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IndustryArena Forum > WoodWorking Machines > DIY CNC Router Table Machines > Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?
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  1. #1
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    Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?

    Hi guys, I have a problem renting or finding a place to run my homemade CNC machine to cut foam... so the only solution Ive come up with is doing it in a cheap van... sealing the space into two sections and running the machine with the power source supplied from a generator.

    My question is will any low end generator be able to power the following setup?




    Things needing electricity

    Router - power 9.5A motor, 1-3/4 hp
    CNC electronics and motors - Kelling kit with ~380 oz motors.
    ............3 NEMA 23 Motors
    ............36VDC/ 9.7A Power Supply 110VAC/220VAC
    ............GeckoDriver

    Mini computer tower
    Lap top - networked as monitor

    Small vacuum, but not necessary.

    Misc power rating chart

  2. #2
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    You're going to need an inverter type generator for sine wave output. Either that or some type of power conditioning device plugged into a conventional generator. At which point you would be further ahead buying a Honda 2000i or 3000i. Regular generators output is nowhere "clean" enough to run computers/electronics.

  3. #3
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    Waa? So you've looked into a VFD and sound dampening?

  4. #4
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    I live in an apartment and the main issue is the CNC being way too large to fit the storage room... I also have concerns on where the toxic fumes would end up if perfectly vented out through the bathroom vent.

    My CNC http://i.imgur.com/qDWFi8e.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by RJAZE View Post
    You're going to need an inverter type generator for sine wave output. Either that or some type of power conditioning device plugged into a conventional generator. At which point you would be further ahead buying a Honda 2000i or 3000i. Regular generators output is nowhere "clean" enough to run computers/electronics.
    Thanks a lot! I also see that these Honda's are very quiet compared to the rest.

    Im going to try to calculate the total watts and amps needed tomorrow... unless you guys think it should be well under 2000 watts?

  5. #5
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    Keep in mind the 9.5 amps is full power rating. If you cut only foam the router would consume considerably less, especially if you reduce the speed with something like the Super-PID. I bet you can get away with 1-2 amps.


    I don't know if you have the components already but if you optimize the router/spindle and motion parts for power consumption you may be able to get away with a stronger alternator and a power inverter.
    Box Joint and Dovetail CAM software here: WWW.TAILMAKER.NET

  6. #6
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    I have a dewalt 611 and it has a peak power usage of a 1.25 horse power.
    One HP is 800 watts. The Kilowatt meter on my CNC setup says my steppers powered by a 48 volt 8 amp PSU,
    the 8 year old P4 desktop, the LCD screen, the dewalt 611, and the 3 watt work light use under 250 watts!
    That's with me routing hardwood with a .25" bit at 130 IPM with .13 DOC at .24 stepover.
    Finally I've never cut foam but I don't think there will be toxic funes unless you melt it.
    Particulate from cement dust to wood chips can be easily removed with a $60 vortex separator and a HEPA rated vacuum. I use my dust deputy with a cup grinder for leveling concrete floors and a shop vac, and I also use it on my CNC machine. The bag lasts hours with the separator.

  7. #7
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    If your going to run this at home, can't you just get an extension cord? Or are you taking it camping?

  8. #8
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    Re: Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?

    I'm interested in learning more about this concept. But specifically with an RV power inverter installed in a cargo van. Could it really be as simple as going with a pure sine wave inverter with the correct amps and some deep cycle batteries? Or will some sort of power line filtering/conditioning be necessary?

  9. #9
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    Re: Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?

    I got a generator but have been set back to finishing my CNC. I wonder what a dirty power source can do the electronics other then the computer.
    Myself I will be running my system off an old business class IBM laptop (with a printer port) so clean power may not be necessary.
    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...lyaWV2RE9SSDVB
    Quote Originally Posted by packrat View Post
    If your going to run this at home, can't you just get an extension cord? Or are you taking it camping?
    I may not be able to run it in a backyard... so yes driving out to somewhere secluded is the other solution on my budget.

  10. #10
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    Re: Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?

    i was thinking the same thing with a printer and a citroen 2cv. i do have a van for the family and also run a pc with two separate screens ( 15.6 & 7" touchscreen) back on 2014 i found it is a good idea to plug it in the 12 volt ( you will need to raise on 24v or 36v) . the pc was a mini itx with mobile cpu so it wasn't the problem. the problem is that the 3dprinters needs lot of power due the heated bed and chamber, but that car could give only some amps that wasn't enough .

    what i am trying to tell is that i think for a small cnc it is possible to get powered up through the cars electric system with some additions as a solar panel and some more batteries . but i saw that you have already bought ur generator.

  11. #11
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    Re: Running my CNC machine in a van with a portable gas generator?

    The motors will probably be using the most power and I havent soldered in the capacitors that stops the motor from taking in power when not in use... but I wonder if continuous use of power from all three motors might keep a more steady power draw from the generator.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by laminated View Post
    I'm interested in learning more about this concept. But specifically with an RV power inverter installed in a cargo van. Could it really be as simple as going with a pure sine wave inverter with the correct amps and some deep cycle batteries? Or will some sort of power line filtering/conditioning be necessary?
    I've been building a machine specifically to fit in the back of a short bed or cargo van. From memory I think the controller is drawing 400 watts. With spindle and small computer I would expect it to be under 2 kilowatts. I can't seem to find any reason why a 2kw pure sine wave inverter wouldn't be perfectly suitable. Definitely looking for feedback or any suggestions on this. I'm still weighing the pros and cons of deep cycle verse lithium dry cell batteries and whether or not I should go with a 200 or 400 watt solar setup.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FB_IMG_1522270839868.jpg   FB_IMG_1522270830322.jpg  

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