CNC Setup Tip – Use a Laser Boresight for Centering

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CNC projects are commonly laid out on the computer relative to an XY origin on the board you’ll be cutting. When you bring the project to the CNC, the machine needs to be zeroed precisely where the XY origin is on the board. Here’s a great tip for simplifying zeroing your X and Y axes, and making your CNC setup easier.

The CNC wave is hitting hobbyist shops all across America and throughout the world as the popularity of the CNC machine is reaching a fever pitch. Whether you invest in a large format CNC or a benchtop machine, by understanding the basics of CNC setup, you’ll be able to quickly configure your CNC with great repeatability.

Shed some light on the subject.

The approach that George uses for CNC setup is to install a laser into the collet of the CNC, and use that to directly align to the origin XY coordinates. This provides visual clarity and exceptional precision for this calibration step. It is important to use a laser that fits perfectly in the collect, because if it is either too tight or too loose it can throw off the calibration, and the slightest bit of misalignment can cause problems in a project.

Orient grain of board parallel to the axis of CNC.

In addition to dialing in the X and Y origin, another important CNC setup step is to align the travel axis of the CNC to the grain of your work piece. This is important so that the CNC travels exactly within the defined boundaries of your work piece, and places the carving in the exact location that you desire. The laser provides a perfect solution for this step as well, providing a simple visual indication of this critical alignment.