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  1. #21
    It would be ok for cutting most PCBs, but I wouldn't do much more than that with it. I've already posted my thoughts on that machine here, so I wont repeat it.

    Edit 2: Link stopped working again, but you can find it in google cache here, post #19 is mine:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    Other pages:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=uk
    Last edited by Jonathan; 19-10-2013 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Link broke again.
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  2. Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    It would be ok for cutting most PCBs, but I wouldn't do much more than that with it. I've already posted my thoughts on that machine here, so I wont repeat it.
    I don't have permission to view that page.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    I don't have permission to view that page.
    Should work now...

    Edit, since the link stopped working again, I've copied my post about the CNC dudez 'mini muscle' machine below for good measure:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    I agree with what Jazz has just said - frankly I'm amazed it has taken until post #17 for someone to mention any of the limitations of this machine. It could so easily be improved for little additional cost. Here's some ideas for you:

    Gantry sides are weak and not braced - you have just single pieces of extrusion relying solely on joint at end. This is easily improved by adding diagonal pieces from the top of each to the base frame and a couple of horizontal pieces, or a plate, between them. You'll then end up with a trapezium which is far stronger. It looks like 1/8" thick aluminium angle has been used to mount the bearing blocks on the Y-axis. This is rather thin considering how important it is to make the joint between each axis strong.

    Rails are only 12mm, which if you're intending to cut metals regularly is pushing it. This is compounded by only having one bearing block on each X-rail. The fact it's a double length one doesn't compensate for only having one instead of using two with a reasonable spacing. This makes the table more susceptible to racking when cutting near the extremities, especially with just one ballscrew. It's fair enough to have one ballscrew on X for a small machine like this, but with 2 bearing blocks not 4 it's again far from ideal. It looks like you could have two bearings on each rail and increase the spacing without loosing travel and if not for the sake of increasing the lengths of a couple of bits of extrusion to gain back the travel from increasing the spacing, it's well worth it for the rigidity gain.

    Z-axis motor mount is flimsy - thin aluminium with small area in contact held only by two bolts. This is easily extended to for instance a U-shape which would offer much better support - 3"x1", 1/4" thick aluminium angle is good stuff for cheap motor mounts. Axial alignment of the Z-axis pulleys is quite a long way off so the belt is constantly rubbing against the pulley flanges which will cause premature wear. Not the end of the world, but still I'd expect better.

    In the video the bed is surfaced at a pretty low speed. The machine should be rigid enough to surface it at something like 7-8m/min. Sholud be getting chips not dust...

    The axes are running a lot more slowly than they could do with those motors. This is no doubt due to only running on 36V which is half of what you could and really should be using with these motors. The rest of the video shows that the acceleration is set quite low too. It's illogical to compromise the feedrates so much by using a low voltage when the whole idea of making a rigid machine is that it enables you to cut quickly. Also it's interesting to note that you may be able to get better performance with some good quality lower torque motors, since the corner speed is higher for a smaller Nema23 motor so with such a small mass to move you can end up operating past the point where the larger motor runs out of torque. If you add timing belt drives to the X and Y axes the acceleration or feedrate could be improved, in addition to reducing resonance. This may or may not be worth the increased cost, but certainly worth experimenting. I'd go for pulleys anyway since it's clear from past experience with people here that those flexible aluminium couplings are prone to shearing.

    The Kress spindle is not a good choice if you're intending to cut aluminium regularly since its bearings will wear out quickly and it's somewhat lacking in power, although given the rigidity of the rest of the machine the latter is not a big deal.

    In the video it takes 6 passes to cut through the 5mm aluminium, so 0.8mm per pass (perhaps slightly more since the last pass seems thinner) with a 6mm tool. If you're cutting aluminium regularly that's not very good. A machine this size with a strong frame should easily be capable of more. Also stop plunging with the cutter, especially in aluminium - it's hard on the tool and machine and there's just no need when you can use spiral toolpaths or ramping.

    This machine is currently capable of cutting aluminium since having the 4 rails on Y/Z has helped compensate for the lack of strength in other areas.
    A good design with 2 rails would easily perform as well, if not better (and by that I mean achieve a higher material removal rate in aluminium) with two rails. That's not to say having 4 is a bad idea, in some cases it's the only way to make a machine rigid enough, but here you might be able to save money by using two (supported rails) and investing more in other components, such as the frame.

