So, the sea your shark swims in...

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So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby cjablonski » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:19 am

Although not within the normal realm of our CNC discussions, I do know that most, if not all, of us are joined here within our similar interests, being wood or metal working. As we know in the wild, a shark cannot survive without the support of an ecosystem. In this case, the area it is kept and the minnows that swim around it ( the shop and supporting tools). I have recently moved to a new home which, unsurprisingly to any who engage in this fish-foolery, was partially (who am I kidding, very much) predicated on a new eco system ( the "captain " of our ship was ok with this :), a new and improved shop ( happily MUCH improved). Which brings me to the heart of this fishing tale......
I have never seen (yet may be mistaken) any post regarding individuals shop layouts or their supporting tools. With all the pride we take as odd fishing hobbyists, we have never discussed the ecosystems we spend hours in, the reasons behind our decisions for tool placement, our general workflow and the like. How could we not have pride in our human fish tanks! LOL.
That now said, let's begin here! I would like this post to be our repository of our shop layout ideas, our reasoning behind these decisions, our workflows to and from our wood eating fish and pictures of them all :D As this site is all things shark, and assisting each other with thoughts, opinions and advice, why not expand (albeit laterally) that wealth of knowledge and sharing to our "human fish tanks".

Well, I hope this post blossoms With any post big or small, pictures or just words to spread the experience. Let's fish!
"I'm not smart, I just remain on problems longer"
Albert Einstein

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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby Rando » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:12 pm

Among **some** people I know, it's that a picture of one's shop, showing all the wonderful tools, is a great invitation to burglary. Granted, they are a paranoid few, but in some cases speak from experience. I myself got hiked to the tune of $30k of photography equipment one weekend after I was comparing gear with a guy I barely knew from a club, who then later in the day became quite angry with me for reasons nobody could figure out, and stormed off. In hindsight, maybe a little internal conflict going on in there. Thing is, people know people, and some of those people think it's their right to have your stuff if they want it. It's just not that hard to track down an address on the internet these days.

I'm personally all for the pictures, but I'd be cautious to not reveal location. Kinda like in one of those hostage videos with the sheets covering the walls. And remember...many phones add location metadata to the photos...which you then upload here...which contain GPS coordinates of your shop's coordinates. No, I'm NOT making this sh!t up.

If there's interest by others, I'll...consider it. ;-) Because yes, my garage is definitely different now that the CNC is out there, with it's support systems; of which there are many, like you say. :D

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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby cjablonski » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:11 pm

So sorry honestly to hear that happened to you. It's awful that people feel it's their right to someone's possessions they did not purchase themselves, and sorry to hear.
It's sad that today we need to be so guarded with our enthusiasm to a hobby for our own protection. I am quite happy to share my knowledge of woodworking, cnc and clock making with others yet too now need to be concerned about how to do that. I have spent years aquiring all of my equipment for my trade (cabinet maker) and am proud of my collection of tools and my shops layout and flow. I am saddened and never thought that it may be construed as an invitation to theft, but it's, I guess, the unfortunate reality we live in today. No matter how much I've tried to believe in the good of people, and taught my children the same, it's still sad.
"I'm not smart, I just remain on problems longer"
Albert Einstein

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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby BillK » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:06 am

Really like the topic because you need to know what is needed to support your CNC work. Deeply appreciate the concern by Rando as well. So a word description maybe is best.

Probably like most, I had equipment for woodworking before the Pro Shark Plus arrived. But I do use most of it to support the CNC work as well as enhance it.

My shop is in the basement. Its 15' by 44' and shares space with the furnace, hot water heater and well tank. I can access from in the house and have outside access as well. One tiny basement window. Lots of LED lights in track fixtures or bulbs. I have one 20 amp circuit that powers the whole shebang. I'm one person and usually run one tool at a time.

I have my shark in its shark tank which you can see pictures of on the forum elsewhere. BIg cabinet underneath, small 2 drawer cabinet next to it for router bits and my lap top sits on top of that and the shark controller under it. Also have a back up power supply for that.

What I had pre-shark was my old Craftsman table saw, a power miter saw, a small plastic router table, table top band saw, and table top scroll saw, 6" table top jointer. What I added after the shark swam in was a dust collector, vacuum with seperator, 14" band saw with extender to resaw larger pieces of wood, Large router table from Rockler, small cheap workbench from Harbor freight. I had the debate with myself if I needed a power thickness planer and decided since most of what I make is small I would expand my skills and get hand planes which I enjoy using very much and making. Also an air compressor which I keep a blow off gun next to the shark.

