CNC mill build thread

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Andrew_Hibberd
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CNC mill build thread

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:44 pm

I have been a littlequite the past few months, been very busy and the ants have taken a back seat. I have been on holiday this week and have started to get things out again. I am looking at testing the new anticide valve mech in the next few days.

I have started the process of retrofitting my axminster x1 mill to cnc, this will be a bit of a build diary.

26.04.11

Finally got the mill back from my parents where it has been in storage for about three years. Its in a horrible state with rust on most of the exposed metal. The motor is grating and blowing fuses. Most of the tools have been left in the garage too and are pretty dirty.

27.04.11

Stripped the mill right down to its basic parts. Cleaned all the gunk of the lead screws. Lightly sanded and wire brushed the rust of the bed slides and anywhere else I found it. Got some 3in1 oil from homebase and applied a generous coating over all the exposed metal. There is still a little discolouration here and there but the machine looks almost new.

There are some m4 machine screws that hold the top plate with the motor to the head which have gone missing at some point. I will have to pick some up tomorrow.

Ressembled the mill completely, ran out to homebase in the evening to get some 1A fuses and the motor turns :D. I won't spin it without the screws holding the motor in place. The slides move really easily now, I will have to pick up a dti to check the alignments before i make anything.

28.04.11

I spend today building a table for the mill as well as a surround to keep the swarf from off the carpet. I am looking at getting an extended y-axis for the machine so the surround is 1.2m by 0.7m by 0.6m high. The baseplate was an offcut 25mm thick MDF, back plate is hardboard and the sides are polystrene, which I may need to replace with polycarb as it was easy to crack. I spent so long on the sides that i gave up on the front. I bought some hinges but I don't think it is going to be practical, so I may look at a door that slides into place like the ant arena. I will need to get a couple of handles to do that properly.

Motors arrived today when i got back from B&Q and IKEA, they seem really big but the size will help when machining ali. They are rated at 1.86Nm so should easily move the machine arround. Also have double shafts so I can attach the handles to them so I have a manual mill for setting up.

Missed the postman for the power supply so went for a walk to town to pick it up. 24V 10A supply, need to get myself a plug and mains cable to run that in. Going to wait on the electronics until the controller arrives. I also need to think about how I am going to run the cables from the motors back to the controller.

So a quick pic of what I have atm:
Image

I will look at the front over the weekend so will update early next week. Hopefully more parts arrive saturday.
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Post by peterwaller » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:40 am

I cheated and found one converted already but it looks to be based on the same machine. The chap was from Liverpool and was going to market the mechanical parts for the conversion and he sold me his prototype.
Image
One of the problems the chap who converted it had was there is no backlash adjustment on the vertical movement so he added what looked slightly Heath Robinson but has worked flawlessly.
I see you have four steppers are you planning on four axis control or just doubling up on the main bed.
Looks like a good project I shall watch with interest.

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Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:36 am

I am using the same guy to make the mounts for this machine. He should have the kit together next week. There is also a kit from the states, that is all cnced, but isn't as well thought out. The guy from liverpool really likes to talk...

I have the 75mm rotary table from axminster, but it has horrible backlash as its not designed to be a 4th axis. I will proberly keep an eye out for something with a lathe chuck on it and mount the motor on there.
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Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Tue May 03, 2011 8:44 pm

A quick update. I received the 4 axis control board today, there is a little burned patch next to one of the regulators which i think must have been replaced.

Powered it all up as well as an x and y motor, but no movement. I think it is down the parrallel cable i am using. I am going to try and find an old PCI parrallel card and put it in my pc with a longer cable and hope that solved the issue.

I also need to go on the hunt for a decent CAM software, anyone got any suggestions?
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Post by Shakey » Tue May 03, 2011 9:27 pm

A program called techsoft is able to directly control CNC machines and is fairly decent.
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Post by josh » Tue May 03, 2011 9:35 pm

techsoft 2d design is reasonable for basic 3 axis machining, It's what I've hooked up to the cnc machine at school. With a fourth axis you may be able to configure the 3d version but best look at something more like pro desktop, or I think rhino 3d might have cnc driver compatibility. otherwise you play with programs to convert the models into g code.
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Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Mon May 09, 2011 8:50 pm

I had an issue with Mach 3 for running the G code. It can't run on 64 bit windows or on laptops, also it can't use USB to parallel adaptors. So I got my old pc brought down from home which has a very strange motherboard with a parallel port and is proberly a little overkill for a cnc computer.

