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"Every time I go by the [Mighty Owl Oak] there are children, parents or teachers standing around it. It is wonderful to see the kids bring their parents into the school to see the tree and their leaf."
--Lisa Pavlet, project coordinator, Litchfield Elementary School PTSA

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How to Use CAD to Create Parts for a CNC Table

Kevin is sitting at his desk with a computer in front of him, ready to show you how to make a part in CAD for cutting out in metal on a CNC plasma cutting table.

He shows the screen of Geomagic Design, the mechanical CAD program he uses to create his parts and his sculptures. Kevin is making a base plate for a sculpture he's working on.

On the screen, Kevin clicks on the circle icon. He comes to the center of his screen and then drags his cursor out to about the right size. The actual dimension pops up in a small box, and he adjusts it to make the circle exactly 24", the diameter he wants.

Kevin also wants to put bolt holes in the base so he can bolt down the sculpture on site. He clicks on the reference section, which helps him orient the bolt holes.

He goes back to his circle figure, then uses his 1" square grid to come in 2" from the edge, and puts his bolt hole circle. When the dimension dialog box pops up, he enters .685" to get a 5/8" hole, perfect for his 1/2" anchors. He creates three more holes.

Now Kevin goes to the upper lefthand corner of the software screen, deactivates the sketch and extrudes it. Next he tells the program he wants the metal plate to be 1/2" thick.

Next he saves the file as a .DXF file, which is what Sheetcam, the software that prepares the drawing for the CNC table, wants.

Kevin likes to draw things three dimensionally so he can see what they will look like, but Sheetcam only needs a flat drawing. So whether you're in the drawing part of a CAD program or, for example, using Adobe Illustrator, as long as you can save or export the file in .DXF format, Sheetcam will accept it.

Kevin is ready to save and export the file, but you might want to stick around for another moment and see the Voice realize the obvious ....

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