Which Software Do You Need to Run a CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutting Machine?

A CNC hot wire foam cutter is a computer controlled machine used for mainly cutting Polystyrene foam and similar materials, such as polypropylene and polyethylene. The machine consists of a wire running between 2 towers, which is heated via hot wire power supply, thus melting and cutting the foam into the desired shape. The towers can move in an X-Axis (right-left) and a Y-Axis (up-down).

Cutting the foam is done in 3 basic steps:

1. Drawing the desired shape to be cut.

2. Converting the shape into G-Code

3. Running the machine with the software to execute the desired shape.

Any Cad tool, such as Auto Cad or Corel Draw can be used for drawing the shape, as long as the file can be saved in a DXF format. CAD means Computer-aided Design. It is a modeling tool used to design curves and figures in 2 dimensional space (2D) or curves, surfaces and objects in three-dimensional space (3D). There are various CAD files in the market. More recommended ones include Instant Engineer 14, which can be purchased online for few dollars, DesignCAD, AutoCAD and TurboCAD. Another Cad tool software is DevFoam, that combines both the drawing and the G-Code generation. It is a user friendly application for cutting foam with a 4 Axis CNC machine.

Next step is to convert the shape into G-Code. The G-Code is another name for the computerized tool by which we tell the machine what to cut and how to cut it. For the conversion one can use software such as DeskCNC, DevCad or FoamWorks.

DeskCNC was originally designed for a 3 Axis CNC Router machines. It was later on modified to enable a 4 Axis foam cutters to run as well.

FoamWorks is known for its simplicity and being a user friendly software. It is designed to drive a 4 Axis foam cutter via a parallel port of any windows based computer. It can cut any shape, but works best for cutting RC wings.

For the last stage of running the machine, software such as Mach3 and DeskCNC can be used. The Mach3 program is a G-Code reader. It allows you to turn your PC computer into a 4 Axis CNC controller for machining and cutting. It is an operating system for running the CNC hot wire foam cutter. It was originally developed for the home hobbyist, and later modified for use for any CNC machine operation for industrial use.

5 Qualities of An Entreprenuer

Here are 5 qualities that an entrepreneur has;

1. “Failure” does NOT exist in their dictionary

There are no failures in an entrepreneur’s dictionary, only new lessons to be learnt and mistakes to be avoided in the future.

Every stumbling block is but a challenge and therefore, there is no need to give up. They may change their direction and their methods, but an entrepreneur’s aim and passion never dies.

2. Creativity

Entrepreneurs have to use their creativity constantly to innovate and conjour up new services and products, in order to provide value to customers in their targeted market while learning to distinguish themselves from exsiting competitors.

Entrepreneurs are a curious bunch as they are motivated by their need to serve and provide value, and they do this by maximising their creativity.

3. Enjoys networking

Entrepreneurs love to network and get to know more people who share similar interest and passion. Some of them like to share their passion and views in a larger scale by giving talks too.

It is no longer an issue of being an introvert or an extrovert. Both personalities make great entrepreneurs by working in vastly different ways that suit their style. Ultimately, both personalities enjoy meeting people with similar interest.

Also, they are willing to learn from others. Entrepreneurs know the value to knowledge and are always willing to meet people whom they are able to learn from. They also recognise that working with these people will allow them to serve their customers better.

4. Loves to read

Riding off the previous point, entrepreneurs love to learn and expose themselves to new ideas. Most of them love to read, and have great and effective methods of reading.

Additionally, entrepreneurs read widely. They typically read anything that captures their interest and allows them to learn and improve themselves. Entrepreneurs recognise the importance of consistent learning and self-development.

5. Acts fast

Entrepreneurs tend not to procrastinate. In fact, procrastination is the GREATEST enemy of an entrepreneur. Getting things DONE is one of the key qualities of an entrepreneurs, and that is the main reason they succeed. No one succeeds by brainstorming ideas in their bedroom, without implementing those ideas. Ideas remain a fantasy and a theory, until they are put into action.

