Top Ten CNC Questions:

1. What is CNC?

CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control.  In simple terms it means that a machine is controlled by a computer. 

2. What can CNC do for me?

The most obvious answers to this question is that it can make you money, make your life easier and take your woodworking to new level, but it really depends on the type of CNC.  A CNC lathe automates the turning process.  You simply draw the shape of the turning and let the CNC lathe do all the work.  A CNC router typically has three axes; the X axis is along the length of the machine, the Y axis is perpendicular to the X axis and the Z axis is typically up and down.  A three axis CNC router will let you cut out parts and add details i.e. 2 1/2 D carvings.  Most CNCs are dedicated to a specific task.

Legacy's five axis CNCs, on the other hand, are extremely versatile.  A Legacy 5-axis CNC can do more for your woodworking than any other collection of tools and machinery combined.  That's a very bold statement but consider this.  How many tools and machines would be required to turn round spindles?  How about a square or eight sided spindle?  What if you wanted a tapered leg with a rope twist?  What if you wanted to add inlay or joinery or carve the spindle?  What if you wanted to cut out parts that were identical?  What if you wanted to add joinery such as lap joints, rabbit joints, dovetail joints, mortise and tenons or sliding dovetails.  What if you wanted to create a relief carving or intricate inlay?  The list goes on and on.  A Legacy CNC allows you to complete all of these task and many more.  It is the most versatile woodworking machine you can own and by far the best value in woodworking.

3. Shouldn't I purchase all of the standard woodworking tools and machinery before I invest in CNC?

Most traditional woodworkers would say yes, but consider this.  If you want to take you woodworking to a higher level than most hobbyist the answer would be no.  The average hobbyists spends between $6,000 and $8,000 on tools and machines to completely outfit their shop.  Obviously it can be done for less or more but that's the average.  If you invest in the right CNC first, you will be able to accomplish all of the task that you can do with the traditional tools and machines plus a lot more.  Why spend the money twice on tools that will do the same task?  A Legacy CNC allows you to turn parts you never dreamed possible, create all types of precision joinery as well as cutout, shape, form and carve practically any part you can dream up all for about the same price as a well equipped shop.

4. Don't I need to learn a programming language like G Code to operate CNC?

No you don't.  The software programs available today will allow you to either import pictures and drawings or make your own drawings and then the program will generate the code to make your parts.  In fact, Legacy's Conversational CAM allows you create the programs for turning spindles that feature rope or barley twist, flutes, tapers, multi-sided cross sections and turning details without even drawing the part.  You simply answer a few questions and Conversational CAM creates the code for you.  The website vectorart3d.com has an amazing library or carvings that you can purchase and download to add to your projects eliminating the need to model and create your own carvings.  It certainly doesn't hurt to learn a little about G code.  It's a simple code that only requires you to learn a few commands or codes to create your own program or modify an existing program.

If you take advantage or Legacy's open invitation to visit us and take a test drive we will show you how to go from a concept to a part in less than 10 minutes.  We will also show you the various software programs available and work with you to choose the software that is right for you.

5. Isn't CNC machinery too expensive for the average shop?

Not any more.  Over the past 10 years both the software and hardware have come down in price considerably.  Where a simple 3 axis CNC router use to start at around $40,000, Legacy's full line of 5 axis turning / milling  CNCs are far more versatile and prices start at around $5,000.  Thats less than a well equipped traditional home shop and as we discussed in questions number 3, will take your woodworking to a level you never dreamed possible.  Keep in mind that Legacy offers a full line of 5-Axis Hybrid CNC systems to meet the requirements of woodworkers at every level from the home shop hobbyist to the production shop.

6.  What are the differences between Legacy's 5-axis CNCs and other CNC machines on the market?

Legacy invented Ornamental Milling and over the past 20 years we have designed router bits and machining techniques that very quickly produce spectacular results.  When you combine Legacy's experience and our exclusive 5 axis open frame construction you have something truly special.  Following are just a few of the differences:

Axis Configuration:  The standard configuration for a CNC router is three axis and a flat table for forming, shaping, carving a cutting out flat parts.  Some CNC manufactures allow you bolt on an accessory that adds the 4th axis for turning between centers.  Legacy's 5-axis CNCs are built around turning and include an exclusive 5th axis that controls the Adjustable Bed.  Without this feature you cannot mill a tapered parts that feature rope and barley twist and many other router bit profile operations.  While it is possible to carve a tapered rope it would take hours instead of minutes and require a tremendous amount of sanding to finish the part.  Again, Legacy pioneered the milling the Ornamental Milling techniques that no one else does.