Installed Mach 3 on this machine set up 2 motors and nothing happened. Couldn't understand what was going on until I inverted the signal it was expecting from the E-Stop input. Hind sight is a fantastic thing!

So here is a quick video of the motors whirling, not the greatest quality unfortunatly due to the lighting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rRMc-iHY5Y

I haven't had a response back from frs services about the motor mounts, but over the weekend I did go as far as designing my own mounts. I am going to order the parts tomorrow so I can get on with turning the adaptors over the weekend. If I get the time I may be able to get the machine moving next week. Watch this space.
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Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Tue May 10, 2011 10:45 am

Pete, how long are those supports between the two plates holding the motor on your mill? I have a concern about the weight of my motors putting stress on the shaft if the supports are too long.
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Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Thu May 12, 2011 8:58 pm

Today I got a few useful parts for the mill. I bought an extended bed for the mill, it gives 330mm movement, compaired to the 180mm movement of the old table. I also got the ali for the support posts and adaptors, thrust bearings and all the cap head screws I need.

http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue ... r-X1L-Mill
Image

I tightened up the jibs taking out any movement on the axis then using a new pluge indicator aligned the machine from ebay. I was shocked to see how badly the head tilted forwards, about 1mm from front to back over 10cm. I put some shims under the front of the head support to line it up. After a lot of messing arround trying to find the right size shims I hae got the bed as close as I can, to within the tolerence of how much the machine flexes.

Heading over to RS tomorrow to pick up some couplers for the motors to take out any missalignment and over to Scotts' on saturday to machine the adaptors for the lead screws.

More to come over the weekend.
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Post by earthwormjim » Thu May 12, 2011 11:13 pm

Awesome thread. Very interesting. I am researching this subject at the moment,and have read some good things about EMC2 software running on Ubuntu Linux. Both the application,and the OS are open source and completely free. I havn't used EMC2,but have used ubuntu for quite a few years,and absolutely love it.
Just thought it might be of interest. :)
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Post by peterwaller » Fri May 13, 2011 8:07 am

They are 76mm between the mount plates.

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Re: CNC mill build thread

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Thu May 19, 2011 7:59 am

After much sweat and blood and a few choice words the motors are mounted and the bed moving. The next thing on the list to do is to mount the control board and power supply inside the PC case. Still a lot to learn on the software and the I need to make a decision on how I am going to make the 4th axis. I hope to make my first cuts in the next few days.

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ITS ALIVE...!!!!

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Fri May 20, 2011 5:14 pm

I have extended the cables to the motors but all the electronics need sorting out this weekend as they are a bit of a mess. However I have got the machine cutting out its first bits from a plywood feather base I have had for a while.

I have been going through the CAM software that produces the tool paths for the machine, its got so many options its going to take a very long time to get the hang of. However I have made a short video to show it making a simple shape. I will try to make something more interesting over the weekend out of something harder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S8X2MzxNf8
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Re: CNC mill build thread

Post by peterwaller » Fri May 20, 2011 6:52 pm

I know what you mean about the number of options on the CAM software I am afraid I tend to just work on tool paths.
Using a 2 mm mill for most or my machining I just generate a toolpath line 1 mm from where I want the edge.
For cutting out which is mostly what I do this is quite straight forward but it takes a lot to work out all the tool paths on large area removal.
In the example the red it what I want and the black are the toolpaths.
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Re: CNC mill build thread

Post by josh » Fri May 20, 2011 7:07 pm

That is exactly how I work on the machine at school, using different coloured contours to define different final depths of cut and then setting these up accordingly with the output.

The black being the piece, orange a full cut and various other colours are the different depths.
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