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  1. #13
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    If I was going to construct myself a cam grinder and I wanted to get close as possible to a good tolerance, I'd do the following. Please note this is crappy compared to a properly CNC ground and verified cam.

    First, I'd construct myself two pantograph grinding machines, or possibly one, with two attachments. One would transfer a linear template, 1:1, to a master cam 10x the size I wanted on the finished cam. It would also have provision for reversing this process. The second machine/attachment would be the 10x reduction from the master cam to the product.

    This allows me to produce things that I can check easily, i.e. a machine's accuracy and the linear template accuracy, without having to build a third, much more complicated machine to measure the cam directly. Once I know those items, I know the general ballpark of where the cams are going to land in actual accuracy. The direct measurement method is far, far more accurate than indirect methods, but being practical for a second, that's never going to happen as a hobby.

    I would first cut and finish the linear template to +/- .001 or .002. This is easier than cutting a circular template in the first place, and the ramps, acceleration, and decelerations are more easily checked and created. Then, you rough out the desired profile on your 4th axis CNC, or by whatever method you want (I'd use a bandsaw and a file). Then, you finish grind the linear template onto the rotary template using your machine. Swap the linear template stylus for the rotary stylus, and grind your cam.

    Then, reverse the stylus and the grinder. Grind the finished cam back onto a linear template, not a rotary one. Line the two templates up, and use two analog probe heads or LVDTs and the amp on differential mode to get the error in your cam, record it on a strip chart. Apply the errors you know your machine has to get the uncertainty in measurement.

    Pantograph units can be made to fairly high standards, and the accuracy limit, practically, will be the template first and foremost, and second, the machine, if it was built properly.



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    Would something like this work (rough sketch below)?

    The basic idea is to take a stepper/servo hook it up to Mach3, zero out the "A-axis", bring the follower down in the "Z-axis" till the bearing contacts the cam lobe, then zero out the "Z-axis", rotate the "A-axis" 360.0 deg. & let the stepper/servo record the travel in the "Z-axis".

    Will Mach3 be able to record axis travel?

    As far as actually grinding, use only the "A-axis" & "Z-axis" & manually jog the "X-axis" into position, I would think that you would use a 1A1 wheel that is wider than the lobe, so the grinding wheel shouldn't be critical in the "X-axis".

    Remember this is just a rough idea.


    .

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-1-jpg  


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    I don't know anything about the DIY CNC controllers, so I can't comment on your measurement method.

    The problem with the CNC grinding is that even commercial CNC mills and lathes do not have the kind of contouring accuracy and smoothness of operation necessary to do what you want. It just won't do it; a cam is more than just a lobed shape.

    Seriously, you are going to break things and possibly injure yourself trying to make this a CNC operation when you just do not have the equipment available to you to build such a grinder. CNC cam grinders require very expensive motors, bearings, and other components to produce a smooth cam with an accurate profile, that a machine with ballscrews and inexpensive servos is just not going to be able to replicate.

    You do have the ability, with your CNC gear, to do the research on and build a pantograph grinder or another manual solution, which will do what you want.

    Please don't do something that's going to damage your equipment, or worse, someone.



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    The use of a pantograph is complexity in search of a need. You do NOT need a 10x master to do tracer grinder grinding - ours are rougly 4-5x size and they run in 8000+ rpm racing engines.

    The measuring of a cam needs to be done separately from grinding it. It is essentially impractical to make a do it all machine. The illustration in post 14 is a perfect representation of an inspection/follower system.

    It is totally impractical to grind/finish a cam that way due to a lack of rigidity in the follower and/or grinding wheel systems. There are some serious forces generated in grinding and/or milling the lobe, especially if you want to generate a close to design intent profile from your data REGARDLESS OF THE SCALE OR SIZE OF CAM. Steel has the same modululus of rigidity no matter what the alloy, size or scale - just because it is smaller, that don't make it any easier to cut without deflecting it all over the place when you put a tool up against it.

