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MrBean
09-19-2004, 06:05 PM
Router building is very new to me, so I'm learning as I go. No doubt I could have done many things much better had I been blessed with expirience and money.
I had spent quite a while previously, collecting "industrial rubbish". So far I have paid only for 3 steppers(£60), 3 driver boards(£24), and the router (£25) Everything else you see in the picture was free.
Because of this the machine has been made with what I could get for free and not specifically to the best design.
I still have one motor to mount. Just waiting on my 12mm reamer turning up so I can bore out the timing pulley to the correct size. Then just need to fix it all down to a nice flat surface and wire it up. (another month then!!)

As it nears completion, my thoughts are turning to the software. Am I correct in thinking I need 3 programs?

1. To design the solid model.
2. To create the toolpath G-code.
3. To output the G-code as step/Dir pulses through the LPT Port.

I welcome any questions, suggestions or comments (good or bad). You can even poke fun and laugh if you like.

Total build time so far ~25 hours.
Total thinking time so far ~3000 hours.

High Seas
09-19-2004, 06:52 PM
As it nears completion, my thoughts are turning to the software. Am I correct in thinking I need 3 programs?
1. To design the solid model.
2. To create the toolpath G-code.
3. To output the G-code as step/Dir pulses through the LPT Port.
Well, I'm sure there are more experienced chaps out there that can give you a lead or 3, but here's my take...
1. Gotta say Rhino - it really rocks - I've been using a buddy's, even though I've also worked his Sollidworks too and that has good features - but different feel than Rhino's 4 view set up. (again - I'm using his set up and just export my files so I don't bug him with 20 question, so I'm still figuring it out -- but there are some excellent Tuts on the web).
2. I export the models from his set up as STL (stereolith.) and use STLWork to generate the G-Code. Works well, in Rhino you can pick how many polygons etc - go figgure what that means - but the two then get me to having a G-Code I can dump into MACH2. STLWork is on sale now for 75 bucks and does point cloud work as does Rhino for digitizing.
3. MACH2 is a great machining program - thru the LPT to the MACHINE and excellent value. At 150 USD its only 2x the STLWork, and abiout 1/3 Rhino - so soon I'll buy my own copy of Rhino.
Hope thats helpful - :cheers: Jim
BTW - Nice MACHINE !

sol
09-19-2004, 09:52 PM
Nice table, especially for the price!
Since finding the inexpensive way was the route you took for your table I'll assume that you would prefer to keep costs low in the software department as well, at least at first.

For 2.5 D ...simple signs etc...Corel Draw ...older versions, $25 Ebay ...it exports DXF

DXF to G-Code....Ace Converter... Free

G-Code interpreter...TurboCNC shareware, free trial... $60 registration.

Lots of guys use this set of software and create nice work....I've yet to hear of a cheaper starter package....

sendkeys
09-19-2004, 10:04 PM
nice looking setup there. how are the steppers working out? i saw some of that brand at my local surplus store.

MrBean
09-20-2004, 09:49 AM
Hi, thanks for the software info. I'd like to start as cheaply as possible. At least to begin with. It'd be nice to have all the bells and whistles of the top software but as I'm still learning, the advanced features would be lost on me anyway.

@ Sendkeys...

The steppers are Ok. 110 Oz/In units. I am running them at the rated voltage for testing, so they're pretty slow. My driver boadrs are pretty pants to be honest, but they were cheap. To get more speed I need to get some power resistors to limit the current and go for a higher voltage. I'm happy with them so far.

Graham S
09-20-2004, 02:28 PM
Where should I be looking for "industrial rubbish" like this??

I second the use of Rhino, everyone who uses it likes it. If you have moderate 2D cad you can be doing 3D in a couple of hours after the tutorials and plenty of playing.

I use TurboCNC to drive my motors, runs on a £20 486 laptop very well in DOS. Free to try as well.

Graham

MrBean
09-20-2004, 02:55 PM
My "Industrial rubbish" is mostly from where I work. There was a recent factory clear out as the business was split into three seperate parts. I magaged to rescue some old camera positioning systems that were used on some of our printing presses. Some other stuff I got from a local scrap metal dealer. I asked at work, where our rubbish goes to (Scrapped machine parts etc...). Turned out the place that takes them is only a mile up the road. They collect scrapped machine parts from alot of local firms, mostly they seem to let them rust away.

I ended up with 7 sets of linear slides of varying suitability.

It's always worth finding out where the rubbish goes.

Graham S
09-20-2004, 04:47 PM
Thanks for the tip!