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firetrappe
27-09-2013, 01:34 AM
Hi Guys,

I'm not really a 'new member' as I joined this forum in 2009. Back then I was looking for a UK source of stepper motors for my first router, a CNC kit I bought from the US called a Phlatprinter. As this is my first post though I thought i'd post in this forum :redface:.

The Phlatprinter is a quirky little 3-axis machine made from MDF and was designed for cutting foam RC airplanes using a Dremel. The Dremel is mounted in a cabinet on an X/Z gantry and cuts upwards into foam that passes between feed rollers above (like a printer feeds paper). It uses basic components sourced from DIY stores and is driven using a cheap 3-axis board and Mach3 : Original Phlatprinter DIY Kit (http://www.phlatboyz.com/Original-Phlatprinter-DIY-Kit_p_172.html).

The machine was a great introduction to CNC for me and i've used it for the past 4 years. I've also done a few upgrades which have allowed me to cut thin plywood, G10 fiberglass and i've even used it to route copper traces on a PCB.

Unfortunately the router does have some pitfalls even for light work. Firstly you can't see the spindle or cutting bit while it's working, also tool changes aren't possible without removing the material being processed. The main annoyances for me however are that the material can sometimes skew slightly when cutting large files and accuracy, although surprisingly good for such a basic machine isn't as good as i'd like.

So... A few weeks ago I decided it was about time to spend some money and upgrade to a more capable, traditional style flatbed machine. I started searching this and other CNC forums to see if there were any individuals or companies selling kits which met my ideal criteria. That being a cutting area of 500mm x 1000mm x 50mm, capable of cutting thicker/harder material than my current machine, good accuracy (+/-0.2mm) and within a build budget of £2000.

Why a kit? Well, after a few searches it soon became apparent that for a pre-built machine I wasn't going to get anything matching my specs for less than 4K. I don't have access to any metalworking tools apart from a pillar drill, and I don't really have the knowledge, time or inclination to design something from scratch.

My search for kits didn't yield many successful results. The majority of kits (or plans for that matter) were based on imperial rather than metric hardware. Also the cutting beds were nowhere near the dimensions I really wanted. After spending hours searching the CNC forums I decided to change my approach and see if there were any ideas on the European RC forums. I figured people there would probably have similar requirements to myself.

I finally stumbled upon a German forum which had an active CNC sub-forum. With the help of Google translate I found a few interesting machines which seemed close to my specs. One was an aluminium based kit which is unfortunately out of production at the moment : CNC-Fräsmaschinen (http://www.mixware.de/index.html)

The other is a plywood based kit shown here : CNC-Holzfraese, Modellbau CNC Fraese die sogar als Möbel durchgeht Page 6. (http://www.cnc-holzfraese.de/videos.htm) I'm really interested in the plywood kit. Although i'd prefer an aluminium design, the design seems good and the hardware it's designed to use seems of a high spec. The plywood kit is about £400 and is designed to use 16mm ballscrews and 16mm supported rails : CNC Holzfraese V3 Bausatz (M) Siebd Kugelumlaufspindel-CNC Holzfraese V3 Bausatz (M) 12mm Sieb (http://www.modellstaender.de/eshop/index.php?page=product&info=75)

I think this might be a good basic setup which I could upgrade in the future if I wanted to.

If you've read this far then thanks for reading it all! Any input or comments would really be appreciated.

Cheers,
Si.

GEOFFREY
27-09-2013, 12:14 PM
Hi Si, a plywood kit - I think that you had better run for cover!!! G.

CraftyGeek
27-09-2013, 12:57 PM
I'm going through the design/build process at the moment.

I originally started with an MDF machine built from the original plans on buildyourowncnc.com & then went on to modify it. It worked ok for cutting basic parts but had issues with the frame warping & workshop damp/humidity was also a pretty big issue.

I started out a while back thinking about building a new machine from aluminium extrusion - I originally planned to modify the FLA-100 & make it metric friendly (I did start doing this)...I then started asking more questions on here & was talked out of using aluminium extrusion for the frame - now i'm building a steel frame & designing the whole machine myself. This is the only way that i'll get exactly what I want from the machine...as you've found there is very little out there in the way of metric plans or kits in europe.

If you're concerned about working with steel - you shouldn't be, this is the first time i've worked with it & the first time i've done any welding...its quite a forgiving material to work with.

For £400 you could build something a lot better than that ply kit.

JAZZCNC
27-09-2013, 02:32 PM
Hi Si, a plywood kit - I think that you had better run for cover!!! G.

Think Geoffrey says it all with this post.!!. . . . BUT I'll add my little bit.!!

. . . . . . YOU WANT YOUR HEAD LOOKING AT IF YOU SPEND £400 ON PLY WOOD FRAME.. . . Lol

PS: I remember you asking about steppers but I was known has Hemsworthlad back then before getting Kicked out for being naughty boy. . lol

Jonathan
27-09-2013, 03:02 PM
I agree entirely... if you want a weak machine that might be OK for a few months if you're lucky, stick with plywood. If you want something that wont gradually bend and distort with varying moisture contect, resulting in a machine with varying accuracy, then make it with something sensible like aluminium and/or steel.

kingcreaky
27-09-2013, 03:14 PM
Hi Si, a plywood kit - I think that you had better run for cover!!! G.

