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Discussion Starter #1
What I would like to do is use a v groove bit to etch a shallow line along the x and y axis (after establishing x,y zero.

I see M3 starts the router and M5 stops it.

So, can I go to the mdi panel and simply type in M3, enter, and the router will start? Just to be clear, I would have the router in a safe position with the bit raised and a little ways away from any soft limits.

My thinking is with the router running, I could move it to the x,y, zero position, and slowly lower it until the bit just barely makes contact with the spoil board. Then jog the router along the x axis which should create a line I can register future projects off of.

Move back to xy=zero, and go north!

Move back to a safe position and type in M5, and the router will shut down.

Does that sound OK? Just a manual scribe on the spoil board.

As an alernative method, I suppose I could design a toolpath and let the CNC do it for me.
 

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If your machine just switches the router on and off, that should work. If you had a VFD controlled spindle that operates under control of the cnc, you would also need to add a speed (S) command. Generally, you can type multiple lines into the mdi, so I would do it all at once.

Assuming you zero Z at top of spoil board, you are at X0, Y0 , Z1 and you want to go 36 inches on X, 24 on Y (adjust as desired) you could enter something like this into mdi:

M3
F200 (Choose a suitable feed speed)
G1 Z-.03. (Choose your depth)
G1 X36
G1 Z0.25. (Raise bit at end of X )
G0 X0. (Rapid back to home)
G1 Z-.03
G1 Y24
G0 Z 1
G0 Y0
M5

You should always learn enough g-code to be able to do simple things like this. I would never jog with spindle on, or cutting.

G0 - rapid move to coordinates given (at full speed machine is capable of). (May or may not be a straight line)
G1 - move at last specified feed speed in a straight line to coordinates following (can move all three axis at once, speed of each motor will be adjusted so you reach X, Y, and Z position specified all at same time.
F - feed speed (stays in effect until a new feed is given)
Technically, G0 and G1 also stay in effect until another “G” command is given, so for instance, in the fourth and fifth lines above, the G1 at the start could be omitted. I include them for clarity, and so I remember if I’m cutting (G1) or rapiding (G0 moves should always have bit clear of stock).

Lastly, it is always G “zero”, not G “oh”.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both. Believe it or not, I am learning more every day how to control the machine. Learning the basics of gcode is high on my list of priorities.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I decided to design the toolpath in Vcarve.

This turned out to be very easy. After mounting my new spoil boards, I set my x,y zero at the bottom left corner of the first board. Then I proceeded to surface the boards.

After that procedure was completed, i used the mdi panel to set my new x,y zero. So easy.

G0 x1,y1 <enter>. The router moved into position. I then set the x and y axis to zero. I had a 60 deg v bit mounted, so it was easy to verify my x,y zero position.

I ran my file to scribe a line 36 inches on x and 22 on y..at .01. It produced an ever so slight v groove yet I could see it and feel it.

Thanks for the help. Still learning and having fun doing it.
 

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If you are using linuxCNC to run your CNC, there is a Spindle ON/OFF toggle you can use. I know it works with routers plugged into the controller. Not sure if it works with true spindles though.

4D
 
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