Just recycle you machining wax.
I'm about to receive my TAIG mill and wanted to ask what other folks use for practice material. I've got some machinable wax and aluminum on the way - but would prefer to start with even cheaper materials.
Thoughts include wood and plastic from old parts.
Just recycle you machining wax.
I did a quick study on this about a year ago. In my opinion the biggest bang for the buck is HDPE. You get more volume per dollar than you do with comparable materials, it is forgiving, machines with a nice finish and can be measured easily.
HDPE is my choice for proving out parts and programs.
Consistency is a good thing....unless you're consistently an idiot.
I think for my first trial movements ever were on air to make sure everything appeared to be working reasonably the way I thought they should. Example if I told the machine to move 2" on x it did so and not 2 mm or 2 feet.
My first cuts were on wood. cheap, forgiving and I could get a better gage on whether things were working the way anticipated.
My first actual legitimate part files were in wax. Cheap reusable and forgiving.
Make some ingot molds and melt down on the stove and recast blocks.
Once you get through the air cutting and wood cutting to make sure the machine is functining properly the wax is a good way to way to go as well
Thanks, Under Dog.
The best way to make an ingot is to buy square-bar of 6061 and mill/pocket out the shape you want?
I like Renwood, and sometimes you can get free scraps from a local pattern shop...
You can use anything that is box shaped and of a suitable size(up to you)to make square blocks. I do small stuff so an old sucrets container works well or a tin can or something. Cardboard could work but it may stick so you need to seal it somehow. I tried a plastic tub once and it melted through. I would stick to metal cardboard or better yet make wood box you can take apart to release the block after its cooled.
I use PVC tubing to make round stock. I cut a single slit in it with the band saw so I could expand it open to get the wax out when it is cool. Just need to tape it shut when you pour and tape it to a small wood base to keep the wax from running out.
If you were doing it enough I suppose you could make an AL mold. But as I said it doent need to be anything fancy for practice material. It just needs to containg the melted wax in the size and shape block you need for long enough for it to cool. If I make an actual "usable" finish part from wax I use vigin stock anyway to avoid imperfections.
I have made larger, thicker slabs before too and cut it up on the bandsaw but I would recommend smaller and going thicker than you need. The wax tends to sink in the middle as it cools. On the big slab I made it sank alot and took a long time to cool
I'm a relatively new Taig owner myself. I've found wood (2x4, 2x2) good for rough cuts, MDF board for finer cuts (laminate slices of it together w/ Gorilla Glue to form thicker pieces - makes copious dust when you mill it though...), HDPE from kitchen cutting boards (wonderful stuff - just wish it was locally/readily available in thicker pieces) and PVC 'fake' wood (sold at Lowes and Home Depot) to be easy to mill and forgiving of dumb moves that would hurt me, my machine or my cutting tools if I were cutting metal. Plus, none of this stuff galls the endmills! (one of my main problems starting out w/ aluminum! :-)
I've also used mill-table-sized pieces of MDF bolted to the table to protect the table surface from dumb moves that would otherwise have crashed my endmill into the table - it gives you 1/2" or so of leeway and emergency stopping time if your Z axis move is too deep (ie, through the bottom of the workpiece).
You'll love your Taig - its a mean little beast!! :-)
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