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DIY-ish CNC Mini Mill

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BrewBeemer

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A 1964 9" x 42" Bridge with the old gearbox "X" feed that works, paid $900 with a 10" rotating vice. A court ordered auction must be removed within 3 hours of purchase. No one had a way to remove it I had my company Pitmann waiting outside. The owner of the building a family member let us in days before the auction nobody knew it had to be removed with a crane hence we snagged it. Many unhappy people would of bid on it.
With the 10" verticle / horizontal rotary table I machined out 24 rare BMW (car not bike) alloy rims this more than paid for the mill and rotary table hence a freebie.
Sad part is being disabled this time in my life I need to play.
 
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Yuri_Rage
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Speaking of wheel rims...I just finished my first 3D profiling project. It's a doo dad with no real purpose, but I thought it looked cool. I used WAY too many different cutters and machine operations to make it, but I learned a ton. I took plenty of video - I'll include lots of detail when I upload it.

 

BrewBeemer

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That looks trick, get into custom car rim centers my first thought.
Any materials these days like that chunk of aluminum is not cheap.
My fab shop friend made a classic style Coke bottle out of stainless
it looks like a chrome finish.
 
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Yuri_Rage
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If I'm going to do any production work, I need to upgrade the spindle motor and bearings. It's gutless, and I'm pretty sure the bearings are already beginning to destroy themselves. You'll see and hear that in the video tomorrow - tons of tool chatter with a 3/8" ball mill, regardless of the feed rate. On top of that, I almost stalled it once.
 

rustbucket

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lol, if you can get your hands on master cam, its awesome... lol, i had to learn g code in school boy did that suck... (note im only 24)
 

BrewBeemer

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Bridgeport, problem solved.
With the economy being bad the past 4-5 years this is the best time
to pick up machinery at a low price, take advantage of it if you can.
Sad that many shops and large businesses have closed their doors.
Once you have the machinery the dang tooling costs more than the machine.
 
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Yuri_Rage
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Oh, I know all about tooling cost. The good thing about this little mill is that it has an R8 spindle. All of my tooling should work nicely in a bigger, better machine.

I'd love to use MasterCam, but it is WAY too expensive for a hobby machinist.

rustbucket, I bet you're glad you know a bit about G code. Without knowing the basics, it would be nearly impossible to track down a CAM post error. Also, sometimes I find that it's easier to write short bits of G code by hand rather than going through the whole CAD/CAM process in order to make a simple part.
 
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Yuri_Rage
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Well I would be interested as soon as you start doing it.
Well, I meant that I had a design in mind for my own brewhouse sign. However, I suppose I could be persuaded to do a few of them for a small fee. The fee wouldn't be so small if the sign had to be finish sanded, stained, and clear coated - that's WAY too tedious of a way to spend my free time.
 
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Another 3D project - a gas cap for the motorcycle. This took about 6 hours of machining time to complete. I need to clean it up a bit before installing it. You can easily see why I hate splined arc approximations if you look at the way light reflects off the circumference.

I used Sketchup again for the model, then mostly MeshCAM for the G code. The outer circumference was cut with code from CamBam, since it supports ramped lead-ins.

 

r8rphan

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Yuri... I've also been addicted to the idea of this for many years.. It first started when I saw an early version of torchmate...

I've been wanting a cnc plasma table ever since..

But this past summer, I've decided to finally get off my arse and go for it (well, being in construction in NorCal, the economy decided for me)...

I'm currently collecting materials (and clearing room in the shop) for my first build which will be a heavily beefed up solsylva cnc router table.. designed to handle full sheets of 4' x8' stock (and then some), but it will have steppers, racks and pinions, drivers, power supply, gear reductions, etc. all intended to be later used on a full sized MechMate table... It will also be far heavier and beefier in structural design than the standard solsylva..

The idea is to use the first build to be up and running in a shorter period of time with a smaller output of moola, so that I can start making and selling product, then build another table that will be strictly plasma, after which I can build the MechMate and transfer the important parts over from the solsylva table...

It's been a lifelong dream of mine to do small scale manufacturing from home.. The idea of my morning commute involving pouring a cup of joe and walking out to the shop is appealing in so many ways.. especially with the rising costs of fuel, and my living in the sticks...