I have two 4x8 peg boards, a lot of cabinets that I made into a large wall unit. They were shipping crates that I installed and added doors to.

I have a wood storage rack that I built and way too much wood to put on it. I also just put a folding table up and put all my partially finished projects on it. This has been a great aid to keep them both safely out of the way and as a reminder to finish them and I've gotten to two of them so far.

I have two air cleaners that are both close to the shark. Clean and change the filters often.

Its a total organized mess in my eyes and I vow to straighten it all out and every time I start to do that, something else catches my eye and I start making something else. I also need to go on a tool buying hiatus, so many great new products out there and great old restorable things on eBay. But I need to halt that so I can organize. But their are those walnut boards over in the corner there...
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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby Rando » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:10 pm

Y'all do know I'm one of those "Engineer" types, right? And that "what I do" is full-on electronic product design? As in 24 ideas-through-prototype in 2017, year and I'm on number 8 already this year. My overriding requirement is that my design tools be "frictionless". That is, creating design, working on them concurrently, picking up old designs for changes, all that needs to happen without me constantly having to build some new system to support "just that one", or try and figure out where some tool it used went off to*. So, all my projects of any significance are kept in a unified project area, highly organized and backed up.

So, let's get to it. The number of "support systems" I've assembled around the machine is a bit more than some might imagine. What's funny is that ALL of you do ALL of these things to some extent. You just might not normally think of those as support systems, or have not gone to the (bizarre, some might say unhealthy) lengths I have to make it a "frictionless" design environment. Either way, our goal is likely the same: to turn ideas into...whatever the heck we want to, and stop wasting time, material and bits having to figure things out a new every time. My mom used to say: "Write sh!t down; use that stuff later. Dumb@ss." Mom was mean ;-).

My CNC Shark (HD2+, Rockler Anniversary edition, circa 2015) is only one of many systems in my home. Thing is, the wife left in 2005, and my daughter hasn't lived at home for nearly a decade. The GFs were only after money anyway, so I've let that foolishness pass into the distance as well. So, I put those spaces to good use, and made my own personal product-development fun-house. Yes, I keep a bedroom. No, I don't have a couch. And yes, I have both hardware AND software development labs in my house :D. (Now you see my earlier reluctance!)

Addition for your fun, 9 March 2018: A little machine-bed porn....annotated even!

Some photos of the various physical systems
A little montage for y'all

A diagram of most of the software systems I use to get stuff done:
A Variety of tools for a Variety of product components.

==================================== you wanted to know aout my Support systems, eh? Hee hee....

NOTE: this is going to take a while, so I'm going to be editing this as I add information. I can already see a couple detail errors, and please do forgive the typos.

The system only lets three pix per post, so I'm not sure what I'll do about that. I'm not opposed to people "seeing". Someone seeing a dual-dial tramming gauge either knows what one is by name, or wouldn't know what it is when they saw it anyway, so it's not that big a deal. Oh wait...for some things I can just give links! Perfect. No limits there. If anyone wants more-detailed information about these systems, please do feel free to ask. I'll try and gather links here in these forums, as I've posted about some of these in months past.

In general, you can think of the following as supporting flexible product-development flow for physical products. That can include capabilities I have here (e.g., wood and aluminum CNC, filament-based 3D printing, and generalized metal and woodworking tools. I also try and locate a local machine-shop for when I have things my machines can't handle.

Without any further ado, this is how I divide the things that go into getting stuff through....

Project Management systems
-- Scripts and systems setup to manage and create projects: Go to, create new project, copy base files, etc.
-- Fully-Qualified Build Identifier (FQBI) part numbering and versioning system. That's why my stuff is named things like:

2018-008-001 Pill Bottle Tray v1.01.007.004, which is really:
<project year>-<project serial number>-<part number> Descriptive name v<product major version>.<product minor version>.<design version>.<CAM/toolpath version>

-- Microsoft OneNote as a mobile-friendly note-taking platform
-- Standardized project folder hiearchy across all various tools
-- Software Installation changes to enable archivable configuration data and installers.

