WOW!!!!!! That looks great. Awesome job!!!!
Well it's been a long road with many late hours after work but my first CNC router table is almost done. Or is it? I guess you are really never done since you always seem to find some addition or modification that you want to add.
I know that I already have a few ideas of things that I want to add to the machine like a vacuum shoe, a spotcooler, a 4th rotary axis, and a vacuum table. Still have to finish wiring the Home and limit switches plus mount the MDF table top but I will do that after I move the machine from my work to my home.
When I started this project about 6 to 7 months ago (I really can't remember anymore how long it's been exactly) I just wanted to build a small cnc router table which I could used to help me get into the interesting world of CNC machining. I figured if I had a small 3 axis machine I would have a better understanding on how to learn CNC programming. After all it makes things alot more fun if you can design a part in CAD then actually see a real machine going through the motions of making it, rahter then just looking at the simulation on a screen and since I don't have access to any real CNC machines were I work this was my only option.
But after I started picking up some of the linear rails and bearings off ebay I realized that this was not going to be a cheap venture to build, so since I was already commited and didn't really have a final design in mind I decided to go bigger. So a machine that originally was suppose to fit on a small table has grown to a machine that required it's own steel frame to be made which measured 54"L x 32"W x 28"H.
The table dimensions are 54" x 31" but I still need to measure the actual working or cutting area. I am estimating it will be around 45"(X) x 26"(Y) but it could be abit more in the (X) axis. I have around 6 3/4" clearance between the top of the table and the lowest part of the Z -axis mechanism with 8 1/2" of travel in the Z-axis.
The main frame has both casters and leveling feet on it, so I can wheel it around easily but once in place I can turn the leveling feet down to give it a good solid footing. In hindsight I only wish I would have used a heavier wall tubing for the frame because I am abit worried that with the frame being so light that it doesn't have enough mass to help dampen any vibration that the machine may have when running at higher speeds. I guess I can always add some sand to the inside of the tubing to give it more mass.
The only real vibrations I have noted to date while testing and doing some sample cuts seem to come from the (X - axis) and (Y- axis) ballscrews. The vibration in the (Y -axis) seems to be more evident in higher feed rates and seems to by amplied by the aluminum gantry. It's almost acting like a tunning fork. The (X-axis) vibration is also more evident at higher feed rates but I believe this is due more to the longer length of the ballscrew and smaller diameter (1/2" Dia.). If I put some pressure on the ballscrew with my hand I can dampen the vibration quite abit. I am not going to worry too much about these vibrations since the don't appear to affect the operation of the machine plus they are only there during rapid movements which are faster then the feed rate I would be cutting at.
My controller consists of a 24VDC / 5VDC powersupply, Xylotex 3-axis stepper control board, Xylotex Single axis stepper control board (for the future addition of a rotary 4th axis), two Opto-relay for activating the spindle and vacuum, all mounted in a Hammond enclosure. I am using Nema 23 Pasci PowerMax II, double stack, stepper motors on all axises.
Well enough of my babbling. I just wanted to share with the rest of the Zone on the progress of my machine and to say thanks to the Zone and it's members for all the great information I picked up. I wouldn't have started a project like this if I hadn't found the CNCZone.
In the meantime here is a picture of what my CNC router looks like now plus there are a bunch more in My Gallery.
WOW!!!!!! That looks great. Awesome job!!!!
What he said! I particularly like the oversize cross-member on the gantry which must really stiffen the machine
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)
Thanks for posting that nice picture Beezer.
You have done a very nice job on your machine.
Being outside the square !!!
Wow! A very impresive machine. I'm just about to make a decision on what design to go with. I think I will be buying plans from Campbell. But your machine is realy nice. What plans did you work from, or did you totaly do this from scratch? I'm hoping that the moveable table will cut down on vibration. But it also is going to cost me operating space wich is scarce at my house. Anyway thats a nice machine and I only hope I will be as succesful in my project as you have been in yours. Its realy kind of scary for me to plan on spending this kind of money not knowing what the end result will be.
