I have a long commute home, but it's an even longer commute when you've got a CNC machine kit in the back seat that you've been waiting months to assemble!
Upon opening the little cardboard skyscraper, I was impressed by the use of space. The box contained three shrinkwrapped bundles of MDF parts jumbled together like a 3-D puzzle, a shrinkwrapped stick of metal (the Z, Y screws and aluminum,) four boxes of hardware, and two crayons. I can only guess the crayons were a gift from the kids.
I think the inclusion of the hardware in this kit is a particularly significant advantage. Patrick includes everything- hundreds of screws, nuts, bolts, as well as all the bearings and couplers you'll need. Just the hardware weighs about ten pounds! I grossly underestimated how much the hardware contributed to the cost of my first CNC machine-- After the smoke cleared, I'd spent nearly $400 just on fasteners, leadscrews, couplers and bearings. Patrick also drills and taps the angle iron for the linear motion trucks.
In the photos, I've already sorted the hardware into bins for easy assembly, and I already assembled all the trucks. ( I couldn't help myself )
Also of pleasant surprise, not only are all of the edge holes for the cross dowel connectors already drilled, but all the I-beams for the main supports are pre-assembled. I think the kit will go together very quickly, save for one thing:
There are a lot of parts to this kit, but nothing is labeled. It is obvious how many of the parts go together, but some of them aren't so obvious. I'm confident it will become obvious as I get further into the build, but it probably helps tremendously that I have already built a CNC machine already.
Note: I'm not endorsing Patrick's machine specifically, and I don't want this blog to sound like a commercial. More to the point, the instructions for this machine exist solely in video form on his site, (and at this time I don't think the instructions show the final steps: completion of the main table, then again, it may be so mind-bogglingly obvious that it doesn't warrant another video.) While they are very entertaining, it is a little confusing to try to build this machine strictly from the videos. The best strategy is to watch a video, then go sort out your parts and assembly and figure out how everything fits together. Then you'll figure out what questions you'd ask (such as: specifically what kind of screw should be used where) I found they will be answered in the video.
Like I told Patrick: I fancy myself a reasonably smart guy, but I still routinely reverse at least one important piece when I assemble something from Ikea, and that's following well-written directions and clearly identified parts.
I'm hoping to get the Z and Y axis assembled tonight! I'll take more pictures and post my progress and thoughts here!