Design, CAD/CAM Systems
This is somewhat in order of how often I use the system:
-- AutoDesk Fusion360 for 3D CAD
-- BobCAD/CAM for CNC toolpath creation
-- Vectric software for "art" style toolpaths (pretty much all but Aspire)
-- ACDSee Canvas for generalized drawing and image editing
-- EAGLE CAD schematic and PCB design software
-- Microsoft Visual Studio for PC application software
-- Microchip / Atmel Studio for embedded software
-- Notepad++ for generalized text-file editing
-- Slic3r, Cura for 3D printer processing

One thing to note is that when you're doing many projects over the years, you need a way to archive / store the configuration files and installers (remember to record your license keys!) so you can resurrect that system if you need to make a change in the future.

Parametric Planning Systems
This is about the numbers. Getting them right, verifying them, and recording them
-- CNCCookbook GWizard calculator for feeds-and-speeds and so much more
-- OneNote-based bit-stock tracking system, since I go through bits on a regular basis. They DO wear, after all :D
-- OneNote-based cut catalog wherein I track the cutting parameters by material, bit size, surface-finish quality, and so-on.
-- Design and toolpath verification using built-in and stand-alone tools, including the GWizard Editor and backplotter by CNCCookbook
-- For each project, it seems there's always a full day of time I have to reserve for detailed validation of literally every parameter in the CAM projects.

Toolpath Processing systems
Thing is, most people it seems (on this forum, anyway) use the output from Vectric or whatever, and don't hack it. Not me. I abuse that stuff on both ends (config and output). My toolpaths would call the cops on me if they could (and it was a crime).

The driving force behind this is that while I'm okay handing individual files to the CNC controller, I am NOT okay with having to hand it a million of them. And I intend to use the full complexity of my toolpath-generating tools, and my many bit types. Most CAD tools absolutely SUCK when it comes to providing good ways to make complex designs efficient to machine. So, I built a set of utilities myself. Similarly, IT is the freaking computer...why am I turning stuff on and off for it? That was the impetus behind PilotFish, a 20 Amp-per-channel, 10-channel (yes, 200A switch AC easily feasible) automated remote power controller that's commanded by pulses put out by the Shark's router-power output signal. And yes, it is STILL compatible with having a router on it. It's slick, since I control the whole thing from a standard "coolant type" pulldown menu in BobCAD :D.

To accomplish all that, I just did what anyone would do....

a) First, I switched to BobCAD, which lets me output all the toolpaths into a single file, even when they use different tools.
b) then i hacked the HECK out of all the post-processors that all those tools have, so it could support....
c) an application that does what I call "splatter-gather" in that it splits out the individual toolpaths, and then recombines them according to a project-specific, multi-design "join" file.
d) an application that does what I call "shimming", allowing changes on individual axes to effectively shim the toolpath.
e) an end-to-end integrated system for automatically controlling the power to the ancillary systems from inside BobCAD.
f) Then, I built the PilotFish power-control system to handle the commands put out by d), so that I no longer have to turn on any of the ancillary systems...they software does it automagically :D.
g) wrote a set of scripts that can take the toolpath file, determine the most-recent version of the toolpath, then run it through the processing steps b-d above, resulting in nice, compact, "combi" runs, and the individual step files, with all the power-control commands built right in.
h) back-propagated the capability to the Vectric outputs for the toolpath processing.

And yes, if it isn't entirely clear, my post-processors are blasphemous hacks of the original...just the way I like them. :twisted:

Okay, stopping for a bit...this is gonna take a while

Production Support Systems
setup sheets, production notes, material cost analysis, bit life tracking

Provider and provider systems
-- Lubrication / cut coolant mister
-- Chip extraction: blowing and vacuum
-- Spindle power, speed control/contactor, cooling
-- Under-spindle lighting
-- Shop air (mister, directed chip blower for deep bores)

Work holding systems
Kurt Vise, Stationary Vise, fixtures, jigs, clamps

Metrology systems
Center- and edge-finding systems, including the laser cross-hairs
tramming, sizing, pin gauges, etc.
head-mounted feeler gauge
Dual-dial tramming guage (not usable with the vises, due to low Z-axis height)

Material preparation and handling systems
Metal-cutting band saw, table saw, chop saw
Bead-blaster, wire-wheels
Buffers and convection oven
Drill Press

Cheers! Hope you enjoyed that long tour of one crazy dude's "stuff" ;-)

