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Old Oct 11, 2008, 08:10 AM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMcChiken
Cool stuff Bill ,

Im gana research some of this stuff and read through your threads more thoroughly and keep an eye on what you get going with the Mach3 . I almost think I might be better off to buy a small Fadal . I do love working with aluminum too . I was playing with mastercams settings a little and found that it can actually run as a terminal too.
Never knew that before . Thanks for the info . Hey , If you dont mind me asking , how much do you have invested in your router so far ? A descent older Fadal would probly set me back $8-$10k . Toolings not cheep either .

Mike
Mike,

I spent about $700 building the Routezilla not counting software and computer. I didn't do anything special to try and keep costs low.

I am currently building a bigger router called the Joes CNC 4x4 Hybrid. It has a 4 foot by 4 foot cutting area with lots of Z travel. In total I have a little under $2000 worth of parts including the electronics from my Routezilla. I could spend about an extra thousand if I went with Geckodrives, bigger motors and a bigger power supply. If I don't like the performance when the machine is done, I can easily upgrade....... So for less than $3000 I can have a machine which will cut aluminum and wood. Some have reported speeds up to 300 IPM but I don't know of anyone that cuts at that speed.

Here is a link a video of another builders machine.
http://cnczone.com/forums/showthread...=38220&page=67

or on youtube

4X4 Router (1 min 34 sec)


Bill
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 01:07 AM
Will work for heli's
Dogwoodtheone's Avatar
Bend, OR.
Joined Mar 2005
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Bill, thanks for the link, I spend a lot of time over in the cnczone, but rarely go into the wood working section, Joe's creation looks like a very nice machine.

Just finished a X2 conversion, nook ballscrews, used fignoggles cnc conversion plans, but only on the Z, great for metal, but a smallish work zone.
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Old Oct 12, 2008, 07:20 AM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
1,014 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogwoodtheone
Bill, thanks for the link, I spend a lot of time over in the cnczone, but rarely go into the wood working section, Joe's creation looks like a very nice machine.

Just finished a X2 conversion, nook ballscrews, used fignoggles cnc conversion plans, but only on the Z, great for metal, but a smallish work zone.
I am also converting a minimill to CNC using Sterling Steel plans. It has taken a back seat till I get the big router done. Mine won't be built stock as I am tring to make mine portable. Here is a drawing of what I am attempting.
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Old Oct 13, 2008, 12:20 AM
Will work for heli's
Dogwoodtheone's Avatar
Bend, OR.
Joined Mar 2005
2,057 Posts
Great idea Bill, really reduces the foot print, I definitely want to know how that turns out, might have to do a similar one myself as space is the biggest problem (next to cash) right now.

here's a pict of my mini-mill, still need to make and enclosure, 108 IPM on the X and Y, 36 IPM on the Z - keling 425oz steppers and keling 4030 drivers on all three axis. I almost got all the kinks worked out, making some brass GIBs hoping to get that last one

So far I've made a couple of alum. washouts for my ECO helicopters.

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Old Oct 17, 2008, 04:55 PM
Micro-Heli-Concepts
jasonjetski's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Blacktown
Joined Dec 2006
4,984 Posts
Here is a couple of pics of my little CNC mill I have been making bit by bit over the last few years.
Notice the main motor is a cheap electric scooter 180watt 24v motor and the spindle is made from an old VCR head with a rotary tool shaft pressed onto it.
It might need more RPM on the spindle,But it is very quiet.I can talk on the phone sitting at the machine while it is cutting and the person on the other end of the phone never asks what the noise is.
Jason
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Old Oct 17, 2008, 04:59 PM
Micro-Heli-Concepts
jasonjetski's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Blacktown
Joined Dec 2006
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Here is a video of me just doing a couple of test cuts with it.
Still testing.Homemade CNC Mill (6 min 20 sec)

Jason
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Old Oct 18, 2008, 12:29 AM
Fly'em like you Stole'em
MikeMcChiken's Avatar
The Gehto,Ca.
Joined Jun 2008
1,109 Posts
[QUOTE=jasonjetski]Here is a video of me just doing a couple of test cuts with it.

Hey Jason , I have to say that is really ingenius . My parents owned a electronics store most of my life with dad doing the repairs , VCR's included . You cant get a better or more true running bearing like your using in the spindle.
Hope it can handle the torque . I now the rpm's wont be an issue .

