This log is finally coming to a close. What follows is the work I accomplished over the past few days.
Originally I intended to machine some aluminum mountin plates the leveling casters I ordered, but since I had so much mdf lying around I decided it would be quicker, easier, and more functional to use a sheet of mdf instead.
These are the 2" leveling casters I got from Access Casters for about $18 each:
The two holes below and to the right of the caster will be used to bolt the aluminum machine frame and secure it to the mdf.
I propped up the CNC router using wood scraps(think 2" x 4") and removed the 80/20 legs. This was necessary so I could tap the holes in the 80/20 legs and thus bolt the machine to the base board.
After that I mounted all four casters to the new base board:
Next I flipped over the board and had a friend help me lift the router and set it in place. Later I secured the machine with some 5/16" hex bolts.
This is a 48 volt 120mm Delta fan I picked up from Newegg to cool the CNC electronics. Delta makes some nice quality fans- notice the threaded inserts.
I was going to use these 6-32 screws to secure the fan to my fan plate, but I ended up using some 3/8" 6-32 SHCS instead because the fan blows air in the opposite direction of most fans.
Sorry for the blurry pictures, but there isn't much light in my garage and I wasn't going to bring out a tripod for this. The fan is now wired up and ready to seal up the box.
I have the fan installed such that it pulls in air from outside the box and blows directly on the Gecko G540. This is the finished product:
Next I had to finish up the work table. I drilled 3/8" holes spaced 4" apart along both sides of the mdf sheet I had been using as a makeshift table. I also cut an mdf spoilboard which I also drilled following the same convention, except I used a 7/8" spade bit on the spoil board to recess the bolts and nuts. This way, there is no chance of accidentally hitting the table mounting hardware while cutting.
The table is now secure.
I had some extra 1/4" aluminum plate left over from when I made the rails. It has now been turned into a touch plate. I also managed to scrounge up an alligator clip that can attach to a 1/4" shank. The plate and alligator clip are wired to the Gecko G540 controller which allows my computer to detect when the tool in my router makes contact with the aluminum plate. This makes homing the Z-axis a breeze!
One of the last things I had left to do was find a way to keep the Y-axis rails clear. Even the slightest amount of acrylic chips will cause the gantry to vibrate which has a negative impact on cut finish quality.
If the rails are completely clear, then the finish on acrylic edges is so nice that I can start with 320 grit for sanding. The edges only require a quick scuff with 320 paper, and then a normal 600 grit regimen before buffing. The end result is that I spend less than half the normal amount of time sanding and polishing acrylic edges. I'm sure there are at least a few of you who can appreciate this.
Anyway, I cut up some cereal boxes and made these cardboard side curtains. They slide between a small gap between the 80/20 gantry frame and the steel bearing blocks that ride along the Y-axis rails concealed behind the new curtains.
I just have a few last finishing touches before I call it finished. I am very happy with the casters. The machine rolls very easily but is rock solid once raised on to the leveling feet. If all goes well then work shall commence on Ruby Horizon in a few days.
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