1. What is CNC?
CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. In simple terms it means that a machine is controlled by a computer.
2. What can CNC do for me?
The most obvious answers to this question is that it can make you money, make your life easier and take your woodworking to new level, but it really depends on the type of CNC. A CNC lathe automates the turning process. You simply draw the shape of the turning and let the CNC lathe do all the work. A CNC router typically has three axes; the X axis is along the length of the machine, the Y axis is perpendicular to the X axis and the Z axis is typically up and down. A three axis CNC router will let you cut out parts and add details i.e. 2 1/2 D carvings. Most CNCs are dedicated to a specific task.
Legacy's five axis CNCs, on the other hand, are extremely versatile. A Legacy 5-axis CNC can do more for your woodworking than any other collection of tools and machinery combined. That's a very bold statement but consider this. How many tools and machines would be required to turn round spindles? How about a square or eight sided spindle? What if you wanted a tapered leg with a rope twist? What if you wanted to add inlay or joinery or carve the spindle? What if you wanted to cut out parts that were identical? What if you wanted to add joinery such as lap joints, rabbit joints, dovetail joints, mortise and tenons or sliding dovetails. What if you wanted to create a relief carving or intricate inlay? The list goes on and on. A Legacy CNC allows you to complete all of these task and many more. It is the most versatile woodworking machine you can own and by far the best value in woodworking.
3. Shouldn't I purchase all of the standard woodworking tools and machinery before I invest in CNC?
Most traditional woodworkers would say yes, but consider this. If you want to take you woodworking to a higher level than most hobbyist the answer would be no. The average hobbyists spends between $6,000 and $8,000 on tools and machines to completely outfit their shop. Obviously it can be done for less or more but that's the average. If you invest in the right CNC first, you will be able to accomplish all of the task that you can do with the traditional tools and machines plus a lot more. Why spend the money twice on tools that will do the same task? A Legacy CNC allows you to turn parts you never dreamed possible, create all types of precision joinery as well as cutout, shape, form and carve practically any part you can dream up all for about the same price as a well equipped shop.
4. Don't I need to learn a programming language like G Code to operate CNC?
No you don't. The software programs available today will allow you to either import pictures and drawings or make your own drawings and then the program will generate the code to make your parts. In fact, Legacy's Conversational CAM allows you create the programs for turning spindles that feature rope or barley twist, flutes, tapers, multi-sided cross sections and turning details without even drawing the part. You simply answer a few questions and Conversational CAM creates the code for you. The website vectorart3d.com has an amazing library or carvings that you can purchase and download to add to your projects eliminating the need to model and create your own carvings. It certainly doesn't hurt to learn a little about G code. It's a simple code that only requires you to learn a few commands or codes to create your own program or modify an existing program.
If you take advantage or Legacy's open invitation to visit us and take a test drive we will show you how to go from a concept to a part in less than 10 minutes. We will also show you the various software programs available and work with you to choose the software that is right for you.
5. Isn't CNC machinery too expensive for the average shop?
Not any more. Over the past 10 years both the software and hardware have come down in price considerably. Where a simple 3 axis CNC router use to start at around $40,000, Legacy's full line of 5 axis turning / milling CNCs are far more versatile and prices start at around $5,000. Thats less than a well equipped traditional home shop and as we discussed in questions number 3, will take your woodworking to a level you never dreamed possible. Keep in mind that Legacy offers a full line of 5-Axis Hybrid CNC systems to meet the requirements of woodworkers at every level from the home shop hobbyist to the production shop.