Tuesday, January 27, 2015


A new year is always a good time to be thinking about doing new things...and correcting things from the year before.

In my case, I made a decision to upgrade a control board on my Shopbot. What does that mean?  It increases my machine's speed by about 3.5 times.  It also improves the accuracy/resolution by about 2 to 2.5 times. All in all, a great improvement.  It now seems like it's screaming across the table!  This means things get carved more quickly and resolution is generally improved.

It took about 3 hours to change out the board. Actually the board replacement only took about 10 minutes.  I decided to generally clean everything and apply new grease to all the rack and pinions (insert Tool Time Tim grunts here).  I also cleaned up lots of wiring and attached it more securely to the table and the computer. This keeps it mostly off the floor and less likely to have a wire come loose or get pulled out.

That means, of course, that I needed to run a quick sample to see how fast it ran a file and to see how the accuracy looked in reality and not just on paper.  I carved this piece in just under 35 minutes. It's about 12" x 22".  I need to do some tweaking on the ramping values and I think I can get even better times on 3D items. (wha? This generally refers to how fast the machine takes corners and speeds up coming out of a corner).

For those of you who speak french, I assume you'll be shaking your heads and saying, "oh Doug...no". 

I'm very pleased with the carve.  In fact, I didn't even do a profile cut around the "Skin Care" letters as I would have before.  The 3D pass was decent enough to just leave it.  As a comparison, with my previous control board/motor setup this would have taken about 2 to 2 1/2 hours because of all the texture. 

When it comes to skin care, use sunblock folks. Protect that skin from burning!

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