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View Full Version : Datacop's First Router - Learn with me!



datacop
02-13-2007, 07:51 PM
So.. I've been wanting to build a CNC router for about a year now.. reading, reading, reading... and learning all I could..

The time for reading is over, not going to learn anymore until I just do it.

However, I'm not so silly as to drop a few grand on a project that is going to just turn out crappy and make me displeased with it.

Inspired by the engadget "Build your own CNC machine" article, I decided to give it a whirl.

That, and moving into our new house with a garage helps a ton :)

Without further adue...

I made it snow in my garage by cutting the sams club cutting boards.. and I made a box :)

Step one is complete, I have a nice square foundation from which to build on further.

the "box" is 17" long, 14" wide.. I used machine screws to bolt it together, pilot holes made with my drill press.

bp092
02-14-2007, 06:58 AM
Nice, so what are you plans for specs for the machine? Reminds me to go out and get some more cutting boards, need to make some misc stuff for my joe's router.

datacop
02-14-2007, 08:26 AM
I don't have any set plans.. at least, nothing on paper.

The basic design is going to be a Y axis table, with a fixed gantry doing X and Z..

Since the materials are all ... well, cheap, I'm not building it very big. I'm taking a swag at the cut area to be 8" x 5" total.

ccsparky
02-14-2007, 08:32 AM
Looking forward to watching your progress, can't wait to see how it turns out!

What are your plans for motors and controller?

datacop
02-14-2007, 09:00 AM
The main reason for building a cheap "quick and dirty" machine is to test and develop differant controllers and drives.

Luckily I work for a school corp, and I have a stack of old printers that I've torn apart to salvage parts from.

This is going to be my experimental test bed for me to try new things out on without having to break the bank.. I mean, if the machine self destructs for some reason, I can rebuild it in a weekend for the price of a few cutting boards and a box of machine screws :)

Once I get some real world knowledge under my belt and I'm comfortable with "stuff" in general, this spring I plan on building the JGRO machine for "real" work.

ccsparky
02-14-2007, 09:14 AM
The main reason for building a cheap "quick and dirty" machine is to test and develop differant controllers and drives.

Luckily I work for a school corp, and I have a stack of old printers that I've torn apart to salvage parts from.

This is going to be my experimental test bed for me to try new things out on without having to break the bank.. I mean, if the machine self destructs for some reason, I can rebuild it in a weekend for the price of a few cutting boards and a box of machine screws :)

Once I get some real world knowledge under my belt and I'm comfortable with "stuff" in general, this spring I plan on building the JGRO machine for "real" work.

It's always nice to have access to hardware!
I've got a kit from Joe going and am having a great time building it. Have it up and running, but still have a lot to do. Tinkering will probably never end.
Will be watching your progress, looks like you'll have a lot of fun also! :)

datacop
02-17-2007, 12:18 PM
The wife had to work this morning.. so I was able to get some good shop time in..

I made square plastic things.. and played with the drill press some :)

datacop
02-18-2007, 05:46 PM
Shop time is good! :)

Mounted the holding blocks for the y axis.. then as I was looking at it, I couldn't resist seeing what it looked like with the drill rod in place.

Starting to feel really good :)

datacop
02-19-2007, 09:50 AM
So, I go out to the garage this morning thinking that it's time I build the linear slide blocks and assemble the Y axis table..

I discover that my "box" is now WAY out of square. That just won't do. I'm thinking about picking up a few eye bolts, a length of cable and some tension adjusters to bring it back into alignment.

I would string the cable in an X fashion at the bottom of the box with the tension adjusters near the middle (offset of course so they don't hit each other)..

sound like a good plan?

datacop
02-19-2007, 02:54 PM
I was able to get the box back into square using the cable and turnbuckle system...

Cut my drill rod down to size and mounted them as well.

After measuring, I'm going to have a table size of 10"x8" for cutting surface. I've ordered some skate bearings for linear slides, but I want to experiment first.. I've glued 3 2" blocks together to give me a 2"x1 1/2"X2" block of whatever this cutting board material is...

Once the gorilla glue sets, I'll sand down the edges to give a flat surface, bore a glide whole through the center (the 1 1/2" face) and glue the block to the base of the table.

Thoughts? Has anyone made a linear slide like this?

ger21
02-19-2007, 06:12 PM
Most glues won't stick to that plastic.

datacop
02-19-2007, 06:23 PM
That's not very encouraging...

I'm doing a test right now.. I've made two blocks, one using 2 part epoxy and the other using Gorilla Glue.

I've had really good luck with Gorilla in the past, it's nice because it expands as it cures. So it should fill in all the little crevices in the cutting surface. The only downside is the curing time it requires.

