Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«40 »
  • Post
  • Reply
rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


and by 'the rotor way' i of course mean 'cheap and halfassed.'

A while ago - maybe a year or so - I started getting interested in machining metals. My dad was a machinist, his dad was a machinst, and before that I dont think there were machines so great-granddad was a stonemason. Anyway, I sort of felt a genetic obligation at some point to make things from metal. At first it started out with the idea of making little aluminum replacements for lego parts like this guy and then I found this page and then the obsession really went into high gear from there.

I really had no idea where to start, but this page really lays it out nicely. More than anything else, that dude set me on the path to setting up my stuff. Most of it's geared towards milling molds for plastic parts, but the intro part is solid gold.

So after like 8 months of hemming and hawing I took the plunge on my birthday and ordered a taig micro mill set up for CNC, a gecko g540 to control the motors (along with 3 280oz motors to control) and a power supply to drive the whole thing. I dug up an old thinkpad and dock that had a parallel port, put linuxcnc on it and BAM, that was about it.

all told, this came to around ~1500 and after a couple hiccups and after a household emergency put a stop to all fun for about a month or two, it was all assembled and functional.

Here's a picture of it before it was all wired up:



So far i've done mostly manual milling using an old game controller and this, which is sort of hilarious but works ok when you're just eyeballin stuff. I've made a few basic actual CNC'd parts and have done a lot of engraving using simple v-bits and some some free software. For instance, here's 'yospos' engraved into some scrap wood. You can do the same with aluminum, you just have to go slower:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QKl0TAULT8
WARNING: VIDEO IS LITERALLY FIVE AND A HALF MINUTES OF A NOISY MACHINE AND lovely CAMERAWORK

Anyhow, there's that. I'll try to update the thread now and again with stuff i've discovered or made or whatever, but i'm super lazy so i probably wont. I mostly made this thread because I think people have the idea that CNC is hard or new-car kind of expensive. It really ain't.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

UberVexer
Jan 5, 2006

I like trains

That's a pretty neat machine, do you have a rotary indexer for it? You could machine some neat rounded parts, like bats and whatnot using it.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


UberVexer posted:

That's a pretty neat machine, do you have a rotary indexer for it?

no, the 4th axis was like ... $600 or something, and a simple rotary indexer wasnt that much less.

quote:

You could machine some neat rounded parts, like bats and whatnot using it.

you mean bats like baseball bats? that's a lathe thing.

Spring St
Dec 4, 2008

lordamercy

What kind of CAD/CAM software are you using? There's no such thing as a freeware Mastercam is there?

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


Spring St posted:

What kind of CAD/CAM software are you using? There's no such thing as a freeware Mastercam is there?

this is really the weak point and I wish I had a better answer. I'm super lovely with CAD so I haven't made anything in CAD myself yet. As for CAM, I halfassedly tried to pirate rhinocam but gave up after a minute or two and used Cambam: http://www.cambam.info/ it does some pretty adequate things like drill holes here here and here, mill a pocket there, stuff like that. That's really where the learning curve is for me - drawing that stuff is hard, and figuring out what proper speeds are so simple parts don't take an hour while it moves around at an inch a minute because I punted and played it super safe or whatever.

kafkasgoldfish
Jan 25, 2006

God is the sweat running down his back...

rotor posted:

this is really the weak point and I wish I had a better answer. I'm super lovely with CAD so I haven't made anything in CAD myself yet. As for CAM, I halfassedly tried to pirate rhinocam but gave up after a minute or two and used Cambam: http://www.cambam.info/ it does some pretty adequate things like drill holes here here and here, mill a pocket there, stuff like that. That's really where the learning curve is for me - drawing that stuff is hard, and figuring out what proper speeds are so simple parts don't take an hour while it moves around at an inch a minute because I punted and played it super safe or whatever.

There's an app called G-Wizard that helps with calculating speeds. I don't believe it is free but it is probably worth the investment. Here's a link to a part of a video where the guy walks through using it for a particular setup.

edit: http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Xa0PMHM1U#t=90s

kafkasgoldfish fucked around with this message at 05:10 on Jul 9, 2013

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012





Gravy Boat 2k

RhinoCAM is the best CAM software I've yet tried. It's expensive, but not hideously so. It is pretty weird that there's no good free 3-axis CAM software available, though...maybe with all the 3D printing someone will get around to writing something?

