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Tools of the Trade If you have a question about what tools we use in creating our trucks here. Also discuss any tool experiences you have, the good the bad and the ugly! Hand tools to all out CNC machines!


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  #31  
Old 03-16-2013, 05:04 PM
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To my thinking getting up cheaply and running reliably and having a system that is interchangeable is the way to go. Breaking the bank and getting stuck in a single solution is the last thing you want to do.

Building the CNC mill showed just how frustrating going the Mach / parallel port route as it is complicated. Every mod seemed to take hours to figure out. Granted it can do amazing things, but a simple 3 axis machine isn't / shouldn't be complicated.

By contrast the 3d printer is a breeze. (granted I already have the CNC mill experience.) It's arduino interface is simple compared to the mill. No computer is required to run it after firmware setup is finished, the printer can run by itself. Slap in a SDcard and hit print. I can't even begin to describe how much better this setup is to actually use. I only have a 4 line lcd display with encoder but now people are able to use 4" touch screen full color interfaces.

I am tempted to make a 3d printed model of a router table as a test case. Make something that can take a 8x10 piece of paper and uses a pen as the head or something. I can use printer stepper motors and keep things super cheap to test the idea out. Anything I do buy will be spare parts for the 3dprinter anyways. It's an interesting idea anyways...

If a MDF router table allows you to get up and running easily and allows you to slowly replace it with alum or steel parts then it seems the way to go. Plus you'll be more inclined to make mods/ fixes.
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  #32  
Old 03-16-2013, 11:37 PM
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Interestingly, I have both a plastics supplier and aluminum source that are a lot closer than my MDF supplier.

I've been spending a little bit of time this afternoon looking at what kind of computer I want to run this. What's nice is there's a fairly new-to-me device out there that negates the need for a parallel port and it works awesomely with Mach 3. It's called a SmoothStepper from Warp9 Tech Design. There are two models: one using USB, the other Ethernet. If I want to use a more modern computer, this is a nice find.

Now, I do have two older machines - one a Pentium II-generation Celeron, and the other a first-gen Athlon - and either one should (theoretically) be good for running Mach 3. Trouble is, I'd rather not have either one of them anywhere near the dust I'll be making. I'd much rather have something passively cooled and doesn't have any moving parts. So essentially, I'd want a PC that looks like a big heatsink running an SSD. (One of those new Intel NUC motherboards with an Akasa Eula case would be perfect.) There are a lot of candidates for this, with more and more as time goes by, so I don't have a limited choice.
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  #33  
Old 04-15-2013, 10:54 PM
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A quick note on some recent research I've made. I'm looking at how I could implement these specialized aluminum extrusions as part of my build:

MakerRail It's 80/20-compatible aluminum extrusions with a special profile for delrin-rimmed V-bearings. You'd use this instead of bolting on ground steel rail stock. It's one less step in the construction/design process, and it's really inexpensive. If I were to be running a larger and much heavier machine, say 4' x 4' or bigger and cutting super dense wood or metals, the PhlatLabs Open Rail steel rail stock is what I'd probably use. VGrooveRail.com is also an option.
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  #34  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:28 AM
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heres a router table that I found interesting... The makerrail extrusion is interesting. Just wondering if you could make a large enough machine with it.




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  #35  
Old 04-16-2013, 08:55 AM
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^ Yeah, I've got that guy's videos in my CNC research folder, and I've watched them several times. It's a good looking rig. He's also building a Delta 3D printer.

If it hasn't been obvious, I really can't decide on a design with which to start my first machine. This is really aggravating. I've had a very serious nerve/joint injury to my right elbow related to my autoimmune problems recently, and the urgency to get this project running has stepped up. If I want to continue building things, especially if I'm forced to relocate to a much smaller workspace, this may well become the heart of my shop. What that means is I have to quit hedging and pick a design (even if it's my own) and go for it. I've resigned myself to learning Sketchup to work a lot of this out. If money were no object, I'd just buy a well-established kit and go from there. Unfortunately it is a serious object that's really more of an obstacle.
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  #36  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:16 AM
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Yah deciding which way to go is frustrating. It's a lot of money and once you start down a road theres not really any turning back without throwing away time and money.

Myself I want to cut 99% alum so I don't know if a mdf machine will take it for long. But I also don't have a lot of money to throw at a project like this to go all out either. So I keep researching...
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  #37  
Old 04-17-2013, 10:08 AM
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Based on how much I've worked with MDF in general, my instincts tell me that MDF wouldn't last that long. It might get you started, though. UHMW, HDPE, or maybe even thick phenolic plate would probably do better, and of course aluminum itself would be the best thing short of welded steel channel. Corian would work probably work well too.

