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Small CNC Router Build

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CHJ

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As mentioned Elsewhere I've embarked on trying to put together a small CNC Router to use in combination with my turning bits.
It's going to be long job I suspect but it should stimulate the old grey cells a bit over the coming months.
Root3Lite.jpg


Base and Side Panels are the key to the alignment of everything else so I chickened out and purchased them ready cut from the Designers Web Site
Base and Side frames.jpg

I've started on the finishing off of the Side Frames by sealing with sanding sealer prior to painting to keep out any moisture and look a little smarter.

And embarked on doing the same with the Base Board but decided to sort out the clamping fixing insert nuts before any sealing and finishing.
First a trial on a back position, (least noticeable if it goes wrong)
Base Insert Trial.jpg

Then Drill out all the rest of the matrix and slightly countersink holes.
Basedrilling.jpg

This is when you appreciate a basic Pillar drill with wide throat capability, not the best for precision engineering but a boon for sheet wood tasks.

I will use the Pillar Drill to inset the Insert Nuts to ensure they go in as true as possible just so they look neat.
InsertInstallation.jpg


Think I'm going to lip the edges of the Base to hide the Ply layers, just for the aesthetics, time is not going to be a limiting factor on this while I procure the bits and pieces.
 

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CHJ

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Twas on a Saturday morning when a parcel of Printed bits arrived.
Printed parts1.jpg


Just got to get the hardware sorted to connect the bits together in some sort of order.
Printed parts2.jpg
 

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Brandlin

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I've built a couple of CNC Routers. For educational purposes. And i've contributed to a few others' projects with mechanical knowledge. My first job back in the late 80's was working with a CAM software company developing G-Code generators. Moved on to many other things since.

The main thing that small scale CNC machinery fails on is Stiffness. Not to be confused with strength. If your main components are already wood and 3d printed elements then you're going to be quite limited to the materials you can cut and the size of cuts you can make. However it can be an enormous amount of fun just to build, and if you know the limitations of your machine and use it accordingly it can be very enjoyable.

I don't subscribe to the "woodworking establishment" that using CNC tools is "not woodwork" either.

Looking forwards to following this. Ask if you need any advice. Above all HAVE FUN!

PS - pet hate.... CNC is not a noun. :)
 

CHJ

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Not expecting to task the capabilities, it is after all based on a 3D printer control mechanism so limitations are pretty obvious.
Just have ideas of using it to decorate or provide more accurate segmented or inlaid designs to incorporate in my turning projects, and cutting traverse speed is not a priority so loads on the cutters should be small.
No deadlines to meet other than trying to complete the build sometime in the near future, actually producing something at all will be a bonus.

Will be a whole new learning curve on my part catching up with the electronics and computer design side, I've been retired from the active side of such for 23+ yrs. now and things have moved on somewhat.
 

CHJ

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Sealed and painted the Side Frames.
Painted Side  Frames.jpg


Did likewise with the Base Panel and added some Mahogany edged trim, It might as well look neat even if it never gets to work. Might know the spares bin did not have enough thread inserts so will have to wait until a visit to town to get a few more to complete.
Trimmed Base.jpg
 

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julianf

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I can't help thinking that you should have used the CNC machine to drill the holes in the base... : )

(I realise the out of range ones would not be possible)

Have you chosen a spindle yet? I would have to recommend kress (who have just gone bust, but don't let that worry you!). I looked at my kress fme 800 unit the other day and saw the service sticker on it from about 5 years back. It sometimes runs 10 hr jobs back to back in a pretty grim environment (non ferrous, with cutting fluids) and I'm amazed it still lives. I have a spare fme 1050 waiting for it's demise. There is a registered kress agent who does repair work very very reliably too.

You can get Chinese spindles which would, on paper, seem preferable, but I can't see them lasting as long. The only issue with the kress units is that they are loud.
 

CHJ

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julianf":13dq1n6w said:
I can't help thinking that you should have used the CNC machine to drill the holes in the base... : )
Chicken and Egg situation & there's a risk the Chicken could have died of old age before we get there :)

julianf":13dq1n6w said:
Have you chosen a spindle yet?........
Nowhere near thinking about that yet, inundated with information from the FaceBook group and numerous internet sources in what is a new subject for me, last time I had anything to do with a 'Real' machine was to sort out the installation of something that arrived in a large packing crate as a result of a requirement requisition.
Will no doubt be shouting loud for guidance and recommendations as I get somewhere nearer the decision.

Thanks to those that have offered advice if needed so far both on line and behind the scenes.

Currently Negotiating the " How big is going to be" "How big's the power supply and computer bit" AND " Where is it going to live".
Anyone would think some folks around here have had experience in this field before.
 

julianf

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Have a look here -

http://thebeast.co.uk/?page_id=21

this is me, and the sort of stuff i do (not wood work related!)

So i have some experience of small scale cnc work. The machine that lot were cut on was built by me the best part of a decade ago. I may (or indeed, may not!) be able to answer some of your questions as they come up.
 

CHJ

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julianf":16zqzrla said:
Have a look here -
http://thebeast.co.uk/?page_id=21
this is me, and the sort of stuff i do (not wood work related!)

