Woodworking Club CNC Presentation

I will be giving a CNC Overview to the Wood Working Club of East Texas in Nacgodoches on May 7, 2022. This is a general over view for traditional woodworkers. I chose a simple vcarve to demonstrate creating a project, carving and finishing. Attached is my final draft of the presentation in pdf format. Please take a look at the presentation and add any constructive criticism you might have.
ETX_Woodworkers_CNC.pdf (2.8 MB)

Here is the finished project.


Good of you to develop this presentation for your group. +1

When I did a few of these presentations for our local amateur radio club, I often found a couple of people that were really attentive / interested, and then others were either nodding off or antsy that the food would get cold! :smiley: (Not meaning to discourage you! :smiley: )

Small thing … “Vetric” should be Vectric.

I have noticed that many folks aren’t aware of or don’t understand the commonality of gCode and how it has truly been the impetus in the evolution of “hobby” CNC equipment.

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I would spend a few minutes explaining gcode more. It’s like learning a new language and is worth a discussion. Notate the code sample you include and explain what each command does.

If the target audience is traditional woodworkers, they probably have experience with sanding and finishing. Maybe spend more time on the CNC aspects.

This Old Tony does a great what is CNC video also


Maybe talk about how a CNC can complement traditional woodworking? For example making intricate inlays, or making templates to produce repeated parts quickly with a bandsaw and an oscillating sander or flush trim but or making custom moulding/trim to finish a project?

The text is kind of dense. I’d put all the lists of things on a hand-out for folks to look over after the presentation, and during the presentation, only hit the highlights.

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A quick slide show or collage of some of the varieties of things that can be done with a CNC router might fit well. You have covered v carve of an acquired image but your audience may not be aware that you can also create your own custom signs, custom images, cut complex shapes out of material, bowls and trays, not to mention 3D, etc. A sampling of images of these types of simple and advanced projects from the internet might grab your audience’s attention as both an introduction to your presentation and reinforce their interest as a conclusion to your presentation. Cheers.


Thanks to all that replied. Since I created the presentation I thought it was brilliant, oh I just threw my arm out of the socket patting myself on the back. I have given a lot of technical presentations to technical people so I get the points that the audience may not be too enthralled with the subject. I will stew over and reorganize the presentation. Since my audience is older I will thin the text and increase the font size. I had already planned on a slide show of some of my past work making boxes and other carvings and some furniture.

The choice of the vcarve was to show that the traditional skills are relatable to the cnc. The Tinkerbell wall hanging will be given to one of the members to take home to give to one of their kids and/or grand kids. My kids are too old for Tinkerbell.

Thanks for your input. I will post the revised presentation.


I am not sure if you will have a projector and laptop to use during the presentation but I did a presentation for co-workers last fall and I managed to create a slideshow with text or images on one side of the slide and then included a video time lapse of the CNC running a cribbage board on the other side. PowerPoint has the ability to keep a video playing across multiple slides so it works really well. You can hit the high points of the craft along with examples of work on one side while a video plays on the other. I managed to set it up so that certain points in the video coincided with some of the points I was making on the slideshow. Talking about different cutters on one side while the video shows me making a tool change. I don’t have the presentation handy but I can grab a copy and upload it later if you would like. It won’t have the video included because that makes the file huge but you could get an idea of how it went from the slides.

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We have our meetings at Stephen F Austin University at the Forestry Building. They have a computer and large screen TV to project on. I will take my own computer because there may not be network accessible for me not being an employee and/or student. My laptop has an HDMI port plus all my files are on the laptop.

I use LibreOffice for my wood processing which can output to MS if required. I dont want to pay for MS products more than I already have. The LibreOffice is open source and a very good alternative to MS Office. Back when I worked for Sun Microsystem they bought StarOffice. When Oracle bought Sun they are all about profit and dont give anything away. To get rid of an open source product with no profit Oracle gave StarOffice/OpenOffice to Apache Foundation. Apache still makes OpenOffice and the source code and LibreOffice are interchangeable in file formats.

I have not started my revamp of the presentation and will keep your suggestion in mind. Today was tax day in the US and I had to file my taxes. I always wait till the deadline because I always have to pay. Now that I have done my civic duty I will get back to more fun stuff.

Thanks for your suggestion.

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Sounds good. LibreOffice is a great alternative and I expect it can do something similar. I have used it a lot over the years but rarely for presenting so I can’t say what features the presentation software has. I used it on all my Linux desktops as well as Windows over the years. I just have access to Microsoft Office for work which is actually a university and since it was a work presentation I used what they provided.

