Sunday, April 23, 2017

CNC Prototyper Update 2017, Part 1

So, with the addition of a manual mill and lathe to my workshop, I had to make some adjustments.

Space is a premium, so to bring those big machines in, things had to be rearranged, namely, my CNC prototyper.  You can see an older blog post of the previous configuration of the prototyper here.

Since the CNC prototyper had to be taken apart to move, I decided to upgrade it.  The cnc computer and bits are in disarray, so here's the "before" pictures.

The manual mill came in very handy, enabling me to cut, slot, and pocket the frame and axis face plates for a more solid mating.  Less movement means more accurate cuts.

  Here's a shot of my manual lathe, just because it's a big beautiful beast.
I like to say that my leaning CNC prototyper is a "lawnchair style" prototyper.  I did this to lessen the strain and bind of the vertical axis, using the same methodology of a slant-bed lathe.

Here. I've reworked the system from a pair of simple struts to a pivot arrangement.  Note the wheels on the side rails.  Those come into play later.

 X and Y axis (front and back, side to side) axes mated to each other and the frame.

 Part of the modification to the CNC prototyper was to add two lengths of aluminum extrusion to the X axis, like a conventional mill's table.  This will give me more flexibility in setting up work to be done.

 The old spoil board is added, and mounts to the new rail table.

 The Z, or vertical, axis is added.

 Now the spindle is put back in its mount.  This is a regular router, capable of using 1/2", 1/4", or 1/8" router bits.

 After a lot of tweaking and adjusting, the main prototyper assembly is done.  For now.  Or until I get another wild hair to change everything around completely.

On to the CNC controller box, the magic piece of equipment that makes everything move...

Things get hot, here, in the desert.  I already lost one power supply to overheating, so I raised the power supply up on a pair of risers inside the enclosure.

 I have an old pancake fan laying around from the time I repaired the kids' air hockey table.  I want to pull the heat out of this enclosure and keep my Gecko control board from frying.

 I lay out and drill a few holes in the enclosure.

 And it bolts up just nice.

 I add some feet to the bottom of the box.  Just simple bolts and nuts.  It lets air pass under the box instead of cooking on a wooden shelf.

 It all bolts back together, ready for action.

But wait, there's more!  Remember those wheels on the side...
 I bolt a few lengths of aluminum extrusion together.  This is a "sled" for the main prototyper assembly.

Note the stops in the railway...

 They are to keep the main assembly from rolling too forward, tipping on to the floor.  I can now lay the prototyper flat for setting up work...

 And tilt it back for cutting, lawnchair style!

All in all, I'm happy.  Not bad for a day's work in the garage.

Tomorrow, we wire everything up, and start making plans for an enclosure.

Stay tuned.

John Bear Ross
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