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Old Jul 07, 2008, 11:09 AM
Beware the Axis of Weasel.
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Plymouth, Devon
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This is exactly what I've been looking for, esp as you say it may be possible to use it with wood too. I started a while ago to research building a cnc cutter, but quickly realised that I was well out of my depth as far as designing one goes. $450? That's very cheap (esp for me over here with the pound so strong), as you say it's a couple of motors and batteries. I voted $100 for the plans, considering the 100s of man hours and 100s of dollars you've spent on getting this right I think that price would be a real bargain, and I'd say the same if it was £100. All I've got to do now is convince the girlfriend that this is really necessary... Good stuff.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Waco, Texas USA
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From seeing your vids of how the thing works, I have some concerns with it's performance with EPP foam. The modulus of EPP is such that I would be concerned that the sheet would flex pretty seriously at the cutter no matter how much "nip" pressure you get from the roller.

However, I would be willing to bet that if you wanted to cut something as thin as 4mm EPP as a single sheet, you could probably "face" it on one side with some low-tack shelf paper to keep it from moving around too much while it was cutting. You could then just peel the low-tack shelf paper off before cutting the pieces out at the "nick-points" (nicks are the term used in the packaging industry for the little "bridges" used to keep the part from falling out of the sheet while cutting).

Man, I'm excited! The next couple of months are just gonna drag by (kinda like waiting on Christmas!).
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 12:17 PM
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more info

i would buy the plans, i have a few plotters laying around i had contemplated converting them into flatbed routers as well. my question is. in your design wouldn't it have been easier to have the head move on y/x axis instead of moving the whole sheet? and what control board did you use?


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nvm i seen in your other pictures you did do flatbed types
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Last edited by irlsh; Jul 07, 2008 at 12:24 PM.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 02:30 PM
BEC
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Auburn, Washington USA
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This is a fantastic achievement. I really, really wish I had the space for one. Even so I will be watching with great interest (and starting to learn SketchUp).
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 03:50 PM
Out the Window
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United States, FL, Alachua
Joined Jul 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewildweasel
This is exactly what I've been looking for, esp as you say it may be possible to use it with wood too. I started a while ago to research building a cnc cutter, but quickly realised that I was well out of my depth as far as designing one goes. $450? That's very cheap (esp for me over here with the pound so strong), as you say it's a couple of motors and batteries. I voted $100 for the plans, considering the 100s of man hours and 100s of dollars you've spent on getting this right I think that price would be a real bargain, and I'd say the same if it was £100. All I've got to do now is convince the girlfriend that this is really necessary... Good stuff.
I am with thewildweasel, you should charge $100 for the plans. You have even gone out of your way to get special pricing on some of the parst. That will save the customer some cost of fabrication and that savings should go to you. I was once told by a friend, about our artwork, that if we gave it away it would then be without value. Hey if Microsoft can charge $150 for software on a 10 cent CD, you should charge for your time and talent alsos.

Putting up a poll to ask potential buyers how much they might be willing to pay would probably skew the results to the low side. If I asked my customers what they would be willing to pay for our work I am sure it would cut my profits drastically, if in fact there were any profits left after their imput!

Ray
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by High Flyin'
I am with thewildweasel, you should charge $100 for the plans. You have even gone out of your way to get special pricing on some of the parst. That will save the customer some cost of fabrication and that savings should go to you. I was once told by a friend, about our artwork, that if we gave it away it would then be without value. Hey if Microsoft can charge $150 for software on a 10 cent CD, you should charge for your time and talent alsos.

Putting up a poll to ask potential buyers how much they might be willing to pay would probably skew the results to the low side. If I asked my customers what they would be willing to pay for our work I am sure it would cut my profits drastically, if in fact there were any profits left after their imput!

