View Full Version : She Lives

07-03-2004, 01:58 AM
She lives!
The electronics are done! Finally!
I made the boards from scratch and surprised myself when I managed not to blow anything up.
I downloaded software from www.kellyware .com . I tried running the boards off a pentium I system at first but it was too slow and the motors would not respond. They are now merrrily spinning away at the touch of a button running off a P3 system. I am using 2 pc power supplies and once I figured out that you had to wire the power good wire to an earth wire to switch them on, we were in business. I went with the three separate driver boards and one interface board because if one of the components or boards malfunctioned it would be simpler for me with my limited knowledge to find the fault not to mention cheaper.
How do I post more than one pic per post?
If I can manage this with the help of the zone, anybody can!

07-03-2004, 04:02 AM
That is a fantastic effort sixpence.

Where did you get the circuit board diagram from?

Don't worry about multiple pictures in one post. Just make lots of post.

07-03-2004, 07:35 AM
You might want to try TurboCNC, it will run on slower computers, and from what I hear, it may run smoother than KCAM. http://www.dakeng.com

07-03-2004, 02:28 PM
The circuit diagram I got from a book I ordered at Amazon .com
by Geoff Williams. "Build your own workshop bot"
I would love to share the circuit diag but am not sure on the legalities of that e.g copy right etc.
Thanks for the encouragement. I think I'm going to need it. I started assembling the frame today.
I have a feeling she is not going to be a beauty but she might get the job done.

07-03-2004, 03:52 PM
I gutted 2 printers for the rails and am contemplating using them for the z axis. mmmm or maybe this draw slide?

07-03-2004, 03:55 PM
anybody used these?

07-03-2004, 03:59 PM
Router purchased today. I hope its not too heavy!

07-03-2004, 04:02 PM
I hope this mess turns into something one day

07-03-2004, 04:05 PM
ooops! wrong pic
Thats the other mess creator!

07-03-2004, 04:08 PM
I built a whole router using those same drawer slides. Works great. There are some pics in my photo gallery here http://www.cnczone.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=223


07-03-2004, 04:27 PM
Great job marvinstov! What motors are u using?

07-03-2004, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the compliment. The motors are Pac Sci, 116 oz/in that I got from Xylotex. I modified the drawer slides so they would slide out either end then was able to cut off some parts to make them shorter. That way I could position the fixed portion in the middle of the axis. It surprised me how well it works. The accuracy is just as good as the other machine.


07-05-2004, 03:32 PM
What a head ache trying to use the mismatched rails from printers
Try as I might I coud not get the alighnment right! I finally gave up on that idea and shamelessly emulated ( the polite way of saying you blatantly copied an idea!) Maristovs example. Thanks.

I do not have a lot of heavy duty woodwork equipment and my acad drawing skills leave much to be desired. I decided to have strips if various widths cut from a sheet of 12mm MDF. This I can now handle with my cross cut saw and the drill press.

The z axis is almost complete but seems a bit bulky not to mention heavy!
Best I could do for now. I am already planning my second machine which I will hopefully build with the money I generate from this one.
Always the optomist.:D
Thats somebody with good eyesight who tries to see things working out when others don't, as oposed to your "run of the mill"optimist

07-05-2004, 03:34 PM
another one

07-05-2004, 03:35 PM
pic 3

07-05-2004, 03:37 PM
more weight!

07-17-2004, 03:46 PM
Decided the router mounting needs more work. It must be a universal law that whatever size hole you want to drill or whatever length bolt you need is the one you don't have.The builders warehouse around the corner from us is not renowned for its customer service but I have been there so often in the last 2 weeks they are starting to greet me by name!
Heres the back of the z axis anyway.

07-17-2004, 03:48 PM
I am using a spare pc case to mount my electronics in after removing some of the inside panels to make room.

07-17-2004, 03:51 PM
I am keeping the driver boards away from the power supplys to try and minimize the temp build up and have installed an extra fan.

07-17-2004, 03:53 PM
y and x axis

07-17-2004, 07:20 PM
Hey Sixpence,
You're making great progress. Looks good!


07-18-2004, 08:36 AM
Hi sixpence,
Great effort! What is your end use for this machine? Also, can you give us a running cost of your build?

