CNC programming is getting more mainstream, with many companies now offering an option to use the tool to create 3D printers and other projects.
In the last year, there’s been an explosion of 3D printer makers, which include MakerBot, Thingiverse, and Shapeways, but the tool has yet to find its way into everyday life.
While there are plenty of makers, the tools have been lacking a consistent look and feel.
But that may soon change, thanks to a new tool called the Easel CNC Machine Training Programmable Sensor.
Easel says the device is the first of its kind, and it’s being launched in two countries, including Canada, where it will be available to purchase this week.
The CNC machine training tool, or CAMT, is an affordable and simple way to teach yourself the basics of cnc programming, from how to build a 3D print, to how to use it to build an assembly line.
It’s similar to the free, downloadable CAD software 3ds Max, but there’s a bit more to the CAMT than just basic CAD, says the company.
It offers a number of training exercises designed to teach you the ins and outs of the tool.
The first of these, called the “CAMT Basic” exercise, is designed to be a quick, “quick and dirty” tutorial, allowing users to pick up the basics without much instruction.
For the next exercise, the user is asked to build the same 3D object, but this time with a different shape.
That way, they can see how the tool works in action and learn how to make more complex models, says Easel.
“For this example, we’re going to use a 2D object with a radius of 4,” says Easels co-founder and CEO Matt Hargrove.
“This object is a flat object with an interior radius of 3.
So if we wanted to make a 3-D object that has a radius 2, we’d have to make it into a 2-D cylinder.”
The CAMT Basic exercise is also designed to test the user’s ability to follow the instructions on the CAM.
“It’s like a mini-exam for you,” says Hargropve.
The CAMt Basic is available to download for $39.99, which includes a few training exercises that are easy to understand.
There’s also an optional training mode that can be purchased for $49.99.
The training mode is designed specifically for users with limited or no experience with the CAMt software, which allows users to design, print, and share their models using the CAM tool.
For example, a user could create a 3d model and share it with the world by attaching an attachment to the end of the object that would take 3D images.
Users can then post the images to social media to get feedback.
“You can upload the file to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc,” says Matthew Hargrotve, who is co-CEO of Easel Technologies.
“Or you can post it to the Thingiverse site and get feedback from your community.”
Easel’s CAMT software has already been downloaded by tens of thousands of users, and its developer has plans to expand the program into more countries, adding more exercises and even the ability to create custom models with different features.
With all the tools and apps that can automate the process of cNCing, it’s not surprising that some have started using the tool in the same way that they’ve used it before.
“CNC is a lot more accessible to people who haven’t been trained in the past,” says Daniel Ritzen, co-director of the Engineering Technology Center at the University of Waterloo.
“A lot of people are really learning how to code now, and they’re trying to build machines with 3D printing and stuff.
You could easily take the 3D modeling stuff and apply it to cnc.”
Easels CAMT device is just the latest in a long line of CNC related devices, from the free open source 3ds max 3D Printer to the more expensive, pricey, and limited Thingiverse 3D CNC Master, to the $49 CNC Programming Tools Bundle.
“There’s a ton of different options out there for cnc programmers,” says Ritzend, “and this is a good step in the right direction.”
In the meantime, you can find a bunch of videos on YouTube showing you the basics with ease and making your own models in the CAM Tool.