:congratulatory: as I read it... I thought the same... :-D

forget wood. erase it from your memory

Drop me a PM, Im reasonably local and may have a solution to your quandry

njhussey
27-09-2013, 03:49 PM
Drop me a PM, Im reasonably local and may have a solution to your quandry
Another machine in a month build log coming up Matt??!!

firetrappe
27-09-2013, 04:27 PM
Lol, thanks for all the replies lads. TBH I knew I was going to get slated for talking about building from wood, I've got broad shoulders though so I can take it.

I've been using a machine built from 6mm MDF, drainpipe, gas pipe and cheap all-thread studding for 4 years. I don't think you can get much more 'budget' than that. But to be fair it's done what i've asked of it. Some pics attached of the type of things i've been cutting.

My reason for the plywood build was to spend money on decent hardware, supported linear rails, ballscrews, bearing blocks etc and also good electronics; this is the driver board, relay board and psu i'm using at the moment : www.easy-cnc.com * Your best option in driver boards for CNC machines (http://www.easy-cnc.com/kit3axis.html) :cower:

I was hoping that I could then use the ply machine and work on a better design in the future using the hardware and electronics i'd invested in.
I agree that £400 is pricey for some bits of plywood, but thought it was reasonable considering the R&D work that had been put into the design.

Kingcreaky, i'll PM you shortly.

Si.

Jonathan
27-09-2013, 04:47 PM
From the images you've posted it's clear that your machine has quite a lot of backlash, so you definitely want to eliminate this by using ballscrews on your next machine.


I agree that £400 is pricey for some bits of plywood, but thought it was reasonable considering the R&D work that had been put into the design.

What R&D! If they'd done any R&D then it wouldn't be made from plywood. If you consider it worth paying for R&D, then just look at the build logs on this forum and you'll find all the information you need. I've recently posted about a machine (http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/router-build-logs/6484-sufficiently-strong-machine.html) I made, and I will upload the drawings/plans to the post very soon. No I'm not charging for it as it's all information you can get for nothing if you're prepared to spend a little time reading the forums. Charging for it would be like charging people to read this website...

m_c
27-09-2013, 05:24 PM
By the looks of it, you are getting quite a lot of phenolic plywood for your money, which isn't exactly cheap, and is more stable than most other wood boards.

Yes, £400 could buy you all the metal you need to potentially create a better machine, but then you've got to learn how to work with metal and probably spend more on tools to be able to work with it or pay for somebody else to do it, whereas that £400 gets you a basic machine that needs a lot less input to get a working machine.

You already have experience of CNC, you have obviously done your research, and you have a reasonable expectations of what the machine should be capable of, so I personally don't think buying that kit would be a bad choice for you. However, I would be looking to try and find somebody who has already bought one, to make sure the kit they received lived up to expectations, and that they never got supplied with a bunch of poor fitting parts.

JAZZCNC
27-09-2013, 05:40 PM
What R&D! If they'd done any R&D then it wouldn't be made from plywood.

Agree with Jonathan but also under stand what your saying.!! . . . But don't think you realise just what can be achieved with £400.

I could build a base frame and Gantry for machine with 1000 x 700 cutting made from Box section steel for £60 and still have some steel left.!!

If you want bling and shiny then £500 would buy all the Aluminium plate and profile for this machine 10250 which purely by coincidence is very similar in design to Excel's machine here EXEL CNC SL6090 Pro (http://www.exelcnc.com/index.php/cnc-machines/exel-cnc-sl6090-pro.html) that cost's £6000 and it's not has stiff or neat has my design(Which was designed and built well before they started).

With £2K you can build a cracking steel machine complete with profiled linear rails and all the trimmings.
To give an idea I'm just Finishing off a machine for someone like the one in the Picture which has profiled rails, ballscrews, 3Nm motor's along Proximity switch limits and energy chain all the trimmings etc.

Proper Control box (which I'm doing Now between typing here.!!) 10251 that has high quality 80V AM882 Digital drives, excellent CSMIO-P-M motion control card full with 24v signals and Estop system driven thru Pilz safety relay etc

All this for £2800 minus spindle.!! (and I'm covering most my time). . . . . Built from steel it would be Less.!!

JAZZCNC
27-09-2013, 05:51 PM
Yes, £400 could buy you all the metal you need to potentially create a better machine, but then you've got to learn how to work with metal and probably spend more on tools to be able to work with it or pay for somebody else to do it, whereas that £400 gets you a basic machine that needs a lot less input to get a working machine.

Sorry absolutely don't agree that thing will be harder to setup than pair of SU carbs that's been sat in scrapyard for 20 yrs (Know you'll relate to that Moray.:cower:) and it will quiver like a jelly if pushed hard.!! . . . . No contest.!

