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Tooling Up for a New CNC Router

2. August 2018 09:36

Chris Dehmer, owner of Dark Horse Woodworks in Atlanta and a board member of the Cabinet Makers Association, recently answered our questions about transitioning from outsourcing CNC work to having his own CNC router. Before a live audience of about 150 CMA members at the CMA’s 20th-anniversary conference in Denver, Dehmer talked about many issues including how he deals with tooling on the new machine. Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview, edited for length.
 
Will Sampson: What were your decisions on tooling and tool holders?
 
Chris Dehmer: Because we had been using someone else’s machine, I had a pretty good idea of the tools we were using that we needed for that. We actually use a lot more now than we did then, just because it’s easy for me to do. We also have a 10-position tool changer, so we can put more in it. Despite universally pretty much everybody telling me I should have bought a drill bank, I didn’t. Some of that was money. Some of it was, “Do I really need that – $10,000 to be able to drill those holes a little faster?” I will admit when I’m watching that thing do this (makes up-and-down drilling motion) it gets a little bit maybe I should have bought that, but we’re just not a production enough shop to where it’s not a big deal to walk off and do something else while it does that.
 
Sampson: What kind of tools are you having in your tool library that you can use on the machine? For guys starting out, what’s the kind of basic tool kit that you’ve got to have?
 
Dehmer: Well, it probably varies for everybody, depending on what you do. We do a qualified blind dado. We predrill. I’ve had issues in the past with guys who would screw – we do plant-on backs – we’ll have guys that will put one screw in each side and think that’s good. We’ll have other guys who will put, you know, 35 screws in. Somewhere along the line I said, “OK, I’m going to put a hole where I want a screw, and you’re going to put a screw in it.”
 
Read more from the interview: https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/best-practices-guide/panel-processing/tooling-new-cnc
 
If you are interested in learning more about Chris’s decision to buy his CNC router, register to attend “Buying that Big Machine” during IWF.

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