By acting fast, entrepreneurs also ensure that they are able to capture a greater market share before their competitors step in.

Do you possess these qualities? Are you working towards your goals and dreams?

After Decades of Conditioning, India Is Re-Aligning Itself With the Culture of Entrepreneurship

Globally, entrepreneurship has become a key engine for employment generation. As policy makers grapple with economic uncertainty and cultural changes, large corporations that traditionally created jobs are biting the dust. From 2003 to 2013, 712 corporations disappeared from the Fortune 1000. One can safely extrapolate that very few Fortune 1000 companies will be around in another 30 to 40 years. However a new breed of risk-takers and innovators in the form of entrepreneurs are beginning to line up on the horizon of business world. According to a report by the Kauffman Foundation, industrial era companies in the US dismissed more jobs than they created in contrast to high-growth startups that created the maximum number of new jobs between 2000 and 2010. Facebook has been credited with having created 4.5 million new jobs, directly and indirectly. This global trend makes a strong case for supporting Indian start-ups and entrepreneurs as a means to create future employment.

However, it is even more important to create a support system that ensures the survival of the start-ups beyond the first five years. In other words, once invested in a start-up, return on investment (ROI) can be assured only when the investment finds further sustenance. This is critical as 70 to 95 percent of start-ups fail or exit, resulting in disproportionately high job destruction. Studies have shown that 47 percent of the jobs created by start-ups are eliminated by exits in the first five years. It is the surviving 53 percent of businesses that witness rapid growth and bring about broad-based job creation.

This means that government policy must be attuned to the practical needs, while addressing the pain areas, of Indian entrepreneurs. The policy must address: funding to be more easily available to entrepreneurs; creating a large pool of experienced mentors and advisers who provide inputs around manpower and resource management, legal and marketing, partnerships and technology; and providing mechanisms to improve access to local and global markets.

It is evident that supporting entrepreneurship is a medium to long-term approach. The question that needs an answer is: what type of entrepreneurship should be prioritized for support so that success and subsequent job creation is assured? Today’s marketplace has become hyper competitive. Just take a look around. There are more choices available to consumers and enterprise buyers than ever before. There are new business models that don’t require buyers to own products or commit up front to long-term subscription of services. Delivery systems have changed, allowing businesses to reach customers in remote locations and new markets, bringing down geographical and political barriers. Entrepreneurs are innovating to give birth to entirely new asset-light business like Uber, Ola, Airbnb, Oyo Rooms, Zomato, Foodpanda, PayPal and Paytm. These businesses are re-shaping entire industries, forcing traditional players to re-think their strategies.

Igniting the spirit of entrepreneurship and sustaining it is also a long-term undertaking. Not everyone is blessed with the DNA of entrepreneurship. A culture of free enterprise needs to be nurtured. Today, one of the nations to have taken positive steps towards creating such a culture is the US where 1,600 colleges offer over 2,200 courses that ‘skill’ students in entrepreneurship. These courses build knowledge through academic studies, practical industry experience via apprenticeship programs, entrepreneurship clubs, boot camps and access to investor networks and support systems. Education, without doubt, is a way to ensure higher success rates for entrepreneurs. In India, we need to create cost-effective and scalable education models that help reach students using video and mobile technology on MOOC platforms that transform teaching into learning, thereby eliminating the need for massive armies of instructors and trainers.

Lastly, a substantial demographic in the form of Indian women remains untapped. Of the total number of entrepreneurs in the country, only 10 percent are women. However, even within these small numbers, women entrepreneurs from India-Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Sulajja Motwani and Ekta Kapoor to name a few-have been in the limelight. Significantly, a Dow Jones study has confirmed that start-ups with female executives have a higher chance of success. What they need to succeed is education, vocational training, access to funding and interaction with entrepreneurs and buyers across the world. According to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), annual growth of the Indian economy could improve 2.4% if the country implements pro-gender policies.

