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How to use Large Area Indexing Accessory kit?

Posted by stevempotter 
CNC newbie here. I have been waiting for a package from Handibot with the
Indexing jig for doing larger projects, so I have not used my Handibot yet.
The jig came with no instructions and I can't find any on the Handibot Docs page.
The only videos I found using it were more promos than instructional.
Can those who have experience using it please post some instructions and advice here?
What is the best way to mount it?
Does it attach to the material being carved or to the workbench?
Does it wear out and if so, how to reduce that?
How to get the best accuracy?
How to use it with the laser sight?
How to set up a job for indexing?
How to optimize workflow or minimize moving the Handibot?

Any help and instruction is appreciated. Assume I know nothing winking smiley
Re: How to use Large Area Indexing Accessory kit?
August 02, 2016 09:50AM
I am relatively new to Handibot, but I'm pretty familiar with the software side of things.

Short version:
Find the Vectric Videos on Tool path Tiling. Read everything you can on the subject. Instead of using a reference mark and dowels, you clamp the index jig to the material and use it to index the CNC machine. If you understand the tiling feature, then how you use the Jig should become pretty clear.

Long Version:
The simplest way to use the jig is to clamp it right to the surface of the material you want to cut and use the tiling feature in the software. If you want to learn more – start by looking up Vectric’s Tiling tool paths. If you are completely new to CNC and aren’t familiar with the Vectric software – I would start with their basic videos. The tiling can get a little confusing. You want to run 6” wide by 8” tall tiles.

When you use the software tiling feature, it will spit out files with a T1 or T2, etc in front of them – which stands for tile 1, tile 2, etc. If you line your Handibot up in the slot marked ‘1’, you will then want to send any tool paths that begin with T1 to the Handibot and run them. Then move to tile 2, tile 3, etc and do the same.

There are a few pitfalls doing this. The biggest is the fact that with the indexing jig on top of the material you are cutting, you essentially lose 5 inches off the bottom of your material the Handibot can’t reach. (The jig takes up about 2 inches and the Handibot cuts another 3 or so up parallel. )

Another big issue is that if your clamps aren’t on tight and you pull the Handibot against the indexing Jig it can bump and move – causing your tiles to not line up.

My personal solution has been to cut out additional indexing jigs with my indexing jig. I screw each indexing jig to a scrap piece that is the exact same height as the material I am working on, and I run a job that puts a straight line down the index jig. This essentially becomes a 5” piece of lumber that the index jig is screwed to. Now, I can just clamp the new jig with the scrap piece to the table and line the lumber to be cut with the jig. This way, I don’t lose any material on the blank, and the index jig is a little tighter so I don’t run into the tiles not lining up very often.

I typically cut things that are ½”, 13/16”, and 1” – so I have an indexing jig for each of those materials. I haven’t cut anything overly large yet – so I only made about 4 ft of indexing jig for each size.

Another big pitfall to lining up the tiles properly is to make sure the area is clear of debris. After each tile, I get into the habit of moving the Handibot, vacuuming any dust/chips, placing the Handibot back down and pulling it against the index jig to make sure it is seated flush. If you get into this habit, the tiles line up pretty regularly in my experience.

Good luck!
Okay, everything RS said plus for a more visual look at this, I wrote an instructable on this some time back. Nothing has changed as far as Vcarve or the jig goes.

Thanks Ryan and Mark. Those are very helpful and enough to get me started, I think.
If anyone else wants to add their two cents about tiling and using the indexing jig accurately and efficiently, please do!

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