First Cut

How do you really know your cuts are coming out in the right place?

I asked that question in the previous section. This time I'm actually making cuts with the router! 
I'm still using circles and squares. This time I'm cutting 4 six inch circles inside 4 seven inch squares. The dimensions were chosen to accommodate the material I had on-hand (pieces of paneling left over from finishing the basement). I modified the diagnostic software to deal with cutting real material instead of drawing lines. Instead of creating one g-code file the program writes three files. You can download the python code and the test files if you like. Run all three without turning off the stepper drive so that you don't loose the origin location. Mark the panel so that you know the orientation of the circles and squares after they are removed from the router.
For my first set of cuts I used a 1/4 inch router, feed rate of 30 ips, making one .175 cut in MDF paneling.
test_cut1 'drills' the center holes in the circles and two corner holes in each square.
After cutting the holes I put hold down screws in the circle center holes.
test_cut2 cuts out the circles.
After cutting the circles, remove the center hole screws and the circle pieces. Then put hold down screws in the squares.
test_cut3 cuts out the squares.

Using the router to 'drill' the hold down bolt locations.

Circle hold down bolts in place.

All the circles have been cut and the dust has been cleaned up.

square hold down bolts in place.

All the squares cut and dust cleaned up.
(not shown) - lightly sand the edges to remove the MDF and paneling 'fuzz'.
Now for the real testing. The reason for cutting 4 circles and squares.
Stack all 4 circles using a router bit as a shaft. You did remember to put an orientation mark n the circles? [I didn't! - damm...] Rotating the circles relative to one another will quickly tell you if they are round or not.
Stack all 4 squares. Check for alignment. Then rotate the 2nd square 90 degrees, the 3rd 180 degrees and the 4th 270 degrees. [An additional quarter turn on each level of the stack]. Again, you should be able to tell if you've got squares. The edges should line up perfectly.
If the edges don't line up go back to the alignment section and check everything again.

Gotchas: I'm slightly off. You can just barely see it in the pictures above. I think my gantry is twisted relative to base frame. I've got to go back and adjust it. Then I'll try again.

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