Frequently Asked Questions

Most of our machines are designed to replace a “Form Tool” and fit into very small footprints while allowing the use of other manual tools. So, to get CNC functionality where it matters most, we have compact designs with small travel.

A form tool is a specially designed cutting tool used to shape a workpiece to a specific profile by removing material. It allows for precise and repeatable shaping of complex geometries, reducing the time and effort required for machining intricate workpiece profiles. While a form tool worked well for high volume production back in the manual machining days, the cost and time required to grind such tools was unfavorable to highly iterative designs. So, the CNC form tool idea became the original MultiForm. 

We use a subset of RS-274D standard G-code, trimmed down to absolute beginner level. Some reasons for this:

  • Bolting on a CNC device to a manual lathe means you the operator perform most of the M-Codes such as turning on the spindle, spindle direction, coolant, etc. So, our minimally viable product does not require M-Codes.
  • Auto code generation means the control computer will create tool paths from the input profile or “constellation” and a few CAM parameters such as roughing and finishing depth of cut. So, our minimally viable product only requires G1, G2, and G3 to draw this input profile. 
  • By simplifying the G-code repertoire to G1, G2, and G3, we strive to make advanced technology inclusive for users of all proficiency levels. In today’s fast-paced tech landscape, where entrepreneurs, machinists, and researchers often require diverse skillsets, it becomes challenging to dedicate extensive time to master the intricacies of machining. Our focus on usability ensures that our machines are user-friendly, fostering accessibility while accommodating the multifaceted demands of modern industries.

At the time of this FAQ entry, none of our products handle threading. The reason for this goes back to the simple one or two “bolt-on” easy installation of the product. Threading operations require a spindle encoder and more sophisticated motor drives (beyond GRBL v1.1), so we do not support threading at this time. The workaround is to use Geometric die heads, manual single-point threading, or manual taps and dies after machining the proper profiles. 

Our control software does not implement any compensation. The idea we promote is to cut a part, inspect / measure all dimensions, and then adjust your G-code to dial in to the tolerances you need. If you want to generate code with cutter compensation, we suggest using our Fusion 360 post processor and VersaGroove tool library. 

No, you do not have to use our cutters on your machine. However, it is important to not exceed the force limits on any axis, so it is your responsibility to select proper carbide cutters that will perform within the limits of the machines. 

To provide a complete turning “ecosystem” for new users, we want to offer everything in one place. More importantly, we want our system of products to have known working solutions to be used as starting points. Need to machine 145 Copper? We have the cutter, the material, and the example code to do so. 

Going back to the idea of the CNC form tool, we are promoting very compact CNC add-ons for tight spaces. This means we can’t easily fit bulky tool changers, large motors, high-thrust components, or large tool holding systems. We need to optimize for excellent cuts in sub-optimal setups. As a result, our VersaGroove tools solve the following challenges:

  • Face, profile, groove, and part off with one tool controlled by CNC software.
  • Very small shanks, careful not to waste space or require cut-down like many of our competitors.
  • Extra long length to width ratios of the cutting surface cover the most challenging deep-groove and cutoff applications. 
  • 1/8″ shank keeps cost to a minimum, reducing consequences of R&D iteration failures. Up to 50% cost savings over competitors. 

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