Whilst perusing the Aspire gallery I came across this elegant neo-classical mantle clock, thinking…this is exactly the type of thing I want to create I read through the comments for any hints and tips. I was intrigued to see what else Mark had created so I visited his website (markswoodchips.com) where I found an inspiring range of beautifully crafted products.
Mark has been an active member of our forum since march 2015, not only sharing his creations but also offering tips, advice and support to other forum users.
I approached Mark to ask if he would be willing to share some of the inspirations for his creations, his experiences and tips and he was delighted. First of all I wanted to get a bit of background to understand how Mark found himself in the world of CNC…
“I have a degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and spent most of my working life in environmental compliance and facilities management. In 2006, I purchased a photography and custom framing business that I operated until I retired in 2011. The photography business allowed me to express and develop my artistic interests which was quite a departure from my analytical career. I have had an interest in woodworking for decades but it wasn’t until the last 10 years or so that I began in earnest to purchase some nice equipment for my shop because this is what I wanted to do in retirement. I most likely saw my first CNC at a woodworking show in early 2010.”
"I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of work coming off CNC machines. I discovered that a lot of people build their own CNC's and I was confident that I could tackle a project of this magnitude."
Casual interest turned serious for Mark when prices became more affordable. After discovering the option to build his own CNC machine Mark took his interest for woodworking to the next level and invested in his hobby…
“I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of work coming off CNC machines. I discovered that a lot of people build their own CNC’s and I was confident that I could tackle a project of this magnitude.”
“Admittedly, my basement workshop is now well equipped with a variety of woodworking and metalworking machines. My CNC router was built from a kit purchased from PDJ, Inc. Located in St. Helens, Oregon. I chose to build it myself because I felt that I could save a lot of money and end up with a very solid machine as well as understanding how all the mechanical and electrical components interact. This was a good decision because it has helped me through the inevitable troubleshooting and maintenance aspects of CNC ownership.”
“Since I built the machine from a kit, the table and control cabinet enclosure could be considered custom. I make custom work holding fixtures as the job requires. A self-centering drilling jig for a variety of sizes of cribbage boards is my favourite customisation so far. Although simple, it has saved me a lot of time drilling hundreds of boards for a customer.”
Since 2015 when Mark purchased his first piece of Vectric software he has become an advocate of our products and an active member of the forum. But what made Mark so passionate about Vectric?
“During my initial research of cnc machines, I was overwhelmed by the variety of software used by CNC enthusiasts. I noticed that several major suppliers to the industry bundled Vectric software with their machines so I gave Vectric serious consideration from the start. It seems that many people begin using other less expensive software but eventually migrate to Vectric.”
“Through my online research, I found Vectric software and the massive repository of support, user contributions in the Vectric forum and outstanding reviews from Vectric customers. I spent countless hours on the Vectric website and developed an appreciation for their demo software, training videos and user interaction.”
“Vectric’s Aspire is my main software for cad/cam and mach3 for the post processor. Training videos and support coupled with ease of use are primary benefits of using Vectric software. Secondary benefits include the huge user base willing to share ideas and Vectric’s continued software development and commitment to quality. The thing I like most about Vectric’s Aspire software is its ability to preview toolpaths before cutting. I also like the impressive set of drawing and modelling tools built into the software. The “gadget” library is excellent and the abundance of built-in and third party models is awesome!”
Over the last 10 years Marks interest for CNC has developed into his passion for designing and making new things. His love of woodworking comes through on many of his latest projects.
“I love to design and create wooden clocks, kinetic sculptures and 3D assembly. I’m still getting used to the idea that if I can draw it, I can cut it on my CNC router. V-Carve Pro and Aspire have made this possible for me.”
Rather than focus on a single project, Mark wanted to showcase a range of his projects to show the variety of his work and of the products that can be created using Vectric’s Aspire software. Visit our blog to get an in-depth look at how each project was created.
“Most of these products have been created using the free projects within Vectric’s monthly newsletter. I love the newsletter projects because I learn so much from studying the vectors and toolpaths included with the project. They inspire your imagination for incorporating the techniques into your original designs.”
Mark has become a seasoned professional at creating works of art. I wondered if he had any hints and tips for someone just starting out…
“My top tip would be; don’t get too hung up on exact speeds and feeds. Use the published numbers as a starting point and watch what happens because each type of wood cuts a little differently. Soon you will develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t.”
We would like to thank Mark for taking the time to answer our questions and for continuing to be a huge support to other members of the forum. We can’t wait to see what he’s going to create next!