07-21-2004, 02:08 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. Just wait for the next pic. As to the cost I stuff all the bits of paper into a draw and and try to forget about how much I have spent. As they say getting an education is expensive but knowledge is priceless. So I keep telling myself as I pass the bulging draw. I do scrollsaw work and I supply 2 craft shops with the letters of the alphabet cut from 3mm MDF. Boring to cut but it keeps my hobby financed. I have been asked to supply the entire chain of about 20 shops with the letters. No money is worth that kind of tedium so hopefully this ladycnc will help me out.

07-21-2004, 02:15 PM
Trying to see the upside of things (chair)

07-21-2004, 02:31 PM
The cost in Rands comes to about R 9000.00.(divide by +- 6 to get$) Getting what you need in South Africa tends to be difficult and shipping costs are wee bit heavy. I also did buy a controller and 3 motors from Hobby cnc but then decided to build my own to try and understand the logic of the electronics.And of course that meant another 3 motors. OOOh and Data cuts plans looked so cool I had to have those as well add a few books a new second hand pc, some software, about a million nuts and screws. Looking at this lot all I need to do is get another set of rails and screws a bunch of aluminium and I have enough for 2 machines. I will try and get a proper break down of this for you but right now I am too depressed because as I am typing I realise that once again the budget is shot to hell!

07-21-2004, 06:50 PM
Sixpence: Don't despair whatever you spend now will easily be returned X 10 once it's up and running due to productivity going through the roof!

There will be a short period where you'll be mesmerised watching the thing run parts but once you get over that and start trusting the machine you can be doing "other things" while it runs!

This is where your CNC will pay for itself!

08-09-2004, 12:57 AM
I have been saying that for the past 3 weeks!

08-09-2004, 01:04 AM
More pics

08-09-2004, 01:08 AM
It is Womens Day in South Africa.

08-09-2004, 01:14 AM
I had to cut a hole in the side of the computer case to accomodate the second power supply. Who would have thought that it could be so tough to cut.

08-09-2004, 01:23 AM
I have installed the limit switches and wired up the motors. Now all I have to do is connect it all to the controller and hopefully I'm all set to go. I think I'll run it with a pen before I turn on the router though. I'd like to install an emergency cut off switch on the router before I use it . "Just in case" seems to have turned into my motto lately

08-09-2004, 01:28 AM
There is a huge sale on at RS Components! I,m going shopping! My husband groans and askes for the umpteenth time." Why can't you just stick to shoes like other women?"
Has anybody got any ideas on how to mount the wiring more tidily?

08-09-2004, 04:35 PM
Perhaps plastic pipes for fixed wires, and one of those chain-like black conduits (don't know what they're called!) for the cables to the Y/Z carriage? I think RS sells them!

edit: nice one with the upside-down router, it gave me a real laugh. Kinda makes you wish you could kick your own butt :).


08-10-2004, 03:02 PM
She truely lives, all three axis are up and running ! Eureka I've done it!
All I've managed to get her to do is various sizes of squares. Just when you think you are done there is more to learn. Software and g- code up next.

08-10-2004, 03:08 PM
Glad I could bring you a smile Time Optimist.
I think there is still plenty of butt kicking laying before me.

08-11-2004, 10:10 AM

Congratulations on getting it running!


08-13-2004, 11:49 PM
I need some advice on the best software to use. I am running K Cam at the moment.

08-14-2004, 11:11 AM
Have you tried TurboCNC and Mach2? Both of them have free Demos. I'd try them all and use what you like best. The best software is the one that works best for you, not what someone else thinks is best. :)

08-15-2004, 01:12 AM
Way to go! It feels great, doesn't it? 'Actually see it do the things you tell it to do? Ya kinda gotta watch what ya tell it to do, tho. If you are lookin' for Cam software, I'd suggest Bobcad/cam. Looks to have most of the bells and whistles found in the high dollar stuff I've used. gonna buy it real soon for my home built. Good luck to you. And congrats!


08-21-2004, 02:46 AM
In the morbid zone again! Z and Y axis stopped working might be the power supply or maybe my stupidity. Gotta gut her againt to trace the problem. Any suggestions?

