processes…not my own artistic ability. While art is involved, it’s a scientific process; a method of work…and I can screw up the process 100 times before settling on the final image. Regardless, I’m darn good at it.

I view CNC manufacturing to be the same. Some of those guys are darn good at what they do. But they are not “woodcarvers.”

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 608 days


#15 posted 02-28-2013 06:41 PM

@Cosmic You are right on. It took me three years to get good at creating the toolpaths and cuts in the CNC file and I couldn’t tell you how much material I screwed up the first year and a half while learning the programming. There certainly is a different level of expertise involved in CNC work, whether it is actual woodworking by hand or skill in modeling in Rhino, Maya (or whatever modeling program they are using) or skill in programming the CNC file.

Note: When using Mastercam, you can actually preview the cuts and examine the end result 3-Dimensionally on the computer before you finish the file and send it to the CNC. So if you know what to look for, you shouldn’t have any screw ups during the cutting process unless the bit slips or some other weird thing happens.

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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