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  1. #1
    Having exhausted the 80's music metaphors, (ok, you might spot a few more) I thought I'd get around to posting some details and images of my CNC build "Sweet Dreams" now its finished, (does it ever finish??). Probably easier to start at the end and work backwards to the beginning...

    [edit]Change of plan... I have a large box of papers, drawings, research and notes, (there were over 900 revisions to the main CAD!) as I come across the info or the images I'll post them. You may see some conflicting reference to past, present and future tense, but eventually it will all be in past tense! Apologies.. this might get a little random! lol [edit]

    I'll start with the design specification, but here's a couple of teaser pics until I get the customary video uploaded.

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    In front of the Rose window at the ally Pally.
    If you were at the London Model Engineering Exhibition at Alexander Palace back in January then you've already seen and heard it working! :-) Great to talk to so many knowledgable people and thanks for all the kind words.

    You may notice two Echains feeding the same location on the Z axis? One has data, the other power. This principal is applied to the whole machine, data down one side, power the other. (Echain is cheaper than finding interference!)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Table, height adjustable and can be swapped out completely for 4th axis. 40mm box steel, weighs about 70kg without sand.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    some boring soldering... more to come on that... :)

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    The electrics section.

    Blue chosen as it matches my eyes! lol. The electrical "box" is er, unusual! The rear of the machine, has a base board across its entire size with hinges at the bottom (to the right in the above image), the view above is in the open position. Laid out horizontally with all the components easily accessible. In the closed position, airflow moves from the bottom of the box and out through the top. (right to left in the pic). aided by 12VDC 3 inch fans positioned by the transformers.

    The base board is 22mm Buffalo board with 3mm alloy sheet bonded and screwed to it. This alloy sheet acts as the ground plane for all circuits and helps simplify the prevention of the dreaded earth loop. The hinges are positioned such that in the closed position, the base board, with all the components bolted to it is slightly over centre so gravity holds it closed. The alloy base board ground plane is electrically connected to the main frame.

    From top left heading downwards;
    (just out of picture) mains in, massive mains filter, 4xMCB, mains distribution rail in 150mm conduit.
    (in picture)

    Transformer cooling fan low voltage distribution
    2 x 5VDC transformers
    12VDC transformer
    24VAC transformer for relay cluster and high voltage distribution
    toroid transformer, rectifier and smoothing caps.
    Moving right in the image
    central conduit (75mm)
    right of centre conduit
    Power to machine front (round conduit)
    secondary distribution board
    data feed front of machine (round conduit)
    data feed to Z Axis (round conduit)
    Relay cluster including hot swap spares, (to Omcrom micro switches, Estop and height gauge)
    power to Z axis (round conduit)

    8A drivers far right.

    All cables are numbered for easy FF. Thankfully, apart from a microswitch wired to a spare relay, no issues with cabling.

    That brought a smile (mainly of relief!)

    Warning; >Digression alert<
    The evening came when it was all wired... circuits tested and retested, but no power yet applied. A quick phone call to a sparks friend saw the next morning arrive with a body who knew nothing of the build and the wiring. His job was to act as a blind test and verify all was as the wiring diagram said it should be. A couple of hours later and all the circuits are given a clean bill of health. It's time to turn the power on... or we could check it again... lol. It gets plugged in (all switches off) as the first switch is turned on (12v feed to pump, fans, misting system, work lights) fire extinguisher in hand, there is a deathly silence while we search for glowing wires, the faint whiff of the aroma of the magic smoke escaping... after what seemed like hours, we turned it off and went to the pub to calm down, walking like an egyptian perhaps?

    The cable runs use Igus echain but some, eg linking the rear base board to the 5 screens at the front are run through the frame. Prior to assembly, the frame members were machined to accept lengths of 22mm copper pipe. These are electrically bonded to the frame and act as conduits for the cables and keep the sand off the wiring.
    Last edited by sweetdream; 04-08-2014 at 10:33 PM. Reason: tidied...

