Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taig CNC Mill Modifications

I've been working on my Taig CNC mill, modifying it more for the type of work I do (prototyping in soft materials). I recently spent some time in the garage, while I could before the sweltering temperatures of spring and summer in southern Nevada force to stay indoors.

The first was an easy Y-axis extension. There are numerous ways to do this, most of which entail taking off the y-axis bearing block, adding a pair of spacers, and using a pair of longer fasteners to hold it together. I crudely saw-cut and hand drilled a pair of spacers from some one-inch delrin, but I wasn't satisfied with the results.

I was rummaging through the hardware in Home Depot one night (my idea of know you do it too). I was pleased to find a pair of spacers, 5/16" outer diameter, #10 inner diameter, and 1 inch long. I then found a pair of 1 and 1/2 inch 10-32 socket head bolts (stainless is all they had). Cost for the spacers was .98 each, and the two-pack of bolts was $1.16.

I took off my erzatz spacers, put the new components in, and everything bolted up nicely.

My big head-scratcher lately has been how to work opposite sides of a piece while retaining alignment and zero. My latest solution has been what can be best described as a "crib" fixture. It's a piece of delrin with the center cavity milled out. The sides are drilled on 1/2 centers on both sides, and tapped for 10-32 set-screws. The ends have a 5/16ths hole drilled in them, and the fixture is bolted directly to the face of the 4th axis by a long 5/16th fastener that travels completely through the center of the rotary table.

I did this so I can maximize my work area, reduce the chance of collisions with a 3 or 4-jaw chuck, and retain zero when I flip a workpiece.

Prep work for a piece will entail small 3/16 pecks on 1/2 centers on both sides of a piece of stock. Then, I bolt the piece into the fixture. Hopefully, I'll be able to mill one side, flip it 180 on the rotary axis, and mill the other side while retaining alignment. We'll see how it works.

That's all for now. Sculpting continues, but you'll have to wait for the results.

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