Pontiac Chief

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My Dad is a Pontiac nut. He lives and breathes Pontiac stuff. So for his birthday I wanted to see if I could make some sort of “Pontiac Chief” thing out of wood. I searched online until I found a good version of the logo to use and then I hand-drew it into the CAD program. I added the circle behind it and the lettering below it using regular CAD tools. I tweaked it just a little in the CAM program just before I cut it, so you can perhaps see a little bit of revision between the original CAD and the final result that was cut.

My Dad liked it.

Click here to see the Build Log with more photos.

Rebuilding the Z-Axis on the Old CNC Router

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I built the old CNC router using parts and designs patterned after the OpenBuilds “OX” machine. In general it was a pretty good machine for cutting wood but turned out to be not so good for cutting metal, particularly aluminum which is the type of metal that I generally want to cut. So I gave it a shot at rebuilding the Z-axis using a C-shaped OpenBuilds extrusion and that helped quite a bit, but ultimately it just wasn’t as solid as I wanted. Even with the wrap-around aspect of the C-beam there was still too much play to do a good job at cutting aluminum. Then my wife gave me a nice spiffy new ready-built Z-axis for Christmas and that was the genesis for the whole new “Bigger & Stronger” CNC router. But still, someone might find what I did to rebuild this one interested.

Click here to see the Build Log with more photos.

Adding Limit Switches to the Old CNC Router

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I ran the old CNC router for well over a year before getting around to putting limit switches on it. Since I rarely cut anything which approached the sides of the envelope it really wasn’t a big problem. But I really wanted to get it set up so that I could have Mach3 home it to a known location and have a little more consistency. So I bought a handful of inductive proximity switches and started bolting them on. You can click on the build log link below to see how it went.

Click here to see the Build Log with more photos.

The New CNC Router – Bigger & Stronger

20171228_174223.jpgThe 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.

The Old CNC Router – First Foray into CNC Machining

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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.

Bosch 1617 EVS – SuperPID Speed Controller

20161231_223156.jpgA 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.

Bosch 1617 EVS – Air Deflector Plate

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.

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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.