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AVRnj
02-04-2013, 07:09 PM
Hey everyone,

My name is Erik and I have been printing in 3D using a home built Reprap, and now I would like to take a shot at building a DYI CNC machine.


I am currently doing poor man machining, with a drill press, jig saw, cutoff saw, grinder.

I would like to be able to machine real parts out of aluminum.

My main objectives would be able to mill aluminum, up to say 1" thick, mostly for parts for my robotics projects.

Most parts would be smaller than say 150mm by 150mm, but I would not mind having a bit more capacity if possible.

I would like to be able to design these parts in some type of software and have the G-code created to send to the CNC if possible, much like in 3D printing where you create in something like openscad or blender, slice the file into G-code, and send it with pronterface.

Can someone point me in the right direction for where I can read/find instructions on how to build a machine to accomplish what I am looking to do?

For 3d printing, the RepRap community was really amazingly easy, there were incredibly detailed plans that were very easy to follow.

Having built a 3d printer, I am quite comfortable with the X,Y,Z axis concept, however I understand that for CNC, I will need to build something much sturdier than a reprap.

To date, I have not found anything similar for DIY CNC, but I THINK that is because with 3d printing the technology for the DIY'er is almost all the same, whereas with CNC, everyone has different things they want to be able to CNC, and create machines accordingly.

Any direction would be greatly appreciated!

Swarfing
02-04-2013, 08:21 PM
First question you need to ask yourself is what do you want to use it for? from this you can then decide what you need to build?

AVRnj
02-04-2013, 09:46 PM
First question you need to ask yourself is what do you want to use it for? from this you can then decide what you need to build?

I would like to be able to machine real parts out of aluminum.

My main objectives would be able to mill aluminum, up to say 1" thick, mostly for parts for my robotics projects.

Most parts would be smaller than say 150mm by 150mm, but I would not mind having a bit more capacity if possible.

I would like to be able to design these parts in some type of software and have the G-code created to send to the CNC if possible, much like in 3D printing where you create in something like openscad or blender, slice the file into G-code, and send it with pronterface.

martin54
02-04-2013, 09:55 PM
A lot of people start off their build log with an outline of what they want the machine to be able to do & materials they want to be able to cut so if you have a look through some of the build logs you should be able to decide which are most relevant to your needs fairly quickly.
Have a read through some of them as there is a lot of useful info which will help when you start to design your own machine.

Best of luck with it.

Swarfing
02-04-2013, 10:56 PM
Well it sounds like you want to be milling rather than routing which is a good start. You may want to venture a bit more away from the 3d printing software as well. When you start adding forces (i.e cutters) into the mix then you will want more control of the CAM side of things. Like martin says have a good read through the mill threads..............and watch your budget run away with :-)

GEOFFREY
02-04-2013, 11:00 PM
Here comes my "bias" again. For the size and type of material you want I think you should be building a fixed gantry moving table machine. G.

Philly
02-04-2013, 11:34 PM
Here comes my "bias" again. For the size and type of material you want I think you should be building a fixed gantry moving table machine. G.

With the sizes he wants would he not be better off converting a mini mill?

Ricardoco
02-04-2013, 11:38 PM
Hey everyone,

My name is Erik and I have been printing in 3D using a home built Reprap, and now I would like to take a shot at building a DYI CNC machine.


I am currently doing poor man machining, with a drill press, jig saw, cutoff saw, grinder.

I would like to be able to machine real parts out of aluminum.

My main objectives would be able to mill aluminum, up to say 1" thick, mostly for parts for my robotics projects.

Most parts would be smaller than say 150mm by 150mm, but I would not mind having a bit more capacity if possible.

I would like to be able to design these parts in some type of software and have the G-code created to send to the CNC if possible, much like in 3D printing where you create in something like openscad or blender, slice the file into G-code, and send it with pronterface.

Can someone point me in the right direction for where I can read/find instructions on how to build a machine to accomplish what I am looking to do?

For 3d printing, the RepRap community was really amazingly easy, there were incredibly detailed plans that were very easy to follow.

Having built a 3d printer, I am quite comfortable with the X,Y,Z axis concept, however I understand that for CNC, I will need to build something much sturdier than a reprap.

