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ieatfish
04-11-2011, 02:37 PM
Would this (http://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-quarter-inch-trim-router-44914.html) router work for my 7x7 Zen Toolworks setup? I will be cutting plastic.

dkirtley
04-11-2011, 06:55 PM
It would work but be aware that these are noisy and the collet doesn't always hold that well (in my experience, I have 2 of them)

You will probably want to slow it down with a speed controller for plastic.

ieatfish
04-11-2011, 08:00 PM
It would work but be aware that these are noisy and the collet doesn't always hold that well (in my experience, I have 2 of them)

You will probably want to slow it down with a speed controller for plastic.

Thanks for the reply! Since this is an 'experiment' I'm not too worries about performance just yet. As for slowing it down, how does one go about doing this?

dkirtley
04-11-2011, 11:14 PM
Motor control is the complicated part of CNC.

This is the cheap version of a controller for a brushed motor. Not elegant but it will slow it down.

Router Speed Control (http://www.harborfreight.com/router-speed-control-43060.html)



Thanks for the reply! Since this is an 'experiment' I'm not too worries about performance just yet. As for slowing it down, how does one go about doing this?

leaveme
04-11-2011, 11:28 PM
I would suggest not to waste your money to buy it.

I bought it recently and also bought one from MLCS wood working but both of them is just a fan regulator and useless for router speed control. You need a closed loop speed controller for real application, similar to SuperPID.

atwooddon
04-11-2011, 11:48 PM
I have been using the Harbor Freight trim router and the their speed control mentioned above for over a year now. It is noisy and I expected it to fail fairly soon, but it just keeps on going. The speed control works as advertized and has been trouble free so far. As I mentioned, I did not have high expectations but I have actually been pretty pleased with it.

It certainly does not have the control that a SuperPID does and I plan to upgrade in the future, but for now it is working fine.

Don

dkirtley
04-12-2011, 12:25 AM
From what I read, the SuperPID is an awesome product and well worth the money. Putting a $150 controller on a $20 laminate trimmer seems a bit overkill though.

If you are going to spend any real money on something like that, you would do well to go with one of the Proxxon rotary tools. A bit pricey at $125 but it is a lot of machine for the price. It is a world above a Dremel and rated for prolonged running. I use one on a tool holder in my lathe and it is such a nice tool.

leaveme
04-12-2011, 12:37 AM
...
Putting a $150 controller on a $20 laminate trimmer seems a bit overkill though.
...
I do totally agree. I myself searching something in between. :p

dkirtley
04-12-2011, 12:52 AM
leaveme:

I think for a small machine, one of the best combinations I could think of would be one of the 12V Proxxon spindles with a PWM controller. I already have one of the 120V ones and it is super slick. I will never buy another Dremel. Not even in the same league. Around the house, my Proxxon has the nickname: "The quiet tool."

ieatfish:

How do you like the little Zen machine? Have you got it together yet?

atwooddon
04-12-2011, 01:00 AM
From what I read, the SuperPID is an awesome product and well worth the money. Putting a $150 controller on a $20 laminate trimmer seems a bit overkill though.

I agree and I did not mean to imply I was going to put the SuperPID on my el cheapo router. I certainly want something more substantial and a bunch more 'quiet'. ;)

Don

RomanLini
04-12-2011, 09:21 PM
If you need a smaller diameter body router, you could look at some of the new budget priced "die grinders". I've seen them in junk mails etc and the new ones have variable speed built in and a metal bottom end, metal lower bearing mount etc.

Usually they come with 1/8" and 1/4" collets and for about $50 or so you can be set up to do most cutting jobs on a small machine like yours.

ieatfish
04-14-2011, 05:38 PM
Thanks for all the info guys! For how experimental this little project is, I don't think we would mind buying that cheap controller for now. If it dies and takes the motor (and/or machine) with it, I'm not sure how bent up we'd be. :)


leaveme:

I think for a small machine, one of the best combinations I could think of would be one of the 12V Proxxon spindles with a PWM controller. I already have one of the 120V ones and it is super slick. I will never buy another Dremel. Not even in the same league. Around the house, my Proxxon has the nickname: "The quiet tool."

ieatfish:

How do you like the little Zen machine? Have you got it together yet?

I have gotten it together and running. It took a bit of troubleshooting (doesn't it always?) but turns out the manual I found in PDF form for our driver listed the microstep settings differently in two places. I was using the incorrect of the two but once I found that, it has been running well. Without a way to mount the router as of yet, I've just been making sure the measurements are coming out right and learning the software (CamBam and Mach3). I do the drafting in AutoCAD.

We've gotten to the point of attaching a sharping and drawing things as if we were etching and that has gone great. Nothing like the thrill of seeing something on a screen get manually drawn on paper. :D

The machine itself is really nice. For the price (I'm not sure how much we got it for used, but even if new it would be worth it methinks) it has been a neat little machine. I've been doing mostly small things so the 7x7 area has been fine. I think our model is one of the older variations but it runs great.