Skill Builder: VectorWorks, MasterCAM, and Techno CNC
I’ve been wanting to build a prize wheel for some upcoming events, e.g. my best friends wedding or next family gathering. But also as a meditation on gambling, change and joy. I found this great wikihow that details how to do it with a lazy susan. I’ve been modeling parts of my last couple of Subtraction assignments loosely based on this guide.
Old, Raw Materials
I had some off cut scrap wood from a past CNC project. (I’ve used the CNC before.) I figured I could cut a smaller circle out of the larger offcut.
Slightly offcut circle scrap plywood.
Measuring the biggest circle I can make from the offcut.
The precut centerhole poses an interesting problem, how do I subtract a smaller circle from the offcut without having to precisely measure my origin!
I bought a lazy susan for $7 at Ace Hardware nearby. The mounting instructions are quite intricate… and I wish it came with screws but I get why that is difficult…
And some dowel pins to use as prize wheel pins because ITP students don’t know how to use nails… jk.
Falling in Love with Vectorworks
I had a rough time learning Vectorworks in a hurry last week. Because I’ve CNC’d before, I had some extra time to properly experiment with Vectorworks. Shortly put, it’s drag-drop snap alignment and paint bucket are absolute AMAZNG. I particularly loved that I could drag a part of one shape – e.g. center or right-most point of a circle – and it would snap my chosen point to another shape.
I measured out the lazy susan so I wouldn’t have to drill. A little nervous about the precision of the screw holes as I’ve measured and failed before (not on CNC).
I add the outer wheel. Using a 30-sided polygon slightly smaller than my outermost circle, I align ~5/16” circles on my polygon vertices. So much easier than any other way I would’ve done it. <3
Falling in Love with MasterCAM
I’ve used MasterCAM before and while the UI is outdated I think it’s pretty great (and easy!) for what I’ve done so far.
Setting up pockets for the dowel pins. It was a pain to select and chain all the individual dowel pockets into one toolpath. And for some reason I don’t understand, I couldn’t change the direction of just that one stubborn dowel pocket at the top left. I ended up making a new toolpath for just that pocket.
Sexy MasterCAM animation!
TechnoCNC is Magic
My scrap is slightly bowed so I went wild with ~8 screws on all sides to keep it flatter against the spoilboard.
Because I wanted to try something new and my design is circular, I chose to put my origin in the middle of the wheel. I setup Vectorworks at the origin to account for this. This was nice because it also let me overcut the existing centerhole without too much measurement.
Here I cut a bigger hole around the small centerhole. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be precise so I eyeballed the origin.
CNC pocketing the holes for dowel pins.
I cut the outer circle last since it creates a loose part.
Beautifully simple TechnoCNC software with it’s on target time estimates and progress indicators. <3
All cut out.
Mounting the lazy susan with some found screws. The screw holes work!
Dowels are in, give it a spin!
It’s a bit wobblier than I hoped from the wood warp so rather than finish it with paint thinking I’ll re-do it with MDF next week.