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Thread: Wood duplicator cnc with rotary axis?

  1. #1

    Default Wood duplicator cnc with rotary axis?

    Hi all! I was wondering if I could turn a wood duplicator into a simple cnc? Like this one Wood Carving Duplicator Router Based Duplicate Copy Furniture | eBay

    I was thinking about having the rotary axis rotating at a steady rpm. Then have the Y axis steady speed back and forth. Would this idea work? Eventually it would cut the thing without me being there? I am sure there are better ways. Maybe a simple toolpath program?

    If I add a Z axis will it be able to plunge and rise when the probe/stock dictates so? Or will it rise up/down without a Z motor, with just the probe? I will be making gunstocks and am talking about the receiver well, barrel chamber. I could fill a duplicated stock so there is no drastic height differences. Then manually plunge the rest?

    I am thinking about going this route to get in cheap, start to learn the software, motors and basic cnc. But have a product to fund my real cnc.

    Hope this makes sense!

    Penny for your thoughts

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    Quote Originally Posted by takedownjedi View Post
    Hi all! I was wondering if I could turn a wood duplicator into a simple cnc? Like this one Wood Carving Duplicator Router Based Duplicate Copy Furniture | eBay
    Honestly you would be wasting your time
    I was thinking about having the rotary axis rotating at a steady rpm. Then have the Y axis steady speed back and forth. Would this idea work? Eventually it would cut the thing without me being there? I am sure there are better ways. Maybe a simple toolpath program?
    I'm not sure what you are saying here, but if I parse the text correctly no it wouldn't work.
    If I add a Z axis will it be able to plunge and rise when the probe/stock dictates so? Or will it rise up/down without a Z motor, with just the probe?
    There is no simple answer here because there have been a number of ways to do this over the years including tracer machines.
    I will be making gunstocks and am talking about the receiver well, barrel chamber. I could fill a duplicated stock so there is no drastic height differences. Then manually plunge the rest?
    The split between manual and automatic work is up to you.
    I am thinking about going this route to get in cheap, start to learn the software, motors and basic cnc.
    In my personal opinion that would be a bad idea. It is a lot of money to throw away on a piece of junk. The ideal situation here would be a large 4 axis machine if the stock could be fixtures properly. That is a big if so maybe starting with a smaller 3 axis machine is in order. This still would require significant fixture building but at least the stock could be held securely
    But have a product to fund my real cnc.
    If you are going to spend that much on a stock duplicator you might as well buy or build a real CNC machine. Yes when all is said and done it will cost a bit more but it will likely be cheaper in the long run. Your only problem here is size, the router will need to be fairly long, ideally a foot longer than your stock. And it would need to be fairly wide as you would need clamping positions for left and right sides plus the top.
    Hope this makes sense!

    Penny for your thoughts
    My thoughts go for a dollar a minute! 😜😜😜😜

    In any event im pretty much convinced that you can start out with a simple router machine here. That is a three axis machine to greatly reduce your manual work. However the machine is nothing here, your big cost will be in CAD/CAM software. To do this right you need a solid model of the stock. An alternative would be to have the stock scanned on a 3D scanner, even then you will still need CAD/CAM tools.

    Try searching the net for CNC stock making.



  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply wizard! I was looking at 4 axis machines. But like you said I need extra length, width and probably a higher gantry. That will cost extra money I think I can do it for around 5-6k. But I only have 2k right now Was hoping to get in the door with that budget. Any suggestions?

    I know the software will be my biggest stumbling block. Is there free software that I could use, that would teach me cad/cam? Or that I could play with to get used to it? I am thinking Mach3? Vetric? I am a noob and really have no idea if this is what would best fit my situation:/

    Thanks again!

    Last edited by takedownjedi; 09-10-2013 at 09:20 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by takedownjedi View Post
    Thanks for the reply wizard! I was looking at 4 axis machines. But like you said I need extra length, width and probably a higher gantry.
    There is no probably about the higher gantry, stocks are thin in cross section but actually oddly shaped resulting in an odd profile to rotate. Depending upon the stocks design it might not be rigid enough to self support during rotation and machining. Of course stock design is a big function here.