I am pleased that you like it guys.
Yes the oversized cross member really does make the gantry very stiff. Not going to be any flex there. I still need to align all the the plate soeverything runs square to their relevant axis's, then I will drill and ream for dowel pins on each side to keep them that way.
I didn't work from any plans. I looked through the members gallery at all the different styles of machines people had built and chose the style that I felt would meet all my needs. In particular it was important to me that I had plenty of clearance between the table top and the lowest part of the gantry cross member along with lots of Z travel so I could do more 3D routing in the future.
I knew building higher might cause more vibrations in the system but if it did I would just run slower cutting feeds.
Basically I started out with the Z-axis since I only had a ballscrew and linear rails long enough for that part of it. As I started to buy more parts from ebay and other places the design progressed. I would design each part in Autocad first then machine it making any changes as I went, then modifying the drawings as required. It adds time to the build but I wouldn't have been able to keep tight tolerances if I did it any other way, plus I know if a part will fit properly before it is machined and having the CAD drawings will allow me to incorporate and additions much easier in the future.
I am a machinist for an N.D.T. company and we sometimes make Ultrasonic scanning systems that are very similar to a CNC router or plasm cutter, except instead of a table you have a water tank and instead of a router your have ultrasonic probe. Having experience in building these scanning systems really came in handy when I designed and built my router.
I will say that if I would have done anything different I would have used large linear profile rails, like THK instead of the Thomson round rails for the X-axis.
I found that the Thomson round rails ended up being alot more work for me to use since I started out with just standard rails that did not have the mounting holes drilled and tapped into them. I had to drill and tap all the holes myself and let me tell you that the case hardenen on them is tough and pretty thick.
Thank goodness for carbide center drills. I will be keeping my eye out for some more of that Thomson rails support profile so I can make my rails supported all across the whole length. What I used was just some left over pieces we had lying around the shop. I was surprised how expensive that stuff is if you want to buy it new. Just not in the budget at that time.
Will also consider changing the THK rails I have on the Y-axis for larger ones if these ones don't stand up. They are kind of small being 9MM.
That looks fantastic. As I'm in the early stages of pulling my design together I can learn a lot from your picture. Thanks.
You wouldn't be willing to share the CAD files, would you?
It is a very nice looking machine, I would love to see some of the work you do with it...
Ohhhh Cad files would be great
Look forwared to hearing how it performs - you know all the feed rates and stuff. Nice and sanitary when just finished - bet ya cant' just can't wait to see it all messed up with product though! Cheers - Jim
Experience is the BEST Teacher. Is that why it usually arrives in a shower of sparks, flash of light, loud bang, a cloud of smoke, AND -- a BILL to pay? You usually get it -- just after you need it.
I wouldn't have any objections to giving out my CAD files once they are near completion. Right now all my drawings are in a single CAD file and I want to clean them up abit, removing any layout lines that are not needed. I have to mention that not all parts have dimensions lines and some parts may have been modified on my machine to make them fit properly but the drawing for that part may not reflect any minor changes I made, but all drawings are to size so if there is a missing dimension you can easily check that yourself.
At the moment I am working on a dust collection shoe and vacuum tube which will be mounted just in front of the router motor on the Z axis. After that I will work on the mounting of a Vortex tool cooler, then after that the 4th rotary axis which I already bought a right-angle gearhead for it, off ebay.
I still need to do some reading up on all the feed rate stuff and what the machine will actually be capable of. I recently switched over from Master5 to Mach2 on my computer so I really haven't had a chance to setup the machine with this software yet. Stil trying to understand how this software works. Seems alot more complicated to setup then the Master5 version.
Now the project moves more into the next phase with learning how the software works. HEHE
Once I get the CAD file ready I will either post it here or just have people email requesting I send it to them. It is around 2.5MB right now.
Those Vortex coolers are damn cool, aren't they! No pun intended...Originally Posted by Beezer
I wanted to use one, and I was pretty surprised at the fact that they weren't all that expensive...