I am new to this forum so thought i would just drop a line here to introduce myself.
My name is Jennifer, i am 54 years old, my day job is a business applications developer for a very large corporation. I live in Adelphi Maryland, just inside the District of Colombia beltway about three miles from the DC city limits with my beagle "Penelope".
I have recently begun working on inlay and stringed musical instrument making (lutherie). I have been a lapidary for many years and earlier in life worked as a cabinet maker in the yacht industry. so becomming a luthier who also inlays her creations with abalone and mother of peral, among other materials, seems like a natural progression.
about a month ago i acquired a CNC controlled router. it has three axis control and runs under a program called "Mach3". Mach3 takes something called "G-Code" which is developed by "CAD", computer aided drafting, programs.
the router is wonderful, can hold a pretty high accuracy, about .003" with good repeatability. Now it is time for me to purchase a CAD program so that i can begin transfering my inlay designs.
I have two questiuons:
First is: Does anyone out there know how to hold a small thin (.050" or so) piece of material like shell on the router table so I can cut it? people in the guitar industry create CNC inlay all the time, so there must be a way.
Second is: does anyone out there know anything about CAD software? i want to purchase a program that will let me "draw" the delicate curves that often go with inlay. most i have looked at are really great at straight lines and geometric shapes comon in industrial drafting, but are a little weak when it comes to generating complex curves. Any suggestions would be warmly welcomed.
Thanks for your assistance. It is nice that there is an active forum just for people who use routers.