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  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    0

    CNC Router/Mill

    Hi all, im new around here and have been looking around alot at making my own CNC Miller, my original plan was to get another bridgeport and convert to run on the EMC software. That quickly went out the window as i have no where to store one, nor the money to rent. So that lead onto building one, I think i have a basic understanding of how itll all go together but i dont know any specifics really, my background is all mechanical engineering with no knowledge whatsoever on the electrical side of things, alot of the parts id be able to get from work i think such as lead screws and motors and the such like but i was wondering which kind to get etc?

    Ive read that its possible to use the stepper motors from printers and possibly the rails too? is this a viable option for machining in terms of rigidity and motor strength while cutting.

    And for a spindle, would it be possible to convert a pnumatic die grinder and run a belt drive to it from a spindle motor? i have a spare grinder at work that i dont use that has an extended spindle which is only about 30mm diameter and has collet toolholding
    My whole plan was to try and make one from MDF and utilize as many cheap parts as i could, then use that machine to build a more rigid and overall better machine from aluminium. As for a budget, i dont necessarily have the cash at hand to buy all parts now but i have no real deadline either so i dont mind saving for parts, i want to keep it as cheap as possible, that said i dont want to skimp on performance so id rather save up and buy the better part than go for a cheap alternative that wont give the results. Once i know what parts im going to use then i can draw up my design on solidworks and maybe machine some parts at work

    So far my build was going to be :

    Fully supported base
    Mobile gantry
    600mm (X) , 300mm (Y) , 200mm (Z) axis movement
    Approximately 1000mm x 750mm x 750mm machine footprint
    Tolerance and repeatability of around 0.001"
    MDF (Prototype) then aluminium body
    Linear guide blocks and rail systems (Can locate from work)
    Mach3 Controller (I have no idea about LINUX
    Motors TBC
    Lead Screws TBC
    Controller TBC
    Spindle TBC

    Any recommendations, info etc is welcomed

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    4880
    Quote Originally Posted by TheHitman04 View Post
    Hi all, im new around here and have been looking around alot at making my own CNC Miller, my original plan was to get another bridgeport and convert to run on the EMC software. That quickly went out the window as i have no where to store one, nor the money to rent.

    [If you don't have space for a mill, where are you going to put this router, let alone build it? ]

    Ive read that its possible to use the stepper motors from printers and possibly the rails too? is this a viable option for machining in terms of rigidity and motor strength while cutting.

    [Not for the size of machine you're proposing, unless you're talking about scrapping some sort of giant industrial printing machine. The steppers in a normal printer only have to deal with the inertia of the parts they're moving; the steppers in a router have to deal with that and cutting forces as well.]

    And for a spindle, would it be possible to convert a pnumatic die grinder and run a belt drive to it from a spindle motor? i have a spare grinder at work that i dont use that has an extended spindle which is only about 30mm diameter and has collet toolholding

    [That might work for a while, although it doesn't sound like an optimal solution. If this is a typical cheap China-made air tool, the bearings in it won't last very long in this use.]

    My whole plan was to try and make one from MDF and utilize as many cheap parts as i could, then use that machine to build a more rigid and overall better machine from aluminium.

    [What makes you think that this MDF router made with cheap parts will be able to cut aluminum accurately and effectively? Most people that have tried it haven't had great luck with that.]

    As for a budget, i dont necessarily have the cash at hand to buy all parts now but i have no real deadline either so i dont mind saving for parts, i want to keep it as cheap as possible, that said i dont want to skimp on performance so id rather save up and buy the better part than go for a cheap alternative that wont give the results. Once i know what parts im going to use then i can draw up my design on solidworks and maybe machine some parts at work

    [If you have access to precision machining equipment, that sounds like a better plan than the MDF route. And yes, if you keep your eyes open but don't feel compelled to purchase anything right away, you're likely to happen on some good deals on machine components.]

    So far my build was going to be :

    Fully supported base
    Mobile gantry
    600mm (X) , 300mm (Y) , 200mm (Z) axis movement
    Approximately 1000mm x 750mm x 750mm machine footprint
    Tolerance and repeatability of around 0.001"
    MDF (Prototype) then aluminium body
    Linear guide blocks and rail systems (Can locate from work)
    Mach3 Controller (I have no idea about LINUX
    Motors TBC
    Lead Screws TBC
    Controller TBC
    Spindle TBC

    Any recommendations, info etc is welcomed
    [As I suggested above, going straight to making the aluminum parts makes more sense to me than messing around with MDF, which has numerous problems of its own. I think you're dreaming about the tolerances even so; you'll be lucky to get total accuracy of +/- .004" or so with a rig like this.

    Mach3 is software; you still need to build or buy a control box with drivers, breakout board, power supply etc. People around here, including myself, have had good luck with the G540 drive from Geckodrives, which combines a breakout board and 4 drivers suitable for NEMA 23-frame steppers, which should be fine for a machine this size. I'd suggest medium-pitch acme leadscrews about 12mm or bigger and nuts to match,, unless you happen on a great deal on precision-ground ballscrews.

    The best router spindles are expensive 3-phase purpose-built tools run with a Variable Frequency Drive, although some people have had good luck using hand routers as spindles, if they replace the bearings and collet assemblies with better ones.]

    Andrew Werby
    www.computersculpture.com

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    0
    I have plenty of space in the spare bedroom i have which is where i was planning on building and running it on top of a workbench i have. Yeh i did think that about the printer motors, i was thinking of doing it with those more to get to grips with it i my mind more than anything, if i got it to work id scale it up. Also thats all the mdf one would be, a prototype to prove itd work in aluminium if i did it. I know rigidity will play a big part in how accurate the machine is. And yes ill be building the control box aswell, or maybe an electrician from work will lol i just need to know which would be better suited to what im wanting to do, and once i know what im using i can draw it up

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