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    Registered Skyfire's Avatar
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    Arrow Show how to build a CNC machine from the very beginning to the end

    Hi guys, I'm a machine manufacturer in this field for years. I have dived in the forum for long time and worked backstage in R&D. some of you guys maybe are using machines with my design or solution.

    This is my first thread and would like to share one of my development works of a small desktop CNC from designing, sketching, mould building, casting, machining etc. to last assembling and testing. Of course it's a formal product project, but I plan to just talk about the technology and building issues in this thread. Any comments and talk on this will be welcomed, I would like to share opinions with you guys in this thread or post message.

    I plan to cover every key step to build the machine including machine structure, part assembling, control and electric system, enclosure etc. I will do every work I can handle by my own hands. So, let's enjoy it and hope everything go smooth...

    Development aim:

    total around 120KG, about 270lbs--weightness is the best guarantee of stifness and stable precision.
    structure: casting irons of G3000 with heat treatment
    three axis: linear guides with ball screws. considering use a commen class linear system with rolled type ball screws. I think it's enough for most applications.
    axis drive: stepper system / DC servo system. not decided yet.
    spindle: 1.5hp, 24000RPM electric spindle unit with VFD / or considering design a tiny mill spindle system with BLDC motor drive
    electric system: transformer power supply for axis driver and develop a special VFD to support spindle.
    control system: under considering now. should work with MACH software or other cnc software.
    others: plan to add axis covers, enclosures, coolants etc. will update during the thread.






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    Last edited by Skyfire; 07-30-2011 at 07:55 AM. Reason: add comments


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    sorry for take some time to update pictures. I've done many designing works before on this machine with every part. the pictures show some process of the works under PTC. Once checked the models with software and soft assembling, we can do the real job then.

    In my thoughts, I planed to make the machine have around 8"*5"*8" travel range, made of casting iron structure and linear guides, ball screws. with VFD controlled electric spindle unit and stepper drive system. Of course, as an option in future, mill spindle system and servo drive system can be also applied.

    So it was designed to a mini precision cnc machine with strong structure. It can handle many material cuttings, from wood, plastic to aluminium, steel pieces. I think some guys may be interested in such small machines. at least it will be a good one for showing building process. I think this thread should be a long term one during my works. I hope you guys can give some comments. thanks.

    Last edited by Skyfire; 07-30-2011 at 07:58 AM.


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    Firstly is the carpenter works to build the cast mould. The machine structure is not big, so I can work it by myself. I make the moulds using pinewood. It's a little soft and easy to treat. for long period casting process, it's not fitful because easy to transform after long time in high temperature and wet conditions. But for test works, it's no problem, especially after painting.

    Now is the machine base part:

    step1: make the frame of the base. stick the structure together and fasten it with nails.


    bottom:



    add more surface woods:



    get the rough shape of the base now. It still has many longger wood and rough surfaces. but we have to wait until the glue dry and then take next steps.



    The point of making the cast mold is to make the mold slightly bigger than the designed scale. normally, it will need about 1% bigger size because the cast iron will contract with cold after filled into sand molds. And, we can't forget to leave the spare size on machining surfaces. Normally, we need to leave about 0.15" spare size for machining.

    Last edited by Skyfire; 07-30-2011 at 12:05 PM.


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    These are good drawings, but I doubt this is a good time for honoring made in China machines, while our industry went down the tubes.
    It was the US sending machines and production to China first, paying with massive job losses in electronic assembly and mechanical parts production.
    Fortunately, I can see a gradual recovery in production, new designs and robotics classes in schools. The robotics FIRST competition leads the way in getting our kids exposed to robotics and parts manufacturing.
    Growing up in Germany, I worked on designing steel manufacturing plants, also for Wuhan in China. Some years later our steel industry was dead. Than, I worked on fast pace electronic assembly machines, which is now dead as well with 90% production in China.
    Now, I’m determined to bring production back to the US by teaching the next generation all about production, CNC machines and robotics.
    I know, this is a technical forum, I do apologize for this post.

    Regards,
    Stefan



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    bottom sceen of the half finished base mold:


    and one more word: When making a casting mold, make sure the side surfaces with a small angle, normally between 1 degree to 5 degree. larger angle will be better to make the cast process easier---easier to remove the mold from sand.



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    Thank you for your opinions and I think what you said is the reality of the whole manufacture field. And made in China is not a hornor for now. During my career, I often feel headache when facing the selection of many parts and suppliers. Everything gets to be the cost issue and consumable. It’s hard to find a good resource. If you want 10% better part, you need to pay more 100% cost. That’s the reality we are facing. So, as a China manufacturer want to product good machines, we have to balance many issues, and make hard choices. I prefer to work more by myself to make the best balance of every step, banlancing the quality and cost, and designing many parts by myself to avoid homogenization and make best value.

    But, I think from an engineer’s opinion, technology has no difference between countries. I decided to post this thread from a hobbie angle. I tried to make the design as good as it can be, balancing the stifness, compact size, and even beautiful appearance etc.. I will show it step by step in this thread. I want to show different image of a China manufacturer------and a half hobbie.

    Thanks again. Welcome for more comments.
    Regards



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    The column, work table etc. half finished. The works have been done several days before. I also have finished the last surface fixing and putty works to make the molds look more like wood model works. I will update the pictures tomorrow. Now I'm working on the small fixing and painting works.

    the column:


    stick the bottom to the column:


    the Y axis slider:


    the worktable:


    the head: not sticked together yet.


    the head: half finished.


    okey. the rough building wood works finished here. Next, will be the boring and dirt putty, ground and painting works.

    Last edited by cncadmin; 10-26-2013 at 01:50 PM.


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    hi,
    It is nice works. Do you cut that wooden mold using cnc router? I never seen people doing casting details like these here, just keep continue working. I follow your threads here as many other do too.



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    I agree, this is an interesting build. Looking forward to the "pour".



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    Quote Originally Posted by asuratman View Post
    hi,
    It is nice works. Do you cut that wooden mold using cnc router? I never seen people doing casting details like these here, just keep continue working. I follow your threads here as many other do too.
    Thanks asuratman. I don't have a CNC wood router now. All works have been done by hand tools, a electric planer and a electric abrader. So the wood frame is divided to many small pieces to make seperately, and glue them together at last. It's a much more complex work than using a CNC router. I had to measure the scale many times during the work and fix the error.

    Casting process normally is far from our DIY works. We prefer to use materials like aluminium, which is easier to get and can get really nice work with machining. but aluminium is too soft for my machine. Another choice is steel material. But the welded structure has very big stress and cause transform to lose accuracy. So, casting iron is still the best choice for a strong and accurate structure.



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    Quote Originally Posted by FannBlade View Post
    I agree, this is an interesting build. Looking forward to the "pour".
    Thanks for your attention, I will "pour" many details next. and welcome any comment.



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    interesting build
    keep up the update pictures coming
    nice work



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Show how to build a CNC machine from the very beginning to the end

Show how to build a CNC machine from the very beginning to the end