    For a machine this size it's hard to come up with a design that wont cut aluminium so long as you follow some basic guidelines. The reason is as the machine size increases it rapidly gets hard to maintain the rigidity. For a simply supported beam with a load, the maximum deflection is proportional to the length squared - so for example if you make the machine twice as large with the same material cross section then the deflection will be 2^3 = 8 times greater. Hence, if you keep the machine small which is the case here it's not difficult to obtain sufficient rigidity. There is no clearly defined limit for when a machine fails to cut aluminium and some sellers have been exploiting this for ages to make ridiculous claims, which is of course why it's good to have the video. I can cut aluminium with a screwdriver, but that doesn't mean it's a good tool for the job or that it will last very long.

    The bottom two Y-axis rails should be flipped over so that the bottom rail is the other way up. The force rating for these supported linear bearings is much lower in the direction trying to pull the bearing off the rails, so it's best to have the rails mounted opposing to balance out the force rating. Currently the rails are all the wrong way round to counteract the force when you drill or plunge with the cutter, which is partly why you get the horrible noise every time that happens. If you swap them you'll always have 4 in the optimal direction for forces parallel to the Z axis.

    If you want to test how a machine will perform in terms of how fast it can remove material and how good a finish it will get then the least subjective way to do it is to measure the deflection for a given force on each axis, then divide the force by the deflection to get a stiffness value in N/mm and compare this to other machines. Anything else is speculation. Even if we define a standard test using the same cutter and material, then measure the result, you can't accurately compare machines since there are so many variables. For example you can push the machine hard to get a better depth of cut, but the surface finish will deteriorate so you now need to have some measure of that, plus if the cutter only lasts a few minutes at that speed it's not an honest test. Again there are a lot of variables to get a good finish - even a weak machine will get a good finish (and hence good accuracy) with a very light cut, so the machine that gets the good finish with a large cut is the better machine. This will be the machine with the highest stiffness. That's why you measure and compare stiffness...
    Could also measure backlash, but that's generally unimportant for a router when you have ballscrews, and so is to an extent measuring the size of a cut part or a centre distance with the calliper since, again, there are a number of factors that affect this - on any reasonable machine it'll be within a few 10's of micrometers at the distance most callipers measure, so things like the actual tool diameter, calliper tolerance and cutter wear become a factor. Given a couple of tries I could make a video of cutting an aluminium part with my router, measure it and get it spot on according to the (0.01mm) calliper - all you need to do is make the part once, measure the error and compensate for it in the drawing, then cut it again. The machine would have to be very poor for this strategy to work.

    I was expecting "under 1000" to include the electronics and assembly since having worked out how much it would cost to build there's still room for profit in that price assuming you're sourcing the components from China. 1600 is not much less than it cost me initially to make my machine (not including labour of course), with steel frame, and that's 53 times the working volume of this yet capable of cutting aluminium much faster (although I still wouldn't describe my machine as very rigid) for a long long time. For that sort of money, if you want to cut metals, I'd advise buying a milling machine and converting it to CNC unless you really need the additional Y travel. I wouldn't be surprised if you still sell plenty since the UK CNC router market is currently exceptionally limited, so anything better than the CNC3040 is bound to be a hit!
    Last edited by Jonathan; 19-10-2013 at 12:54 PM.
    Old router build log here. New router build log here. Lathe build log here.
    Electric motorbike project here.

  4. Good to know but I suspect that I am operating in a completely different level to you Jonathan.

    As a complete novice, I think the CNCDudez desktop machine will more than adequate :)

    If it is as good as or better than a YooCNC 3040, then I will be very happy.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    Discovered the 'CNCDudez New 2012 Desktop Mini Muscle CNC Machine' last night:
    CNC Design Limited - CNC Desktop Router

    Unlike other suppliers Sean actually replied to my email!

    Has anyone else here bought one?
    I suspect it surpasses my requirements for milling PCBs.
    To my less 'learned' eyes, it looks a mighty fine machine....but surely, if you're only after a cnc machine to mill pcbs, it's a little bit 'hammer to crack a nut' - no?

