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View Full Version : DIY aluminium and extrusion build BIG MACHINE



Usmanali
12-20-2012, 04:19 PM
Hello everyone, after a long time searching and reading through many CNC forums online I decided to start my build in late spring this year. And I've been a bit busy getting the machine together. I am by no means an engineer or qualified in any subject, I can just put my mind to something and try to make the best of things. I'm not far from getting this machine moving now but before I do so I just wanted to ask the members on this forum for some suggestions advice or help. Any input is appreciated, I don't mind honest opinions and thoughts even if they sound harsh.

Many thanks. Here is a quick photo attached.

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 04:27 PM
And I forgot to ask the questions! Lol

Does anybody have any criticism towards the way this machine has been built? Does anybody see any failure points with regards to the way my carriages are built for the Y/A movement as well as the X axis movement.

Do my gear and rack placement require adjustment? I can adjust the racks so I have full engagement or adjust to leave upto 0.6mm gap between gear and rack.
I will start off by just routing aluminium composite for signage, wood and eventually later in next year metal also.

Gearboxes have a 3:1 ratio
I'm using the eding CNC controller, leadshine drivers, breakout board.
All the aluminium plates are 20mm and the base plate for the Y/A carriages are 25mm

Any more information required? Just ask.

Thank you in advance.

Usman

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 04:29 PM
Another pic

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 04:54 PM
Another pic

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 06:32 PM
Anyone out there? Lol
Here's another pic

I need lots of input!

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 07:07 PM
Time for another pic!

ger21
12-20-2012, 07:10 PM
Do my gear and rack placement require adjustment? I can adjust the racks so I have full engagement or adjust to leave up to 0.6mm gap between gear and rack.

Most people spring load the pinion into the rack to minimize backlash.

alan_3301
12-20-2012, 07:17 PM
Run out of bolts? :)




Looks very very nice by the way! I am jealous.

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 07:20 PM
Thanks Gerry.

I was going that route first. But was trying to simplify it. Do you think software can eliminate backlash alone if the backlash isn't constant along the length of the rack? Other way I can think of now is to just adjust the rack up against the gear to get full engagement, I guess it's gonna have to be tried and tested? Will have to see how much wear it will cause.

Usmanali
12-20-2012, 07:22 PM
Run out of bolts? :)




Looks very very nice by the way! I am jealous.

Haha. Thank you.

Do you think I should fill those gaps with bolts too? That's a very keen eye to detail!! I am impressed.

Usman

kevincnc
12-20-2012, 08:32 PM
Nice work, it looks well made. I agree with spring loading, there are several reasons to do it. Do you have cushioned end stops? You might want to use ramps to contact the limit switches to give a little travel to slow down if they get triggered during a rapid move.

vtx1029
12-20-2012, 09:47 PM
Pretty sweet looking machine! :cheers:

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:15 AM
Nice work, it looks well made. I agree with spring loading, there are several reasons to do it. Do you have cushioned end stops? You might want to use ramps to contact the limit switches to give a little travel to slow down if they get triggered during a rapid move.

Thanks. Ur right, that's exactly what I'm going to do. I like that idea of approaching the limit switch in a very nice and smooth manner, I think ill change out all the switches for roller lever type as well.

And yes about the hard stops, cushioning definitely.

Probably get it moving first, and pay someone a visit to make nice looking bits to install those bits.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:27 AM
Pretty sweet looking machine! :cheers:

Thank you:)
Gotta say, I tried welding similar gantry towers like the crp, and failed miserably, lol. Then changed up the design. Keeping the crp r and p kit in mind just in case I have too much problems with my setup! Fingers crossed it should be ok for a short while?

Thanks

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:28 AM
And another pic.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:31 AM
.........which I forgot to attach :cool:

dmalicky
12-21-2012, 01:34 AM
Very nice machine! I'd say you have really good engineering intuition. (I teach and practice it, 24 years.) A few thoughts--
-The gantry aluminum cross-member may twist during heavy cuts in the long direction (not visibly, but enough for chatter). What is its cross-section and length? It's great you used a closed section, but even it may be on the small side for heavy cutting, given its length. An interesting experiment would be to try heavy cuts with the y-car in the middle of the gantry vs at either end -- it will probably cut better near the ends.
-The frame may shake a little during gantry accel/decell. It's great you bolted it to the floor and 1 of the legs is big in the fore/aft direction. If it shakes, some diagonal bracing would stiffen it greatly.
-Also for high gantry accel/decell, the x (long) axis bearings may be spaced a bit close to each other, which may allow a little tipping of the gantry. But given you have profile rail, this could be really minor.
Maybe more importantly than the above, there is no major weak spot in the machine. That means you're putting the material to efficient use, and it will perform fully up to its potential.