    CNC grinders are very difficult to coordinate, especially when you're trying to hold tolerances in 0.0001"s or there abouts - a lathe is easier to coordinate during threading than a lobe and that is NOT an easy task.

    At least a lathe has to run at a constant velocity - a cam lobe, by its very shape and rate of change MANDATES a constantly changing velocity of both axis and that's the rub. Even at up to 0.0005" tolerance, a commercial product based CNC is hard to construct because the servos effectively can NOT rub their belly and pat their head at the same time and at the constantly varying speeds needed to duplicate even a mild lobe shape. Radical profiles are even harder to cut/grind properly.

    Basically, it takes MASSIVE computer horsepower to have the servos keep up and to prevent follower error from occurring in the lobe profile when CNC grinding - especially if you want to grind at a rate faster than watching paint dry.

    If you've ever seen a real cam grinder work, or better yet, what it takes to make a Landis 3L work, you'll see that I'm NOT blowing smoke.

    Even the so-called "primitive" rocking table, master style cam grinders mentioned earlier are both accurate and efficient. Yes, they are not CNC but they do the job and can do so quite well once you learn the machine's idiosyncracies.

    In fact, the Berco is still the "state of the art" when it comes to prototype cam grinding and many, if not most, of the aftermarket cam grinders have and still use them TODAY!!!!. Harvey Crane, Crower, Reed and a lot of other noted cam grinders can thank the Berco for helping them gain notoriety in the field of camshafts.

    Toastydeath's comments about CNC contouring capability is SPOT ON. We know because we already tried that method, numerous times and on various CNC's. IT DOESN"T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'd be amaze at what happens to the "look ahead" feature of a CNC when you throw a cam lobe contour at one. Such notable machines as Haas, Fanuc and/ or Bridgeport puked when we tried to run cam contours thru them.

    If you are bound and determined to do a CNC, don't even consider a stepper system. Why? they leave steps and they simply aren't fast enough. You can almost do as good with a 4th axis mill and do so at a fraction of the cost and complication and besides, the 4th axis mills still won't properly finish the cam.

    BTW a Berco both finish grinds cams and it can copy/make its own masters via the copying of an existing profile from a finished cam or from a 1:1 precisely milled or ground model. THis leaves your inspection machine as the only separate machine you'll need.

    You can have your masters made elsewhere or buy a 2D CNC mill and, after a lot of development and a ton of math and trig, craft up a CNC program that will CNC the model. Or, if you REALLY get good and spend lots of money, make a master directly with the same CNC.

    Or, if you buy a master type grinder (Berco, Storm-Vulcan, Van Norman, etc), you can save the money on a master maker and simply buy CNC masters which is what we did and still do for a lot of our clients cams.

    we eventually learned how to CNC our own but it took us nearly 5 years of development and buckets of money to figure out how and we had access to some of the finest cam mfg design and analysis and measuring software that money can buy. We also had some really good software code writers who looked at the job as a challenge - had they charged us shop programming rates, we'd have had to sell the business to pay the bill.

    Thus, you really only need a CNC mill which can be used for pretty much anything, a dedicated measuring machine and the cam grinder. If you spend a bit more money and buy a really good mill with 4th axis capabilities, you can rough lobe mill the cams on the 4th axisl wherein the mill removes the majority of the metal.

    However, the mill can NOT mill a lobe accurately enough out of hardened material to work properly in an engine - again, been there, done that. SOft metal milled to rough shape them? Yes, finish them NO.

    If you really want to make a DIY bench top cam grinder, the Kieffer grinder in Home Shop Machinist is an EXCELLENT example of a home made DIY model engine cam grinder. I'm not a fan of the SWAG'd profile design method he's shown but the grinder is an excellent scaled down variant of a rocking table grinder.

    If you're willing to make a CNC grinder, why oh why would you use a "bandsaw and a file" to rough out ANY part of the cam???? See prior comments about 4th axis milling and/or 2D milling of lobes and/or masters.



  5. #17
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    Switcher, Toastydeath and of course, NC Cams.