  6. Quote Originally Posted by HankMcSpank View Post
    To my less 'learned' eyes, it looks a mighty fine machine....but surely, if you're only after a cnc machine to mill pcbs, it's a little bit 'hammer to crack a nut' - no?
    Yes, pretty sure it is overkill for PCBs but once I have to all up and running, would be very interested in trying other materials. Not seen many other UK kits of parts out there...

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    Yes, pretty sure it is overkill for PCBs but once I have to all up and running, would be very interested in trying other materials. Not seen many other UK kits of parts out there...

    One of the last things I learned about procuring CNC machines (I'm slow on the uptake) is to build/buy it to the spec of the main intended purpose. Just about all people asking about buying a CNCs machine say...I'd like to mill a bit of acrylic, but maybe aluminium too. Or I'd like mill pcbs & the odd bit of mild steel(!), etc.

    IMHO, you'll get the best results (satisfaction) by buying for the main intended purpose - extreme example to underline the point - you wouldn't buy the missus a juggernaut to go to Tescos etc.

    I'd say if you want to mill pcbs, then IMHO you want a *fast* & quite compact machine (less vibrations) ...by fast I mean zippy rapids, (else it gets dreary waiting yonks for all the tracks to mill), but by bulking it up to say, start thinking about milling Ali, then you lose the attributes that your machine needs for the intended purpose.
    Last edited by HankMcSpank; 11-10-2013 at 06:22 PM.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by HankMcSpank View Post
    I'd say if you want to mill pcbs, then IMHO you want a *fast* & quite compact machine (less vibrations) ...by fast I mean zippy rapids, (else it gets dreary waiting yonks for all the tracks to mill), but by bulking it up to say, start thinking about milling Ali, then you lose the attributes that your machine needs for the intended purpose.
    Bit overwhelmed by some people saying it is too big and solid and others saying it is small and weak.
    The "CNCDudez New 2012 Desktop Mini Muscle" (catchy name) is a small machine - the working area is only 310mm, 310mm, 90mm

    HankMcSpank: What would you recommend for milling PCBs?

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by njh View Post
    HankMcSpank: What would you recommend for milling PCBs?
    A moving table design (i.e. fixed gantry)...this is style of machine is problematic to source because most CNC offerings are moving gantry.
    No larger than 30cm in either X or Y plane (to keep associated frame/table vibrations lower)
    Ballscrews - absolutely essential
    Homing switches - virtually essential.

    I could only find one manufacturer where I could buy to the above spec new (vs building my own)...

    2013 new design desktop cnc router machine RS-3020 for aluminum, View desktop cnc router machine, Redsail Product Details from Jinan Redsail Tech Co., Ltd. on Alibaba.com (it costs about $1200 ...which is great value, but of course there'd be shipping & taxes on that)





    (nb: my machine above is presently showing a standard 300W air cooled spindle, pending fitting a water cooled spindle over the coming days - hence all the black cables & tubing dangling in mid air near the spindle!!)

    ...it's the machine I ended up buying (& believe me...I went to the far end of a fart sourcing a machine that will mill pcbs well).

    Sure, it's a Chinese machine but far superior to the standard Chinese CNC fayre ....it uses 3 individual decent stepper drivers (e.g. instead of a YooCnC '3 in 1' nasty driver pcb).... http://www.moonsindustries.com/Produ...t_E/SR4_drive/ The gantry uprights are 15mm thick aluminium (very solid), ballscrews...the machine is very very zippy. The machine comes fitted with homing switches (which most don't - ok, not a show stopper, but nicer to have them fitted at the factory)...water cooled spindle etc. it also has one of those cable tidy thingymajigs fitted to allow the cabling to move with the axises neatly)

    You can maybe source in the UK from Redsail Cutting Plotter,Laser Cutting Machine,Laser Engraving Machine ...but I don't think they have that particular machine listed (& therefore presumably not in stock)

    If your intended purpose is to mill pcbs, then I'd also say to buy CNC-USB vs. mach3 ...as the former has specific integrated features that make milling pcbs much less painful (auto Z levelling, camera point transformations to assist with double sided pcb registration etc)
    Last edited by HankMcSpank; 11-10-2013 at 07:22 PM.

  10. #30
    Check your PM's

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