Neat machine and good results..............jb
A couple of years ago, I read about Fiero Addiction's Low-cost build and was inspired to attempt one myself. Mine is somewhat different but you might recognized the belt drive and some general similarities. The most common part is the cost, my build budget was $1500 (plus plasma & compressor) and I should make it under that - albeit barely. I wanted a machine small enough I could get it through a 36" door and load it into a pickup or wheel it out onto my patio. I hoped for it to be clean-enough to run it in my indoor basement shop (at least for quick little jobs). I wanted simple and it had to be as much DIY as possible.
I made a variety of mistakes but overall, I am very happy with the progress. It is still several hours from finished but it is together enough to do some early tests and I thought you might enjoy seeing a different version.
Basically the machine has 4 NEMA 23 motors, an old Dell XP PC, mach 3 software and Keling motors, drivers & breakout board. It uses initial height sensing (no THC). I use Turbo Cad v14 (cheap) to make the drawings, LazyCam (free) to build the g code and then I manually do the post processing. The plasma is a Hypertherm 600 (with fine cut consumables) and just a basic 5 hp compressor. The table measures approx 30" by 48". For now, I just empty the water out into a tub and keep the pan empty when not in use. I use a garden hose to refill. Its only about 15 gallons, small enough that I can drag the tub out the back door and dump it.
The electronics "drawer" is a modfied key box that I bought at HF - I was pretty happy with this until Fiero upped the ante with much better set-up.
Here you can see my idea for the gantry. I got the stainless mount (used), cableing, cable track from fleabay. The cogs and belts from McMaster. The Al was a piece of scrap.
This is where I was about 3 weeks ago. The lower PC box still has to be enclosed, but you can see the basic idea I am after.
Here is how it sits today - still many issues to complete.
And a few cuts- note the changed torch mount.
The first few cuts were pretty poor, but like everything, you just have to keep testing and work through the settings and problems. Here is a small piece taken directly off of the table.
And last and best, here is comparison cut. The foreground wrench is cut on my budget machine (some general clean-up but the the inside radius is untouched) The wrench in the background was cut on a commercial waterjet that costs as much as a nice home.
Special thanks to Fiero and all of you guys that do this with out spending a lot of money....Bruce
Neat machine and good results..............jb
Very impressive machine for the money. Was it difficult to get the electronics figured out?
Why did you choose the Keling drives over the more common Gecko?
MT...For me it was a series of confidence building steps. Keling was recommended here by other budget builders. His website is kinda cheezy but the product shipped immediately and seem to be good quality. I was worried about getting the pc/electronics to work but keling had a little video with drivers and motors laid out on a simple plywood board; you could see them respond to the PC inputs. He gave a simple schematic that I used. With that I had the confidence to buy the $240 in motors, drivers, power supply and Bob. Then I just re-created what he did (unlicensed version of mach3, some wire, an old PC power supply (for 5 vdc), his gear and a piece of plywood.Why did you choose the Keling drives...
The hardest part of the whole thing is Mach. It is a very nice software product and a good price ($160) but the documentation is just weak, so that was where the learning curve was steepest for me. Google got me answers for most of my problems though.
If I were going to do it all again, I would pay closer attention to real estate. I lost quite a lot of cutting capacity with my gantry design. Its heavy too. The electronics have been the part that have been surprisingly easy too and have been stable - no lost steps, no pc crashes. I WAS careful to make a good grounding strap with a dedicated rod driven into the ground.
Having something like this in my shop is a quatum leap in ability - my head is spinning with ideas of things I always wanted to do but put off because of the fab headaches. For a simple tool or bracket, I can make the drawing, put the gcode on a thumbdrive and cut the piece in about 90 minutes start to finish. 90 minutes might sound like a lot but the second one can be done in about 30 seconds. Even simple little projects like specialty tools, ATV trailors, log splitters, leaf vacuums etc take on a whole new level of cool with nice custom cut brackets and features. If you are a tinker, this is a must-have tool....Bruce
how are you driving your x and z I can't see the motors is that belt or ball&screw or somthing else?