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astainless
01-30-2010, 01:18 AM
Hey everyone. I'm new here and this is my first post. I have been thinking about getting one of these things for a few years now but I had no purpose for one. However now that I have been unemployed for a year and started my own business I can see all kinds of uses for one of these great machines. My work would deal with small stuff like coins and miniature models so I ordered the Zen Toolworks 7x7x2 machine as it seems like it should handle what I need it for and looks like a fun build. I have 2 questions that I hope someone here can answer.

The first is: Has anyone here had any experience with the Zen Toolworks CNC Kit? Accuracy, detail ease of use and maintenance (well that is several questions but they pertain to the same thing. LOL)

The 2nd question is more of an Idea with a question. I have noticed a lot of people that seem to want to either build a larger machine or upgrade to a 5 axis machine. Wouldn't it be possible to buy one of these tiny desktop models and have it machine all the parts (except the motors and the rails) to build a larger 3 axis or 5 axis machine and/or upgrade?. From what I have seen about these devices they are not that complex outside of the software. A sliding table on 2 axis and a vertical axis for the tool (or all on the tool), throw another 2 on the tool end and you have a 5 axis. I realize the software and the electronics are more of a cost problem but in theory if someone put out CAD plans for a conversion or a whole new 5 axis design anyone could take the one they have and upgrade it or build a new one fairly cheaply. Especially if someone came out with a patch for current 3 axis software to make it control 5 or a free 5 axis software program. Has anyone done that yet?

Oh yeah 1 more questions so I guess it's really 3 questions. Where is a good source of CAD models for a CNC???

Thanks guys and sorry for all the questions.

mlabruyere
01-30-2010, 11:29 AM
Hi and Welcome,

Question #1....sorry I don't know

Question #2.....the machine is pretty small if that is in inches. The Jgro and Joes machines (plans are available here) have parts that are for the most part way too big to cut on this little machine. So no I don't see it as a possibility. I think a lot of folks may say they want a 5 axis machine but for a home business or hobby that's way over the top.

astainless
01-30-2010, 03:29 PM
Hi and Welcome,

Question #1....sorry I don't know

Question #2.....the machine is pretty small if that is in inches. The Jgro and Joes machines (plans are available here) have parts that are for the most part way too big to cut on this little machine. So no I don't see it as a possibility. I think a lot of folks may say they want a 5 axis machine but for a home business or hobby that's way over the top.

The idea with this model ( yes it is inches. 7x7x2 is a small working area but I just need it for small things) is that to upgrade it to a more suitable unit you just have to change the length of all the rails and such and increase the table size. 12x12x7 should be suitable and the rails can be purchased. With that I imagine a good size one with more capabilities could be produced.

OR

A small 5 axis machine. 12x12x12 or even an 7x7x7 desktop model. Scale down the plans and there you go. Perfect for making small detailed parts on a small desktop 5 axis.

Also where is a good place to get CAD files for 3d objects? Just something to tinker with to get used to while I wait for delivery.

Thanks.

Switcher
01-30-2010, 05:57 PM
The idea with this model ( yes it is inches. 7x7x2 is a small working area but I just need it for small things) is that to upgrade it to a more suitable unit you just have to change the length of all the rails and such and increase the table size. 12x12x7 should be suitable and the rails can be purchased. With that I imagine a good size one with more capabilities could be produced.

OR

A small 5 axis machine. 12x12x12 or even an 7x7x7 desktop model. Scale down the plans and there you go. Perfect for making small detailed parts on a small desktop 5 axis.

Also where is a good place to get CAD files for 3d objects? Just something to tinker with to get used to while I wait for delivery.

Thanks.



You can get free 3D files from the Sketchup library (http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/search?tags=google-sketchup-component-library)

This plugin will convert a Sketchup file to .stl (3D) for free...
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?p=726227

jsheerin
01-30-2010, 06:19 PM
Mach3 will already control 6 simultaneous axes and I assume EMC is similar, so that is not a problem. The expensive part of 5 axis is the CAM software (to generate G-code from your 3D model). There is one free one available if you want to play with it though. I believe it's called cnc toolkit.

astainless
02-01-2010, 11:55 PM
These forums are great. You guys are a wealth of information. Thanks.

CarveOne
02-02-2010, 03:56 AM
Mach3 will already control 6 simultaneous axes and I assume EMC is similar, so that is not a problem. The expensive part of 5 axis is the CAM software (to generate G-code from your 3D model). There is one free one available if you want to play with it though. I believe it's called cnc toolkit.

Yes, EMC2 is 6 axis. The 5 axis mechanics isn't so cheap either.

CarveOne