08-21-2004, 09:40 AM
I have just read all your post and have seen your progress in a very short period of time, and am impressed. You will not believe how productive you will be when you get her running.

But I have to ask:
Is it because "she" has caused you a lot of grief and cost you a lot of money that you refer to this equipment as a "she". :D

Just kidding of course, I see you also have a sense of humor.

I would be delighted if my wife had such a interest, her passion is killing plants.

08-28-2004, 01:40 AM
All of the above Ken because sometimes she behaves like a lady but lately most times not. I don't think you would be surprised at what I call her then!
Your wife sounds like a woman after my own heart what I don't massacre the dogs do.
Mostly because I am so absorbed with the cnc machine I think they die of dehidration.
Thank goodness the first spring rain seems to have arrived here.

08-28-2004, 08:36 AM
Its been a while since I have stopped in to check on your progress. You really are the quiet achiever. Keep up that great effort.

09-05-2004, 01:59 PM
Well she is up and running again after the glitch. Looking around for software etc. I have downloaded KCam and she is responding to controls. afriend has allowed me to use his version of Flexisign6 at his office. I am still a bit confused by all the software available. Flexisign has an auto trace feature which is great but I am still working on how to reduce the amount of lines. heres the questions.
1. Do I save the drawing as dxf and then import it into kcam which then converts it to gcode?
2. or do I have to run it through some sort of conversion program,is this what is termed a post processor first.
3. my machine is connected via lpt port.I see some programs are designed in such a way that you just enter the brand of machine you are running. What is the difference between connecting with a lpt , com or usb port.

I have taken a look a visual mill (not in depth mind you) and I cant seem to figure out if I can configure the machine with it ?
So many programs so little knowledge not to mention cash!

High Seas
09-05-2004, 06:02 PM
Sixpence - If you want to do an Autotrace to DXF or Trace to GCode - have you checked out the review in the "Magazine" - You might find a few extra ideas there.
I focused mostluy on getting image files to GCode - but you could get to 2 1/2D work.

Cheers - JIm

09-22-2004, 08:27 PM
Hi There! how can you use the PC power ? I am trying the same now. Please help.



09-24-2004, 12:41 AM
I do not quite understand what you would like to know. Search the forums for "power supply" thats how I found most of my info. Also search google.com for "how to build a power supply". Hope this helps. Let me know.

09-24-2004, 06:58 AM
Hi there, thanks for help. I saw your project uses a PC power suply, don´t you? You simply plug it on the PCB with power resistors? Tell me about your modifications...

Thanks a lot!


09-24-2004, 11:48 PM
Yes I simply plugged it in using the 12v wires for the motors and 5v for the motors. To get it to turn on I had to wire the green wire to a black wire. No other modifications were done. I don't know if that is the ideal way but it works!

09-24-2004, 11:59 PM
Kool, so it´s most simple that i´ve thinking! How many time your macine is working and worked at one day? it worked by 5 hours in one day? Just to test your ressearch...
Thanks a lot!

09-25-2004, 11:44 AM
To be perfectly honest with you I am having a few problems with it ie it runs reeaally slow have to get different motors. I tried changing the power supply and in my hast blew up the capacitors. Which I spent the day replacing. That is driving into the centre of Johannesburg, playing chicken with the the taxi mini buses. Standing in a Q a mile long.
I spent R30.00 on petrol to purchase parts to th value of R4.00. Did you know that Johannesburg is I think the only place that you can do an entire months shopping from your car window. Even spotted a very nice couch on the side of the highway. Sooo, I'm doing more running than it is at the moment.

09-25-2004, 11:52 AM
WOW ! And i tough that I was in the jungle! heheheh.

I will send some pictures from my stufs, ass soon as i start to built.

Thanks, and good luck with the shopping!