For R&P drive, JFG says a fixed pinion can work great if the rack is aligned well enough to the rails:
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/linear_rotary_motion/166313-rack_pinion_help_needed_please.html
I'm involved in a 4'x8' build now and we're going to try for fixed pinions. Spring loading is easier, but it does wear the pinion quickly.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 02:31 AM
Thanks for the comments dmalicky.

The cross section of the gantry bar is 80mm x 160mmand the total length is 2.5 metres.

Adding diagonal braces is a great idea. I'm rushing it now thats why I can't see these things. But the more rigidity the better it is. I don't want to cut fast either, nice and slow is good enough. I probably jog the hell out of it tho!!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 02:41 AM
Forgot to mention, with the rack tight against the pinion, there absolutely no movement at all, no backlash! The backlash is also visible from inside the gearbox, it has a 3:1 reduction ratio which means any slight movement will be noticed when looking inside the gearbox. I removed the motors from the gearboxes so I could freely move the gantry, even with the motors on, if the rack is tight against the gears, even hard pushing and pulling of the gantry and the x carriage, produced no movement, I know it was a feel good factor visually, but ideally I will have this checked with the correct instruments.

And thanks for that link to the jgo page. Gives me confidence.

I think this forum is great, so many people with different ideas, and everybody helping to make it work, the possibilities great.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 02:48 AM
Here's another pic then.....

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 02:50 AM
Does anybody think the height of the cutting motor is too low? Or does it look ok?

MINGMEICNC
12-21-2012, 03:05 AM
i was wonder why you use step in X and Y axis but servo in Z axis, i think all servo drive will be better, and it seems your servo motor has no brake ?

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:08 AM
i was wonder why you use step in X and Y axis but servo in Z axis, i think all servo drive will be better, and it seems your servo motor has no brake ?

Hello there, thank you for your comment. All the motors are steppers right now. X y and z are all stepper motors. However, servos are on my upgrade list for next year:-)

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:12 AM
And another one..

I have no ideas about couplings, but does his coupling look good for the z?

It has gaps in it? Should I replace before running the machine or just try as it is?

It doesn't get any more loose than this though!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:14 AM
Some electrics....

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:17 AM
Electrics

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:23 AM
Electronics

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:35 AM
Some cable information for everyone. Newbies and advanced.

Cable for motors: 4 core CY shielded cable 1.5mm
Cable for switches: 3 core CY shielded cable 1.5mm
In total I used 100metres of both cables combined, 40 metres for motors and 60 metres for switches.

I am very lucky to have dealt with Gary at Zappautomation who has helped me out every time I've asked him a question, he's constantly on email if anybody needs any information before buying parts from his company. They are uk based.

I must say that I am also very lucky to have a friend on board who will be helping me wire the controller. He is a electrical work related person. He's been building controllers for biscuit factories to football stadium lighting projects. And he said he will wire in relays, breakers, and any other components to make the machine run smoothly, efficiently and safely. He has also helped me to get health & safety approved status. I think this is really important for those of us who are using their machines as a source of income. I cannot stress how important it is to make sure safety is first! It's ok for me to think I don't want my drivers or motors frying from estop functioning, but he's told me there is a way of doing it safely so as firstly the building doesn't catch on fire and then he said we will save your components from frying. Very important one this guys.

Other than this I have a z zero tool setter from damencnc, the same people I bought my spindle from, Kevin damen is also a very very helpful person, I will attach a picture of the tool setter.

Important question: what bit would anybody recommend for me to use to level the spoilboard? It's a large table, 2.5 metre wide base and 4 metre base length. I will be using about 2.0 metres by 3.5 metres. I wanted to make sure I could comfortably cut 10ft by 5ft sheets of dinond(aluminium composite) as this can save a lot of money on signage jobs.

Thanks all
Usman

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:37 AM
Z tool setter

I looked around for a DIY plan first but then I thought just buy one.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 06:00 AM
Picture time! :-----)

Nutron
12-21-2012, 09:02 AM
Very nice looking work so far. Please keep us updated with pictures of your progress. I personally will be looking forward to seeing your project progress. At some point if you wouldn't mind, give us a post with where you sourced out your materials. I'm refurbishing my Torchmate plasma machine that's more than ten years old and it has been challenging to determine what parts others have used in some nice machine builds I've found here on this forum.