    Thanks a lot for your input. Normally in the 2 years I registered on this forum, 70% of the time I get No reply, 28% of the time 1 reply but this time I really get what I was looking for.
    Most probably it is because (given my Swiss origin), my english is poor and my sentences can be easily misinterpreted. Also I have never been gifted for writting. Maybe some may also choose not to reply because they are scared that all the info which goes to Asia will be used to make cheap competition to the US market.

    I graduated in electronic engineering and work for a multinational company here. That allows me for a nice living.

    My hobby is to build PPG's (powered paragliders) and tune 4 stroke kart engines. Mechanical knowledge/experience is the weakest point in all these activities but that is what makes it so interesting as I am learning a lot out of my projects.

    Another CNC project I work on at the same time is a wooden Propeller CNC router. (Right now I hire a person who makes them by hand on a self build duplicating router). The income out of it allows his familly to leave and helps me to partly finance my hobby (my wife at least believes me that it is so...)

    After 2 years of dreaming, finally I went ahead and build my first 4 axis mill

    All axis are servo controlled and use 1000 CPR encoders. The 4th. axis can be fit with a 2500 CPR encoder which I got already.

    The mill is running on linear guides and ball screws.

    I think to make the concepts work, the setup should be OK.

    pls. see some pics. below.

    Later on, I may migrade to a more sturdy "Bridgeport Clone" from Taiwan for the tough mechanical work and build a router of adequate axis length for the prop making and used this one for Aluminum engine parts.


    I have already had good experience with the Dynamometer interface, Port flow analyzer and valve spring analyzer kits from Performance trends.

    I had a close look at their cam analyzer and tried to equip myself step by step with the same components so that if I get stuck at a point or another, I can buy their data aquisition module and software, connect my 2 encoders into it and finish the job but I want to try it on my own first. (the 2500 CPR encoder comes from their system specs.)

    NC cam, you mentioned Performance trends in the first reply but not anymore in the last one. They do also advertise their solution as a retrofit for the Cam Dr. hardware. What is your opinion about their solution for my purpose ?

    Again, I am not into Nascar. You saw my Honda GX200 engine Cam in the first posting.

    If I do not manage to read the data out and convert it into a G code by my own, I may ressort to get the Performance trends kit and hook my encoders onto it. I will have the advantage of having a very accurate homing position and also can read the data at constant speed which the hardware proposed by performance trends cannot do.

    From your opinions, at least a very accurate rough grinding could be done by using my rotary axis with 10,000 (servo steps) per rotation and a good diamond grinding wheel mounted onto my Z or even Y axis (may be more rigid in my present case).
    The machine will have all it's time to do the grinding at very slow speeds if required. Given that I will use the same resolution for grinding than for measuring, e.g. 10000 points for the 360 degree rotation of the small lobe, do you think that will still leave noticeable marks on the lobe ?

    From there on, I could then figure out a rocking table grinder for the smooth finishing only and of course in that case I'll have also the need to make lobe templates somehow....


    NC Cam,

    Another proposal. When was your last time that you did have nice holidays in Thailand ? you mentioned that you where looking into retirement and hand over your shop in another thread. I am sure once you will do this, you will have the need for some other activities. Why not combining the holiday offerings of Thailand and a bit of hobbying on your favourite subjects here with me ?



  6. #18
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    Default My "stone age" cam grinds.

    Below I wanted to share a few pics of my earlier cam measuring and grinding setups...

    And sorry for that in my last mail, I forgot the pics of my CNC prototype mill

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-cam-measuring-r-jpg   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-cam-duplicating-grinder-jpg   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-cam-dupl-grinder-complete-r-jpg   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-prop-cnc-007-r-jpg  

    Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-prop-cnc-008-r-jpg   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-prop-cnc-009-jpg  


  7. #19
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    RE: cnc cam grinding = the reason why CNC cam grinding is so hard to do on a DIY basis involves some of the vagaries of the cam profile and the not so readily apparent geometry and math issues involved in reading them.