Last night I went ahead and purchased the Momus CNC plans ($20), and while it's not a large or heavy duty machine, it definitely has some really interesting aspects. The plans are incredibly well done and very to-the-point. (The Solsylva plans in comparison were more of a doctorate thesis with a lot of theory and not as much practical application as I had hoped.) Stock, the Momus' cutting area is about 16" x 16", and if I do this one as my first machine I'd like to adapt that to 18" x 28" and use a 2.25HP router (Hitachi M12V, Porter-Cable 890-type, etc.) instead of a sub-1HP laminate trimmer router (ie. Bosch Colt, etc.).

There is a guy here on the forum, user "FLB", that used a Momus to cut out a scale VW Beetle floorpan out of aluminum for a Sand Scorcher project. Here's the thread: Aluminum Scorcher Chassis/Desert Build

Video of the thingy doing the jiggy:


And a couple more examples of Momus aluminum milling…


I guess it all comes down to feed rate and the right kind of cutting bit.
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  #38  
Old 04-17-2013, 10:32 AM
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Just printed off the Momus bill of materials so I have something to research during my breaks at work. The more and more I flip through the plans, the more I'm liking the idea of this being my initial CNC machine.
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  #39  
Old 04-18-2013, 09:11 AM
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Thats an interesting design, kinda half way between a wooden one and metal. Being completely enclosed might be frustrating if you want to work on a longer piece.

I like the belts (assuming they work out in the long run) as they would bring the cost way down over ball screws.
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  #40  
Old 04-18-2013, 09:43 AM
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The enclosure opens at the back, too, so a long piece can pass through. The wooden chassis is such that it's incredibly rigid. I think it's one of the reasons the aluminum cuts worked out well in the vids I posted. None of the moving parts are made of wood, so it would be much less prone to structural failure - I would have NO worries about building that part out of MDF. Just seal it thoroughly and it's all good.

The belts are used to drive Acme thread on the X and Y axes,* and I think the Z axis is direct drive to Acme. It's small enough that I don't think that upgrading to ballscrews would cost that much more. I've discovered that http://www.UGRACNC.com is a good place to get that stuff.

I've made my decision: this is the design I'm going with for machine #1. It's something I think I could build for under $2,000. Future rigs will be determined when I'm ready to do them (hopefully no later than 2014), but the Joe CNC 4' x 4' and the CNC RP platforms would be my only two serious considerations. I may just build as per the design without modifications. I would like to expand its cutting envelope a bit (24" x 28"), but I'll need to study everything fully several times to know where I have to add to things so I don't "under buy" materials.

* = Edit. Me being stupid. It is real belt drive, like you mentioned. The only Acme thread is at the Z-axis.
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  #41  
Old 04-18-2013, 09:44 PM
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Been doing some digging at Momus CNC's subforum over at CNCZone. Found a build thread where one user has expanded the size of the stock design. Some of the changes are pretty interesting.

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/momus_...o_version.html


As the thread develops, he's posted some really good images of what he's done, including eliminating the belt and incorporating direct-drive Acme thread on both sides of the Y-axis. The cutting envelope is 21" x 25".
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  #42  
Old 04-21-2013, 09:02 AM
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I'll be checking that thread out. I was thinking of doing something like the momus but with an aluminum chassis made up of 2x2.

Found a steal one I like: http://www.automatedwoodworks.com Tho my welding ability is about zero.
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  #43  
Old 04-21-2013, 11:15 AM
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Mine is less than zero. I can solder, but that's about it.

That's a pretty nice rig. Thanks for posting the link. I'm downloading the vid of the mainpage. I'm also poking around to see some more output examples with this tool.

UPDATE/EDIT: Just watched the vid. Very serious machine there. He's using a Porter-Cable 890 series VS router motor, which is a pretty nice router. Unfortunately, I cannot find any info on CNCZone under his username. I get a "Sorry - No matches" error.

EDIT 2: I've decided that their Search function is kacked, because no matter what I search for I get the error message. Here is one thread I found regarding the AWW design by doing it the Old Fashioned Way (aka. reading thread titles):
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/diy_cn...erational.html


Also, here's another guy that's expanded a Momus design. It gave me an excuse to make my first post on CNCZone.
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/momus_...mus_build.html
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  #44  
Old 04-21-2013, 08:29 PM
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Heres his build thread:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/open_s...oot_print.html
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  #45  
Old 04-21-2013, 09:42 PM
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Sweet. Thanks.
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