Keep at it,

Todd

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 09:40 AM
[QUOTE=Nutron;1212056]Very nice looking work so far. Please keep us updated with pictures of your progress.

Ok then here's another pic!!:-D

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 11:18 AM
Picture again

mmcp42
12-21-2012, 12:41 PM
I was surprised how small your steppers are
do you get the performance you want/need/hoped for?

another thumbs up for Zapp - I get a lot of my stuff there also :)

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:49 PM
I was surprised how small your steppers are
do you get the performance you want/need/hoped for?

another thumbs up for Zapp - I get a lot of my stuff there also :)

I think they should be okay. And Gary is very reliable, I was wanting even more powerful motors as I thought my gantry may need more power to push along. But having spoke to Gary he suggested me to go for the ones you see in my pictures. With a gearbox and a 44mm pinion, I also believe there must be enough go for this system.

I plan on going steady and smooth, no 0-60 in under 5 seconds allowed for
Me:--(

You're right, zapp do have good products, but the information you receive is also very valuable.

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:53 PM
Picture happy

Just hot this today ordered it yesterday from Zappautomation!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:54 PM
Pictures pictures!!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 12:55 PM
Keep forgetting to attach them!!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 01:02 PM
Photo

The eurohubs will be changed out. Was in a rush to measure up cables!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 01:09 PM
Photo again

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 01:11 PM
Foto

mmcp42
12-21-2012, 02:53 PM
loving the pictures
please rotate them though - getting a crick in the neck

also you are allowed >1 per post!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:00 PM
loving the pictures
please rotate them though - getting a crick in the neck

also you are allowed >1 per post!

I like your comment! I was laughing. I know some pictures are sideways, I'm using the forum from my mobile phone, and some of them only attach the way I took the picture. The phone will only let me attach 1 at a time.

Ill get on my pc soon and put a little gallery in this thread:-)
Ill put another one now that you've asked

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:03 PM
And another one,

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:04 PM
Repeat prescription!!

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:06 PM
Again

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 03:08 PM
...

PaulRowntree
12-21-2012, 03:42 PM
Hi ! If you include multiple photos per posting it is easier to see your work.

Cheers!

rootboy
12-21-2012, 05:41 PM
Just a couple of things come to mind...

1) Holy C**P! That thing is big!
2) I think that I would have setup my mounts for the gantry so that the spindle would be over the center of gravity (of the slides). It's so far out there that it's more or less cantilevered.

But that's hardly a big deal, and that is one fine looking machine (kinda makes my Zen Toolworks CNC look kinda tiny).

Usmanali
12-21-2012, 06:00 PM
[QUOTE=rootboy;1212311]Just a couple of things come to mind...

1) Holy C**P! That thing is big
= thanks!! Thumbs up!

2) I think that I would have setup my mounts for the gantry so that the spindle would be over the center of gravity (of the slides). It's so far out there that it's more or less cantilevered
= ahaaa! Good point to mention. Looking from the side of the machine, yes the gantrycould have been set back more so the spindle sat more towards the middle of the long axis' hiwin bearings. Do you think this will cause problems as is? That's a definite upgrade next year by the way. I'm not bumping the speed up int hat case, there is quite a bit of weight with quite some moment there! I appreciate that input.


But that's hardly a big deal, and that is one fine looking machine (kinda makes my Zen Toolworks CNC look kinda tiny)= yeah but your Zen toolworks is still your best bud!

rootboy
12-21-2012, 08:48 PM
= ahaaa! Good point to mention. Looking from the side of the machine, yes the gantrycould have been set back more so the spindle sat more towards the middle of the long axis' hiwin bearings. Do you think this will cause problems as is? That's a definite upgrade next year by the way. I'm not bumping the speed up int hat case, there is quite a bit of weight with quite some moment there! I appreciate that input.

Eventually, and of course it depends on your feedrate and how often you use it (I get the feeling that it will be used quite often).

A second set of blocks and extension plates should take care of it.

What tolerances are you trying to hold to?



= yeah but your Zen toolworks is still your best bud!

