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Old May 29, 2010, 03:54 PM
Erik with a K
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Toledo, OH
Joined Aug 2007
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FoamCasualty: 4 Axis CNC Hot Wire Cutter

He guys Iím looking to measure any interest in a CNC hot wire cutter kit.
We are edging towards a working prototype and are definitely entertaining the idea of selling additional setups.

Please come check it out over on http://foamcasualty.com
(discussion on the forums here: http://foamcasualty.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=43)

Thanks,
-Erik
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Old May 30, 2010, 02:28 PM
KK4EHM--FPV Mon!
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Looks very stout Erik.
Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
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Old May 31, 2010, 12:19 PM
Erik with a K
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Thanks speedy!
I am really looking forward to it as well, gonna be a neat machine with a lot of extra features.
I hope to have a lot more pictures soon.
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Old Jun 05, 2010, 02:39 PM
Erik with a K
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Another progress picture!
Hot off the Mill, nice shiny cuts on the AL
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Last edited by tvcasualty; Jun 05, 2010 at 02:44 PM.
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Old Jun 05, 2010, 04:24 PM
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Wow, really nice work!

A couple of questions:

What are you using for bearings?

I can't quite figure out what the two steppers facing each other are for?
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Old Jun 05, 2010, 05:22 PM
Erik with a K
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Toledo, OH
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Ward,
Thanks!
As for the questions,
As of now the prototype uses bronze bushings (not shown) as the load bearing element and it will travel on the 1018 rods.
As for the extra stepper on the end there, we have already committed the design to expansion. In the end this will be much more then a hotwire, but at this point we are focusing on the hotwire component.
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Old Jun 06, 2010, 10:40 AM
Bert with an "e"
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a message from the machinist

I just wanted to jump in here and give some information to go with these pictures.

Our machine is designed with precision, durability, ease of use and manufacturability. Let me address these points one at a time.

Precision- There are faster less expensive ways to create this machine. We explored the other options. To achieve and maintain accuracy in a machine this size, parts need to be solid and bearing surfaces need to be long.

Durability- We use all industrial quality parts. Our bushings are steel backed, Teflon lined, designed to last for years. Our billet alum parts maintain shape and hold tolerances under the most extreme conditions.

Ease of Use- This is simple, a machine MUST be easy to set-up and must be fast enough to be fun. Set-up will be a snap with soft jig points to align the foam. To achieve speed, we have designed a robust belt drive system to bring you rapid travels, 10 times faster then other solutions. This simply can't be achieved with screws and hobby style steppers.

Manufacturability- We have done our homework to make all dimension critical features able to be cut in the same basic setup. We have also designed the parts to be similar in size so as to use the same setup. The bottom line is we can manufacture these parts at rock bottom cost because we have built that into the design.

The pictures represent a 75% complete prototype.

Our timeline at this point:
6/11 - final build
6/14 - testing process begins
6/28 - final evaluation
7/9 - Pending results from evaluation, base machine ready for sale.

The target price will be very competitive to DIY solutions.
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Old Jun 06, 2010, 02:32 PM
EDF rules... :)
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Hi Guys,

On my CNC foam cutter I have maybe $100us in its build. Will this be compatible with this kind of pricing?

Eric B.
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Old Jun 07, 2010, 10:39 AM
Erik with a K
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Toledo, OH
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Eric, I have been to your rcg-blog and have seen your setup, it is very nice! And if anyone has the opportunity to get into CNC for $100USD I say they should jump on it! It's certainly a great hobby (within a hobby) and offers a lot of rewarding fun.

Do you see a billet aluminum machine with expandable capabilities an improvement to other solutions?

We believe that it is, and we also believe that it will be competitive.
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Old Jun 07, 2010, 12:16 PM
EDF rules... :)
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No problem mate, I was just funnin...

I would not expect a truly well developed machine to be made like mine, although it does work well enough. Heck my accuracy is within a wires width. If I were to do it again I would do things a little different than the way I designed mine and use aluminum like your design. The trade for me was I had more time than money so it worked out.

Keep up the good work guys.

Eric B.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 06:29 AM
Bert with an "e"
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We are now ready to answer the question of the extra stepper!
Things are progressing right along. We are excited and want to share some CAD drawings of what will soon be a working prototype. Currently under development is the spindle package, so that part is incomplete in the drawing but as you can see we are putting together a hotwire with the option of an overhead gantry mill. So whether the operation requires a CNC controlled hotwire or a CNC controlled mill, this machine will offer a cost effective solution to both requirements with repeatable CNC results. Of course, these options will be available together or as separate packages should only one be required. This design will have the ability to mill and hotwire a full 24 x 48 inch sheet of foam. If space is more of a concern, the design can easily be altered to make it a smaller package by using shorter rods and timing belts.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 07:53 AM
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United States, GA, Roswell
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Ways

You will need stronger ways for that set up. The tension in the wire will bow the thin rods. I am using 2X3/4 round rods on mine and it still bows a bit. On the other hand if you use a suspended independent bow then you are fine.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 12:02 PM
EDF rules... :)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traian View Post
You will need stronger ways for that set up. The tension in the wire will bow the thin rods. I am using 2X3/4 round rods on mine and it still bows a bit. On the other hand if you use a suspended independent bow then you are fine.
I saw this same thing with mine, the 1/2 ground rods were spagetti with a half decent spring, so I went with the bow.

Cheers,
Eric B
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 06:42 PM
Erik with a K
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Toledo, OH
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Guys we really appreciate the experience and concerns. We plan to be doing some load testing tomorrow to directly address these concerns, but that being said we are confident that we will work through any issues. =)

We have hopes to avoid the suggested bow option but good old empirical testing will show us all very soon here what is up!

Another thing to keep in mind here is that the mill is being designed only to cut light weight materials (light ply, balsa, and foam). We don’t want to build the idea that we will be able to cut anything with the 3 axis option. Some materials are clearly out of scope. =)
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Old Jun 12, 2010, 10:31 AM
Erik with a K
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Toledo, OH
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We were short on rounds so the mill tower is assembled shorter then full size, but this paints a picture of where were are going a little better then a CAD drawing I think.

Load testing seems to indicate good results.
We are really getting motivated now!
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Last edited by tvcasualty; Jun 12, 2010 at 10:39 AM.
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