* The overriding philosophy here is: I'm the computer engineer, that thing is the computer. It will do what I say and make my life easier, or I will program it MORE! I do not relish being the automated tool changer, nor the "bar puller" for this mindless robot. So any tools that make that work more efficient, where I can reliably walk away and come back later, those are almost always worth the investment of time and effort. Said the geek. Uber geek ;-).
Last edited by Rando on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:15 am, edited 3 times in total.
===================================================== Creative tools and photographic art
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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby cjablonski » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:02 am

Well it's great to see responses here! Love to hear what others have done in their "sea" and awesome to share the ideas to bounce back and forth. We may all own fish, but swim in different ways...
I guess I should take a moment to pitch whats happening here. I recently just purchased a new shop ( with a house above it. Wife believes we bought a house with a shop below it. I disagree). Anyway, my prior shop had to be disassembled and moved over an hour away. My prior shop began with a few tools and grew over many years. I began with the shark (and no clue how to use it), a scroll saw and a spindle/ belt sander combo. That was it for awhile. As time passed and my addiction grew, so did the tooling. This is where it gets pretty cool and downright dumb all at the same time...
I added a 16" band saw, a 12" sliding compound miter saw and stand, a 12"disc sander, a 6" jointer, a floor model lathe, a hybrid cabinet saw, a router and lift in the wing and not 1, but 2 dust collectors along with a floor model 17 speed drill press. Sounds awesome, right? Well, sorta....

1 humongous mistake.

I never once considered my work flow. I just kept adding and adding. Dropping tools in my shop willy-nilly wherever they fit and could get power to em. 2 collectors? Awesome! Nope. Only work of you shuffle a bunch of equipment around to use em. That much effort? Can't waste the time. Result- went unused- sawdust everywhere.

Hybrid cabinet saw? Perfect! Not really. If you don't consider having a work bench to, well, work on, guess what becomes your beach? You guessed it, that fancy schmancy saw. Such a nice flat surface, big, perfect for collecting all your tools and call it "home". Only problem is when you need to use it as, well, a saw, you need to move a bunch of piled tools and supplies to actually cut something. Wanna clean up? Naw....just don't cut it or find 15 ways to take 3x as long to do what a table saw can do rather than organise. Great idea there eh? (Poorly injected sarcasm intentionally left here)

It goes on and on. This time in the new shop( with this house squatting over it) I did it completely different. I took the time to understand and break down my process, identify what I build the most ( surprise, clocks lol) and laid out the shop accordingly.

Since 80% of all it is material handling, focusing on handling it THE LEAST, hence moving things once was my goal, along with a place for everything and everything in its place. And I wanted a linear flow. To achieve this I laid out my shop in a normal clock builds flow.

1) material breakdown
2) material machining
3) material assembly

As I believe I have become a bit long winded here, I will stop short of the exact layout, but if interested I will break down the flow by numbers if requested.

If interested, drop a line and I will explain further.
"I'm not smart, I just remain on problems longer"
Albert Einstein

Making many BTU by experimentation. ...some days it gets too warm :)
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Re: So, the sea your shark swims in...

Postby bill z » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:31 pm

I think the shop tools and lay out will depend if the member is a professional or a hobbies. For me, I'm to retire soon and want to do some wood work while living the dream. I’m a hobbies.

Some 30 years back, I told my wife that I would buy her the house she wanted but it had to have enough land so I could build the garage that I wanted. She said that was OK with her as long as she would always have a place to park her vehicle in it. So, I got my 6 car garage.

Slowly I have added tools from sales and around always planning on retirement. That is how I got my HD Shark.

I’m not an engineer but I have ideas and can make pretty nice things when I put my mind to it.

Now I have 2 band saws, one for re-sawing and one for detail cuts. 6” table belt sander, 1" table belt sander, 2 floor drill presses, one set to do drum sanding. A jointer, a planer, Jig saw, chop saw, table saw. 36” lathe, 4 hand held routers. 1 router built into a lief of my table saw. A small Jet vacuum/dust collector with 4" inlet. I plan on building a Panorouter.

I know that you think a 6 car garage would give a bunch of space but I’m having to share with other interests. So, I took some advice from some Youtube folks and made some swivel top tables where I can have two tools to occupy the same floor space. My chop saw and my power plainer are on the same table, one under the other. My power jig saw and my 1” sander with an 8” disk share a table.

When not in use, everything rolls back to the wall giving me room to work on garden tractors and what ever projects come my way.
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