To date, I have not found anything similar for DIY CNC, but I THINK that is because with 3d printing the technology for the DIY'er is almost all the same, whereas with CNC, everyone has different things they want to be able to CNC, and create machines accordingly.

Any direction would be greatly appreciated!hey Welcome to the site, Well you posses the knowlege you need if you have build your reprap the next thing would be your budget, what is your absolute max budget, I only ask as there are several ways to achieve what you require but all start with how much you want to spend. The next thing to consider is what software you wish to use to execute the G-Code, there are many types but a high percentage use a piece of software called Mach3, you can download a copy for evaluation free with a 500 line G-code limit, i suggest you go get that and read the manual to familerise yourself with the differences between 3D printers And CNC milling machines. this is the link to their site:-
ArtSoft USA - Home of Mach3 and LazyCam (http://www.machsupport.com/)

as a second reading source have a look at the build logs on the site and that will let you know what you are up against and show you what you can achieve if you are determined..

Rick

GEOFFREY
03-04-2013, 12:24 AM
With the sizes he wants would he not be better off converting a mini mill?

The original post indicated that it would be useful to be able to have the option to sometimes cut something a bit larger, so I was thinking of a working area of maybe 300mmx300-400mm - not possible with a minimill. G.

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 01:57 AM
Programming Arduinos and community built reprap software my money is on LinuxCNC??????

Maybe build a cnc mill and plan the second 3d printer build and go for a REPSTRAP that can double as a cnc router?

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 02:00 AM
Programming Arduinos and community built reprap software my money is on LinuxCNC??????

Maybe build a cnc mill and plan the second 3d printer build and go for a REPSTRAP that can double as a cnc router? To be fair i said Mach3 for simplicity, cos the documentation for linux cnc aint great.. i suppose it would be if it were updated as much as the software.. but the chap maybe good at Linux I personaly think its crap IMHO LOL (oh 30 years as software engineer lets me say that) LOL i know Jonathan likes it as well. but when the hardware side of things is sorted he will have a better idea of where he is and then who knows LinuxCNC could be the way for him..

Rick

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 02:09 AM
Rick you will be telling me that Fortran is cutting edge next...lol! Even Jonathan was against LinuxCNC..Until he actually tried it. Maybe because he actually sat and read the documentation mind you may have changed his mind

IT Performance Engineer tells me you are wrong ;-)

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 02:15 AM
Rick you will be telling me that Fortran is cutting edge next...lol! Even Jonathan was against LinuxCNC..Until he actually tried it. Maybe because he actually sat and read the documentation mind you may have changed his mind

IT Performance Engineer tells me you are wrong ;-)

Ok well we will have to disagree then and i have tried it.

Computer Science degree says i have my own opinion LMAO..

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 02:17 AM
Anyhow back on topic..

Rick

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 02:20 AM
Rick i agree, it's horses for courses. MS pay my bills but live my life on Linux.

PS

Cut my teeth on Fortran, Cobal and Pascal........Cut them so badly forgot what the code looks like!

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 02:23 AM
Rick i agree, it's horses for courses. MS pay my bills but live my life on Linux.!

No Arguements there


.................... forgot what the code looks like!
I wish i had that pleasure but maintaining antique equipment is what they pay me the big bucks for LOL

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 02:30 AM
Rick you should try working on the dark side. I spend most of my days trying to get 386 platforms to work in harmony with AIX, Z/OS and DB2. In the brand the new days of cloud computing (old node computing with the cable cut), whats that all about then?

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 02:39 AM
Rick you should try working on the dark side. I spend most of my days trying to get 386 platforms to work in harmony with AIX, Z/OS and DB2. In the brand the new days of cloud computing (old node computing with the cable cut), whats that all about then?MONEY!!

Rick

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 02:44 AM
I knew i was missing something LOL!

AVRnj
03-04-2013, 01:10 PM
Everyone, thanks much for the replies.

Very helpful!

I am going to spend the day reading the build logs and try to find some good starting info!

Jonathan
03-04-2013, 01:32 PM
Even Jonathan was against LinuxCNC

That's not the first time someone's said that, so it's about time I pointed out that I was never against LinuxCNC. I just didn't recommend it until I had tried it myself. In May 2010 I said this in a post:


I'm using Mach3 at the moment, I intend to change to EMC.

