I've can probably help a bit with electronics/computer stuff, my actual CNC knowledge is limited to a (very) small machine I built 5 years ago to test software before building the router I've stil not built!!
I got really keen back in about 1999 or so, going into 2000. I joined the cnc/dro yahoo group, and started collecting parts. Then I spent way, way, way too long designing a machine in CAD. To the point I created a design that I couldn't possibly build without access to a mill or CNC router. Given that I only have a small lathe and drill press it sorta just died from there.
I got busy with other things, and never got back to it. I've got a good collection of 100-200oz steppers from large printers, some odds of ground rod, some M10/1.5 stainless threaded rod, and some nice brass nuts I made up, and that's it in terms of a usable router.
And, because I'm a computer geek at heart I played around with software a bit, and built a small 'sorta cnc' machine out of 3 5.25" floppy drives to play with g-codes and see how the software part of it fitted together. It's sitting at work these days, and I occasionally entertain people by drawing silly boxes and lines using an old pen holder and pens off my sekonic plotter I used to use for doing PCB's years ago...
Skip forward to now, I've got keen again, and there is now a wealth of good plans and information, and this site (Not sure if it was here in 2000?). I'm tending towards a rockcliff, but I've really not decided, as I'd like something a little bigger.
Might do something between the rockcliff and the jgro design. I like the look of the simplicity of the rockcliff, and I like the adjustability of the jgro, but not a fan of the torsion box, and skate bearings, too much fidding around for my liking, and not sure I could make it accurately enough.
Lots of stuff has changed in the hobby cnc arena in the last 5 years, so in some ways it's good that I waited. We'll see i the next month or three if I get anything off the ground. I've got a project in mind (Dolls house for my daughter) as a starting point, so need to build to fit the wall sections for that!
How about you? Do you have a machine, or a pile of parts like me?
Last edited by kiwichris; 02-20-2007 at 03:47 AM.
I have a pile of parts probably not as many as you though. I have just about completed the 3 driver boards and have completed the break out board I brought 3 stepper motors from trademe and have had them running with one completed driver board i got all the plans and info from pmino's site and have been impressed with the outcome so far. Every thing should be ready in two weeks just need to get a table and all the bits that go along with that easyer said than done i think was thinking of mdf or alloy depending on availablility and price of the alloy.
Arrr, so we're about at the same stage then, in the scheme of things.
For my drivers I'm going to build some junk-box unipolar drivers initially, as I have enough bits now to do that. Depending on how they go I'll probably build something better, the linisteppers look good, although I've got low voltage/high current steppers so heat might be an issue, might have to look at a chopper design. I do think I'll want something micro-stepping though..
For the frame I scored some heavy 'U' section alloy, which I'm going to use as 'bracing' on an MDF table. I don't have the gear or metal working skill to go all alloy, but from what I've read on here MDF is more than up to the task.
I have some progress as well, I built up a PC and got EMC working last night, which I'll be using as the controller. I'll bring home my floppy CNC from work tonight and check out what it can do.
Hi have built 3 units and have all sorts of bits and info if I can help, live in Invercargill
Out of curiosity, what type of machines have you built?
And, for the general kiwi population reading this, do you know of anywhere in NZ I can get 1/8 shank (or 3mm) carbide upcut spiral end mills? 1/8 / 3mm and / or 1/16 / 1.5mm cut.
I rang a couple of places on Friday and drew a blank.. I'll be looking for square and possibly ball nose 1/8th tooling for the dremel to fit my junkbox router, to cut wood & plastic, maybe some thin brass/alloy as well...
This all assuming that an end mill is the right tool for the job!
Hey Kiwichris that mini router is looking sweet im currently drawing onw and is starting to look rather like a mini though i was hoping to be able to have 500mm X 750mm cutting area what will yours do.
Nice..... And yeah, 1/8 seems to be uncommon. I was orignially looking at a 6mm bosch trim router, but as I'm building the wee machine to cut my teeth, I have developed a need for 1/8th tooling. Not too much of a problem, as they are cheap enough to mail order from the other side of the planet if I can't find any locally. :-).
The wee one will work out to be around 220x180x60, give or take. Enough for doing some model bits, jewelery boxes etc.
My end goal is to be able to cut 2m x 1m or so, but that'll be a wee way off, unless I win lotto!
I'm fast realising that the larger machine will have to be a moving gantry design, which adds to the complexity and nervousness somewhat. Once I've got this small machine out of the way I might do some experimentation with the skate bearing layout many people are using on here. Linear bearings are an instant killer of the budget for DIY stuff, and for a large gantry you need something good and solid on the traveling axis.
I have only 'OK' metal and woodworking skills, suffitant for making furniture and decks from wood and model parts from alloy. That means anything I build has to be over-engineered and adjustable. Getting the alignment of a CNC machine 'out of the box' without CNC machining help is probably not a reality for me at this stage.