Posts Tagged ‘CNC’


New spindle, new Z axis, new towers, New Machine!

April 26, 2011

It’s been some time since I have updated on my CNC machine, and quite  a few changes to my machine have taken place.


The new Spindle and VFD was ordered from China. Its a 3KW air-cooled spindle with a matching 3 phase VFD. It will do any speed between 0 and 24,000 RPM.

Google G1 in there for scale...


Here she is mounted to the machine. The tapped bolt holes make for a quick and easy mount job. At first I had the unit plugged in backwards so as I was actually spinning the end mill backwards. That meant that it was simply burning through the material. Ha! After I flipped two of the three phase wires, she ran the right way and cut like a dream.

Note the updates. New Z axis, and fully alum towers.


Currently I am working on controlling the speed of the unit by communicating via RS485. I have a USB to RS485 converted, but the VFD appears to be not communicating properly.


In the meantime I have been working on a few secondary systems. I cut the probe mount on the unit itself out of HDPE. The homing switches have also been installed.

Cut on the machine out of HDPE (chopping board) Currently has a few 'noise' issues. Hope to fix it with shielded wiring.


New (new) Z axis begun

January 31, 2011

So, after I struggled with the flexibility of MDF for a while (the V-Groove bearings were working themselves loose) I decided to bite the bullet and begin the all-alum buildup. As a test, I decided to do the simplest part. The Z axis.

So, I got a 16mm sheet of 5083 Alum custom cut from Action Aluminum. It is 190mm x 300mm x 16mm.

I promptly drilled the holes,

Tapped the thread to accept 1/4 inch (V-groove bearings were bought in the US.)

And mounted it to the machine. I must say the rigidity has increased tenfold. Amazing.


Polycarb RC ship frame

January 16, 2011

Main frame with turrets, battery, some electronics and the CO2 cylinder attached.So, here we have the frame piece we have been designing for some time now. It’s really starting to come together. Some more work is needed, such as electronics wire routing, pneumatic routing and the ballast pump etc, but the basic shape is done. The frame ‘clips’ inside the hull so that we can quickly pull the frame out and work on it separate to the hull. Should make for easy modifications and maintenance.

The tail detail showing the remote rudder control, and the rear servo mount for the turret rotationSome detail of the rear section (stern that is). The yellow tube you see has a push-rod system in it, which allows us to remotely control the rudders. Hopefully as the rear sinks, the rudder control servo is still dry and hence the ship still functions correctly. Using polycarbonate means that the frame is bulletproof, and also makes maintenance easy because you can see any issues! This piece was milled on the CNC machine (Actually, it was milled incorrectly on the CNC machine, the next revision will be slightly taller.

Front detail showing the front servo mount, and the handles/access holes for the cylinder.Detail of the front of the ship showing the front servo mount (servo is a winch servo which permits full rotation of the turrets) and the access hole for the bottle and regulator. Here, you can also clearly see the detail of the cuts that are made with the CNC machine.

Using QCAD for the design, and Vectric Cut2D for the Gcode creation.Here, you can see the CAD design used to create the main central piece. Using a DXF compatible editor makes this process a snap.


New Z Axis mount

January 12, 2011

Switched on viewers will note that this photo is back-dated. Youc an see the dust collection system in the background.In the aim to make the Z axis a bit more rigid, I have created a new piece. It was milled on the machine itself, and then glued together. Seems to be much more rigid, and provides a better base for me to attach my soon to be dust collection system. Still have some flexibility in the axis which I hope to deal with one day by upgrading the bearing mounts to 8mm aluminum.


Finally cutting some polycarb!

November 15, 2010

So on Sunday, the machine did its first real cuts.

We started cutting some of the pieces of the ships, and I must say that it went very well.


Had a few problems with the grub screw in the coupler coming out. Not sure why, but it seems that the vibration might be loosening the grub screw, and then all of a sudden, a axis stops moving.

I’m looking at a few solutions for this, one being a mechanical join between the two X axis, another being a electronic solution, and also just simply using some locknut.

Anyway, the pieces came up quite nice.



Ready to rock

November 3, 2010

CNC version 2 is almost complete. I have wired up all the steppers, and bolted all the mechanics in place. (Sorry about the annoying time stamps.)

Anyway, should be cutting its first piece soon!


Quick conversion

October 25, 2010

So, I had a big DC linear power-supply that I picked up whilst I was in the states, but the problem was, it was built for 110volts (not 240volts like here in Australia). A bit of thinking later, and I popped the Toroidal Transformer out of its enclosure, and discovered its model.

Thankfully it was simply a matter of re-wiring the input so that it is in series, not in parallel, and I have a HUGE 40v power supply to use for the CNC machine. Sweet.


New towers for v2

October 5, 2010

So, worked on the machine tonight. The new towers have been built for a little while, but they were not bolted to anything. Now, the bearings have been attached, and the whole lot has been bolted to the Y axis.


I created new towers because the old ones were ever so slightly out of shape. The old machine had created them, and the racking caused them to be slightly off. Oh well. I remade the new ones by hand. They turned out pretty damn accurate.


CNCv2! (Or is that v3?)

September 15, 2010

So, after working with the CNC machine for some time, I began to realize just how useful it really is. I can literally sit inside at my desk, design something in solid-works, convert it to G-code in solid-cam, press go. I hear the unit outside kick in, the dust collection whirl up, and 10 min later it all shuts itself down with the part created. Its woodworking for lazy people.

So, to this end, I decided that this invention (OK, not really my invention, but my design) should be upgraded. Currently the machine has a theoretical accuracy of 0.07mm, but in reality, I am lucky to get accuracy of 1mm or so. This is because wood is simply too flexible and the weight of the unit can make the gantry rack quite badly.

A upgrade is in order.

So, I picked up some aluminum extrusion from a local company. Its the same stuff as 8020, but made by Bosch Rexroth. Some 3mm steel bar and a bit of a blue spray with the gravity fed sprayer (that I use to paint cars/bikes/trailers) and its starting to look awesome.

Current status…


Well, actually, these have all been screwed down now, but close enough.
Note the super awesome hold-downs. I picked these up to avoid having to screw each piece down every time I work on it. They are really strong and heavy.

Originally I was going to paint the towers blue, but now I am thinking black to make the blue on the rails stand out more. I’m going to have the machine re-make them anyway as they are about 1mm out of whack.

Anyway, thought you guys might like to see.

Gotta find some time to get to the bearing shop to get some thrust bearings…


Control Unit

May 19, 2010

So, I finally got around to taking a few shots of the control unit.

Starting from the top left, thats the opto-isolated relay control it turns the router/dust collection on/off.
On the right hand side is the breakout board. Basically a TTL level IO.
The three middle things are the stepper controllers. They are each connected to one of the 5 pin outputs on the side.
The funny looking red thing is my very own 5 way power regulator. It has 4 12v outputs (fans) and 1 5v output (relays).
Down the bottom is the power supply.
On the right is the main switch, and a handy status LED.
On the left are all the connections to the devices, including the 240vAC output for the router. (Shortly, the speed of the router might be controlled in software!)
On the top is the 60mm fan I whacked in there for good measure.

Still to be done are the home/limit switches, and actually wiring up the 12v heatsinks.

Thought you guys might like some pics…
You can see the new dust collection shield on this one. Works a treat. No longer does my router blow dust all over the joint. Now, the colelction unit sucks up 95% of the dust straight away. Need to get some brush seal stuff to stop the other 5%. You can also see the new e-chain being used on the Y axis. Much nicer. Also, the vertical brace is visible on the side of the machine. Seems to have tightened the machine up considerably.