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1  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Router/Mill Design & Build on: May 14, 2016, 01:49:37 AM
Regarding the ballscrew hardness. The way that I dealt with my machine (actually an acme lead screw, instead of ballscrew), was to place the lead screw into the 3 jaw chuck on my lathe. Then locked the headstock, to prevent rotation, and used a cut off tool, to scrape a slot in the end of the lead screw. The slot was cut to match key stock which matched an existing slot on the motor coupling (in my case). It could have just as easily been a drive pulley slot (as in your case). The key slot cut into the lead screw was not cut all the way to the end of the lead screw. Which provided a "tub" slot for the key stock to be seated into. Once the motor coupling was assembled onto the lead screw, a transfer punch was used, to mark the center of the grub screw hole into the key stock. Then it was disassembled, and the key stock was drilled at the screw's center, to provide a Secure Grip of the grub screw of the motor coupling, into the detent drilled into the key stock. The key stock being seated into the "tub" slot of the lead screw prevents ANY slippage from occurring end to end! Tip: if you don't have a carbide cut-off tool for cutting the ballscrew, try mounting a Dremel tool with an abrasive wheel into the tool holder of your lathe, and cut the slot with that! It works, no matter how hard the steel is!
Good luck on your build. Looks like you've got it going on!
2  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Seeking guidance on router-lathe automation project on: March 25, 2016, 02:36:42 AM
Mach 3 can control up to 6 axis of movements. (XYZ and ABC) How you build your machine, will determine the amount of control you can expect Mach 3 to handle. If I am interpreting correctly what it is that you have in mind (two routers on sleds which travel along the lathe bed) you will be somewhat limited in what you can automate.  (Ideally, 3 axis of control for EACH router would be best). But since Mach 3 can only handle up to six axis, this would mean the "platter" would have to be under manual control. Or at least one axis of control would have to be manual on one of the two routers. However, if you construct a 4-axis mill table, with a lathe along one side of it, you would have all the control you should need, using only 4 axis of movements! I designed, and built a 4-axis machine. Which does pretty good, however a word of advice: invest in a photo-cell and laser type of homing switch for the 4th axis (lathe axis).
 Because mechanical contact switches of any kind will beat themselves to pieces with use, and are just not very accurate in terms of consistency when homing the 4th axis to zero. This is just the machine side of things. For the "synchronized" subject, this will depend on your CAM software, and the tool paths generated by the software for use in Mach 3. Since you mentioned that you are an experienced CNC user, I am sure this is probably nothing new for you. The G code will determine what tool movements/work piece movements happen when (in order to "synchronize" things). Even though you mentioned using two routers, the reality is that a single router cutting on a work piece in the lathe jaws of a 4th axis, WHILE the 4th axis is rotating, will have plenty of work to do (which exerts quite a strain on the drive system of the 4th axis). A second router, also cutting on the same work piece, would probably be too much for the 4th axis to handle (unless of course, you construct a monstrous drive system for the 4th axis $$$$). You mentioned using Arduino, and Actuators as drive mechanisms. If you intend to place your machine under Mach 3 control, I would recommend using either stepper motors, or servo motors and lead screws (or ball screws) as the drive mechanisms. Folks tend the think that "just using a machine to cut wood" doesn't require very much torque, or power. Which is probably true, IF you are cutting Balsa wood!
 But for all other types of wood, you need POWER, RIGIDITY, and ACCURACY if you want repeatable results! I used NEMA 34 stepper motors, rated at least 900 ounce inches of torque with 5/8" diameter 10 threads per inch lead screws, driven by a Gecko G540 controller. If you are truly committed to building you own machine, a word of advice: Start NOW writing your "Owner's Manual", and begin recording ALL information in the book. Design drawings, actual dimensions, parts, materials, component specifications, where they were obtained. Also any alternate suppliers. (There will come a day, when these parts wear out, and are in need of replacement- it is good information to include in the Owner's Manual for your own easy reference). Also include Part numbers for things like bearings and belts. Thread sizes, and such for every nut and bolt used to construct the machine. All materials used.
 Screen captures of configuration screens for all software used (especially Mach 3). A well organized, and written Owner's Manual can be almost as much work as actually building a machine. But it is time well spent for your own reference. And can make the difference between selling your machine, or hauling it to the scrap yard, should you ever decide to part with it in the future. Good luck on your build! Have a blessed day! -Michael
3  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( Your Machines) / Re: Router/Mill Design & Build on: March 25, 2016, 01:36:56 AM
Your design looks like it would make a good machine. But a word of advice, since you are building your own: start TODAY writing an Owner's Manual, and list everything you do, as you go. The sources you used for all parts, and components, as well as the drawings you have done, with actual dimensions of each component. Trust me on this, in the future, you will be glad that you took the time to create the book to refer back to. You should include screen captured images for all software settings, so that you will have all of the information readily available to refer back to, when making any future changes or upgrades. Good luck, and have fun!
4  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: Help with ports on mach3 on: February 09, 2015, 06:35:28 PM
If the PC can run Windows XP, and if the PC is equipped with it's own (built-in to the mother board) Parallel Port, then I would recommend purchasing a G540 controller card from Gecko. It will be neccessary to do some of your own wiring, but you should be able to get it running under Mach 3 control.