At the moment, but not my last one to be sure! I bought the Zen for doing PCB prototyping, so I didn't want a big one anyway (let's face it, if my circuit boards need to be that big, then I'm probably doing something wrong :) )


But I just scored the "guts" from some old machine that was parted out and sold on ebay. I got the steppers (5 NEMA 23's), the rails and bearing blocks (two short ones, and two long ones, but I can always swap out the short rails for longer ones), four ball screw drives, and an ancient SmartStep/3 controller (LOL!) for a couple hundred bucks. :)

Maybe a 3D printer?

Usmanali
12-22-2012, 05:55 AM
Newbie alert! Newbie alert! Lol :-)

When you say tolerances trying to hold. If its accuracy and repeatability then as close as possible that's achievable on my system!

Usmanali
12-22-2012, 06:33 AM
A second set of blocks and extension plates should take care of it.

This will give you an idea of my level of experience in this field! Lol

I would have dismantled everything and designed a new carriage, but I think bearings and an extension plate held together in a strong way would do the job!

Thank you

Usmanali
12-22-2012, 02:00 PM
Got a bit more done today.
Cleaned the entire workshop up. Took 3 hours!
Placed all my electronics together, ready to wire up soon!

Can't wait!!!

Khalid
12-23-2012, 06:35 AM
whoooops..that's some nice big and heavy machine... it seems professional..good workmanship...

Usmanali
12-23-2012, 02:42 PM
Thanks for the kind comments Khalid. I just hope it's good enough and last long enough, and hopefully accurate and has good repeat ability for the kind of work I intend to do. Mainly signs for now. If it works ill have passed the test. Although there are a few issues at the moment.

1. The x beam needs to be levelled out. It's very slightly out of level when viewed from the side, also it needs some strong aluminium angle under the x beam where it sits on the carriage triangle plates. This will give it added strength.

Also the extrusions are exactly straight, but I've run the gantry back and forth so many times by hand now that the hiwins are absolutely perfectly aligned ", and they been tightened well now.

Other than this, running out of money!!!!!!! So I decided to butcher up a DIY dust shoe, not the best looking but it will do for now until the machine is running so I can cut up a nice one out of acrylic, or possible invest in a kents dust shoe!!! They're everywhere and they look great. Mines not very user friendly at the mo!

Here's the pic anyway, ill attach 2 coz I don't know which one will come out straight!

Usmanali
12-23-2012, 02:43 PM
And yes I forgot to attach the pictures:-)

Usmanali
12-23-2012, 02:45 PM
Dust shoe

Usmanali
12-23-2012, 06:07 PM
Might do a DIY cyclonic dust collection unit tomorrow. Cheap and will do for now?

rootboy
01-02-2013, 10:09 PM
Newbie alert! Newbie alert! Lol :-)

When you say tolerances trying to hold. If its accuracy and repeatability then as close as possible that's achievable on my system!

Maybe. But I would think that my post count would have given it away first. :)

But for point of reference, this is just one of the machines that I work on:

Saturn Corporation AA Press Addition - Doster Construction Company (http://www.dosterconstruction.com/portfolio-industrial-saturn-corporation-aa-press-addition.html)

Although my job is just to make sure that it keeps on running, I don't get to actually *use* any of the equipment here. :)



A second set of blocks and extension plates should take care of it.

This will give you an idea of my level of experience in this field! Lol

I would have dismantled everything and designed a new carriage, but I think bearings and an extension plate held together in a strong way would do the job!

Thank you

See? I wasn't so far off... :)

jj_cncguy
01-07-2013, 05:31 PM
what a cool looking build.
What are the dimensions of it?
I'm curious to see how fast you can move and accelerate when you're done.
Looking great though :)

kevincnc
01-07-2013, 09:09 PM
Looking good! Your sideways pictures are driving me nuts though since they rotate the wrong way again when I tilt my iPad..

BTW the reading glasses on pg 4 made me feel better about myself. :D Keep up the good work!

slimneill
01-08-2013, 12:24 PM
Your build is looking great so far and it's definitely well engineered.


Also the extrusions are exactly straight, but I've run the gantry back and forth so many times by hand now that the hiwins are absolutely perfectly aligned ", and they been tightened well now.

Would you be able to elaborate on how you got all of your rails, straight, level, parallel in all directions to one another for the X and Y axis? I'm at this stage of my build and it's definitely been a huge time absorber. Any hints would be appreciated? What are you using to measure the rails being level and square? A normal wood shop level or machinist level or eye? Cable or straight edge?

Thanks again and great build!!!