How to setup the mill

One of the core problems with CNC milling is workpiece holding.  EasyMaker can do it 3 different ways.

  1. Use screws into the T-Slot.  Although right now I have an MDF spoilboard mounted, EasyMaker supports using T-Slot extrusions as a mounting system for the workpiece.  You can see it in some of the other videos.
  2. Screw down a piece of MDF, then attach your workpiece with carpet tape of woof screws.  I’ve sized EasyMaker to accept a 12″x16″x1/2″ MDF spoilboard.  I chose this size because it’s super cheap.  Go down to your local lumber store  (I used Dunn lumber, because they’re right next door to the Grocery store ), have them take a 2’x4′ sized board, and cut it into 6 equal pieces.  Viola — 6 spoilboards!  Super cheap — less than 10 bucks for all 6 of them combined, so around $1 and change per board.
  3. Use a vise.  I’ve tried this out a few times, and dislike it.  You lose a lot of Z room to the vise, and you need to position the X beams pretty high with a vise.  I get paranoid about accidents — the tool could run into the vise, and that would be bad.  It’s also heavy/inconvenient to carry a vise around.

All of these methods have their ups and downs.  I like the wooden spoilboard best right now, because I don’t worry about the tool running into it.  I milled the mounting screws for the spoilboard on EasyMaker itself.  One cool thing is that the tool aligns with the T-Slot when in the home position.  This makes aligning everything for milling in mounting holes easy.  I just mounted a 5/32 drill bit, and jog it like a drill press.  Very easy.  The downside of CNC milling is workpiece holding.  Some times, you spend as much time designing your supports as you do your product…