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


pycam is alright i guess sorta but it expects a dxf or stl or whatever. the nice thing about cambam is it can do stupid things like bolt hole layout and slotting and simple poo poo like that on its own.

last I checked rhinocam was $1k+, which counts as hideously expensive to me. if you know somewhere to get it cheaper, make with the links.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


Sagebrush posted:

It is pretty weird that there's no good free 3-axis CAM software available, though...maybe with all the 3D printing someone will get around to writing something?

its like the only thing i've been even a little bit interested in trying to write in my spare time for like 5 years.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


cant say enough good things about linuxcnc tho, poo poo owns.

Sir Cornelius
Oct 30, 2011


Freemill isn't too bad. http://mecsoft.com/freemill/

mafoose
Oct 30, 2006

volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and vulvas and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dongs and volvos and dons and volvos and dogs and volvos and cats and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs and volvos and dogs


I have a student version of solidworks and HSMworks is free CAM plugin for it.

In regards to G-Wizard, I dislike that it is subscription based, so here is an online alternative for free:
http://zero-divide.net/?page=fswizard

Other than that I have a version of EZ Cam that fits in a floppy that I got from a coworker. It's really old, like late 90s old, but it works alright, but only up to windows XP.

Haven't found something that matches the simplicity of the OMAX Make CAD software. EZ Cam comes close, as does Mastercam v9, but both of those are stupidly expensive.
I'm going to have to check out freeMill, that looks interesting.

Cool setup! I have a Sherline 2000 with IMService servo setup. I got it none running on craigslist for $900. I've got it running but the lead screws need replacing as the PPO did circuit boards with it. Luckily it's not very expensive.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


mafoose posted:


Cool setup! I have a Sherline 2000 with IMService servo setup. I got it none running on craigslist for $900. I've got it running but the lead screws need replacing as the PPO did circuit boards with it. Luckily it's not very expensive.

sweet. post some pix bro.

Comatoast
Aug 1, 2003


I just got myself a shopbot 4'x8' cnc router. It's not homemade, and I'm using it for work and play. Do I still get to participate here?

It's by far the most awesome and obvious thing ever. I can't believe I have been using table saws and hand tools for so long.

For a little content: Has anyone found a source for ready-to-go CAD or gcode files? I'd like to cut myself out a new cabinet for the sink in my bathroom.

oxbrain
Aug 18, 2005

Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip and come on up to the mothership.


I'm halfway through building a probotix cnc router. It's all assembled and the motors move, but I haven't got the spindle mounted and my wiring is dangling everywhere. I've only got a 12"x18" cutting area.

I threw a quick program together for you. 8x6 piece of wood, only cutting .01 deep. XY zero is lower right corner, Z zero is top of stock. Small(1/4" or less) engraver or ball nose endmill will work.

This is with a shopbot post I found. Their code looks really loving weird.
http://ppl.ug/Nmhox8Noz6w/

Here it is in generic g-code.
http://ppl.ug/8rBDqUxTh08/

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012





Gravy Boat 2k

Yeah, ShopBot code is bizarre. It has one feature that I like a lot: you can specify a circle with a center point and radius rather than the circular interpolation arcs that you need to use in G-code. For everything else, though, it's just weird.

Luckily, all ShopBot machines should read g-code provided you don't use any weird manufacturer-specific stuff.

johnnyonetime
Apr 2, 2010


fellow CNC dudes

I build a 4' x 8' CNC table from scratch and I've been using it for about a year now.

I found the best combo of software to be:

Mach3 (http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/) - GCode Interpreter

Vectric VCarve Pro (http://www.vectric.com/products/vcarve-pro.htm) - Desktop design software

I'll design my pieces in VCarve, export them to GCode and take the GCode out to the garage via thumb drive and load it up in Mach3 to do the actual cutting. Another thing I like about VCarve, I can send a JPEG proof to customers showing what it will look like before I cut the project. Plus the software is so easy to use, I have made a lot of one-off designs right in VCarve with the measure tool and they've come out great. You can specify circles by radius or diameter, X and Y distances for squares and rectangles. They have tools that can cut away lines, so you just overlay circles, squares and lines and clip away the excess to get your desired shape. It can do 3-D carving if you are into that, as well a drill patterns, nesting, etc. It's a simplified CAM program but very powerful.

Mach3 shows the GCode flying by as it executes it, but I haven't the slightest on how to read it myself.