For less than £100 steel and £75 welder could have far superior machine. For £200 I'd cut and weld the bugger up no problem.!!

m_c
27-09-2013, 05:59 PM
Sorry absolutely don't agree that thing will be harder to setup than pair of SU carbs that's been sat in scrapyard for 20 yrs (Know you'll relate to that Moray.:cower:) and it will quiver like a jelly if pushed hard.!! . . . . No contest.!

For less than £100 steel and £75 welder could have far superior machine. For £200 I'd cut and weld the bugger up no problem.!!
I've never dealt with carbs on cars of any kind ;)

firetrappe
27-09-2013, 10:15 PM
From the images you've posted it's clear that your machine has quite a lot of backlash, so you definitely want to eliminate this by using ballscrews on your next machine.



What R&D! If they'd done any R&D then it wouldn't be made from plywood. If you consider it worth paying for R&D, then just look at the build logs on this forum and you'll find all the information you need. I've recently posted about a machine (http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/router-build-logs/6484-sufficiently-strong-machine.html) I made, and I will upload the drawings/plans to the post very soon. No I'm not charging for it as it's all information you can get for nothing if you're prepared to spend a little time reading the forums. Charging for it would be like charging people to read this website...

Jonathan, yes, my current machine does have a lot of backlash. Unfortunately there is quite a lot of play in the whole machine so I haven't even bothered trying to dial any of it out with software.

Maybe R&D was a bad term to use. The guy that sells the kits (which are cut using the machine he sells kits of btw) has revised the design and build instructions several times. He has a dedicated forum for people building the machine and has refined the design from his customers input to make it better and more fool-proof to build. 'Support' would have been a better reason for justifying the price. With several build logs to refer to from other people building identical machines (Startseite - CNC-Holzfraese (http://www.cnc-holzfraese.de/Community/index.php?page=Index)), I felt that it would be worth the cost of the kit. It's the path I followed for my existing machine and it's the support and building tips/mods from the Phlatprinter community that made the build so much more enjoyable.


Sorry absolutely don't agree that thing will be harder to setup than pair of SU carbs that's been sat in scrapyard for 20 yrs

Jazz, My main concern was building the machine 'square'. I know how difficult it can be to build an RC aeroplane without warps etc. I'd much rather have an accurately machined metal frame that could be bolted together rather than glued and screwed!

Anyway, thanks to all the input from you guys i'm pleased to say the Plyw**d machine is looking much less likely.

Si.

firetrappe
29-09-2013, 08:56 PM
Hi Guys, i'm back again with another newbie question...

I've spent most of the weekend reading the threads on this forum. I think my brain is overloaded with info now! At least I know a lot more today than I did on Friday when I first posted.

Anyway, my question.

My current machine is located at the bottom of the garden in a 8'x10' wooden shed. The shed is built on a slabbed base and has a wooden floor. I have a 10' worksurface down one length of the shed, the current machine is bolted to this.

With a more conventional steel or ali machine, I intend to remove the worksurface to make room for it. Depending on whether the machine is suitable for bench mounting or has it's own frame, is it sufficient mount it directly onto the wooden floor that is currently there (supported underneath), or would I be better off putting holes in the floor so that it stands on the slabs underneath the shed and is isolated?

Cheers,
Si.

JAZZCNC
30-09-2013, 12:49 AM
With a more conventional steel or ali machine, I intend to remove the worksurface to make room for it. Depending on whether the machine is suitable for bench mounting or has it's own frame, is it sufficient mount it directly onto the wooden floor that is currently there (supported underneath), or would I be better off putting holes in the floor so that it stands on the slabs underneath the shed and is isolated?

Well depends really on machine size and weight. Most decent sized steel machines are quite heavy so it's a good idea to mount to something sturdy.
The bigger problem with mounting on Shed floor comes from inertia shacking machine and the shed so needs bolting down to floor directly.
Same goes with a Bench mounted machine, the Bench needs to be substantial and fastened to shed walls along with machine bolted to it.

It's good fun watching a machine on full tilt walk around workshop. . :joker:

firetrappe
03-10-2013, 12:53 PM
I thought i'd just give a quick update since my first post on here...

Thanks to a couple of the forum members, namely Kingcreaky and JazzCNC, I think i've learnt more in the past week about CNC than I had in the last 4 years. Both these guys contacted me offering advice, help and guidance without trying to sell me anything or push me in any particular direction.
I've been members of several different forums over the years and this isn't really the norm. Usually I receive PM's asking for help or trying to sell the latest and greatest product. It's a breath of fresh air to have genuine people pro-actively contacting me just trying to help.

I just wanted to publicly thank these guys and say what a nice forum i'm finding this to be. Hopefully when i've got a bit more experience i'll be able to offer similar help to others like these guys regularly seem to do.

For any newbies and lurkers out there like me, don't be afraid to ask questions here. It could save you a hell of a lot of time and money from making bad decisions!

Si.