Introduction to CNC Routing

Last week I taught a new class at Pumping Station: One, an introduction to CNC routing, focusing on our 4’x8’ ShopBot and Vectric VCarve. In the past we taught the concepts and did a hands-on authorization in a marathon 3-hour session. This wasn’t ideal for a few reasons: it’s hard to absorb so much information in that format, and the authorization aspect meant the sessions had to be capped at 3-4 people since everyone needed to get hands-on time. This led to many members needing to wait a long time before they could get into an auth session.

This was the first time we split up the authorization into a 2-hour classroom portion, and then a shorter authorization session. I was able to cover concepts in more depth, and people who were casually interested in CNC could attend to learn more without committing to a full authorization.

The class was about 2/3 concepts and 1/3 a demo of VCarve. I’m not in love with VCarve: it’s not free for hobbyists and is Windows-only, but it has basic vector design and CAM in one package, so it’s good enough. In the future we’ve discussed teaching a different toolchain, but the majority of the class would still stay about the same. I made some slides for the concepts portion, and I figured they might be valuable to post publicly. So you can download the slides here.

They will probably evolve as we teach more sessions of the class, I will try to keep the PDF up to date.