Monthly Archives: August 2011

First “Dremel Tool” Router Cuts Using Mach3 with G-code

Up to this point, I’ve been able to mechanically assemble my ZTW CNC router, wire it electrically and find a shelving system to store it.  I also came up with a way to mount my Dremel tool to it and move the axes manually using Mach3.  So far, so good, but the real beauty of a CNC machine isn’t manually jogging it, it’s programming a code and letting it cut things for you.  Here’s a couple of my first cuts using automatic computer control.  I’ll explain how it’s done after the break.

This is accomplished via something called “G-Gode” or General Code.  In addition to CNC routers, it can be used for milling machines, lathes, water jet machines, CNC punches, or nearly any other CNC machine you can think of.  Possibly you have some vague idea of how it’s programmed, but if not, I found Read more »

Why I cancelled my Netflix Subscription (for Hulu Plus and Blockbuster?)

After using Netflix for well over three years, we (me, my wife, and our dog Evie) have decided to cancel our Netflix subscription.  As outlined in this post about why using a media center PC for your TV is a great idea, we don’t have cable.  We do watch broadcast TV sometimes, but most of what we watch comes from the internet.

Although we’ve been generally happy with Netflix, Read more »

Computer and Electrical Issues Encountered while Setting up a Zen Toolworks CNC Router and How They were Fixed

Although ZTW makes a good router frame, especially for the prices they charge, they do take some work to get running correctly.  Setting one up takes both mechanical and electrical skills as well as the willingness to lean to use a new CNC program.  That being said, here are some things I ran into while setting up my kit.  Maybe you’ll run into some of the same stuff and this can help you.

Computer Issues – Although this can’t be blamed on ZTW or Mach3, the first computer I tried to use for this build crapped out on me.  It was pretty old, but the requirements to run Mach3 aren’t that high by today’s computing standards.  I bought a used computer off Tigerdirect that would fit my needs for $109.97 plus shipping.  As it had a copy of Windows XP included (and a warranty) I was very happy.

Initially I tried to use a USB to parallel port adapter with my notebook.  This didn’t work well as noted in the Mach3 documentation.  There are just some issues with doing this, I’ll leave it at that.  In my opinion Read more »