Two Bed Design: Where most CNC routers have a flat table (bed),  Legacy's CNCs have a fixed set of rails for mounting a table when working with sheet goods or flat stock and a separate Adjustable Bed for turning. 

Open Frame Construction:  Legacy's unique open frame construction allows you to quickly and easily attach accessories such as a flat table for processing sheet goods or clamps that hold your parts horizontally or vertically in the machine.  This feature allows you to machine dovetail or mortise and tenon joinery on the ends of your parts.

Smart Tool:  This feature allows you to insert a router bit and press go.  The machine will automatically touch off the Smart Tool to set the Z axis for either turning between centers or machining flat stock.  No more tool tables or manually touching off the part.  You simply change the bit and press go.  It is the fastest and easiest way to set the Z axis depth for each cutter.

Conversational CAM:  There simply wasn't any software available for Ornamental Turning so Legacy create Conversational CAM (CCAM4), an easy to use program that allows you to simply answer a few questions to create the parts.  No drawing required.  Now you can easily create turned parts that feature round or multi-sided cross sections, turning details i.e. beads and coves, spirals i.e. rope twist or hollow spirals, indexed flutes and much more.  Of course you can use any CAD / CAM software with a Legacy CNC but only Legacy has Conversational CAM.

7. Is programming and operating CNC hard to learn?

Legacy's Conversational CAM is very simple to learn.  In fact, you can program turnings that feature turning elements such as beads and coves, rope or barley twist, indexed flutes and square ends in just a few minutes.  Simply answer a few questions to create the code.  Other CAD/CAM software packages require a little more time to learn but they all have tutorials and online user groups to quickly get you up to speed.  Legacy also has an online forum where you can work with other Legacy CNC owners to ask questions and share ideas.

Obviously, the best way to learn CNC is by taking a hands-on class.  We encourage you to visit Legacy and learn 5-axis turning and milling techniques from the company that developed many of them.  We can teach you how to operate your CNC and use various software programs.  The basic class structure is as follows but can be altered to fit your projects and requirements:

  • Basic introduction to CNC
  • How to use your CNC Control Software
  • Introduction to Programming Software: Conversational CAM, TurboCAD, V-Carve Pro, Aspire, ArtCAM and Basic G Code
  • Milling Operations: Turning a spindle, sign making, inlay, carving.

If you are unable to come to Legacy for training you can still get instruction on all of the software and basic operations.  All of the software companies have online tutorials and user groups where you can ask questions and share ideas.

8. I have a small shop, how much room is required for the CNC?

Legacy offers three models in various sizes.  The foot print for our smallest CNC, the Mini Arty, measures 34" wide and 34" long.  Of course we also offer the Artisan II series that will accomidate 4' x 8' sheets of plywood.  Legacy can also build custom machines up to 5' x 10'.

9.  What is the Warranty?

Legacy's warranty is 1 year.

10.  Why should I buy from Legacy?

Over the past twenty years Legacy has evolved from a simple idea of how to harness the power of a router to a company that designs and manufactures the coolest woodworking CNC machinery on the planet.  We have invested heavily in state-of-the-art machinery for manufacturing and focus on Research and Development.  By manufacturing locally we are able to improve on an idea or take an entirely new product to market very quickly.  In just the past year we have introduced 3 new CNC models with over 20 configuration options.  This constant focus on R&D means that the machines that we build today are better than the machines we built yesterday and the machines we build tomorrow will be better than what we build today.  It may not happen quite that fast but you get the idea.

Grow with Legacy:  Legacy allows you to invest with confidence knowing that you can purchase a bigger more powerful CNC without getting burned.  Purchase a CNC from Legacy and we will guarantee a 90% trade in value on a larger model within one year.  After a year the value of your trade in will be based on a graduated scale. 

Versatility:  Legacy's exclusive 5-axis design allows you to turn between centers quickly creating parts that no other machine 4-axis CNC is capable of duplicating.  You can quickly switch between turning and 3-axis machining.  Legacy's open frame construction allows you to mount stock horizontally or vertically allowing you milling on all faces and the ends of the stock, perfect for milling dovetails or other types of precision joinery.  Legacy's Smart Tool allows you to load a program and start cutting immediately without setting  up tool tables or you can choose between a traditional static tool table or Legacy's innovative dynamic tool table to optimize production time.

Value:  The versatility of Legacy's 5-axis CNCs make them the best value in woodworking allowing you to take your woodworking to a higher level than any other machine or collection of tools.