Part 12 – Adding and Using a Keyhole Bit
This article accompanies the twelfth video in a series on my YouTube channel. If you’re not subscribed to my channel, here’s a link. Come on by and check it out. Hopefully you’ll find something you like.
In this 12th video of the series, by request, we’ll get into using a Keyhole Bit in the Vectric software. I’ll show you the information about the bit that I needed to get, then how to enter that info into the tool database. Next I’ll show you how I created the geometry I needed to create a 3/4” long vertical keyhole slot for a project. Then I’ll demonstrate calculating the toolpath from that geometry, previewing the toolpath, and saving the g-code.
From there we’ll move out onto the CNC router, where we’ll load the g-code into Mach3, set the X, Y, and Z zeros on our project, and cut a keyhole.
FOR THE SEASONED VETERAN
I would ask that you please remember that none of us were born with this info. We didn’t just magically start knowing this stuff. Every one of us had to learn it. So if something seems like it should be common sense to you, remember that the person who taught you thought the same thing.
Also remember that none of us have the same equipment. You may have or have access to a CNC that’s capable of operating way outside the parameters I mention in the video. I ask that you please remember that not everyone does. This series is dedicated to the home hobby CNC beginner who may own a Stepcraft, Shapeoko, or X-Carve CNC, and wants to learn how to use it. You may disagree with some of the numbers I present, but please keep in mind that some of these smaller machines aren’t as rigid as the bigger, more robust machines.
While this series might seem like going back to the basics to some, people who are new to CNC and woodworking in general, and CAD/CAM software in specific, are joining Facebook groups and message forums every day. I frequent a lot of those forums, administrate a few Facebook groups, and am a member of several others. As a result, I’m seeing a lot of posts from beginners who have never done anything in CAD/CAM software, asking questions on some of the very basic tasks involved in using CAD/CAM software.
Also, you probably don’t need a lot of the info contained in this video, or even in this series. But if you decide to check it out, hopefully you’ll pick up a tip or pointer here or there, or at least get some insight into what the absolute beginner wants to learn. Maybe you could start sharing your expertise with others as well. This hobby can never have too many teachers.
FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER
Don’t stress over any of this. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? You CAN learn this. You CAN do this. It’s not always super easy, but it’s never really super difficult, either. Just like anything else you want to do, there is no replacement for experience – and the only way to get that experience is to practice. Get into your CAD/CAM software, and learn it. Draw in it. Calculate toolpaths. Generate g-code. You don’t’ have to cut anything with it – it’s more important that you learn how to use the software than it is to start making chips.
That’s enough out of me. Below is a link to the 12th video in the series that’s geared toward the absolute Vectric software beginner.
I use VCarve Pro version 9.512 in this video, but all of the information in the video applies to Cut 2D, VCarve, and Aspire software – both the Desktop and the Pro versions.
As usual, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to comment! If you don’t wish to make a public comment, click this Contact Us link, and submit it to me privately. I read ALL of the messages I get through my website, and I answer as many as humanly possible – unless you’re a spambot. Spambots get blocked – so there.
Remember, beginners – relax, take your time, and enjoy the process. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? You can do this. I’m living proof.
This is not an endorsement, paid or otherwise, of VCarve Pro, Vectric Ltd, or any other software or company. It’s just a demonstration of how I work. For more information on, or to download a free trial of VCarve Pro, visit the Vectric website at:
Remember to click that link up at the top of the page to check out my T-Shirt shop!
Until next time, take care and have fun!