Historically, Indian society and the education system have focused on creating doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. These professionals are a necessity. But after decades of conditioning, the nation is re-aligning itself with the culture of entrepreneurship. We are at the cusp of entrepreneurial success. This opportunity must not be lost for the lack of policy and world-class support systems

Not Your Grandfather’s Factory: Modernizing Manufacturing to Attract Millennials

Why is engagement such a big deal in manufacturing and the skilled trades? Because according to a 2013 industry report, for every four trade positions that workers retire from, the industry is producing only one replacement. Worse yet, it’s predicted that in the next decade, that 2 million out of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs available will go unfilled because of the lack of available talent.

Now you may be asking, how can that be? With millions of jobless Millennials, who happen to be facing an unemployment rate that is double the national rate, don’t we have enough people to fill those positions? Not until we change the image and perception of manufacturing – for both kids and their parents.

For the past two generations, young professionals haven’t exactly been leaping at the chance to work in manufacturing. Part of the problem is the stigma that manufacturing has – working in an unclean environment, with outdated thinking, and little room for growth. The other, bigger issues are the parents who have discouraged their kids from attending trade or technical school and instead promote the value of a four-year degree from a college or university. According to the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute (NAM), only 3 in 10 parents would consider encouraging their child toward a manufacturing career. The perception has been that you go into the trades if you are not “college material.” And parents want their kids to be “college material.”

As the United States is now undergoing a “manufacturing renaissance” and looking to produce their goods on American soil again, there is an urgent and growing need for new talent.

So, how do you make manufacturing jobs more attractive and appealing to prospective employees? You can start by modernizing your brand. If your company is stuck in an old, calcified way of doing business, you’re going to have a hard time finding and keeping younger workers.

Today’s workers are digital natives. They are “wired” for technology in a way unlike any previous generations, and they expect to access it in the workplace. That’s why it’s critical for manufacturers to not only have cutting edge Industry 4.0 technology available, companies need to promote the technology used in their production process. Millennials will be pleased, if not surprised, so know that more than two-thirds of U.S. manufacturing companies are adopting 3D printing and more than half use robots.

Look for ways to better utilize mobile devices, videos and virtual reality in your hiring process as well as throughout the plant. Millennials are used to watching videos to learn about new things, so why not use YouTube or another video website to give potential hires a realistic view of “a day in the life” of a worker at your facility. Keep the videos to 2-3 minutes of less and capitalize on the “wow” factors of the job. Not sure what they are? Ask your current team members what they enjoy most about their job. You may even want to interview them and let them share their story in the video. In doing so, you’re letting job applicants know that this isn’t their grandfather’s factory!

One of the first places to start is your company website. Yes, it’s a great place to share what your company is all about, but it needs to be real – not a bunch of mumbo-jumbo “marketing speak.” Look for ways to share your company culture and mission. What is it like to work there? Demonstrate how your products and services serve a greater mission that simply making a profit. Take advantage of your online presence to show how your company makes a positive impact on society.

Next, check out your social media. (Now, if you’re saying “What’s that?” or “That’s just a fad,” you have your work cut out for you.

Figure out where your potential hires are hanging out. They may not be on Facebook, they may choose Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn instead. It’s important to make sure your channels are active and up-to-date. Give your employees opportunities to share what’s going on from their perspective. Post pictures from social events, charitable projects, and other fun occasions. Does your company look like a fun place to work from a social media standpoint? If not, look for ways to improve public perception. When done well, this can be a relatively quick fix – just start posting! When you have an active, engaging online social media presence, it builds credibility with potential hires from the younger generations.

Finally, keep in mind that Millennials are always connected. They look for one-on-one communication and immediate feedback. They consider their managers and leaders their peers and want to have access to them. If the only time you’re giving feedback is during the annual review process, you’re going to lose. There are lots of online tools, pulse-type surveys, and artificial intelligence programs that can help give feedback on demand. Communicating frequently and keeping employees in the loop will do wonders for engagement and performance development.