CNC Mancave
(I took a Ron Swanson pic found online, converted to vector, imported into VCarve and cut that out of 1/4" MDF and painted)

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


V-Carving is super cool. I was really surprised by how crisp the corners got. Here's how to use FEngrave with a random SVG file.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhc_1kfS3ck

helno
Jun 19, 2003
hmm now were did I leave that plane

I have been running a very light duty foam cutting machine for a few years now. Occasionally I cut tougher stuff like G10 but it is not really meant for that.

Turn down your volume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6edHmzVR_mg

I work mostly in google sketchup and the designer of the CNC machine I own developed a free CAM plugin to work with it.

http://sketchucam.jimdo.com/ it generates standard gcode that should work with just about any contoller.

http://www.planet-cnc.com/ Controller I am using. Works really well easy to calibrate and setup.

Tres Burritos
Sep 3, 2009



helno posted:

I have been running a very light duty foam cutting machine for a few years now. Occasionally I cut tougher stuff like G10 but it is not really meant for that.

Turn down your volume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6edHmzVR_mg

I work mostly in google sketchup and the designer of the CNC machine I own developed a free CAM plugin to work with it.

http://sketchucam.jimdo.com/ it generates standard gcode that should work with just about any contoller.

http://www.planet-cnc.com/ Controller I am using. Works really well easy to calibrate and setup.

Is that using like ... rollers as one of the axises? I've never seen something like that before.

helno
Jun 19, 2003
hmm now were did I leave that plane

That is exactly what it does.

It looks to me like they liked the idea behind a pen plotter and ran with it.

Does a pretty good job on large sheets of materials which was the design goal. It has limitations such as x axis skew when the foam board is uneven side to side.

Olympic Mathlete
Feb 25, 2011



I would loving ADORE an 8'x4' CNC machine, I make speakers as a hobby and it would be a dream to just tap some numbers into a laptop and sit back as the machine did 99% of the work for me. Actually first up I'd adore the space to actually have one sit, living in a Victorian era English house means there's not much room and workshop/garages tended to be tiny. A 4x8 sheet is most of my garage floorspace.

...so until I can afford a) room and b) a machine I will look through this thread and dream.

Ferremit
Sep 14, 2007
if I haven't posted about MY LANDCRUISER yet, check my bullbars for kangaroo prints

A good mate of mine decided that rotary cutting was old tech, so he built himself a Carbon Dioxide Laser powered CNC machine.

Will happily cut holes through perspex and MDF, but anything steel is starting to get to requiring a laser thats 1) drat expensive, 2) drat dangerous and 3) makes government agencies look at you funny.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

rotor,

It's time for you to start cutting foam, build a foundry, and start doing lost-foam casting! Or, you could get yourself some machinable wax...

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012





Gravy Boat 2k

Ferremit posted:

A good mate of mine decided that rotary cutting was old tech, so he built himself a Carbon Dioxide Laser powered CNC machine.

Will happily cut holes through perspex and MDF, but anything steel is starting to get to requiring a laser thats 1) drat expensive, 2) drat dangerous and 3) makes government agencies look at you funny.

Cutting steel with a laser is the same as cutting steel with a torch or plasma cutter -- the actual cutting is done with oxygen, not heat. The (laser/torch/electric arc) heats the metal until it's glowing, and then an oxygen or air blast through the center flashes the hot steel into iron oxide (chemical reactions take place faster at high temperatures). The iron oxide melts at a lower temperature than the steel so it instantly liquefies and gets blown out the bottom of the cut.

So basically if you have a 100W+ laser you can probably cut thin sheet steel with it, if you have a good oxygen assist system.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


AbsentMindedWelder posted:

rotor,

It's time for you to start cutting foam, build a foundry, and start doing lost-foam casting! Or, you could get yourself some machinable wax...

lol

i think so far on my TODO list is:

1) clean up all this loving wiring and get some kind of halfassed enclosure so the chips dont end up 12 feet away
2) mill up some workholding clamps like so: http://www.cad2gcode.com/cncprojects/id14.html because my current solution sucks
3) make some wood planes
4) make a decent enclosure for the power supply and controller

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


this dude pisses me off so bad.

look at this loving immaculate workshop:


look at all these loving vises:

that's like 10% of his vises and they're not even the nice ones

look at this loving bandsaw just lopping off a bigass hunk of 5" steel round, you know, no big deal, whatever:


just look at this poo poo http://www.micro-machine-shop.com/M...oto_Gallery.htm

i need to be retired like loving asap

Tres Burritos
Sep 3, 2009



Speaking of assholes with super nice shops, I really enjoyed reading this guys:

http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/gcnc/

stuff.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


Tres Burritos posted:

Speaking of assholes with super nice shops, I really enjoyed reading this guys:

http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/gcnc/

stuff.

i linked that page in the OP. More than anywhere else its the page that set me down the road with this stuff. I didn't see any photos of the dudes shop tho - where they at?