Ray

What really sux when tryn to sell "information" and copyright images or software no matter what the price is. some bad apple will come and buy it and resell or give them away for free. i have been there. i think the plans are worth $100 IF there 100% proven. i have bought plans for other home invented machines that werent flawless and cheaper. so if its 100% i am game. but mistakes in the plan can create agrivation and disapointment also waste time. so i hope it's proven. and i think i will let someone else buy and build first before i do. looks like a nice setup.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 04:58 PM
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I also hang out on the Business of Software forum where small software shops discuss things. Piracy is a common topic, although it's different in that it's not so much in the scenario where someone steals your work and resells it as their own but in the normal 'stealing' software and posting cracks sense. The general consensus is that do a bit to keep honest people honest and put effort into making the product better instead of fighting the pirates - they wouldn't have paid for it anyway. My software has basic protection in it, but other than that I'm not worrying much about piracy.

A technique often used for electronic books is to customize the PDF with a footer that contains the registered user's name. I'd add contact info and a request not to distribute copies. It's not foolproof, but once again helps prevent mild piracy.

RCG is probably the initial market. Most folks here will appreciate the work you've put in and want to see it continue.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 05:22 PM
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i agree.

I did buy a peice of software that has a very simple yet pretty neat security feature for the author. when you buy it you are given a key to install it on one machine. bascically i figured out how it works. when it installs it uses the computers description name, like mine is "officelaptop" So when you initially install it the program connects to the authors site and validates the key. now the key becomes dead. i think its a simple yet effective mesure.

At anyrate i hope its available soon so i can see how it goes for someone. im very interested.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 05:34 PM
BEC
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Two basic questions:

1. How big is the unit (not counting the folding-out foam "tables" which are a brilliant touch, by the way)? I'm still hoping I can find room for such a thing.

2. Will the driving software work through a USB-to-serial converter and/or is it fussy about which ones do work? If I could figure out how to make room, the maching most likely to be tasked to drive it doesn't have any "real" serial ports - just USB.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 05:41 PM
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United States, FL, Sebastian
Joined May 2005
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About the pricing...
After doing a quick search on the cost CNC plans, I think Mark is right in his figures in the poll. I do think more plans would be sold if the price was on the lower side, which could have more people getting involved in this project. The idea of $500 bucks or less total is awesome for something like this. Can't wait.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
Two basic questions:

1. How big is the unit (not counting the folding-out foam "tables" which are a brilliant touch, by the way)? I'm still hoping I can find room for such a thing.

2. Will the driving software work through a USB-to-serial converter and/or is it fussy about which ones do work? If I could figure out how to make room, the maching most likely to be tasked to drive it doesn't have any "real" serial ports - just USB.

ah good question. i didn't think of that, i need to know this as well!
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 09:39 PM
-+- PhlatBoyz -+-
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New Jersey
Joined Sep 2003
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Moving Forward!

Hello. Well, we made great progress again today. We just want you to know that we are working on everything here. All of your comments and support and pushing us and keeping us going. We can't wait to read your comments in the mornings when we wake up. It really makes our day. Thank you all. We're doing our best to answer all of your questions. See below.


A Monell, I thought I saw the cutter moving in the same axis as the roller (in the jig saw demo) if so this seems to make the design and software more complex? Actually, the cutter moves perpendicular to the X roller axis what we call the drive wheel so that the drive wheel moves the foam perpendicular to the cutters Y axis. Then, of course, Z axis is up and down. They all move at the same time to create complex shapes. At this point, the plug in will only allow for steps but who knows what the future holds. As you can see if you get your hands on cam software and there are some free ones out there you can do 3D objects like the picture of the ear, for instance.

totalywicked, Is there a way you can post one of the file ready to be “Printed/cut-out” so I can see the structure??? Sure, no problem. First off, thanks alot for posting that plan and allowing us to repost it on our website. It's a really cool looking design. I had to make a few modifications but I left the sizing the same. Basic modification I made was the way the wings join into the body as you can see from the pictures below. But it turned out pretty good. All I did was trace over your picture in sketchup and made sure all of the holes and tabs were 1/4" and printed it out.

crash-man, I have some concerns with it's performance with EPP foam. I would be concerned that the sheet would flex pretty seriously at the cutter no matter how much "nip" pressure you get from the roller. To be honest, I have never tried EPP foam sheets but I plan to. I took a picture of an ear I cut out tonight out of just standard white packaging foam (the type that have the large beads like EPP), it's sitting next to the blue foam ear which is dows high density foam board. You get a better result detail wise with the higher dense foam but to be honest, they both look really good. I don't think I am going to have a problem with the EPP foam because the way The Phlatprinter is set up, is that the two pressure wheels in the lid work from gravity and weight so that the thinner the piece is the pressure wheel will still exert the same amount of pressure. I could be wrong but when I test it, I will let you know. I don't think it will be a problem.

