I use the Mayan calendar as my CNC test program. It is highly detailed and makes the stepper motors really earn their keep. In these photos I show where I have reduced the circle diameter to just under four inches. This is about as small as I can go with this design. I got it off center a skosh. That’s OK, it’s not a keeper. The test is not of the Taig mill but rather the tiny wax profile bit I bought from Bits & Bits.
The bit is 1/8″ in diameter half round with a 15 degree included angle. The end of the tip is 0.005″ It looks and feel like a very sharp needle. The RPM was 10600 (max for the stock CNC Taig) and the feed I had set for 30 IPM. With ramp up it seldom got to 30 IPM except for long paths.
The total run was just over four hours. The Taig and CNC controller took this run without a blink.
I use plain air to clear the wax chips but you can see they still liked to stick around. The problem could be the slow feeds because of the intricate details. I am going to try a faster more aggressive feed on the next Item. I am thinking of trying a small lithophane carved in wax.
The Vectric (software) company has just released version 3 of their Aspire CNC software. Nothing too earth shattering as far as major changes that I can see, but some very nice-to-have upgrades in performance and design ease. The update from version 2 is $400.00 USD. Hmmm… a lot?
A new outright full edition Aspire purchase is $1995.00 USD. It is Vectric’s highest priced do-it-all CNC package. So the $400 update cost doesn’t sound too bad. I also got to thinking that a single skilled programmer writing updates and improvements just for me would probably bill out at over $100 per hour and actually earn maybe $40 per hour ($80,000/yr) That is certainly very naïve thinking but don’t kill the message here. So at best $400 buys 10 hours of program changes, or only 4 hours at retail.
So is the upgrade worth it? You bet. I haven’t made the move but it will be coming.
At first look, Aspire and the other CNC packages offered by Vectric seem to be highly centered on CNC overhead routers and to a smaller extent, CNC mills. Many if not most of the projects shown on the web site as examples are executed in wood. That is far from the many real abilities of the software. Aspire is designed to take a block of any sort of machinable material and turn it into a 2D or 3D item of beauty or value. Wrapped 4th axis machining designs can also be executed.
I don’t think Aspire or Cut3D (another Vectric 3D package) can totally replace the function of my Rhinoceros Modeling and design tool which is used to design highly detailed fully multi sided objects such as full size cars, boats, motorcycles and even buildings. Rhino can also be used to design jewelry… Continue reading