I was cursing Apache Foundation before Christmas due to a major bug in some logging software and curse Oracle all the time. Oracle loves to lock everything down and make licensing as convoluted as possible. Very cool that you used to work for Sun Microsystems. I have not thought about them for quite a while.

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Would you mind elaborating on this? I would think it is okay to treat the CAD/CAM software and the machine controller as the interface points and the G-code as something that happens in the background to make it work. Sort of like what-you-see-is-what-you-get webpage design that suits many people without needing any understanding of the background programming. I mean I think is important to know that it is basic motion and setting/parameter changing commands and not treat it as something mysterious. But beyond that, is it a big deal if Carbide3d made their own C3d-code with their own syntax and structure? Give me an usable post-processor for Fusion360 and I wouldn’t know any difference.

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The first time I read about a CNC machine, it was an incredibly expensive device which the Navy was putting in the machine shop of an aircraft carrier — much of that expense was in the software.

In 1989

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the US Government’s Department of Commerce funds the development of the Enhanced Machine Controller project *

and in 2000 it was released into the public domain, which code accessibility made LinuxCNC possible, and seven years later resulted in:

Grbl, an interpreter for G-code (a standard language for Computer Numerical Control (CNC)) originally written by Simen Svale Skogsrud.*

Two years later, the first version of the Shapeoko was shown on CNC Zone:

I’d say what @WillAdams posted describes the history very well. One of the points that I didn’t think I needed to explain is that gCode being ubiquitous allowed the market in CNC machinery to expand, diversify and attract entrepreneurs.

The Grbl interpreter is “a big deal” in that it allowed unique hardware designs to be interfaced with common software by entrepreneurs with limited startup capital, much like the early development of software languages. (I’m sure there are better and more thorough analyses available.)

The fact that Grbl continues to be developed is another big deal.


Trivia: The first Numerically Controlled machine was a player piano (Circa 1896)

P.S. You’re NEVER too old for Tinkerbell :wink:

I’m not trying to be contrarian or anything, but I still don’t get it.

It still sounds to me like you are trying to explain to a digital photographer/artist how pivotal Windows or Mac OS was. It was important for the historical path of the technology, but in an alternate universe would it really be different if we were using “Tables” or “Pear”?

Are you guys saying an affordable home desktop CNC was not possible in for instance 1995 because G-code or EMC wasn’t available/developed/accessible? I don’t know very much about this, but from a technological trend point of view would be surprised if that were the case. I would guess the software is not there because the need was not there; that there weren’t hundreds of thousands or millions of affordable motion controller boards and motors just waiting for a $15 license fee (or even $150) of some proprietary code to make it work. If it were there, people would make the code/protocol, whether public or proprietary. I would think the reduced cost of electronics and motors as more major points to the proliferation of CNC.

It was a perfect storm of:

  • software / algorithm accessibility — before Grbl, the usual suggestion was Mach3 or LinuxCNC (both of which were based on EMC to my understanding, and pretty much all of the driver firmware since was based on the MIT licensed version of Grbl)

From: Bengler: GRBL Apart from the home milling enthusiasts using Grbl to control their machines, the code has been adopted and adapted by a myriad of projects. At the time of writing (June 2013) we found over 120 projects on Github built around our planner implementation.

  • electronics becoming affordable/accessible — the Arduino being available to load Grbl on to was huge, and a lot more accessible than being told: find an old PC w/ a parallel port, wire up a breakout board, connect your stepper drivers to it, buy a license of Mach3, or try getting LinuxCNC installed

Bart Dring also deserves credit for MakerSlide:


which was hugely influential on the Shapeoko 1

I don’t think stepper motors or drivers really changed in price, save for an on-going reduction caused by competition as production shifted to China

Thanks for the additional comments.

Is machining fundamentally different motion control than things like dot-matric printers, pen plotters, and inkjet printers (obviously the motor drivers are different due to the forces involved)?

I think you would have to find out if grbl is hiding under the hood of such equipment. :smiley:

If you had only mentioned 3Dprinters in your list, then the answer would be fundamentally not different.

Well, I deliberately mentioned technology common in the 70’s and 80’s as they obviously pre-date GRBL.

Imagine you are a Hewlett-Packer executive in the 1970’s, and your team tells you that some newfangled code/protocol would be decades in the future. I think you would tell them go co-opt, develop, or license whatever code/protocol needed to get my printers into offices now, not decades later.

Motion control for CNC is fundamentally different because it’s 3 dimensional.