    Essentially, the cam profile is a locus of points that have infititely changing radii that go thru each/any 3 or 5 or whatever curve fit you choose to use. There in lies the problem.

    Whereas anyone who knows trig and calc and geometry can take any 3 points and find a/the fixed radius that will go thru them, the constant changing radius of curvature screws up the look ahead feature that the CNC mill code writers use. Why? becasuse the next point you come to changes the instant center of the radius from the previous point and the CNC can't handle that. The CNC wasn't programmed to look for or how to handle that situation so it pukes when it comes to it - which happens as soon as you come off the base circle.

    We tried it with Fanuc, Haas, Bridgeport and other generic G code interpreters and they all crapped out when you got off the base circle and started up the ramp and into the main event. No matter what, the computer had problems.

    Landis, with their 3L figured out proprietary methods for doing it. The software requires a special computer to run their CNC 3L grinder and its code. Moreover, they figured out how to take 1 deg data and make it smooth and step free when grinding either a master or the cam itself. To get the free software, you spend about $2million for the grinder.

    The file they use is text readable and it is purely 1 deg lift data and some other stuff needed to cut/grind the lobe. SO we figured, no problem, we'll do the same thing with their data. WRONG. We did cut a shape but it was so full of errors (motion discontinuites), flats and herky jerky motion that the follower system sounded like a machine guy while it was running. The profile was suitable, quite suitable for a rough milled lobe shape but TOTALLY unsuited to that of/for a finished cam.

    Steppers do essentially the same thing. Getting servos to work is also problematic for the same reason - the smoothing function and/or look ahead seems to NOT want a discontinuous, constantly changine radius of curvature. Moreoeve,r the surface velocity is always changing in an automotive cam profile which also causes fits to/with many servo driving algorythms. In a sense, this is why master type cam grinders are so viable. The masters are makeable, readable, and correctable - if you can handle the complex math and trig involved.

    We finally figured out a way to do it. Actually, we stumbed across a guy who was a motor head and did motion simulation work for government projects. He figured out how to do it but it took some proprietary software that we had written by some of the now deceased authors who wrote some of the articles previously mentioned - software that, outside of the industry, simply does NOT exist nor has it even been written about. Although the guy did/could get the 1 deg data to cut a master, it too had steps and herky jerky motion. It took the proprietary software that the cam gurus wrote nearly 20 years ago to make it viable.

    Like I may have said, the guys who wrote the software we used are some of the same guys who wrote THE seminal articles that EVERYONE who's made aftermarket measuring equipment has used as a/the primer to craft up their software. These guys were brilliant when it cam to camshafts and software. To some extent, ALL of the aftermarket hot rod cam guys who used computer programs owe their livelihoods and fortunes and reputations to the tools that these guys left behind in their publications.

    RE: Performance Trends + I can't speak badly about their software as I've never used it. I did have a conversation with them once and asked them if they could add some features that we, cam makers need/use when it comes to reading/inspecting cams.

    In short, they fetl their customer base did not need the features, hence they declined to help. For this reason alone, we looked elsewhere for software and have not looked back at their products.

    In light of the fact that Andrews Products makes cams (perhaps worlds largest supplier of aftermarket and OEM H-D cams), the outfit knows what's involved in MANUFACTURING a cam to the tightest of specs. His measuring software is really, really good - this is the software we use as does a number of other manufacturers of cams .

    Not only does it read the ENTIRE profile (especially the ramps) but it can identify bend and runout and where it is. This feature is lacking in some of the racer grade software that others offer. I highly recommend the Ezcam to anyone looking for a very good PROFESSIONAL measuring system...

    Re: 2D mill clone for cam and or master milling: that type of mill is NOT accurate enough to cut a precision master. The software might be adaptable but the typical mill has too much hysterisis.

    Do an "Extrak" search on the Zone. I outline chapter and verse what we went to/thru to get our Bridgeport to cut a reasonably close master. And even so, it does NOT do an adequate job in several areas.