So i have some experience of small scale cnc work. The machine that lot were cut on was built by me the best part of a decade ago. I may (or indeed, may not!) be able to answer some of your questions as they come up.
Very professional standard output julian, It's almost certain I will need advice and guidance when I get nearer the working end of the build, just concentrating on the basic mechanical support stuff for the time being, then try to get my head around the electronics and stepper drive in this design, although I have good support on that side from family as it's basically the same as the printer that produced the bits so far, one of the main reasons for using this Root3 Light design.

As regards the choice of spindle driver, collets cutters etc. , I have a good understanding of the technology involved but no experience of the current standards and range of cutters etc. so will no doubt be shouting for recommendations from yourself and others to try and avoid buying something unsuitable.

Of course that area is inter related with the power supply (voltage/current) and the drivers, but not thinking too much about that until It gets to be a holding point.
 

CHJ

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Main Metal bits Cut to size, and Y Rails assembled ready for fixing.
Remembered to thread some wires through for limit switches etc. Overkill at the moment but easier to cut off surplus than dissasemble to add at later date.
YRails1.jpg
 

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CHJ

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Started assembling some of the more obvious bits so that I can plan a bit more on a sequence that may avoid having to disassemble because I forgot something that needs access to secure.
First Assembly Trials.jpg


One little interesting fact that emerged was that little nuts dropped carefully into cavities in sets of 4 or 8 have a penchant for falling back out when you turn the part over to trial fit in place.

Solution, use temporary plugs of coffee stirring sticks in loading cavities to keep them in place whilst you play and until screws are finally engaged.
nut wedges1.jpg
nut wedges2.jpg
 

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CHJ

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Progress is going to be slow with the rest of the mechanicals, some of the bits are on a slow delivery and I am ordering bits in series at each stage.

Supposed logic being that I will get some of the other tasks that are accumulating completed in parallel.
 

CHJ

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X Carriage fit started, running reasonably smoothly at this stage, so many minor variables that final running fit is sure to need tweaking, be interesting to see after Z Axis lead Screw and Motor Clamp rails fitted.

In the mean time, something to play with and wear in the rails.
X carriage ass1.jpg
X carriage ass2.jpg
 

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CHJ

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Lead Screw and Linear bearings arrived, so turned up the lower Lead Screw Collar.
LScollar.jpg

Not much else can be achieved until some more bearings arrive but at least there is progress.
Lead Screw.jpg
Z axis ass1.jpg
 

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CHJ

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Few more bits arrived to the mix.
22mm bearings.jpg


So they can be fitted in appropriate homes.
Lead screw top bearing.jpg
Y axis roller2.jpg
Y axis roller1.jpg


The Y axis Belt Roller fit confirmed a suspicion that the 45mm long coach bolts listed in the BOM were not long enough, so smartened up some standard 8mm bolts by thinning the heads down with a dome and giving a coat of paint.
Y axis roller bolts.jpg
Y axis roller bolts fit.jpg


The Limit Switches also arrived so fitting screws sorted and trial fits started.
microswitches.jpg


Noted that the images of final assembly show X axis limit switch wiring wrapped on the outside of the assembly so have tidied up that aspect by drilling a small duct hole angled down into the top tube access duct to thread wires through when the time comes.
limit switch2.jpg
 

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CHJ

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Not exactly a major advance, trial fit of Cable Drag Chains, (10 X 20mm core).
Cable drag1.jpg
Cable drag2.jpg

Subject to drilling a couple of holes in the separated ends (to avoid purchase of separate terminal ends) both pieces conveniently come out of a 1 metre length.
 

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CHJ

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Long time no input I guess, things got put on a back burner during a hectic summer.
However as the bulk of the electronics have now surfaced I must get round to acquiring a few circuit board sockets (if there aren't any in my 'might be useful' store) and some gears and make some progress on the wiring.

The Board has been loaded with the appropriate Marlin software and I have several programs loaded on a laptop to play with and hopefully at least be able to spin the steppers to prove things are working.

Actual handling of designs Cad Cam through DXF to Gcode etc. may take some time for me to get to grips with as my programming was last in service in Visual basic Fortran era. I need to spend some time playing with the various programs to see which one has menu options I can understand, that's some time off, at least I hope to have a working machine for someone to use.
I have enough problems trying to drive my cars navigation and infotainement system these days.
Talk of modifying code and different driver boards that may simplify the whole driving experience for me by the time it's mechanically sound I'm just putting on the back burner for the time being.

Steppers and electronics.jpg
Stepper motor.jpg
Boards.jpg
Power supply.jpg



Something that came to life when assembling and testing boards was that CAUTION was needed when fitting different (higher current drivers) the pin/component layout can differ and as there is no orientation key to the driver sub board assembly they can be installed incorrectly if following the original printer guide notes refering to driver orientation based on board component location.
 

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CHJ

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As there are a few days awaiting further component delivery. The need to sort out the power supply location and associated wiring to keep it away from any debris and reduce the birds nest potential of associated wiring saw today producing this.

Rather crude on the construction front, using scrap chipboard stock and spares from the might be useful hoard so apart from time and a smidgen of electricity nil cost.
Gap below draw showing draw runners not pretty but will serve as useful cooling air route to augment those in the base.

Pwr Base1.jpg
Pwr Base5.jpg
Pwr Base2.jpg
Pwr Base3.jpg


Just need to face the top edges with heavy duty felt to act as vibration damping.
Pwr Base4.jpg
 

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