    This is why I think a 3 axis machine would be a good starter machine. You should be able to do both sides leaving a minimal of tune up work. One thin that occurred to me after my first response is that you could let the stock hang off the end of the table when vertical to do the inletting. This would allow for a more economical machine.
    That will cost extra money I think I can do it for around 5-6k. But I only have 2k right now Was hoping to get in the door with that budget. Any suggestions?
    Chinese machines or DIY. Honestly a machine large enough for what you want to do won't be that cheap even from China. These guys: CNC Router, CNC Laser, CNC Lathe, CNC Milling, CNC Plasma, Servo Motors, CNC Machines, CNC Milling and CNC equipments have some interesting machines but you wil be out $3000 right off the bat and I'm not sure that machine has the axis travels you need. Beyond that many people find that they need to upgrade the controls in these machines almost from the start.
    I know the software will be my biggest stumbling block. Is there free software that I could use, that would teach me cad/cam? Or that I could play with to get used to it? I am thinking Mach3?
    Mach 3 is machine control software something that you also need to learn. The alternative here is LinuxCNC.

    As for CAD/CAM, these are often two entirely different suites of software. CAD is the Computer Aided Design software, the software that you build your models in. In old terminology the drafting package. CAM on the other hand is Computer Aided Manufacturing, it is the software that transforms your model into "G-Code" for the machine controller software.

    You are right there is a lot of software to learn. More so a lot to buy because good free offerings are hard to come by.
    Vetric? I am a noob and really have no idea if this is what would best fit my situation:/

    Thanks again!
    Your best bet is to search for a local college that has a CAD course offered in a night program and also a tech school that covers CNC machining. In the end you will have a better understanding of what the various packages out there can do and be able to make better decisions.

    As for a machine have you considered a DIY effort? Your needs are a bit more than the average first DIY effort so I have to warn you this might not go well. You would also need a fairly well equipped shop too. However you would end up with a machine that fits your needs (assuming you design it right in the first place). In any event you need to know what your longest stock is, actually all three dimensions to figure out how big yor machine should be.



  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizard View Post
    There is no probably about the higher gantry, stocks are thin in cross section but actually oddly shaped resulting in an odd profile to rotate. Depending upon the stocks design it might not be rigid enough to self support during rotation and machining. Of course stock design is a big function here.

    This is why I think a 3 axis machine would be a good starter machine. You should be able to do both sides leaving a minimal of tune up work. One thin that occurred to me after my first response is that you could let the stock hang off the end of the table when vertical to do the inletting. This would allow for a more economical machine.
    I can't see in my mind how you are describing the inletting process. But is sounds very interesting! 3 axis just seems like it would be a huge PITA for rifle stocks. At least how I am imagining it. But would be great for learning. I would like a small 3 axis cnc mill but I think it will cost at least 3k fully fitted. But it doesn't do rifle stocks or barrel engraving easily

    Quote Originally Posted by wizard View Post
    Chinese machines or DIY. Honestly a machine large enough for what you want to do won't be that cheap even from China. These guys: CNC Router, CNC Laser, CNC Lathe, CNC Milling, CNC Plasma, Servo Motors, CNC Machines, CNC Milling and CNC equipments have some interesting machines but you wil be out $3000 right off the bat and I'm not sure that machine has the axis travels you need. Beyond that many people find that they need to upgrade the controls in these machines almost from the start.
    I am probably going to have to do a chinese machine and mod it. I found a company that sold just the base, rails, gantry. With no motors or controls. Which was perfect because like you said everyone just replaces those. But the table was to short. I tried contacting them but something or everything got lost in translation?
    Quote Originally Posted by wizard View Post
    Your best bet is to search for a local college that has a CAD course offered in a night program and also a tech school that covers CNC machining. In the end you will have a better understanding of what the various packages out there can do and be able to make better decisions.

    As for a machine have you considered a DIY effort? Your needs are a bit more than the average first DIY effort so I have to warn you this might not go well. You would also need a fairly well equipped shop too. However you would end up with a machine that fits your needs (assuming you design it right in the first place). In any event you need to know what your longest stock is, actually all three dimensions to figure out how big yor machine should be.
    Love the idea of a course! There is a guy somewhat near me with a cnc mill, cnc lathe shop. That he rents out. So I might be able to pick his brain, be a fly on the wall, there? Possibly get things started there.

    I have little fear in regards to building the machine. I have much fear in getting it to do what I want it to:/ And on the things I am just beginning to find out. Like the temperature differentials of the shop itself and its effects on accuracy. So much to learn.

    The longest stock would be 38" most of them would be around 33" Although the more I think about it. I might be able to do most stocks in 2 pieces. 24" longest piece. I would probably be able to do barrel engraving with that size also? Back to the endless interweb searches for things I know little about:/

    Thank you so much for your help and time!! I really appreciate it!!



