Hey Vincent if you can be flexible on time I can try and help.
Set up notes copy pasted from my other message for posterity:
I had taken some notes on the CNC router workshop a few years back. Here they are typed out:
Operation with the computer
General Operational Notes
Machine set up
Everything about the machine is different. We gave up on the vacuum table as it kept loosing effectiveness. Now we just screw things directly to the table or screw down some clamps
Then someone changed the OS to some form of Linux and the machine became too frustrating to use. There are other people who use the machine but I just gave up.
Looks like nobody has responded to your post. I'll try to answer as best I can based on what I remember from two years or so ago when I last operated the Shapoko in the woodshop. If anything has changed from what I remember, or I just don't remember right, I'm sure Cunningham's Law will pull the right answers into this thread quickly.
The machine has a vacuum table system that Grant figured out. It allows you to secure fairly flat workpieces to the table without too much clamping. This is useful because you need to custom tailor your tool paths to not hit any clamps you have on the workpiece when you run the job. If you need to machine the part all-over, you may need to clamp the part, machine part of it, move the clamps, then machine the rest. Cutting off your clamps tends to cause flying workpieces. If you are using screws or other metal pieces in your clamping setup, you *really* don't want to hit them with the tool. Safety glasses, dust-collection, hearing protection etc is a good idea. Make sure the machine won't move before you put any body parts inside the cutting envelope of the machine. It can rapid across the table pretty quickly, and you are much easier to carve up than MDF. Anyway, the vacuum clamp is broken into 4 quadrants, there are 4 ball valves along the edge of the machine that turn on the quadrants. Turn on whatever quadrants you need to secure the part, use plastic sheet or garbage bags to cover as much of the rest of the table as you can. Any air that leaks around the part is taking away from your clamping. If you can't budge the part with the vacuum turned on, then you're probably OK to cut without extra clamping.
We were using Chillipepr (http://chilipeppr.com/) to convert DXF files into G-Code at one point. There are other CAM packages. If you have a DXF you want to cut, I can probably help you get it converted remotely. The machine itself had an arduino running GRBL hooked to a CNC shield to drive the steppers. I think we used Universal G-Code Sender to move the machine around the table and feed the g-code to the machine.
Work flow looks like this:
How about you tell us a bit about your project and how far you've gotten and we try to figure out next steps?
I'm a brand new member of the MS community and I'm excited to start hacking. I'd like to make use of the CNC router table this weekend and was hoping I could get the appropriate run down before I get started. I'm familiar with wood workin, carpentry and Cadd softwares but have never used a CNC. I understand there is no E-learning available for this tool.Could I schedule to get shown the ropes on the machine please?