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Thread: Maze CAM

  1. #1
    Registered JerryBurks's Avatar
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    Default Maze CAM

    I have been working on another piece of specialty CAM software, this time for machining mazes (i.e. toys). I found a bunch of maze generating algorithms on the Internet but had to come up with a different one to allow for easy conversion into g-code. Works quite nice so far, no other CAM needed. Some features it can do:
    - 1 and 2 sided flat and cylindrical mazes
    - g-code for slotting, undercuts and transition holes (the latter for 2-sided)
    - 90-degree and 90/45-degree mazes
    - programmable stay-off areas

    It is still in prototype and I need to add a proper user interface and import features for images but, so far so good. This is a real fun project and will help me a lot with this years' Christmas presents.

    Simple 1-sided flat:


    Cylindrical:


    Just theoretical....I don't have a machine big enough to do that:


    Similar Threads:
    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET


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    I just have to say that your projects always amaze me....no pun intended.



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    When I was traveling around Texas back in the late 70's to early 80's that's about what the state road map looked like to me. There was no such thing as civilian GPS at that time. Are you going to make your maze program available in some form to us non-programers? What size would that Texas maze be?

    CarveOne
    http://www.carveonecncwoodcraft.com


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    DO Want!!

    Keep us updated, because that looks amazing. The rings on that flat maze, are those just washers glued in? And what size bit and ball do you use in that maze.



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    Registered JerryBurks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarveOne View Post
    ........Are you going to make your maze program available in some form to us non-programers? What size would that Texas maze be?
    I am planning to write a user interface for stand-alone use. Not complicated but that is the boring part of the project and may take a while. I hope to get that done in a few weeks.

    I forgot the calculated size of the Texas maze but using a 1/2" ball and 1/4" walls it would probably be around 80"x80". You need a strong person to juggle that board




    Quote Originally Posted by nlancaster View Post
    DO Want!!

    Keep us updated, because that looks amazing. The rings on that flat maze, are those just washers glued in? And what size bit and ball do you use in that maze.
    Thanks! The rings are indeed flat stainless washers to plug the start and end holes. I am not totally happy with this solution; a copper wire across the hole may look less obtrusive.

    This maze has simple 1/2" steel bearing balls. The slots are pre-cut to 3/8" width with an end mill and the undercut ball channels finished with a 1/2" ball end plunge bit (1/4" shank). To allow for some clearance I run the ball channel 4 times with a tiny horizontal and vertical offset. I have also used 14mm glass marbles with a 5/8" ball end bit.

    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET


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    Oh well ... Maybe I need a BB shot size cutter then. Keep us posted on the progress.

    CarveOne
    http://www.carveonecncwoodcraft.com


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    Registered JerryBurks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarveOne View Post
    Oh well ... Maybe I need a BB shot size cutter then. Keep us posted on the progress.
    Sure, I will post.

    The smaller balls are actually possible but I am not aware of such small ball end plunge cutters for the undercut (except carbide ball burs?) but you could do a trench slot with a normal ballnose or end mill cutter and use smaller balls indeed. Might even look nice in acrylic but obviously the balls would fall out when turned over.

    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET


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    Great work Jerry.



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    WoW! Amazing pics and very thought provoking.

    At the risk of sounding stupid could you cut the raceways for the smaller sized balls with a straight bit or normal ball end then cut a duplicate top with slightly undersized slots to be glued over bottom. No undercutting required and the ball is trapped in maze.

    "Hunker down for incoming fire "

    Inspiring Thought for the Day:

    Some people are like slinkies ... Not really good for anything....but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.


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    Registered JerryBurks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by standles View Post
    WoW! Amazing pics and very thought provoking.

    At the risk of sounding stupid could you cut the raceways for the smaller sized balls with a straight bit or normal ball end then cut a duplicate top with slightly undersized slots to be glued over bottom. No undercutting required and the ball is trapped in maze.

    "Hunker down for incoming fire "
    Not stupid at all. Other people have been making mazes with acrylic cover plates. A cover plate with narrower slots is in principle possible. However, since it has no "body" to hold on to the cover plate would become a very fragile and wobbly piece to cut.

    Not needing any cover plate was a major motivation to go with undercuts, just a matter of simplicity and not getting dust trapped under a plexiglass plate. Practical maze toys would anyway better use larger balls. The huge complicated ones like the Texas example are more a kind of gag. they would be frustratingly difficult to solve without notes or tracking tools.

    That said, such large mazes might make an interesting decorative texture/pattern (without real ball rolling purpose) for other objects; might be slotted or v-carved.

    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET


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    Stop chatting, back to work. We need this enough before Christmas to be able to use it!!





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    Quote Originally Posted by nlancaster View Post
    Stop chatting, back to work. We need this enough before Christmas to be able to use it!!

    O.K., O.K.,

    I m working as hard as I can

    Well, not really. After all, I have a day job. So, there is no chance to get a working version done before Christmas.

    However....I could generate a set of gcode files right away for a specific set of parameters, e.g. a one-sided orthogonal maze of 8"x12" outer dimensions to be cut with a 1/4" end mill and a 1/2" ball end plunge cutter. That would be easy to replicate on most CNC machines. Please let me know if that would be useful and I can post some files.

    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET


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