The digital nature of today’s manufacturing is opening up many opportunities for skilled positions, transforming the manual nature of a factory job to the high-tech environment it is today. According to Vicki Holt, President and CEO for Protolabs, “Digital manufacturing is revitalizing our industry and is igniting new opportunities. The skills gap presents a critical roadblock for all of us. But it’s encouraging to see a renewed optimism from a new generation of workers, and to hear that they understand this isn’t their grandparents’ manufacturing industry. Much work remains ahead of us, but this is a good start.”

Building A Future In Self-Storage-Things To Consider Before You Invest

Across the country, entrepreneurs are talking about the self storage business. The buzz is that investing in the mini storage business can be very profitable. What’s more, seasoned investors aren’t the only ones with their eye on the mini storage prize. With lower building and management costs than other real estate investments and a failure rate of less than ten percent, the self storage industry is drawing first-time business owners like moths to a dazzling flame.

The advantages are obvious, easy start up, easy maintenance, low risk, but what’s the catch? Can it really be that easy? There is no catch, but it does require work. An investment the mini storage business has a lot of potential, but it is an investment. No matter how you slice it, you need to be prepared to devote time, energy and of course, money to a self storage enterprise. If you’re ready to commit to the self storage industry, here are some things to consider before you invest:

If You Build it, Will They Come?

Before you spend even a nickel on land or buildings you’ll need to do some research into the self storage market. You should strongly consider hiring an experienced consultant to do a feasibility study in your area. Even if you have experience in real estate or the self storage industry, an unbiased opinion is invaluable when starting a new venture.

Location, location, location. Those three words are everything in the real estate world. The same is true for your self storage facility. You might be tempted to use a bit of land you already own, or buy the lowest priced land you can find but you should never sacrifice location for price.

According to the Mini Storage Messenger, a resource center for the self storage industry, choosing a site is one of the most difficult decisions to make. An ideal site is one that is located on a major travel corridor and is highly visible. Still, there are more factors to consider. Will you be needed in your service area? How much competition are you facing? Is the area you’re interested in already saturated with self storage businesses? If there are a lot more storage units than customers in your area you’re likely going to have empty storage units which lead to an empty bank account.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

You’ve considered where, next you’ll need to consider how. Since your storage buildings will be your business, a lot of thought should go into planning construction. The unit mix and amenities of your site can be greatly advantageous or, conversely, a huge drain on profits. There are quite a few construction details that are unique to the mini storage industry, such as driving space, size and placement of unit doors, lighting and security. Choose a builder a builder with experience in the self storage industry who can advise you in such matters. The right building plan will improve your occupancy rate and help you avoid costly renovations. For professional advice in choosing the best steel building supplier, visit http://www.gosteelgo.com/ChoosingSteelBuildingSupplier.htm.

Another aspect of self storage construction to consider is financing. Construction loans are dramatically different and more complex than other forms of permanent financing. Moreover, construction loans for self storage are different than those for traditional real estate. Before scheduling an appointment with your lender find out about the size and scope of loans they are able to make and if they make unique loans for mini storage businesses.

Holding Down the Fort

After deciding where and how to build your mini storage units there are still more things to consider. Many first time business owners fail to plan beyond grand-opening day. Advertising, staffing, and the day to day maintenance of your new self storage site should not be afterthoughts.

An important detail to consider is marketing. You’ll need more than a listing in the yellow pages and a big sign out front to keep your storage units full. Decide on a marketing strategy before you build. Expect to be analyzing and changing that strategy through out the life of your self storage business. Advertising is a necessity not an option.

Customer service and salesmanship will be vital to your business. Be prepared to find experienced staff members and to train them. Be cautious about hiring friends and family. It’s hard to treat loved ones like employees and hard for them to treat you like the boss. Also, don’t assume that you can do it all yourself. If you want your mini storage business to be a success you’ll probably need to be open a lot more hours than you’ll want to be standing behind the counter.

As with any business venture, the risks and decisions involved in starting a self storage business can be daunting. However, with proper planning and preparation, an investment in the self storage industry can be a dream come true for any aspiring business owner.