Keep a cool tool !!!!
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Old Oct 18, 2008, 12:48 AM
Will work for heli's
Dogwoodtheone's Avatar
Bend, OR.
Joined Mar 2005
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nice work there Jason, looks like a very good project.
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Old Oct 18, 2008, 02:42 AM
Micro-Heli-Concepts
jasonjetski's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Blacktown
Joined Dec 2006
4,984 Posts
Thanks guys,
It has been one of those on again off again hobbies.
I will play with it for a few weeks and make some changes,then I will pack it up and not look at it for a while.
Then all of a sudden I will have an idea pop into my head and the cycle begins again.
I like the VCR head.The bearings are smooth and it is so quiet.
It would only be running at 2000rpm max at the moment,but I want to make a new spindle and a new Z axis still.
Regards Jason
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Old Oct 20, 2008, 10:28 PM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
1,014 Posts
G-Code???????

OK, we have a working machine that responds to the computer input. Now we just need to tell the machine what to do. That is where g-code comes in. G-Code is a programming language invented so that all CNC machines would have a uniform, shared control. Unfortunatly, the machine vendors didn't stick closely to the standards and so we still have a few minor differences........

Mach 3 has a list of the common G-codes. These are located next to the Reset button on every screen.

The g-code you create is saved as a text file and read into Mach3. Most g-code commands specify the type of move and a location to move along the cartesian plane (X,Y,Z). There are other commands like turning the spindle off and on, coolant on or off, etc......

I won't pretend to be an expert on G-code because I really don't use it. The reason I don't use g-code is because I don't need to. I don't need to use g-code for the same reason I don't have to use C++ to work my computer. I don't need to use g-code because there are programs that take my drawings and create the code for me, just like there are programs to run my computer for me.

One such program is Vectric V-Carve Pro, http://www.vectric.com which I will talk about next.
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Old Oct 21, 2008, 05:04 PM
Fly'em like you Stole'em
MikeMcChiken's Avatar
The Gehto,Ca.
Joined Jun 2008
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Hey Bgriggs , Your exactly right on the standardization issue . I've ran many types of lathes and mills and many companies just feel it necessary to do there own thing . Somehow they think they can do it better than the well known and used Fanuc controllers . It does get quite frustrating trying to figure out why something doesnt work right when it works fine on most other machines. Dont give up on the manual programming code though .
There are a lot of good programs out there that allow you to program in a conversational type language . But programming with these often take away a lot of options to how you need something done . Thats when G & M code has its advatages .
You have any issues with code ask me and if I dont know I work with many 30 year vetrans in machining . You also have to realize that no post-processor is perfect too. Thats one of my goals , is to learn to build a post for individual controllers.

I was also curious if you have any way to run your G & M code in graphics before actually running the part ? That is running your Code , not your part drawing toolpath. I use Cimco5 to verify all my programs after it is codded and I have editted it .
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 06:35 PM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
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Vectric software

I have mentioned Vectric software previously in this thread. I am fortunate to have a copy of each of their software (with the exception of Aspire) and I have been itching to go into depth about their products. I had to cover some of the basic functions of Mach 3 before I could tackle Vectric. We will see a few Mach things mixed in with the Vectric because the two programs work so well with each other.

I first heard about Vectric about three years ago. They offered a program called VCarve Wizard which simplified the design tasks of creating V-Groove carvings. A lot of development and features went into the software over the years and now their product has grown to the point that a name change was in order, VCarve Wizard became VCarve Pro (current version 4.6) http://vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/vcp/vcp_index.htm

VCarve Pro is not the only software that Vectric produces. Vectric also offers four other programs designed to make your CAM life easier. These products include, Photo VCarve, Cut 2D, Cut 3D and Aspire (new flagship). These products each have a niche and are affordable solutions when you consider that most CAM software prices begin at $5000...... Vectric software costs between $149.00 & $2000.00.


Photo VCarve http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../pvc_index.htm
Cut2D http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../c2d_index.htm
Cut3D http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../c3d_index.htm
Aspire http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr...ire_index.html


I will give a brief description of each of the software and then move on to describe VCarve Pro in detail. I will also spend a good amount of time describing Cut2d, because it is designed with the hobbyist in mind.
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 08:02 PM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
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What each program does.

Perhaps the easiest way to tackle Vectric's offerings is to explain what each piece of software will do and where it fits in the production chain.

All of these programs are hybrid programs which contain a little cad and a lot of toolpath (CAM) generation ability. Each one of the programs are stand alone product but each one can is compatible with the other. Work from one program can be transferred to the other and the augmented or combined to create even more dazzling and complex designs. Vectric also has generous upgrade policies which means you can buy upward into software as you require new features.

Cut2D is a package that was developed with the modeler in mind. It is a stripped down version of VCarve Pro with out the 3D VCarve features. It is a profiling program which will cut out things like ribs and fuselage sides. It will also cut pockets. That means if you want to make a nice foamy with CNC milled pockets (for lightness) you can!!