    RE: retirement in Thailand = I"ve already had my share of travel and with the world situation the way it is, I"m literally fearful to travel outside the country - I think too many folks are pissed off at ANY American, regardless of any intent the traveler may have.

    Moreover, I have some health issues that may eventually require long term care which is something I take in to consderation when I go/move someplace - you just can't walk into ANY hospital for the treatment that I may/will need. Besides, I'm not wealthy by any stretch and, since I'm self employed in a high tax region of the country, I don't have a lot of expendable income, not anymore. Although my guys do a good job in helping, and espeicaly grinding, they are not equipped to run the business in my absence nor do the engineering required.



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    Re: fotos of your early generation cam grinder = You essentially have made a "rocking table" cam grinder. But, instead of the grinding spindle staying stationary and the cam rocking, you're rocking the grinder spindle and keep the cam spindle table stationary.

    This may or may not be adequate. We keep the grinding wheel stationary as it is BIG (18" in our case) and rocking that much mass at speed is NOT easy to do. In our case, we mount the cam spindle on a table and the cam spindle table rocks into and away from the wheel.

    The use of a double gear system to transfer motion from the master to the victim cam (or vice versa) leaves a lot to be desired. Gears must have backlash. In your case, you have two sources of backlash which can manifest itself into error/profile deviation at the to-be ground cam profile. THe wheel does/will push the cam away as you load it to grind. It will push away the amount allowed by any backlash and the instantaneous timing and lift will deviate from intent - either a lot or a little.

    The Kieffer (Home Shop Machinist) style of mounting the master and the cam coaxially is essentially IDENTICAL to what our Berco does (and a lot of the other pro cam grinders for that matter). This way, there is a 1:1, slop free connection between the master and the cam to be ground. In your case, even as little as 0.002" backlash at a gear will manifest itself as profile deviation in the profile. Depending on where it occurs and how bad it is will determine if you will have problems and how bad/much. Two gears doubles any error potential.

    Before the "its not that critical comment" even gets made or even thought, I seem to recall that this application is for an ultralight aircraft application. For the simple reason that someone's LIFE may depend on whether the engine runs and lives or not, this application is even MORE critical of having the cam ground PROPERLY and ACCURATELY than any race crap that we migh ever do.



  9. #21
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    No need to worry about the application.

    A PPG (Powered paraglider) is first of all a glider which does not need any engine if it gets lift from thermals or one jumps from a mountain, However when you do it from a plain, you appreciate an auxilliary propeller engine which helps you to go upwards. Once up you can stop the engine and glide till you reach back to the soil or you can restart when you are getting low. Mostly they use 2 stroke engines as they are much lighter for the same power but also very unreliable. I am working hard to get my 4 stroke powerfull and light enough to be an alternative.

    for the gear system, I will recheck if there can be some backlash in it when the grinding wheel pushes. Actually the 2 cams are connected one to the other at their shafts after having used the gears for indexing.

    Given your expertise in the matter, would you mind to comment on the result of a typical grind on the enclosed curves ?
    green and dark blue are the master intake and exhaust lobes respectively.

    Till now we never managed to exactly the same lobes but mostly the difference is just after lift of in the elbow of the curve.

    Any suggestions appreciated.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx-390-cam-comparison-pdf  


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    Oh, you haven't lived till you've tried to build a CNC profile grinder.
    Couple of things to think about. The contact point of the wheel on the profile is not always on the wheel centerline. It moves up and down on the wheel so you have to comp for the wheel dia. and calculate where the contact point will be. The in and out motion of the wheel will not be the same as the profile measured with a point gauge. A mechanical (rocker & follower) design comps for this automatically but on a cnc you've got to do the math while your profiling.
    Because of this and to generate a smooth profile you need very fast responding servos, very low friction axis, a very fast cnc controller, and super high resolutions.
    You'll want 250,000 counts/rev or better on the rotary axis to get a smooth profile. Since no one makes an encoder that is actually accurate at this resolution level you also need to map out the encoder errors and comp for it on the fly.
    This is why these machines are sooo much more expensive than a conventional cnc.
    Bob

    You can always spot the pioneers -- They're the ones with the arrows in their backs.