Hopefully when I start working the part tomorrow it won't seperate. Details forth coming :)

ger21
02-19-2007, 06:33 PM
When using Gorilla glue, wipe one part with a damp cloth immediately before assembly and it will cure much faster.

datacop
02-20-2007, 10:49 PM
Well.. after letting the glue setup for 24 hours... I was able to pry the blocks apart with hand force :(

Time to re-think how I'm going to work these slides.

I'm still curious to find out if anyone has tried to just make slide blocks out of this material to run over the polished drill rod. Would it work? Is it going to be to much friction? The test piece I made fit snug, but I was able to "wing" the block from one end of the rod to the other without it binding...

judleroy
02-21-2007, 12:17 AM
HDPE is what I think your using. From my experiance
there are only 2 ways to put it together. Screws and welding.

HayTay
02-21-2007, 12:33 AM
What about CA (super) glue??? I've had some success with Loctite brand Professional Super Glue. The results seem to depend on the material to be bonded, surface preparation, type of adhesive used, and patience. Most of my gluing problems can be attributed to not letting the adhesive dry/cure long enough before trying do something with the bonded part. :withstupi For some reason I have the same issues with caulking. Go figure! :confused:

datacop
02-21-2007, 08:23 PM
Since the glue idea didn't work out, I went ahead and worked the 2" blocks to make them slide blocks for the drill rod...

I don't have a counter sink bit, so I used an oversized drill bit in my drill press. It worked pretty well except where I forgot to set the depth stop.. the axis table actually climbed up the bit when I went a hair too deep.. so I had to move one slide block 3/4" forward from the others...

But then again.. I now have a finished axis (except the all thread rod and motor mount)

datacop
02-22-2007, 11:35 AM
Preface:
This project started as a learning experiance.. so that I can build a better machine in the future.. Below are "notes" to myself when I build rev2 of this current machine before I build the full scale version..

--------------------------------------------------------------


This cutting board material is very easy to work with, but very unforgiving with mistakes with power tools..

A few minutes with a random orbital sander and 120 grit paper will surface the faces VERY nicely removing the "texture" and giveing a nice flat surface for working.

The use of "self tapping machine screws" is not a good idea for attaching two pieces together.

The best method of attachment is to drill and tap the pices before joining

When boring holes in this plastic, it's a good idea to take a small pocket knife and deburr the edges of the whole.

If you have a need to countersink, then for the love of god use a proper countersink bit!

When cutting these pieces on the table saw, use a fine tooth blade and triple check the fence for accuracy and alignment before making the cut.

These cutting boards have a "rolled" edge that should be cut away before pieces are cut for use.. about 1/2" all the way around should do the trick.

Use Hex Socket bolts for all of the construction.. they are very easy to work with and give a nice finish when the pieces are assembled.

To save frustration when joining two pieces, the first piece should be a "through hole" and the second piece should be threaded.

Take your time and machine each piece to spec, and the damn thing will almost build itself!

Coogrrr
02-25-2007, 09:30 AM
DC what was the cost per cutting board and its dimension please??

As for the cutting boards I do believe they are HDPE and yes you can glue them its called Plastex 3000

http://www.plasticworld.ca/glues.htm

Hope this helps.

I live near a company called TAP plastics so I can ask for this material precut to spec and they will do it but the cost per board foot is more than that of cutting boards I think. Will update you later when I get a quote out of them.

Coog

datacop
02-25-2007, 10:48 AM
I bought them from sams club..

The cost is around $10 to $12 per board.. and I think the measurements on them is something like 19"X14"X1/2" ish..

I don't have a "complete" one left anymore... However after talking with the wife and going over my displeasure with certain aspects of the exiting machine, we've decided to scrap what I've got so far and start over using the "things learned" from the above post..

So I'll be buying new cutting boards soon and give exact information... even a picture or two may be in order :)

datacop
02-25-2007, 09:30 PM
Went to Sam's club and picked up 3 more boards..

They measure 15" x 20" x 1/2"... cost was $11.32 each.

Picture attached.. and it is HDPE..

On a side note, my skate bearings and stepper motors came in today.. I also got a 4 axis board set from PMINMO.. just need to spend some time on the mouser website and get the bits to stuff the boards.

Still need to learn autocad better :(

bp092
02-25-2007, 10:28 PM
Make sure those are 1/2" before you start cutting, almost every cutting board I've found is 3/8" or 1/2"-. I've yet to find a true 1/2" and doubt I will find 3/4".

joecnc2006
02-27-2007, 01:30 PM
I tried the cutting board, it is HDPE however it is softer material than the sanalite brand i use.

Joe

Arthur Clampitt
02-27-2007, 09:57 PM
I may be missing something, but using a base consisting of four vertical sides ( with or without wires/turnbuckles ) does not seem to be a very stable configuration , Surely mounting the four sides on another cutting board, as a base, would be a minimum needed to keep the configuration even half stable ?