Instructions for using the Shopbot CNC Router

The objective of this tutorial is to ensure you are able to operate the Shopbot CNC router. Shopbot is one of the simplest CNC machines to setup and run but nevertheless it is paramount take a few key points in consideration with regards to safety. The information provided below is in support of our in-class training sessions. They do not substit ute proper hands-on training with an experienced operator. They are neither complete nor exhaustive but offer some typical use case precautions. If you have not gone through formal training do not attempt to follow the instructions below on your own.  

Using Visual Studio for Component Development

The objective of this tutorial is to demonstrate the process required to create a Visual Studio project such that you can develop Grasshopper components from this environment. While this mode of working requires certainly more elaborate initial preparation, it does pay back rather quickly because of the best in class editing capabilities as well as debugging and code modification while the application is running.

Creating a Waveform Geometry

The objective of this tutorial is to refresh your understanding of a few fundamental concepts in design computation, namely general signal processing, linear/non-linear transformation, density-distribution functions, generating geometry though iterative constructs and high-level overview of data types and containers thereof. This tutorial is in anticipation of moving from computation geometry into machine motion planning from first principles.

Standard Operating Procedure for Grasshopper Coding

The objective of this tutorial is to establish a template for coding using C# in Grasshopper. The component will set up some standard output containers for information visualized in the 3D viewports as well as in text form inside Grasshopper. The format I am using establishes some good principles for rapid experimentation.

Annotate Section and Tabulate Metrics

In this tutorial we will annotate a model by adding section levels and we will produce and emit building metrics to Excel. This is part of the joint exercise of performing a massing study for a building and producing a mold for casting. Interim steps have been presented previously in separate posts.

Layout Model Contours

This tutorial presents a process for laying out contour curves generated by slicing a solid model; a procedure that may be applied in various contexts such as producing plan drawings or fabrication profiles. We focus on structuring the process in a semantically clear way using first introducing the typical spaghetti approach and then a more appealing mode using object-oriented methodology.

Contour a Massing Model

This tutorial presents a process of contouring solid models to extract 2D profiles. This is often useful for such applications as computing building metrics such as internal/external areas as well as various prototyping methods such as mold making and building complex shapes from laser cut contours.

Build a Two Part Mold

In this tutorial we will build a two part mold of a high-rise building massing model for casting. The key point of interest is performing Brep/Solid Boolean operations, unions, subtraction, splitting, using programming, to create complex solid models.

Produce G-Code for a Height Field

In this tutorial we will produce machine code for milling a height field surface using parallel style machining. A height-field is a special kind of surface where all points are on a regular xy-grid and only the z-coordinate is varying. Machining such surfaces is rather simple and instructive.

Visualize/Animate G-Code Path

This is a short tutorial on producing animated visualizations for the machine path generated for profiling. You can check virtually the machine tool motion and potentially catch some, but certainly not all, geometric mistakes before running the machine on actual material. The process presented here is very general and it can be used for all sort of animations with Grasshopper.