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    Looking at the LIFT curve doesn't tell you anything about the quality and/or dynamics of a cam profile.

    Looking at the VELOCITY curve (first derivative of lift) tells you IF you have an error in the profile.

    Looking at the ACCELERATION curve (second derivative of lift, first of velocity) tells you how bad it is.

    Looking at the JERK curve (third derivative of lift....) tells/shows you haw badly/rapidly you'' be applying the acceleration forces to the V/T - this has an affect on how fast the system will detiorate under any "jack hammer" loads that can occur.

    It is the acceleration forces generated by the cam that excites and applies force to the valvetrain and these are what you need to concern yourself with.

    Your curves are very classic curves, however there is clearly some visible ripple (aka error) that exists in various places. This ripple, depending on how bad it is at the 3rd derivative, will have more of an effect on your valvetrain than you can imagine.

    This simple ripple could be the result of as much as 0.001" backlash in a gear drive cam spindle or it could be wheel balance or prior profile error or machine slop or on and on and on.

    YOU WANT 1:1 motion ratio with NO BACKLASH POTENTIAL ANYWHERE when you grind a cam. You can either do all kinds of things to correct for the vibration after its ground into place or, better still, DON"T LET IT GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    BTW: we've seen and ground cams that have NO visible chatter/fluctuations in the cam profile and these were found to create havoc in the system during operation. I simply would not accept nor ship a profile that had clearly visible deviations in the lift curve as bad as you have - surely, the ripple/deviations in the 2nd and 3rd derivatives would be far, FAR worse. Your lift curve can't/won't tell you anything about the dynamics potential of the cam profiles you're working with.

    When you strive for cam grinding perfection, you'd be amazed at how easy it is to grind really GOOD cams. The hard part REALLY is getting rid of the slop/deviation creations in your grinder. Once you do that, things almost take care of themself.

    How do you do that? First get a GOOD, precise sensitive cam measuring machine. Letting Excel or some other software do curve fits to choppy input data is like putting bondo on a rusted out fender - it looks good but the underlying metal is not sound and of essentially poor quality. The whole job will eventually suffer when this "band aid" peels off which it eventually will.

    Once you see/find that you have errors, you then systematically go about identifying the root cause(s) and fixing them. Along the way, you'll learn even more about grinding cams than is taught in ANY textbook I've ever stufied on the subject.

    I thought I knew a LOT about cams - I did until I started running my cam grinder. Then I learned that the high school educated grinder operator who showed me how to run the machine was clearly far smarter than I - especially in the non-published vagaries of cam grinding. I learned that the classic admontion about instructors was true = namely, those who KNOW, do it, those who think they know teach and/or write about it....

    You're to be commended for doing what you've done - real creative stuff. You simple need some advancement and/or "clean up" and some tune ups to your proces. It is a way to an end, it only lacks sophistication and the necessary preciseness and perhaps a bit of dynamic clarification.



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    NC Cams,

    Thanks a lot for the instructive information you provide to me.
    below I have enclosed 3 different camshafts, 2 curves each

    first and second are
    Original from Honda Velocity & Acceleration
    Original from Honda Velocity & Jerk

    third and fourth are
    Master tuning cam Velocity & Acceleration
    Master tuning cam Velocity & Jerk

    fifth and sixth are
    copy of tuning cam Velocity & Acceleration
    copy of tuning cam Velocity & Jerk

    Pls. note that Master and copy tuning cam are the same as on previous pdf. doc.


    Are the curves clear enough so that you can make some comments or should I show the information in a way which is more convenient ?
    If yes, pls. advise how you would like to see them.

    Thanks in advance

    Paraprop

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-orig-honda-1-pdf   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-orig-honda-2-pdf   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-master-1-pdf   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-master-2-pdf  

    Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-copy-1-pdf   Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill-gx390-copy-2-pdf  


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Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill

Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill

Grinding Cam profiles on a DeskCNC 4 axis mill