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[Complete] 2' x 3' Custom CNC Router from 80/20 Aluminum Extrusion - Page 3

post #21 of 116
Thread Starter 
It already weighs about 150lbs / 65Kg. It's not going anywhere on its own, if that's what you were thinking.

I'm definitely going to be using something cheap for a table. At this point I'll take just about whatever I can find that is the right size and doesn't cost an arm and a leg- mdf, hdf, even a good sheet of plywood.
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post #22 of 116
If you need precision with the wasteboard then get MDF and a liquid melomime resin. Over time, MDF will expand and warp and if you coat the entire board with the resin, it will stop the MDF from expanding.



Hold downs:

Double sided tape, .9mm thick foam, 2mm wide.

Double sided tape is what I use as a hold down as well because clamps reduce working area and there is a real possibility the machines rails will run into them. Tape also has a thickness which allows you to drill through the material without hitting the table.



Software:

With a machine like this, you need good software. Vectrics is easy to use and quite powerful at developing Gcode. Pretty cheap too Just design the parts like normal in Autocad, send the DXF file to Vectrics and then do the toolpathing in there. Gcode goes on the usb and into the machine.



Tooling:

Steel HSS is rubbish, carbide is much better

Tooling can cost you a bomb, I use to buy from multicam and they cost 60 USD each tool for the carbide bits. I recently switched to bits from china sent by virtual village, they cost around 20 dollars for a pack of 5 carbide endmills, none of these have broken on me and they are an absolute bargain.

It's also handy to get a resurfacing tool, these are typically 25 - 30mm in diameter and are used to resurface your MDF to make sure it stays absolutely flat.


Cutting Fluid

You dont really need something expensive, anything that acts as a lubricant will do. I use kerosene for cutting metals.


Edited by Djayness - 7/6/10 at 9:31pm
post #23 of 116
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips Djayness!

Here's a quick update for all of you-

I powered up the new Hitachi router for the first time today! I ran a few quick tests cutting some wood and acrylic scraps and think I've got a pretty good idea idea of what spindle rpm and feedrate combinations give a good finish with the solid carbide router bit I bought for plastics last summer but never used. Oh, I also tuned the Gecko G540 controller to my individual motors to get smooth microstepping at low feeds.

All in all I am very happy with the machine, but it still needs a fair bit of work. I still need to make mounts for limit switches and the cable carriers as well as wire up the limit switches. The cable carriers I ordered should come early next week. I also ordered some leveling casters so I will need to make mounting plates for those. I am also going to have to remove the legs from the base to tap the ends so I can mount the casters. On top of all that I would like to make a box for the electronics, and I still need to buy mdf for the table.

I should have a proper update ready in the next day or two.
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post #24 of 116
looking awesome jpz, look forward to seeing the finished outcome!
    
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post #25 of 116
Thread Starter 
Progress the past week has been terribly slow, but things should be speeding up now. The cable carriers and leveling casters arrived Monday, and I bought Vectric Cut2D last night.

Today I went to Home Depot and bought carriage bolts, washers, nuts, and a 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" tick MDF. I cut a 29 1/2" x 48" section for the table:



For now the table is mounted using two clamps at each end. In the future I will drill holes in the MDF and secure the table to the alu frame using carriage bolts.



This is the scrape of acrylic I used for testing the other night. I will be cutting a piece from it.



I used a little 3M double stick tape to secure the acrylic:



CNC, Go!





Hmm...I think I used a little too much tape. I popped the acrylic loose with a screw driver, but when I tried to pull away the acrylic scrap it separated from the paper backing.

Apparently the router cut clean through the acrylic but it left the paper on the backside complete intact! It didn't even a mark on the paper!



Here's the piece after a quick wipe down with a microfiber cloth:





Tomorrow I will be making this from scrap acrylic leftover from BlackBox. I designed it yesterday in Sketchup. All that's left to be done is setting up the toolpaths. I'll also be making mounts for the limit switches and cable carriers, as well as some cable management pieces.




