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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?
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  1. #1

    First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    I'm looking at building a router using parts mostly of AliExpress, I've listed them below. They all come in 'kits', ie the steppers come with everything needed to run them. It seems cost effective this way - are these chinese kits up to the task?
    Hoping to be able to work woods and plastic, with the goal of soft aluminium down the line. Would be very happy with 4 thou accuracy

    Spindle + VFD:

    1.5kW Square Body, Chinese, Ali Express ER11 Collet With VFD

    https://tinyurl.com/y8vdwslj $260 USD shipped

    Steppers:

    3 Axis Kit Nema 23 With power Supply With drivers With USB board

    https://tinyurl.com/y9yfq5vy $152 USD Shipped

    Linear Motion

    Lengths are ball park for now. Seems cost effective to go longer, but then the structure would be less rigid. need to think here.

    Linear rail, block and ballscrew kits 4x 1200mm rails with 8 blocks (x,y) 2x 300mm rails with 4 blocks (z)

    https://tinyurl.com/y7p6ctgp $418 USD shipped

    Total: 828 USD

    Questions

    As a starting point how does this look? Anywhere I could cut cost? anywhere I should spend more?
    For the Stepper Motors, am I correct in thinking that with the supplied USB board I should be able to control the steppers from mach3 USB?
    I've heard about smooth steppers - are these an alternative to the USB board? what is the point of them?
    Thanks for reading, any replies are massively appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi,
    I think the 3 axis kit is not the best choice. The drivers are the famed....or should that be infamous....TB6600....not the best. The smoke is still contained
    in the one pictured but its trying to get out, and it will. The motion control board is ****e.....variously called a RnR motion board, if you don't believe me
    have a look on the Mach3 Forum and see how many people struggle with them. The steppers look OK but there is no inductance specification,
    you absolutely MUST get low inductance steppers (1mH-2mH for 23 size steppers) or your machine ill be as slow as a wet week.

    While buying a kit is appealing, and the price is right, the kit supplier is relying on you not knowing about the ****e components he is selling you.
    My suggestion would be to buy individual components, it will be more expensive and time consuming but they will work properly whereas the
    kit you propose will work poorly at best.

    Craig

  3. #3

    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Craig,

    Many thanks for your input.
    Perhaps a stepper like this;

    https://tinyurl.com/ycvldddh
    1.8mH inductance listed, and a quick google for the R60 driver doesn't throw up any major issues.

    I'll give a further look into the spindle and bearings kits I posted, although I read encouraging things about them.

    Any recommendations on a USB control board? the PC I'm planning to use doesn't have parallel port.

  4. #4
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Do you have a design for the machine?

    Seems cost effective to go longer, but then the structure would be less rigid
    Longer bearings aren't less rigid themselves. Their rigidity is directly related to the rigidity of what they are mounted too. You can make longer beams just as rigid as shorter beams, but they usually just need to be larger.


    As for electonics, most Chinese kits are not very good. You get what you pay for.

    For the spindle, you want a 220V spindle with an ER20 collet, unless you are building a really small machine.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  5. #5

    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Ger,

    thanks for the input.

    Only thing for design I know is it will be moving gantry.

    Currently reading threads here about what materials to use.

    -Steel box tube + self level epoxy
    -al extrusions
    -al plates

    etc.

    I will have access to a manual mill to assist. Once I have the spindle/motors/rails selected and decided on which materials where the design should be pretty quick - im not looking to reinvent anything!

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi,
    you really need to look closely, the model stepper you linked to is 3Nm @ 3.2mH....and I'm of the opinion 3.2mH is too much, however they list a
    2Nm model (57A2) at 1.8mH, which would be acceptable. You have to pay very close attention to what the Chinese advertise, they often say one thing
    but you get another.

    Gecko have a deserved reputation for great stepper drivers, really reliable but not cheap. Look for 80V units and run them at 80V, the higher the voltage the
    faster your stepper will go without losing steps.

    Leadshine AM822's are capable units but about half the price of an 80V Gecko.

    The motion controller rather depends on what CNC software you want to use. The two most popular choices for hobbyists using a Windows platform
    are Mach3, or better yet Mach4, and UCCNC, both are good. LinuxCNC is another good choice but is of course on a Linux platform.

    Mach can be run on a number of external motion controllers from different manufactures, there is a choice ranging from cheap and troublesome Chinese
    controllers like the RnR one you have looked at to an Ethernet Smooth Stepper by Warp9, or any of the UCxxx series by CNCDrive, right up to Gallil at $2000 plus
    for a three axis controller.

    I myself use Mach4 and an Ethernet Smooth Stepper.

