Practice English Speaking&Listening with: CNC machine a 3D relief model of Silicon Valley with the DeskProto CAM software.

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In the year 2013 - so a long time ago already - we machined this nice relief model of Silicon Valley

(Bay area, San Francisco). As you can seehere the grain in the wood is quite prominent,

making it difficult to see the small details in the model, which is a pity.

That's why I wanted to try again, now using the current DeskProto version obviously.

We got this nice panel of american poplar wood and I'm excited to see how it will look in this wood (the same model).

Well, the digital elevation datafor this model has been obtained from a website,as a free download:

from the website of theUS Department of Agriculture - you see it here.

On our website you can find instructions(exactly step by step) what we did to createthis dataset for Silicon Valley.

The SiliconValley dataset that we're going to use is afree download on the DeskProto website,

soyou can make your own model if you like!

Okay, the first step of what I want to show you is how to download this bitmap file for this project.

The first thing to do is download the image file containing the bitmap of Silicon Valley(the height map),

it can be found on the DeskProtowebsite (, in the download menu,

you can find the free models. DeskProto offers a number of free CAD files for CNC machining:

2D files (DXF files), 3D files (nice STL files), and the third category is image files.

And here is the height map of the Bay Area: the blue is in fact black,

it has been colored blue in this imageto give a better view.

Okay, here is the downloadlink: right mouse-click and save link as,

I will save it on my desktop - here we go - and all set. And I can continue with DeskProto.

So, that wasdownloading the png file for Silicon Valley. Next step obviously is to start DeskProto,

load that CAD data (that png file) as bitmap file and create the toolpath; I will show you how that can be done.

As you can see I prepared an almost empty desktop: here's DeskProto, this is the relief file - the bitmap file sorry -

that I just downloaded, and here we have a dxf file with the text to be engraved,

I will come back on that later. First start DeskProto - it's the Expert edition

for this project you willneed Expert or Multi-Axis edition. We want to start a bitmap project and

the bitmap file was on the desktop: here we are, the Bay area height map

andit reads it and it will display it on the screen. Here we are: a top view.

Well, to give you someorientation to show what's happening

I will quickly rotate 90 degrees to have the north on top. So what you see here is the Silicon Valley,

this blackest part is the bay, here is the sea, San Francisco, Golden Gate with Golden Gate bridge.

Well, that's the relief we want to machine. It has been orientated with the longest axis alongX

as on the milling machine I want to use the X-axis is the longest.

Okay, we want to start with entering parameters on three levels: project, partand operation.

First the project parameters: these are quite simple, not much needs to be done here.

You only need to check if the machine is thecorrect machine. Well, here it is, so I'll justpress cancel and continue.

The part parametersdefine what we want to machine, and the operationparameters define how we want to machine it.

First the part. As you can see it shows a red warning

because the original CAD data is far too large for the small machine that we're going to use.

So: first thing we need to do is the size, whichis on this tab. The working area for my machine

is 400 by 300 millimeters, so the Y size is thelimiting factor.

I'll put the Dimension onCustom and put that to 300 mm. So this is the size of the relief that we want to a machine,

and you can see: if I press Apply the red warning has gone, so this is a part that we can machine.

More settings for what we want to machine. Obviously the Z.

So the Z-setting defines how DeskProto will convert the gray values in the bitmap to Z-heights in the relief.

Top of the block is zero, white is highest, so I will put white on 0.0

andthe total block is 20 millimeter thick So for black (here the sea - the black is the lowest part)

I'll put it on minus 10 to have a total relief depth of 10 mm.

Next is the material: my block of poplar wood is 400 by 326 mm,

So I can have a small border of 13 mm on all sides. I'll make that 313, minus 13,

here again minus 13, and on the right side I'll add a bit more to come to my 400 mm.

Here we are: this is the block and here I have some room to engrave the text below the relief.

The block also as said is 20 millimeters thick, so this is the block we're going to machine.

One more thing to do: the zero point. By default DeskProto puts it on the corner of the block.

That's not what I want because now this will havea Y-coordinate of 313 mm, which is too much for my machine.

So I want to change thezero point: for X and Y I'll put it to None.

So now the zero point is exactly on the corner of the relief that I'm gonna machine.

Okay: those are the part parameters: here is the block, zero point, relief, room for the text.

Continue with the operations. For this project I want to use three differentoperations:

Roughing, Semi-finish and Finish. So let me start by entering the parameters for the roughing operation.

I also call it 'Roughing', a 6 millimeter ballnose cutter that is OK.

The roughing settings will be that I want to use aSkin of half a mm and I want to go down in two Layers of five mm each.

Youremember the total relief depth was 10 millimeters.

The stepover may be a bit larger: the Distance between toolpaths and the Stepsize along toolpath.

I want to change those values: it may be a bit faster and certainly the cutter may move faster.

Well, these are settings for my machine, on your machine they may be different.

Strategy parallelto X is okay, Roughing: I just set those. The Areais important:

I do not want to machine the completeblock, I only want to machine the bitmap area.

