The time has come to build a new CNC router. The old one is okay and works well enough for wood, but my attempts to use it to cut metal (aluminum, light-gauge steel) have been a bit disappointing. The other issue it has is that seems perpetually either “too big” or else “not big enough” for whatever project I’m doing. It’s cutting envelope just doesn’t lend itself well for the range of projects that I want to work on.
So I spent some time back in January working on the old router, including rebuilding the Z-axis, and while it’s now better than it was, it still doesn’t really solve the whole problem to my satisfaction. So after some deliberation, I’ve decided to build a new one to tackle these issues. Plus, let’s just be honest, I was kind of looking for an excuse to have a new machine project to work on anyway… 😉
Here’s a link to the Build Log with lots more photos and a descriptive write-up.
This was the first foray for my kids and I into the world of CNC routers. I based this largely on the ‘OX’ design put out by Mark Carew of the OpenBuilds community. As you can see it uses the typical V-Slot ‘roller bearing’ arrangement which is promoted through OpenBuilds. So, while I did not buy all the components together specifically as a “kit”, I did go through the BOM (Bill of Materials) of the Ox and several other projects to accumulate a list of necessary components.
Here is a link to the Build Log with lots more photos and description.
Here’s a project we did a few years back. The boys wanted to play with a robot arm and I just happened to have one sitting on my shelf that needed to get built… coincidence? (Quite probably!)
The project was a lot of fun. The arm went together quickly and easily without much fuss and a good time was had by all.
Here’s a link to the build log with more photos.
A couple of years ago I purchased a Bosch 1617 EVS router for use with my CNC machine. In general it works well but one thing that I wanted that it didn’t have was a way to better control the router RPM’s. Then I learned about a device called the SuperPID Speed Controller which retrofits a router to permit better spindle speed control, and it has the added advantage that it can integrate with the Mach3 CNC controller software.
Upgrading the router is not terribly difficult but it isn’t totally easy either. So as I was modifying my router I took lots of pictures of the process, partly to help myself remember what I did, but also to help someone else if they’re thinking about the SuperPID speed controller and have a similar router.
Here is a link to the build log.
Sorry there’s no descriptive text but I think you’ll find the pictures helpful enough on their own. One of the trickiest parts of getting it back together though was figuring out a way to hold the commutator brushes out of the way while I slipped the outer housing back on. I used a couple of pencils and rubber bands for this. When you get to that step, you’ll understand what I mean.
My Bosch router works great as a CNC spindle except for one small detail, it is designed to pull air through the router body and exhaust it out the bottom.
I’m sure this is a fine thing when it’s used as a manual router, but it causes problems when used as a CNC router due to the way it blows the dust and chips all over the place. This, in turn, causes the dust collector system to work extra hard to pick it up and there’s always some extra that gets wafted up into the air to settle wherever it might in the workshop.
So to solve the problem, I fired up Fusion 360 CAD and designed an air deflector plate that bolts onto the bottom of the router. And as you can see in the photos, now does a fine job of redirecting the air flow.
Here is a link to the build log where you can see more photos.
We signed the kids up for STEM Camp VEX IQ Robotics this year. Last year they did the EV3 Lego Robotics. They had a terrific time building their robot and getting it programmed, and then went on to win the competition and were awarded the First Place certificate.
Here is the link to the Google Album with lots of pictures and all the details.
My wife got me a Creality CR-10s 3D Printer for my birthday. It is really nice, and after some tuning and tweaking, it cranks out very nice 3D prints. I’m very pleased with it and I have printed some pretty neat stuff with it. Here is a link to my Google Photo Album showing a lot of the cool stuff we’ve printed with it so far. I haven’t added any commentary to it yet (as of this writing) but most of it is self-explanatory anyway I think.