irlsh, my question is. in your design wouldn't it have been easier to have the head move on y/x axis instead of moving the whole sheet? and what control board did you use? Yes, it is easier to build a CNC router that way but I had two dilemmas in building The Phlatprinter. One was to keep it as compact as possible while allowing a maximum cutting area. The second was to utilize the parts at Lowes (as much as possible) which is where I came up with the PVC Sleave (aka the pvsleave technology for the linear slide bearings which is nothing more than pipes sliding on medal rods. The control board information will be released to all who buy the plans. The reason for this is special pricing allowed only for Phlatprinter customers.

BEC, I have a few sketchup tutorials already made. I'm sure I will be posting more as things go on. Please, keep checking our website for links. If you double click on one of the you tube videos on our website, it should take you to our youtube page with some of the sketchup tutorials. Now, those tutorials are not geared to The Phlatprinter necessarily but they will give you some ideas. I will make some new ones geared more towards The Phlatprinter soon.

High Flyin', Thanks for the positive feedback. I hear what you are saying about the poll but we asked people to be honest and we have to believe that the majority of the people are still good and we really are interested in everyone's feedback. We love our Phlatprinter and we just think it would be really cool for everyone to have one. We can't wait to see what everyone does with it. It would be nice if we could make a little change out of it also.

irlsh, We're doing our best to "prove" the machine. We're working on the third prototype at this point trying to iron out all of the small details and bugs as we finalize it but as you know, with any machine, even when people advertise zero backlash, there is no such thing as a flawless plan and there is no such thing as zero backlash. We're doing our best to make sure we produce a top notch set of plans and we will be working and building with you and answering questions should any arise.

BEC, How big is the unit? The Phlatprinter is 31" wide by 13" deep by 16" tall with the lid closed. The tables fold up for easy storage when not in use. The actually are just taped on like a plane hinge It's all you really need to support the foam sheet moving back and forth. My wife Trish actually came up with the foam tables. I was racking my brain trying so many different ways to hold the foam up. I had loops of fiberglass rods sticking out each end, I had wood, I had the table extended out further and then my wife said to me, why don't you just build the table out of the fan fold. And I was like, uh yeah lol. The tables only fold up one time but I have always been meaning to make them able to fold several times so they can really be compact. I just haven't gotten around to it. I'm sure that will be one of the first mods that happens.

Will the driving software work through a USB-to-serial converter and/or is it fussy about which ones do work? Good question. I have wondered this myself. I know that all of the electronic projects I've worked with in the past were able to be used with a USB-to-serial converter. The only limitation that I can see at this point is maybe Mach 3. This is a really good question, I will look further into it.

3DMON, The idea of $500 bucks or less total is awesome for something like this. Can't wait. Thank you so much for your support and kind remarks. We're doing our best to keep the price down and so far, so good.

Here are the pictures we talked about.
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 10:19 PM
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I understand completely. and i see your point about saving space! which is more important for home hobbiest etc..

A friend i work with is a mechanical engineer and a electrical genius. he has made many home cnc routers using your method. the usual fall back as he described to me is usually the costs involved an software, meaning he hasn't been able to buy cost effective main boards that work with decent software. i am in the sign business and i would love to utilize my sign software to use for this type of cutting my planes on foam. if you can forward some info on the types of software or all the file types supported, i would appreciate it. your plans to help us make this inexpensive is whats opening my self up. i have found many sites selling the machines or plans etc,. but nothing that keeps the costs down to what you predict. i look forward to the project end. keep up the good work!
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 11:34 PM
plane builder
Traveres City
Joined Apr 2006
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Sorry if this has already been covered but i still do not understand how you design the difference in cut's and groove's.
very interested especially with the current expected price. AMAZING!!!

Tate-
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Old Jul 07, 2008, 11:35 PM
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are you talking about the depth cutting?
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