12-23-2004, 11:52 PM
With the occasional yells of frustration and frequent head scratching. What I want for xmas is more time to work on my machine and an extra dose of brain power.
I have finally got my machine to travel in the right direction."I think" I have settled on using sheetcam and Mach 2. The demo version of sheetcam does not generate any code. has anybody else had this problem? I am down loading it again just in case there was an error in the download. I am now using the hobby cnc board. it is running at a good speed.
some questions:
I am having trouble with 0 for the z axis. do you set 0 with the the collet of the router touching the workpiece or the tip of the tool?
Actually could some body explain the concept of absolute zero and machine zero, well maybe you could explain how to zero the machine I am probably missin something
Until I have sheet cam running I am drawing in acad i.e. 100mm square
When I import the dxf into mach2 the code that is generated does not seem to be accurate, maybe because 0.0.0 is not set properly ?
Next machine design it aluminium and steel in progress.
I will use this one to teach myself with your help I could never have gotten this far without this forum

12-24-2004, 12:44 AM
Good to see you are making progress albeit a bit slower then you would have wanted, well I can assure you that you are not alone in that boat.

I find it quicker and simpler to set all tool height from the top of the part and leave the "Z" value in the work offset (G54 for example) to Z=0, I am familiar only with my controller and how it is set up for tool lengths and work offsets.

Absolute zero as I under stand it is the X=0, Y=0 and Z=0 of your part as it is fixtured on your machine.

Machine zero is just another term for your machines home position with XYZ all reading zero. This is necessary for your controller to know where to calculate all those XYZ moves from.

12-24-2004, 09:07 AM
To set Z=0, jog the Z-axis until the tip of the tool touches the top of your part. Set that as Z=0. I wouldn't worry about G54 right now. You shouldn't need it.

Could you post the code you're getting from Mach2? Makes it easier to figure out your problem.

12-28-2004, 11:36 PM
Yes, thanks that helped. but only after I tried to do that and it did not work. I eventually after an entire day of fiddling figured out that my calculations for steps per unit( which in my "wisdom" I had converted to metric while using an imperial screw) were horribly wrong! How I managed to mess that up soooo much boggles the mind. Also a tiny tick mark in the motor reversal box(x;y) got everything running the right way and in the correct size. There was nothing wrong with the code(so I finally also realised) It was the incorrect steps per unit. Eureka! I've drawn a square! Non cnc infected people do not seem to understand my joy. My friends tend to greet this wonderful, miraculous happening with polite but puzzled " Oh, that's nice" They just don't understand!

01-04-2005, 02:10 PM
It's a miracle I made my first cuts on new years day. I hope the rest of the year goes as well. I am surprised at the accuracy of my bolted together and not so accurately aligned machine. It is 1/2mm out on cutting a 100mm square in x direction and 1mm out in the y direction, one cnr is not exactly 90deg. This is due to the instability of the mdf frame the z axis drags slightly when cutting. My y gantry is far too tall and the rails shoud be spaced further apart to provide more stability to the z axis. I would rather use thicker rails or have them supported along the length because ther is some flexing on the x axis. Also looking at drylin w range rails from igus.
I have started collecting materials for the metal frame already. I plan on rebuilding this machine to improve its rigidity and hopefully will apply most of what I have learned from all your kind support and my stupid mistakes.
Some pics of my first cuts using sheetcam
This gal has never been so impressed with a square!

01-04-2005, 02:55 PM
Jan 1, 2005, not likly you will forget that :)

way to go.

01-05-2005, 05:48 AM
WOW ! I´m about to finish my machine too! I just WWWWNT to see my machine doing a simple square !!!!!! NICE !
I hope to post a picture like that soon!

01-05-2005, 11:29 PM
It is nice to see that! It is frustrating to have to explain to the non cnc infected how truly amazing that is, especially when you remember all of the adjustments, followingall of the planning, and cutting, and assembly, and fine tuning, and retuning....It is a major accomplishment to get there! Congratulations! and Happy New Year!!

01-05-2005, 11:44 PM
sixpence is a gal who loves CNC.....that's cooler then a machine that can route a square....Congratulations in your accomplishments!

01-06-2005, 03:24 PM
Happy New year for you too! For sure it´s very dificult to explain the amazing adventure that is to build a machine like this. I hope you can teach me something, when i start my tests, ok?
see ya!

07-05-2005, 03:47 PM
I have taken her apart and will start a new thread. She will appear live in "She lives again" This girl has accesorized!