Andthen for Borders: I also want the cutter to stayexactly within that area,

so the outer wall will bethe same for all cutters for, all three operations.

So those are the roughing parameters. And I can nowcalculate the toolpath.

Let me rotate this a bit, and switch the bitmap off, here we are.

So you can see: two layers of toolpathsare present, and well - not much to be seen right now.

So I'll just continue with thesecond operation, which will be the Semi Finish.

I'll copy this one, I'll call it 'Semi Finish'.

Yes. A thinner cutter: 3 millimeterballnose, no roughing options for this one.

No layers, the toolpath Distance and Stepsize, Feedrate, Spindlespeed are OK.

Strategy the same is OK, Area and Borders, well, I copied those so they can remain the same.

So I can continue calculating toolpaths immediately, make roughing invisible by clicking on this lamp icon.

And here you can see a bit more detail, but stillit's quite vague:

the finishing will be needed toreveal all details. So againCopy operation, call it 'Finishing'.

Yes: a 1 mm ballnose cutter, very small Precision values: 10 toolpaths per mm,

and for this very thincutter I want to select a higherSpindlespeed.

Strategy not parallel to X axis: this one I want the toolpath parallel to Y (sorry Y, yes).

No Roughing, again Area and Borders can remain the same,

Ah, I get a warning: this small 1 mm cutter is a multiple diameter cutter:

the flute is 1 mm and the shaft is 3 mm, so DeskProto warns: make sure thatthe shaft doesn't collide with the material.

But since we have applied roughing that's noproblem, and I can calculate the toolpaths.

Which will of course take a bit longerfor this very thin cutter.

Here we are:very red, so I can zoom in a bit more.

Yes, here we see: Alcatraz island, San Francisco, Golden Gate bridge.

But in order to really see some detail (what the result will look like) we can best calculate a simulation.

And we found out that in order to get sufficient detail we need to change the simulation settings and

select the highest Precision: that way it will cost some time but - well we'll need that.

First of all itneeds to display the simulation, which takes time: this is a very simpleonboard graphics card,

it's not so quick. So when I calculate toolpaths - calculate the simulation, only for roughing now.

Thatwill also take time, but I can speed up the video.

This is the Roughing: roughing toolpath parallel to X.

Next one is the Semi Finish, to see some more detail, ...

Yes, and then third: the Finishing operation will of course take most time as that is very detailed.

Here we are: this is a simulation of the result,

and it promises that we'll have a very nicedetailed model. So I can again hide the simulation.

Make it a bit larger, and then as a final step we can write the NC program.

It again gives me warning: ballnose cutters can go a bit deeper than the bottom of the model.

But for this relief that doesn't apply. So I can put OK. And I can give the name for the NC file to be written.

And you will see that three files are written:

the Roughing, the Semi-finish, and now the longest one is the Finishing operation.

As my small machinedoesn't have an automatic tool changer DeskProto decides to save three different NC files.

And with those files we can of course go to themilling machine.

Welcome to our small workshop. For this project I'll be using our old IselCPM 4030 machine.

The slab of wood. I've carefully aligned the wood on the working table

so that my 300 millimeter working area is in the center of the wood.

I've set the workpiecezero point, I've loaded the correct cutter,

so Ican proceed to the laptop and start machining.

Back to the computer for the final step: calculating toolpaths for the text to be engravedhere.

As said that was in a DXF file (a vector file), so when I load vector data I find it here

on the desktop, and it will be displayed - righthere. It's difficult to see, so I'll switch offthe bitmap.

Here we are; and it's clear itfirst needs to be rotated in order to have itdisplayed correctly.

That can be done in the Partparameters: as you can see an extra set of settingshas been added

because we loaded vector data. And we can go to Transform and rotate 90 degrees.

It will warn that the other items won't be rotated. That's okay. So the orientation now is correct.

We need to pan it over the part to have it on the correct position, and I know that a panning of355 mm

(see here) would have a correct result.

Switch on thebitmap again to really see that.

So that's a correct orientation for this text.

So in order to machine it I need to add a vector operation:

Here we are. I call it "Text".

And athin cutter: 1 mm flat tip is okay.

The Feedrate and especially the Spindlespeed again can be a bit higher for this very thin cutter.

Z-settings: 1 mm is a bit toodeep, I'll make it 0.7

and I want to select allclosed curves for Pocketing.

All - here we are, I'll zoom in a bit and when I now calculate toolpaths for only this operation

you can see that the text will be nicelyengraved.

I will again save the toolpaths: 'BayAreaText', yes, yes.

And withthis file I now can proceed to the milling machine.

All operations have been machined, and the resulting model looks much better

than the previous model in oak wood that had so much grain.

I will zoom in a bit for some more detail.

Well, as you have seen DeskProto makes it very easy to create this model on your own milling machine.

When you have a larger machineobviously you can machine a much larger model as well.

It gives an overview of the area in a way that even from an airplane is not possible,

simplybecause the airplane cannot fly high enough.

So it's an absolutely wonderful model for anybody living in this area of the world.

The Description of CNC machine a 3D relief model of Silicon Valley with the DeskProto CAM software.