    Ger favors UCCNC software and that will run only on boards made by the same manufacturer, CNCDrive. The good news is their boards and software are very
    realistically priced, work well and are well supported.

    There is a long running argument over which is better Mach4 or UCCNC with neither faction really cleaning up........I think that both are very good.

    You'll find most external controllers are Ethernet connected, they have much lower latency and better noise immunity than USB connected controllers, so go
    Ethernet in preference to USB.

    Craig.

  7. #7
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Craig - UCCNC is board independent. I have not run UCCNC boards on any of my routers and it has worked on 4 different electronic systems. Cheers Peter

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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Peeteng,

    Hi Craig - UCCNC is board independent. I have not run UCCNC boards on any of my routers and it has worked on 4 different electronic systems. Cheers Peter
    That is not correct, there is UCCNC by CNCDrive which strictly requires one of their control boards, and another lesser known, maybe obsolete UCNC or similar name, very
    confusing, which would run on multiple controllers.

    Craig

  9. #9
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Craig - I've rethought that and yes the UCCNC has to use a CNCdrive motion controller. I use the UC100 motion controller. By "board" I was thinking of the motor controller Board or boards... opps.. There's a few boards in the vernacular.. Peter

  10. #10
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Peteeng,
    did Santa bring you anything interesting?

    I'm getting to the fun part of my new build, equipping the axes, setting up and tuning servos, just had both X and Y axes running at 25m/min, which is to my eyes
    flying.

    Craig

  11. #11
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Craig - My new workshop is Santas gift this year and its evolving. My first router was belt driven and it could run at 25m/min easily. I backed it off because it was a bit scary sometimes... For mould cutting in MDF 15-20M/min was good. Moulds take a long time unless you can go fast... Peter

  12. #12
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Peteeng,
    new workshop...sounds great.

    A supplier of electronic parts bought a second hand Yamaha Pick and Place machine and stripped it down for parts which left the table (1.1m x 1.3m on castors with adjustable feet when in
    position) and very substantially built, approx 300kg. They gave it to me, and its about perfect for my new mill. That was an unexpected and yet valued Santa surprise for me.

    My new build mill has cast iron axis beds of 100kg plus, and when its starts accelerating at 0.25g up to 25m/min you sure take notice!

    Craig

  13. #13
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Jason - Looking at your construction philosphy list:

    1) Standard steel tubes welded - main concern is distortion . Work needs stress relief. Self levelling epoxy I think is not the go IMHO but people do do it. If you are handy with oxy then brazing and braze welding solves a lot of problems. Epoxy joints these days can be considered they are damp and you have the opportunity to align things
    2) By alum extrusion I assume you mean construction extrusions not SHS or RHS. Construction extrusions are convenient but are expensive for their low stiffness and you are better off using std alum extrusions they are cheaper and stiffer. Welded or bolted is the question. Bonded joints are doable as well.
    3) Al plate construction (or steel plate or combo) has many advantages. Gives you control over geometry and thicknesses. Bolted construction is stiff yet damp... Assembly is adjustable so you can get things square with patience. Since you have mill access this is a top candidate in my books. Set all joints with loctite or epoxy and you have a very good machine
    4) I'd stay away from welded structures due to distortion. But if you work in small sections and true them on the mill then it can work.

    All of these issues come down to the accuracy you require in the final machine.... +/-0.1mm all methods are fine, +/-0.01mm care needed and stress relief of steel frames needed. +/-0.001mm everything needs care and absolute correct procedures at toolmaking levels.... you have to build the machine at 10x the accurately that you require to achieve your required tolerance.. good luck and Happy New Year 2021 Peter

  14. #14

    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Peteeng, Joe,

    Thanks for the pointers!

    Yes I was thinking Al plate construction as well. When you say set joints do you mean just standard threadlocking?

    I'd be very happy if I acheived +/-0.1 mm for my first machine! But like you said, having access to a mill, Al plate bolted is probably going to be my cheapest, easiest route as well!
    I'll start mocking up a design and post up in the coming week

    Cheers

    Jason

  15. #15
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    Re: First time build: thoughts on my preliminary parts list?

    Hi Jason - Yes threadlocking adhesive is fine. You can get a wicking adhesive that's good because you can place it along the edge after you have bolted up hard and it will seep into the joint and set it. Saves setting everything up getting it right then pulling it down and rebuilding to add the adhesive. Machined edges have small high points and these will bed down under bolt tension and use. Bolted edges should be stoned or wet and dried (lapped) before final assemble. Once assembled, aligned and "right" use 290 to set joint. Won't come loose .... Peter

    https://www.henkel-adhesives.com/au/...ctite_290.html

    see Katran thread

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