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Old Jul 23, 2002, 11:21 AM
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Tigard, OR, US
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Making your own parts

Could someone please shed some light on what CNC means, and
how one can go about manufacturing their own parts - like say everything you might find on a piccolo or hornet. Be it plastic or aluminum. From what I can figure out CNC is the use of those nifty 3 (4?) axis machines that take different tools and carve your material based off a CAD file. Is this right? How can one get into this for as little as possible? I am interested just for my own parts so the setup doesnt have to be industrial strength one.

Thanks for any info.

-=ben
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 11:43 AM
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San Marcos, CA USA
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Ben,
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. You are correct in that it is a machine usually 3-4 axis but can be as much as 8 axis controlle by the computer. While you start out with a Cad file you at some point convert to a Cam file and then post process the file to whatever code your machine reads. To get into it is not for the faint hearted, a real CNC will set you back 40,000 and above. You can get some smaller machines like the Sherline for I think 2,000(someone correct me if I'm wrong). After that you need to buy tooling, measuring equipment, vacuming equipment(for cutting carbon), and a computer program to program offline. You also will need a machining backround so oyu know what type of tool will do what and how fast to run it, that way your tools will last more than one cut. To do as a bare minimum I would invest about 5000 to start and this is only for small parts. Hope that helps.


August
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by August
Ben,
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. You are correct in that it is a machine usually 3-4 axis but can be as much as 8 axis controlle by the computer. While you start out with a Cad file you at some point convert to a Cam file and then post process the file to whatever code your machine reads. To get into it is not for the faint hearted, a real CNC will set you back 40,000 and above. You can get some smaller machines like the Sherline for I think 2,000(someone correct me if I'm wrong). After that you need to buy tooling, measuring equipment, vacuming equipment(for cutting carbon), and a computer program to program offline. You also will need a machining backround so oyu know what type of tool will do what and how fast to run it, that way your tools will last more than one cut. To do as a bare minimum I would invest about 5000 to start and this is only for small parts. Hope that helps.


August


I'm hoping to buy a CNC mill soon and have looked into it....about $4,500-5k for a decent mill with the computer hardware + tooling(for small bits IE: swash, frame rotor heads for micro's).
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 11:56 AM
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Tigard, OR, US
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The process doesnt scare me, but the price sure does.


Heres a challenge for all of us:

Develop and build an enexpensive mini CNC machine for the hobbiest. The machine would be used for miniature parts such as those found in micro helis. We could use PC controlled servos for Maybe hack up a Dremel for the motor. Use Dremel bits?

Here is a site to buy PC servo controllers from:
http://www.rentron.com/PicBasic/Mini_SSC_II.htm

You can control up to 8 servos for $44 using a serial port.

Im a programmer so I could help write the software (time allowing).

Seems the real problem would be precision - we would probably need a CNC machine to build the CNC machine. Maybe someone with one out there can build them for us and sell a kit?

Any more ideas out there?

-=ben
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 12:00 PM
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Beach, California
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Wasn't there a post here about some kind of home-built CNC? something like HobbyCNC? If i do remember, it was still in the developmental stage. Used a dremel and some Robot motors(?) i think... Still, it'd probably be best simply to buy the parts. Much cheaper, probably higher quality, and simply less of a hassle.
Oh, darn. Ben beat me to it.
Toasty
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 12:08 PM
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Tigard, OR, US
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Toasty,

Hey, looks like HobbyCNC turned up this page on google:

http://www.hobbycnc.com/

Looks like others have already been getting the ideas I am just now recieving.

-=ben
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 12:29 PM
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Calgary, AB, Canada
Joined Jan 2002
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Ben,

CNC machine is a good thing to have, not only for our hobbies, but also very helpful for other things as well. If you are going to buy a CNC machine just for fun, it's not a good idea, since many other things you need to buy such as tools, bits, materials, setups..., the most important is Mechanic Background and not damaged your machine by a mistake on the CNC codes.

To me, it's a nice thing to have, but too much works and time spent to make just a little piece. I would rather buy from someone who already made, just my thought...........

This is my first CNC products, which spent total 630 hours to design and make one complicate piece such as Swashplate, please take a look:



Think before you buy!!!





Andy Nguyen,
MicroHeli.com
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 12:52 PM
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And Andy can really use his... Trust me...

Sean.
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 01:08 PM
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Andy,

Looks like youve been doing it for a while, that swash looks wonderful.

-=ben
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 01:13 PM
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Vicksburg, MS
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Why not just check out the mini lathe with CNC upgrades on the market such as the Taig or similar units. If you have the money and want to play with CNC this will get you milling for about 1/4 of the price stated above.

There are several mini lathe and machine groups in Yahoo groups. Fun to check out. BTW, the mini CNC mill will cost less but will have limitations as such. I doubt that the cheap servos/controllers could move a mill .001" increment, even the mini mills have limitations.

John
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 03:38 PM
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San Marcos, CA USA
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As Andy mentioned He spent 630 hours on 1 part! If you figure out the average a machine shop charges between 50-150 dollars per hour his part would have cost 39,000 dollars!!!! I have heard before I want one just to tinker around, bull you want to make a part and you want it done by tommorrow, taking Andys time of 650hours that would be 81.25 8 hour days or about 3 months. Do yourself a favor, before you go and spend a bunch of money spend a little time go to your community college and take a machine shop class. The cost will be minimal and the experiance will be priceless. You will very quickly know if you want to do parts at home and you will also find out why that little part cost so much. As a side note while Andy's part looks awesome, that part would have taken a machinist /or machine shop about 2-3 days tops(I'm bieng very generous it should only take a max of 16hours to make). That's the difference of having the right machine and the backround to use it. As a side note I've been in a machininst/owner for 20+years and even I will look at buying a part more often than making one as it just becomes to expensive to produce.


August
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 04:04 PM
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I'm going to have to disagree. LS77(Troy) made a frame like a week after he got his mill...I understand this part is easier to make then a swashplate but I wanna make small bits..rotor heads..tail gearbox. Also isn't there a "3D digatizer" thingy that scans current parts? just copying the rotor head for the FP Hornet nets Johnk $30 each.
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 04:51 PM
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No problem in the disagreeing portion, just do me a favor and check out the tooling when he's finished cutting, and one week for a set of frames works out to be about 40 hours in an 8 hour work day, thats 2,400dollars for a set of frames, how much can you buy aftermarket ones for?

August
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by August
No problem in the disagreeing portion, just do me a favor and check out the tooling when he's finished cutting, and one week for a set of frames works out to be about 40 hours in an 8 hour work day, thats 2,400dollars for a set of frames, how much can you buy aftermarket ones for?

August


I'm sure the entire week was devoted to just the frame? maybe he'll chime in on this but I doubt it was 40 hours(2d frame bent into 3D). Point is once you get it down, you'll be set and if you like doing that type of thing you could make a little money on the side off your designs.


It's a hobby, not a job.....
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 05:04 PM
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Baltimore, MD
Joined Jun 2002
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hi ben,

do you really want a CNC machine to play around with that doesn't sip up your wallet. how about replacement bit, how about computer control, how about the "real" CNC (well, not so real though). but anyway. here is a CNC machine that uses a dremel like you mention above. it is control by a computer like any other CNC machine, but it uses your dremel as the spindle head.

best of all, its only $895.00. they're design for hobby use, like what you mention above.

its called the MAXNC 5

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