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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During the last year I decided I like working with wood. I have been making cutting boards, shoe holders, blanket ladders, storage boxes, and other things for friends and family and really enjoying it. I decided that I am ready to move to the next level and want to do some small custom work with a CNC to start with.

I ordered a 3018-Pro (CNC and Laser) through Amazon and it is scheduled for delivery some time between this Sat and next Mon so I am looking for helpful hints/tips/guides for starting out. I plan on starting out with some wood projects but also thinking about acrylic. I have already looked at some videos on upgrading the spindle and even table size for later. I am looking at Easel and Fusion 360 and trying to decide which to use.

The first things I am looking at making (after test cuts) are stuff like small gifts for family (wood coasters, small signs, 3d puzzles, etc). I also want to use the laser on the machine to customize cutting boards even more for people.

FYI, if I end up enjoying CNC as much as I think I will then my wife has okayed saving up for a larger CNC down the road.
 

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Get your other tools all tuned up, and do a little reading on finishing. A small unit will do for simple things, but a much higher level machine and software will allow you to make some money as well. Here's a pdf on making money with a CNC, at least, it's the way I'd go about it. But my health isn't up to learning to use one, something that clearly takes a minimum of 6 months of study and experimentation. Look up Prof. Henry's two books on CNC, that's actually a member we know as Gaffboat (Oliver Henry). Look for his posts here and his book for beginners and a book on design and signs on Amazon.

A member just posted a number of boxes he made with tops that were clearly done with a CNC. Take a look at them. Plaques are fun, but making an engraved and personalized top for a memory box looks like a good project to take on. So find some books and YouTube videos on making boxes. I think you'll really enjoy the projects you do. Share the CNC marketing advice with your wife, I think it will get her interested.

Ask questions in the CNC Forum and you'll be amazed at how much help you'll get from people who are pretty far down that road.

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Easel is an all in one CAD-CAM Controller.
Fusion 360 is CAD-CAM only.
So you'll need to use Easel to run the machine even if you use Fusion 360 for CAD-CAM.

You should already have it installed and be learning how to use it before the machine arrives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Easel is an all in one CAD-CAM Controller.
Fusion 360 is CAD-CAM only.
So you'll need to use Easel to run the machine even if you use Fusion 360 for CAD-CAM.

You should already have it installed and be learning how to use it before the machine arrives.
Already got both setup with accounts and started playing around with them. My daughter's boyfriend (who lives with us) got his degree in graphic design and is having fun making designs that he wants to see on the CNC and laser when it gets in. I have also been grabbing sample designs online of stuff that I want to start out with to play around with the machine and learn it. I have been watching videos on dialing in the settings and (since I am into programming) I am starting to look at some of the software behind the system as well.

I am having too much fun and have not even got my machine delivered yet.
 

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David
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Welcome to the forum! I was going to suggest what Gerry said but you're already doing it - get used to the software while you're waiting on the CNC to arrive. You've probably already seen some his videos but Lars Christensen is 'the guy' to watch for Fusion 360 videos.

Oh, and we do like photos - shop, tools, CNC, projects, etc. - whenever you're ready.

David
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 

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you may want to have a look at these videos, which i watched only recently
Setting up a New CNC , which came as self assembly
 
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