Things you will need to know:
Motor type (Stepper or Servo)
Voltage ratings for each motor
Ohm readings for each coil of each motor (stepper type motors)
Whether the motors are Unipolar or Bipolar motors.
If you can obtain all of this information, and post it here, you may find that others can help you to get things going. For this is the very first information they will need to help you along your path. Unfortunately, there are just so many variables to all of this, that it does require a certain "Process of elimination" to even begin to help someone.
5  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: need help please on: February 09, 2015, 06:26:44 PM
I can't comment about the PC, or operating system you are using. I am using an older Dell model running the XP operating system. The motor controller I am using is a Gecko G540 (supports up to 4 axis's of stepper motors). I am not at all familiar with the chinese router you are referring to. But it may help you to obtain help from the user group, if you could list some of the particulars about the chinese router. (Stepper, or Servo, number of wires to each motor, voltage rating, etc.)
6  General CNC Chat / Building or Buying a Wood routing table.. Beginnners guide.. / Re: shared home and limit switches on: February 09, 2015, 06:18:56 PM
I actually wired all limit switches in series, (and like you, the negative X, and negative Y limits also serve as the Home switches for each). I never could get it to work with Mach. I ended up disabling the negative limit switch for each in Mach, (although they are still physically wired and positioned to function as limits). As you gain experience with your machine, you will quickly learn WHERE it's limits are physically located. The only real benefit of the limit switches, are the Home switches. So that you can establish WHERE the machine is actually located each time you start it up (and Re-Home the machine). During a Homing Cycle, the axis's are homed ONE AT A TIME. (Z first, then Y, and then X). Mach will move toward the home limit switch, until it strikes it, then back off just enough to un-trigger the switch on Each of the axis. Once homing is complete, subsequent limit switch strikes are interpreted by Mach to be a limit switch as being triggered, which causes Mach to STOP and trigger an error. I know how confusing it all can be, hope this helps you to get your machine up and running!
7  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: KNIFE SHARPENER on: July 12, 2014, 10:20:15 PM
Nice looking knives you've got going there! (And some beautiful wood to work with).
8  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 16, 2014, 04:41:32 PM
The software puts some sort of tool change code in when it creates the code but I have figured out how to select and delete it since I don't have a tool changer.

The tool change g-code is probably needed, (Even if you don't have an automatic tool changer). The process is generally to begin with a roughing tool, to remove the bulk of the material, then do a tool change to a smaller, (finishing) tool for the finer details needed on the finishing cut. You can set up Mach3 to "Stop spindle, wait for Cycle Start" on tool changes from within the General Menu. When Mach3 encounters a tool change, it will stop the program and the machine from running, and wait for you to click Cycle Start (after completing the actual tool change manually). If you are not using a macro to automate the process, then you will want to set the new tool's Z zero depth using a feeler guage such as a sheet of paper (simply jog the Z down until it just "touches" the sheet of paper, click on Z Zero) THEN click on Cycle Start to continue the program's execution. Also, it is important to note, that even if the Stop Spindle, Wait for Cycle Start is checked, if you have not yet assigned unique tool NUMBERS to the various tooling (I.E. IF your Roughing Tool is tool NUMBER 1, AND your Finishing Tool is also tool NUMBER 1, then Mach3 will ignore the tool change, and continue running the program). I would recommend, that you create a table for your tooling. An actual LIST of tools, so that you can refer to it, when creating g-code. This will help save you a lot of frustration, since you can simply read your list, to obtain the index number of the desired tool.
9  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 15, 2014, 11:55:53 PM
The software I use for my carvings is called MeshCAM Art. It is really easy to use, once you gain a comprehension on how to use it. It will create tool paths from simple bitmap files such as JPG's, PNG's, BMP's etc. As for the feed rate used in a g-code file, it is not quite as difficult to change (WITHOUT altering the Z axis in Mach's Motor Tuning screen). In fact, you can edit the g-code file using a simple text editor (such as the Notepad program that comes with the Windows operating system). To change the feed rate using Notepad, simply open the g-code file desired, then click on Edit (at the top of the Notepad window), and select Find and type in F then press the Return or Enter key, Notepad will find every occurence of the letter F contained in the file (beginning with the first one it finds, it will stop and wait for you to type something, before continuing to the next F that it finds).
For example, if the feedrate of your current g-code file is 50, then the first (and possibly ONLY occurrence of the letter F contained in your g-code file) will say F50. To change to a different feedrate, simply highlight the 50, and type in your desired feed rate, then press the Enter or Return key. Make sure you save the file, after making this change. And then regenerate tool path in Mach3 (so that Mach will read the new feedrate).
For more info on using MeshCAM Art, please see my article in the Winter 2013 edition of Digital Machinist Magazine on Digital Sculpting. It goes into a lot more detail on the process of creating 3D g-code files using Corel DRAW, and MeshCAM Art. Hope this helps you, I know how confusing it all can be, when first starting out in CNC.
10  General CNC Chat / Show"N"Tell ( What you have made with your CNC machine.) / Re: Marines Emblem 1st Carve on: June 14, 2014, 06:46:03 AM
Nice work, Artcarver!
Mine took considerably longer to cut (about 7 hours), and entailed quite a bit of Dremel work by hand to finish it up.
I really like the sunburst background on your medallion. I will have to give that a try later on.
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