It just took me over a year to get round to it! I changed when I started cutting an array of parts from an expensive (2400*740*20mm) sheet of aluminium, and had a problem with Mach3 which I've never found the reason for.

Anyway, so I'm not compelled to delete my own post for going off topic...

If you're happy with 150x150mm, then a milling machine would be the best option. Unfortunately quite a lot of the small milling machines have very limited Y-axis travel, so you wont find many with 150mm. For example this one (http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Milling-Machines/Model-Super-X3-Mill) is quite popular but it's only got 145mm Y-travel. If you can't find one, which ideally would be second hand to save money, then making a fixed gantry machine is the next strongest option.

Another reason to get a milling machine is the versatility of the tools you can put in the spindle. For example if you need to put bearings in these parts, then just milling the bearing pockets almost certainly wont be accurate enough, however with a milling machine you can put a boring head in it and bore out the bearing pockets to get the perfect fit.

AVRnj
03-04-2013, 01:35 PM
That's not the first time someone's said that, so it's about time I pointed out that I was never against LinuxCNC. I just didn't recommend it until I had tried it myself. In May 2010 I said this in a post:



It just took me over a year to get round to it! I changed when I started cutting an array of parts from an expensive (2400*740*20mm) sheet of aluminium, and had a problem with Mach3 which I've never found the reason for.

Anyway, so I'm not compelled to delete my own post for going off topic...

If you're happy with 150x150mm, then a milling machine would be the best option. Unfortunately quite a lot of the small milling machines have very limited Y-axis travel, so you wont find many with 150mm. For example this one is quite popular but it's only got 145mm Y-travel. If you can't find one, which ideally would be second hand to save money, then making a fixed gantry machine is the next strongest option.

Another reason to get a milling machine is the versatility of the tools you can put in the spindle. For example if you need to put bearings in these parts, then just milling the bearing pockets almost certainly wont be accurate enough, however with a milling machine you can put a boring head in it and bore out the bearing pockets to get the perfect fit.

Thanks for the info!

If I buy such a milling machine can I control it with G-code just the same as a DIY built one?

Any suggestions for which one('s) to buy?

Jonathan
03-04-2013, 01:44 PM
If I buy such a milling machine can I control it with G-code just the same as a DIY built one?

Not unless you buy a CNC milling machine. If you get a manual milling machine, like the one I linked to, you'll have to convert it to CNC, which basically involves changing the leadscrews for ballscrews and adding stepper motors and a controller.

Ricardoco
03-04-2013, 01:51 PM
Jonathan what machine did you link to??

Rick

Jonathan
03-04-2013, 01:54 PM
Jonathan what machine did you link to??

Rick

Oops I forgot - added to post #22.

Swarfing
03-04-2013, 11:15 PM
Jonathan there is nothing wrong with changing your mind? I'm glad you found the switch works for you :apathy:


So what is it going to be? Mill, router, fixed gantry???????

AVRnj
04-04-2013, 08:22 PM
Jonathan there is nothing wrong with changing your mind? I'm glad you found the switch works for you :apathy:


So what is it going to be? Mill, router, fixed gantry???????

Everyone, thanks much for your suggestions and your help!

Was away on business yesterday, and now getting back to this.

So, rather than buying something and converting it, I would much rather just build something, as I always prefer the build over buy if it's achievable.

I definitely want to go Mill over router, but I am not sure about fixed gantry vs. sliding table (if that is the option?)

I will admit, I was hoping that there was more of a build template that I could follow like there is for 3d printers in Reprap, but it seems there is really no such thing for CNC mills.

I am thinking that if I buld myself, I may want to have more mill area than 150x150, unless there becomes some technical or financial hurdle at some point close to that.


I have read quite a few build logs, and I still have a ton of questions and still not sure how I am going to do quite a few things, like:

power
sliding table vs. fixed gantry
control
software
etc.


So what should be my next step? Should I start a build log and state what I know I want to do, and ask for suggestions from there?

GEOFFREY
05-04-2013, 12:09 AM
Yes!!! G.