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


rotor posted:

this dude pisses me off so bad.

look at this loving immaculate workshop:


look at all these loving vises:

that's like 10% of his vises and they're not even the nice ones

look at this loving bandsaw just lopping off a bigass hunk of 5" steel round, you know, no big deal, whatever:


just look at this poo poo http://www.micro-machine-shop.com/M...oto_Gallery.htm

i need to be retired like loving asap

as far as i can tell this fuckhead has like SIX rotary tables

dude's all "sure, rotary tables are nice, but what's really nice is mounting a rotary table onto another rotary table"

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004



College Slice

hey rotor I worked a cnc router for 6 and a half years so if you need hot tips don't be afraid to ask. I "worked" woods plastics and metals and can say that officially steel is harder than aluminium, copper is poo poo to cut and resin/epoxy things smell bad and cut very slowly

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004



College Slice

the part I miss the most is being able to make virtually anything during my lunch break. I want to make a sub box for my car and I could have cut the entire thing with pilot holes and be completely ready to assemble in one hour but now I'm gonna have to do with a saw and the edges will be horrible and it'll just plain suck and never mention being able to buy materials through work

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


yeah, i'm finding materials to be the hardest thing. I've got some stuff off amazon but OOF like $40 or something for 2x2x12 aluminum bar. I've turned into some sort of weird hobo constantly going over trash piles looking for any metal over 1/8" thick and destroying old printers for the sweet, sweet steel rods and gears contained within.

I dont know if anyone else here has a taig lathe or mill but here's a cool guy with both:

http://toolingaround.ca/

Tres Burritos
Sep 3, 2009



I've always thought that this might be an acceptable way to get yerself some aluminum in bar form.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


maybe. i'm in a dense urban environment tho. I have a garage, and i do have a tiny, postage-stamp sized yard, but I think my neighbors would finally revolt if I started an aluminum forge in my back yard.

Wanderless
Apr 30, 2009


Look in the yellow pages or an electronic equivalent for metal recycling places. They will frequently save large/useful chunks of scrap and offer them for sale at just over what they would get sending it off to a foundry. There's a place I go that offers aluminum at ~$1/lb and I've seen 3'x3' precision ground .5" plate, 3-6" diameter round stock, and all sorts of interesting things in their save pile. Most of the stuff is 2-3' long at the largest, but it is absolutely worth the few minutes of calling around if you hit a place that has a decent stash.

johnnyonetime
Apr 2, 2010


Hate to see this thread go stale, here goes:



Well the day I was dreading finally arrived. I built this big rear end CNC machine and never considering the muscle needed to move it. I lived in this large metal barn (pictured) for about a year and assembled the machine. Finally closed on a house in the burbs. Here is the 6x10 machine on a full-sized car hauler trailer from U-Haul. After much grunting and swearing my buddy and I man handled it into the new house's garage.

Surprisingly nothing was lost barreling down the highway and I had to do minor adjustments to get it back into alignment. The whipping wind blew all the sawdust out of the nooks and crannies. Fun!

Martytoof
Feb 25, 2003

 
 


Hey guys,

I'm building a small-ish CNC to do PCB milling since I absolutely loathe working with PCB chemicals.

Is there a good guide to picking a diameter for a certain length of linear rail so it minimizes flexing along the rail's length? I'm planning on having a stationary gantry supporting the head and having my work surface moving on one axis, but that obviously presents some problems if the rails will exceed X length, being supported only on either end.

I haven't really worked out any dimensions yet, I'm just at the planning stage. DIY CNCs are literally everywhere on the web, but the problem is that there's almost TOO much information leading to overload paralysis.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


speaking of pcb, here's a taig modified to be a pick & place machine. the motors sounds all weird but iunno

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__dEMKzkLYc

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Martytoof
Feb 25, 2003

 
 


Sounds like some weird resonance in one of the axes but nothing terrible. The vacuum pump is much more annoying

Neat idea in theory, but too slow to be really useful IMHO. I can place parts by hand a little* faster than that.



* a lot

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«40 »