  2. #2
    Ah ah Sweetdream I like that mate. . . Lol

  3. #3
    Design spec;

    Seems like a long time ago I asked the question "what do I want to cut with it?" "Don't know yet" was the unhelpful conclusion! But after much thought about what I needed, opposed to what I wanted. I came up with a basic spec; a very strong, fast CNC that could work anything I threw at it including metals and portable enough to fit through a standard door.

    This CNC was not going to be an exercise in what was theoretically possible, just a no frills, very strong, quick and easy to build structure that a tank could drive over! It had to be built without recourse to another CNC or exotic measuring equipment, just the equipment I had, could borrow or was prepared to buy. I did have some milling done on the frame, (making the 26x 22mm holes for the conduits, we had a jig on the mill and just knocked them out but that could as easily have been done with a pillar drill but would have taken a lot longer. Apart from that milling job, it was built with power tools and a pillar drill.

    A few additional criteria added during the build, the spec stayed the same and was met. It fits through a fairly standard door frame too!

    For the frame, I went for a PVC thick wall tubing with copper plumbing fittings. Skate bearings and ACME thread and I found a couple of old plastic pallets to use as the bed too.. LOL, only joking, just checking you're still awake. I realised fairly early on that for the performance I was wanting, a hybrid of bolted and welded steel construction and profiled rail were the right option. So large quantities of 80mm thick wall box section steel were calculated. The Hiwin catalog and price lists took a beating too.

    Other staples were the standard 2.4kw water cooled spindle, NEMA 34, 8amp drivers, Omcron switches, nothing unusual except the later addition of a 250 rpm single phase spindle to deal with any low speed spindle requirements, mounted parallel but alongside the main spindle.

    Although I had a good idea of what I wanted to achieve and some ideas I'd not seen used before, when I started I did not know all the questions that I'd need to answer before the build was finished. For the benefit of anyone reading this before building their own CNC thats a small but important point. You may not know all the questions you'll need to answer. :-)

    But of course, the devil is in the detail and how you put it together.

    So first build a workshop! lol..

    it might fit in...

    or convert an old shed. After repairing the roof [picture coming] putting in a concrete floor, [find pics] some storage arrives courtesy of hearing about them being thrown out!

    The wooden carcasses are solid but the plastic trays look a little fragile. Might swap them out for wooden ones as and when they break.

    I've ended up with the back wall of the shop, floor to ceiling with these bins and a bench cantilevered out between them at a suitable height for standing at the bench. I had enough left to put them on one wall from head high to the ceiling giving a total of about 200 bays, 17inches deep, with either 3 inch or 6 inch high trays. Some I put shelves in as seen in the Hammer store below.

    looking better..
    The storage starts filing up...

    All workshops should have a good selection of tools!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In case of working late, some refreshments may be required! :-) [update] the beer has long gone! There's half a bottle of gin, 5 litres of cider and some fruit based cordials in case of visitors.. :-)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by sweetdream; 31-07-2014 at 03:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Good way to start, prioritize refreshments. Well done sweettooth!!!- I mean sweetdream. G.

  5. #5
    Liking the cut of your jib...looking forward to seeing details of the build and the machine...


  6. #6
    I think any man with a beer fridge in his workshop is going to fit in well around here

    Although chilling Spitfire is not an approach I would advocate ;)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GEOFFREY View Post
    Good way to start, prioritize refreshments. Well done sweettooth!!!- I mean sweetdream. G.
    haha, closer than you think! the ice crusher attachment for the CNC is almost ready to test!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by njhussey View Post
    Liking the cut of your jib...looking forward to seeing details of the build and the machine...
    I'll get there eventually! I had a go pro running in the workshop during the build, taking a shot every 5 secs. should make an interesting time lapse video if I ever get the thousands (and thousands) of shots stitched together!
    Last edited by sweetdream; 29-07-2014 at 05:08 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    Ah ah Sweetdream I like that mate. . . Lol
    Thank you. :-)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Washout View Post
    I think any man with a beer fridge in his workshop is going to fit in well around here

    Although chilling Spitfire is not an approach I would advocate ;)
    I thought the fridge was a requirement for joining this illustrious gathering??

    There's got to be a joke about spitfire and cold in the spirit of the other ads.. just can't think of it..

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