Also, the more hobbies like brewing I have (I'm into music/recording, woodworking, off roading/jeeps, church, camping/fishing, sports, etc... and want to get back into bracket racing, among other things), then the more potential markets and product idea fields that are available to me...

It's not at all surprising to me, to find people interested in the DIY CNC thing here at HBT.. The DIY mentality and creative desire is common across many hobbies like Home Brewing...

Good Job... Can't wait till my first incarnation is up and running...
:mug:
 

TimWeber

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Yup, I want to be Yuri when I grow up too! That HMI make the project rock even harder!

Funny I was just talking about doing this with some buddies a few months ago. This might be the first thing I do after finally finishing my brewing rig.
 

Mista_Sparkle

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could you not define your path in an axial direction? I made a mini wind turbine once and used a pattern with my cuts basically tangent to the blades. it seems like in an application like this you would have a more consistent finish with you tool marks in the same relative direction.

neat though. keep up the projecting...
 

bendiy

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Nice work Yuri, I've always wanted to do this as well. Can your mill work on steel?

Now this is what I call CNC porn:

 
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I've done a few parts in steel. It takes a long time since the cuts have to be so light.

Here's my Sunday afternoon tinkering, borne of boredom and procrastination:

 
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Yuri_Rage
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The laser was an eBay find. It's a 1W 445nm blue diode with an Aixiz housing and Flexdrive board. It was sold as an assembly for about $100. I mounted it in the heat sink you see in the video.

I've used it to engrave wood and plastic. It is not powerful enough to do any bare metal engraving. I tried cutting thin ABS plastic, but the result was rather ugly. It does a very nice job cutting vinyl stickers.

It is SUPER bright. A direct hit in the eyes would cause almost instantaneous damage. Even looking at the spot at close range without eye protection is enough to cause injury. I use red laser safety glasses (wavelength specific protection) when working with it, and even that makes me nervous. I usually leave the room while the program runs.

These diodes are extremely popular with hobbyists because of their high power output. You can find them in various states of assembly at several websites. I took this one outside at night, checked the sky for any aircraft overhead, and then shined it at some stars. It looks like a light saber! You can easily see the beam, and it appears to terminate at infinity. VERY cool...but VERY dangerous.
 
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Another short video - machining some steel this time.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s5QkspyhQw]X2 CNC Machining 4130 Steel - YouTube[/ame]
 

Seabee John

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Yuri,
holy cow man have you been at it... awesome! I guess I haven't been paying much attention since I was off tinkering with my own CNC project:





I've been a carpenter for a lot of years, ever since I saw my 1st CNC router, I've wanted one. So I said "f" it and built one. It's got a 32 x 54 inch usable bed, 5 usable inches of z travel. The entire gantry system was cut using a scrap wood mock-up gantry I started to build to go to school on.

Now that I've seen your laser setup, I want one! I may have to pick your brain a bit if you don't mind
 
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Yuri_Rage
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v2.0 is in the works!

4 axis G0704 mill (a la Hossmachine - THE pioneer with these little mills!)
Custom modular control station (I want to build a router/plasma table and use the same electronics to drive it)
Major parts from CNC Fusion, CNC4PC, and Automation Technologies (Keling)

The control station is almost complete, but I'm awaiting parts before the machine will do anything other than manual milling.

 

bottlebomber

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This is awesome! I've been yearning for a machinist geek thread! Really cool set up. I run 5 axis lathes, dual spindle and horizontal mills all day but for some reason this is the coolest thing ever. Really great work your doing. I would love to have something like this some day.
 
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tj - nice! I've looked over the free MechMate plans and didn't really like them. I'd rather use real linear bearings than skateboard parts. Your designs are pretty innovative with the bolt-together scheme. I'm likely to weld a platform, use cylindrical linear bearings for the gantry, and use flat bar slats that will work for plasma but also support a table for router work. An interchangeable plasma/router mount on the z-axis should be easy enough. I plan on using stepper driven belts/pulleys to the max extent possible for a big table like that. Servo/closed loop control will likely remain out of grasp.

bb - I'd love to be able to run a 5-axis machine someday. Even more, I'd like access to the software you guys use. I've done some pretty advanced stuff with the open source and hobby oriented stuff, but nothing compares to a true, industrial grade CAD/CAM integrated system. Regardless, I'm having a blast with this stuff.
 
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