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    Quote Originally Posted by takedownjedi View Post
    I can't see in my mind how you are describing the inletting process.
    Inletting is the process of milling out the stock for the receiver. If you have the stock sitting upright you could do most of this on a three axis machine.
    But is sounds very interesting! 3 axis just seems like it would be a huge PITA for rifle stocks.
    It is the only viable low cost option. Even if you built a 4 axis machine suitable for stock work you still be over budget. Basically you suffer some pain to trade off for a low cost solution. The really question is would this save you time and effort oer the old way of doing the stocks. I would say yes. The other way to look at this is to call Thermwood and ask how much one of their carving machines cost. Not that you really need a giant multi spindle carving machine, just to show you the range of costs.
    At least how I am imagining it. But would be great for learning.
    You probably aren't to far off here, to get away with a low cost router you would need to make a precision fixture so that the stock can be flipped over to do the left and right sides. Worst you might need a fixture for each stock design. However you probably can get 95% of your stock done this way (right and left sides). More so this is done hands free.
    I would like a small 3 axis cnc mill but I think it will cost at least 3k fully fitted. But it doesn't do rifle stocks or barrel engraving easily
    You need a machine with at least one meter of travel, there just isn't a cheap solution, at least not as a commercial machine ready to run. A Shopbot will set you back $12,000, there are certainly lower cost machine out there but nothing is cheap and too cheap just results in dissatisfaction with performance. If you want a turn key system your budget is just tight.

    Look at it this way a cabinet makers table saw, a cheap one these days, can easily cost a couple of thousands. Even a good contractors table saw will go for someplace between $600 and $800 dollars, with bargain basement units cheaper yet. So when you see a $3000 router it really is a bargain basement contractors saw cost wise.
    I am probably going to have to do a chinese machine and mod it. I found a company that sold just the base, rails, gantry. With no motors or controls. Which was perfect because like you said everyone just replaces those. But the table was to short. I tried contacting them but something or everything got lost in translation?
    If they don't have a model you need it probably isn't worth your time to try to special order something. Instead find a vendor with a machine with the capacity you need.
    Love the idea of a course! There is a guy somewhat near me with a cnc mill, cnc lathe shop. That he rents out. So I might be able to pick his brain, be a fly on the wall, there? Possibly get things started there.
    That would be ideal. Frankly if you have access to a machine shop I'd seriously think about building your own machine. It really is the only way to control costs.
    I have little fear in regards to building the machine. I have much fear in getting it to do what I want it to:/
    That is probably good because many people find CAD/CAM difficult or frustrating. It is a big learning curver but not impossible.
    And on the things I am just beginning to find out. Like the temperature differentials of the shop itself and its effects on accuracy. So much to learn.
    Remember you are working with wood here. It isn't like you will be holding to one ten thousands of an inch.

    The longest stock would be 38" most of them would be around 33" Although the more I think about it. I might be able to do most stocks in 2 pieces. 24" longest piece. I would probably be able to do barrel engraving with that size also?
    Barrel engraving is a whole different ball of wax. Most likely you would need a fourth axis.
    Back to the endless interweb searches for things I know little about:/

    Thank you so much for your help and time!! I really appreciate it!!
    No problem. I wish I had better news for you, but I think if you look at better quality wood working machinery the prices don't look that far out of line. You will want a reasonably good quality machine to pull this off. That is just a three axis machine with largish travels and good Z clearance.



  7. #7

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    Thank you so much Wizard!! You've saved me much time and toil. I finally get what you were saying earlier. I just need to make a precision stock turning jig. And the 3 axis should work well for this. Then I just have to sell a few stocks to fund the 4th axis.

    If I were to make the machine. Any suggestion on where to get the rails and table top? I think I can make everything else as far as the table goes.

    I just remember the last time I priced a DIY table build. I was way over what I would spend on a chinese machine table. Do you think that the added quality of the DIY table would be needed for my application?

    Thanks again!



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    Software is available that will get you from your original through g code.
    Turbo CNC ( use probing routine ) save file.
    Open with Cloud Compare. Save as .STL.
    Open with Mesh Lab, Edit then save as .STL.
    Open with Mesh Cam. create G code
    Mesh Cam software is about $ 250.00
    Keep in mind probing routine is very time consuming!!!
    Another option is using David Laser Scanner and Mesh Cam.

    I been toying with a rotary 3D duplicator build. which also duplicate 2.5d.
    This will direct copy from pattern, no model required.
    G code Very simple for rotary only X and A axis commands are used.
    For 2.5 D only X and Y axis
    Z axis is only for tool offset.( G code)
    Z up and Down is controlled by a sensor linked to a motor driver.



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