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post #26 of 116
man, thats pretty epic...how accurate is it btw =P

i wish i had the money to make one ): those aluminum extrusions you used, i've been working with them for 3 years for robotics...never thought of using them as a frame for a CNC machine XD man, if i had one of those machines, i would soo make myself some water blocks =P aswell as case mods...but custom waterblocks would be nice too
    
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post #27 of 116
Thread Starter 
The acme screws are 2 turn per inch, and the stepper motors turn 1.8 degrees per step. That means 0.0025 inches per step, but my Gecko G540 does microstepping. This breaks each step into 10 microsteps, which brings the theoretical accuracy to 0.00025 inches. However, that does not take account for things like backlash or runout.

I have definitely thought about making waterblocks. Perhaps some blocks for a chiller in the future. This thing can also make custom mounting plates, reservoirs, pump tops, you name it. Oh, it can also make just about any size circuit board you could ever possibly need. And of course you can use it to make things out of wood... everything from ornamental to instrumental. Maybe one day I'll have enough time to make a guitar and/or bass. This is all with the right bits of course- I only have a couple plastic cutting bits at the moment.
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post #28 of 116
Thread Starter 
I took a bunch of pictures and videos while I was cutting last week, but unfortunately my sd card failed. When I went to look at the pictures on my laptop, most of the new shots were gone. I put the card in my EEE to look and see what linux had to say about it. Apparently a large portion of the card is no longer readable. I managed to recover a few pictures and a short segment of one of the videos, but everything else left from two days of cutting was lost.

This is a 12" x 12" black acrylic tile. I used eight 1" x 1" tape squares to hold it in place. It was still very difficult to remove after cutting.



Next I cut a 12" x 12" gray acrylic tile which was held in place with double stick tape I bought from McMaster-Carr for Ruby. It was impossible to separate the acrylic from the mdf table. The only way I could get the acrylic off was by leaving the paper backing behind. I must have spent an hour scraping the tape off my table after tearing the paper. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of any of this.

Next I tried cutting a ~7.5" x 24" black acrylic scrap using tiny pieces of 3m double sided tape in each corner of every piece I cut out. In order to know where to put the tape, I came up with this idea:



CNC Sharpie!! I reversed the x-axis in EMC2 so that the cnc router would draw a mirror image of the profile cuts on the back of the sheet. That way when I flip over the sheet all t he tape would be in the right place.



Router + Acrylic = Mess
CNC Router + Acrylic = Mess^2



Next I will be welding some of the acrylic pieces I cut:





100% repeatable perfect corner joints!







More welding...





This needs to be welded too



A little blue tape to hold things in place while I work.



Tada!



These are all the pieces I cut on the router



These are mounts for my limit switches and cable carriers. There are also a few cable clamps too.



My pretty little box






Here's the Gecko G540 stepper controller



The controller presses in place for a snug friction fit.





My electronics box will be suspended under the table.



The top gray piece of acrylic has a lip on three sides so it slides right into the 80/20 channels.



Here is a close up to show you how it is suspended:



The box slides to the front of the table and locks in place:







These brackets are for mounting the 48V power supply that drives the Gecko G540 and steppers:


The brakets bolt to the power supply...



which is then brought under the table, raised and bolted into position from below.



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post #29 of 116
Thread Starter 
Next I installed the other acrylic bits I made, as well as the cable carriers and limit switches. All the cables have been organized too:



A shot of the gantry from behind:



The extension cable for the Z-axis stepper is held in place with adhesive-backed velcro(which I bought from McMaster-Carr for Ruby Horizon).







The limit switches are held to my acrylic mounts with double sided tape:



This is the Z-axis limit switch:



The X-axis switch:







This is how the cables wrap around and below the gantry:



Something I didn't consider when making these acrylic mounts was that I would have to completely disasemble the gantry to install the cable carrier mount that attaches to the gantry below the table. Since I really didn't feel like taking half the machine apart, I used double sided tape instead:



Here it is, stuck in place:



This is the stationary cable carrier mount below the table:



Here is the Y-axis limit switch and extra cable lengths.



Motors plugged in to the Gecko controller:





This should give you an idea of what it will look like with the table mounted in place. For now the mdf sheet is just sitting on top of the frame with nothing to secure it.








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post #30 of 116
Thread Starter 
This is the video I was able to recover:

film_go.pngYouTube- First Cuts with New FLA CNC Router
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