Here is a brief description of the features of CUT2D.

What does Cut2D do?

* Automatically converts CAD drawings and Graphic designs to GCode / CNC Toolpaths.

* Opens most industry standard 2D vector drawing formats DXF, EPS, AI & PDF file formats.

* Pocket Machining with either raster or offset machining patterns, plus the option to ramp the cutter into the material.

* Profile Machining-running the cutter around the outside, inside or on the selected geometry, with the option to ramp the cutter into the material.

* Automatic cutter diameter compensation for toolpaths ensures parts are cut to the required size. Simply select the shapes and Cut2D compensates for the cutter diameter and shape.

* Interactive Tab / Bridge placement to ensure parts are securely held in place when cutting from sheet material.

* Automatic calculation for Outside and Inside cutting when multiple shapes are selected.

* The option to Ramp the cutter into the job is very important when cutting hard materials because it reduces the load on the bottom of the cutter.

* Drilling with option for Peck drilling cycle.

* 3D Colour and 2D wireframe toolpaths Previews shows exactly what the part will look like when machined.
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 01:34 PM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
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Cut 3D

Cut 3D is Vectrics solution for those who want to create true 3 dimensional parts with height, width and depth http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../c3d_index.htm . What is unique about cut 3D is that the parts are machined on one side and then flipped over to machine on the other sides. This allows you to make 3D shapes without the need for a six axis machine. This program would be good for those wishing to make a fuselage plug for molding.

Most CNC routers are only 3 axis machines and cannot handle compound curves with undercuts. Cutting undercuts requires the router bit to change angle in relation to the part. Most hobby routers don't have this feature so Vectric came up with another approach. Machine each side in 2.5D to produce a 3D part.

Cut 3D also does something unique called slicing. Often a CNC router will only have limited travel in the Z axis because the machine needs to be rigid and a long Z travel is difficult to make rigid.

Cut 3d allows you to slice the design up vertically and produce the job in layers which , when glued back together, form the whole design. If you imagine a stack of pancakes, you will get the idea.

Cut3D costs $299 and is a stand alone program which is compatible with all the other Vectric software. It will import 3D models from Rhino3D, 3D Studio, AutoCAD, Bobcad, ProEngineer, Solid Works, SolidEdge, Silo, Alibre Design and others. It also supports the following 3D file types: STL, 3DS, DXF, OBJ, SBP, ShopBot Digital Probe files, TXT, MaxNC Digital Probe, WRL, VRML, X, DirectX, LWO and V3M.



What is Cut3D?


Cut3D quickly and easily converts 3D models into CNC toolpaths (3D XYZ point data) that can be machined on conventional 3 axis CNC machines.

What can you do with Cut3D?

Cut3D is perfect for the following applications,

  • 3D Model Making
  • CNC routing, engraving, milling
    Rapid Prototyping
  • New product designs
  • Sign Making
  • Adding dimensional elements to signs
  • Wood Carving
  • Custom fireplaces, door panels
  • Statues & Theme Parks
  • 3D sculptures
  • Jewelry
  • Earrings and custom designs
  • Engraving
  • Gifts and personalized awards
  • Stone cutting
  • Memorials, Commemorative plaques
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Old Nov 01, 2008, 11:11 PM
Make something. Anything!
bgriggs's Avatar
Syracuse Hancock, New York, United States
Joined Jul 2003
1,014 Posts
Photo VCarve

Vectric also makes a program that will carve photographs in wood and also create stunning 3D Lithophanes. Photo VCarve ($149) will allow you to take photos and assign depths to each color. Based on these assignments the router will cut deep or shallow. http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectr.../pvc_index.htm

Photo V Carve does not really fit in with what most R/C Modelers want to do with a CNC Router... That is until you see the results. It is just a cool program that will allow you to makes some really cool project to keep the wife happy (so you can buy more CNC stuff).

PhotoVCarve can be used to machine photographs in 3 different ways
1. V-Groove Machining

PhotoVCarve creates lines of grooves that vary in width and depth to represent the detail in a photograph or image. PhotoVCarve machines dark areas in a photograph with wide groove and the lighter areas to have narrower ones. The software automatically calculates the toolpaths based on the cutter selected and maximum depth of groove required.

2. 3D Lithophane Machining

Lithophanes are 3D photographs that when viewed in normal lighting look a little dull and lifeless. But when back lit transform into stunning 3D pictures with depth and detail that cannot be seen in a flat 2D photograph.

3. 3D Grayscale Machining

PhotoVCarve automatically converts a grayscale image into a 3D height map that can then be carved.
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