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RCWorks's blog
Posted by RCWorks | Oct 04, 2014 @ 06:07 AM | 4,034 Views
I am going to eventually convert this mill to CNC but for right now all I really want is a power feed since I normally operate this one manually.

I bought this mill in 2006. I have put 20 thread per inch leadscrews in it and changed the spring for that Littlemachineshop.com air spring assembly.

One day if and when the motor dies I will probably adapt a spindle motor and a VFD to it with a belt drive But that's a project for a later day...

So far I have bought all the parts for the powerfeed except the plate to use for the stepper motor adaptor.

I was looking over the internet for a reasonably priced CNC conversion kit and at $615 with no steppers CNCFusion.com lost me, however since I have a lathe and mill I have what I need to make the same parts.

I am a bit more budget minded and I do want be able to use this mill manually so I will retain those fairly fresh leadscrews.

The most expensive part of the powerfeed controller... Believe it or not it is the aluminum chassis. Yes a plain jane metal box. I bought the cheapest one that would hold all the parts.

The large parts inside were ready made, the 12 volt switching power supply and the 3.5 amp bipolar driver.

The square wave generator and the 12 volt to 5 volt regulator were DIY kits. The Square wave generator was modified for this application. You can build that square wave generator yourself at Radio Shack but it will cost 3 times the $2 I spent on the kit with an already etched circuit board. While the square wave...Continue Reading
Posted by RCWorks | Feb 17, 2014 @ 06:19 PM | 5,982 Views
I just got this built up and have done the 5 Volt test and then added the driver chips as per documentation

Test voltage is 5.03 Volts.

This makes the 4th controller I have built and I have not had any failures either from the build or from use. This is an excellent product and I could not recommend it any higher...

I have yet to test it's final function but if it's like the last 3 I have no fear that it will work when it get added to the controller chassis.(A retired CD Duplicator case.)
Posted by RCWorks | Jan 26, 2014 @ 04:30 AM | 4,489 Views
Getting back to my CNC mill project as I was so rudely interrupted by medical issues an weather bad enough to keep me indoors. I am on 2 meds that leave me temperature sensitive.

I noted a light surface rust on my slides so I took them to the bead blaster for a cleaning, masking, a spray of Rustoleum and a light coat of oil.

I have part of the upper section cut for the legs, I need to finish that up then I can set the Y and Z axis in place and wire it up.

My spindle motor is in, I just need to wire it up to the speed control.

I have the Stepper controller and power supply as well as the USB interface.

I need to install my video card for Mach 3 compatibility and hook all the jumpers and switches. I violated convention(Mine anyway.) and used a switching power supply to run the steppers and controller. I think in a week I should have it all up and running and create a program to drill the table for holding the plate to the frame and holes for clamps.

Soon as this is done I have about the same amount of work to do to my 4 axis foam cutter.
Posted by RCWorks | Sep 19, 2013 @ 06:24 PM | 2,424 Views
My new antique Green Instruments pantograph/engraver just arrived from Chicago.

Lots of stuff you can do with this. From labeling to use as a mini router-copier.
Posted by RCWorks | Jun 22, 2013 @ 02:05 AM | 2,952 Views
Someone sent me a picture of me from 1979...

This is me with a wing from a Goldberg Senior Falcon that I bought after a crash, I had just recovered the wing. This picture was taken in my 3rd year of the Navy at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.
Posted by RCWorks | Dec 11, 2012 @ 07:24 PM | 4,483 Views
I have just purchased a new PC for my desk, My old desk PC will run my cutter and it is OVERKILL... The new P.C. I bought is faster, more ram and supports 2 monitors since I have bideo runnng while I work for noise mostley but I share Vids with my 8 year old son...

That gave me a P.C. for running GMFC Elite and Mach 3.

After a bunc of research I will be using a USB port for running my latest CNC creations.

In the mean time today I put a new TOOL HOLDER on my 8x12 lathe, this make changing a tool fast and easy. It required taking the top(Compund) slide off and mounting it in the MIll while I took the shoulder off the stud that holds the tool holder... The instructions say hack saw, I wanted it done nice.

I saw a laser edge finder for my mill and wanted one, I thought the prices was to stout so I made on with a hunk of scrap aluminium and a couple parts.

After I got the lathe back together I turned out a prototype for a Laser edge finder.

I am using a Crosshair laser and power it off the USB plug from my PC.

This is just the first part, I need to solder it and drill a target piece in the mill to check it... If its ok I will put in an upper and lower set screws to retain the laser in the mount, If not I will open the hole 2mm at a time until I can get it set with 4 upper and 4 lower set screws to use for aiming the laser unit.

This one fits a 3/8 inch collet.
Posted by RCWorks | Oct 26, 2012 @ 02:07 AM | 4,524 Views
The risers are here (The RED parts) they will give this machine the ability to convert from foam cutter to milling machine by removing the 2 Y axis's and replacing them with the Y and Z axis's, swapping 2 cable connectors and placing the bed under the assembly.

Right now I am fitting the parts with the hardware, making sure bolts don't run into each other in the aluminum carriers, all parts fit together and the tracks have ZERO play. I still have to make the parts for between the carriers on the Y axis and have 2 more bearing blocks coming in to stabilize the ACME crews that move the Y Axis's

So mostly its a game of fitting. I do have to drill the ways for the X axis's and cut the ways out for the Y axis's and drill them then the major assembies will be done. (Except for the router/milling arm to be done later.)
Posted by RCWorks | Oct 06, 2012 @ 07:29 AM | 4,202 Views
My metal order came in, some for the CNC some for kit parts.

So far I have the basics built for the 2 X axis's These are a nice pair of units that can run at 26 inches per second at full speed. I have the 2.5 inch Cold rolled steel for them to ride on, now I need to put together the top and the riser adapter for the Y Axis's. I figure I am 1 to 2 weeks from running this machine. at this point.

I need to get both X axis's fully built for a final measurement of the width, Then I can build the table that they will bolt to(In several locations so I canchange the width between the X axis's My hope is that they will be 6"s or less, this would be optimal, if not I will need to see just how much spacing I will need between the upright supprts that will hold the table top segments. The Y axis's will be a piece of cake to build as will be the mill/router attachment.

At the end of this project I will sell the CD with a parts list and the basic dimensions to recreate this table. SOme parts will have to be made by the builder as not everything can be purchased ready made, I have both a metal lathe and a mill and even at that there are parts that I prefered to buy based on the cost and time of making them here... 1 inch x 3 inch aluminum flat is a special order, I would have to by a 16 foot section. Buy the time I made the carraiges myself and paid for the stock, bearings and hardware I would have spent more money to create them and it would have taken longer. Getting them ready made was a better option. Besides it makes this build easier for anyone else that wishes to build a table like this.

I still need to order 3 ACME screws, 3 rack gears 3 more Nema 23 mountings, 2 more steppers to finish the Mill section and a few feet of 1530s and 3030s from the 8020 garage sale on Ebay.(Along with hardware from 8020 to put it togther.)

The real work will be done when the cutting and welding of the steal boxbeam table that holds it all together starts.
Posted by RCWorks | Sep 27, 2012 @ 04:49 PM | 4,882 Views
I went down to get materials and found that most of what I want needs to be ordered and will take a week to get here, in the mean time I will order other parts that I want from HobbyCNC and the 8020 shop on Ebay and a few tools to aid in the construction from Harbor Freight...

The metal supply did not have the

* .25 x 2.5 inch cold rolled steel.
* A 4 x 8 foot sheet of .125 aluminum.

They did have my 1 x 2 inch aluminum box tubing.

It was raining very heavily so I did not bring in a full sheet of 3/4 inch plywood, that will have to wait for when I go back to pick up the metal order.

Since I needed to buy a full sheet of Aluminium to get the pieces I needed I will be selling a couple of sets of ready made Y axis's to cover the cost. These would only require the carriages and the router Y axis mountings and a few other parts to complete a cutter that could be assembled in one afternoon.

Today I will be making my on-line order of

* 2 Rack gears 4 feet long each.
* 3 - 5 start ACME screws.
* 4 New NEMA 23 steppers. Later on I will need 2 more, I may use my NEMA 34s there.
* 2 Router mountings for my Carriages. (Right and Left.) I will need these even before I make the routers Y axis gust to hold the machines carriages together.
* 2 carpenters squares and some clamps from Harbor Freight.
* 4 Levels from Harbor Freight.

I will need the squares and levels to build the base table, to do that I will have to make a platform to hold the table top frame...Continue Reading
Posted by RCWorks | Sep 24, 2012 @ 07:06 PM | 4,671 Views
Some of my parts for my new CNC foam cutter/Router came in today...

The X axis carriages, Rack and pinion drive system and a drilling jig to build the track for the carriages.

2 carriages per side. I need to make the parts that go on top to hold the carriages together on the track. The rack and pinion setup was made by the same company.

I have spent 2 weeks of spare time in looking to build a large machine that was accurate and cost effective as well as reliable. While I could have made these parts with my mill by the time I bought the stock, the bearing and the rest of the hardware plus my time it was more cost effective to buy these parts rather than make them.

The rest of the parts I will have to make because they are special to this build. A set of mirrored vertical Y axis's and the Y and Z axis of the router plus all the hardware to put it together lest we not forget the table to hold it all.

My next acquisitions will be some aluminum flat stock, some aluminium 1/4 inch plate 3 ACME screw assemblies, some of the famous aluminium erector set from the 8020 store on ebay and 4 NEMA 23 stepper motors.

Because of the nature of this machine and my own preference it will have 2 programs for cutting. GMFC and MACH3. Mach 3 requires a 32 bit copy of Windows... I will be buying a PC to run it on, most likely a lease return at a good price.
Posted by RCWorks | Sep 18, 2012 @ 08:23 PM | 4,170 Views
I am shopping for parts from McMaster and SDP...

I am using some NEMA 34 Size motors for both of the X axis...

NEMA 34 and NEMA 23 use different output shafts...

The current ecomony seems to limit parts selection and has raised already stout pricing on gears...

I need to make a 6:1 reduction before the XL belt, I could do that in one step on the old NEMA 23 motors with the .25" output, .375" on the '34's is a different story.

The best single reduction I can get is 3:1 so that means 2 steps to get 6:1... wile the degree of error is very nominal I hate having to do 2 steps to get what I should be able to do in 1.. (3:1 then 2:1) My final drive would be an XL belt with a movement of .995 inches per revolution making just under 2 turns per inch of travel. This sets the machine to run fast with good torque wile using motors I have on hand.

Add to that the price of 4 more gears just on the X's that's about $80.

On the bright side... This is 10 times the machine my first cutter was and will not have the same problems of using modified drawer slides in place of linear bearings and rods.

Of course theis means an updated version of my book is coming out.
I built the last cutter in 2003 and there is a lot of new goodies from companies that did not exist back then and a lot of companies that had links in the last version that are now gone. It was due for a major rework and update just on the technology and the options I did not cover in the first book.

I do violate convention in the designs. The last one had no gantries. I am looking to have the new one double as a router.