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'[AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and sof'
2004\07\19@210948 by James Newton, Host

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I'm getting geared (hah!) up to offer a small (6"x6" travel) CNC mill with a
"brains on board" three axis controller and custom software that accepts
gerbers or HPGL. The only requirement is for an old Windows BOX (e.g. P1)
and a power supply.

The controller comes assembled and tested with screw terminals for the motor
connections, and optionally for the power supply (most users will just use
the supplied HD power connector for direct connect to a PC power supply,
power resistor included to ensure startup). An onboard regulator option is
also available. The controller talks to the PC via RS232 and interprets
patch commands rather than step / direction so the motors move steadily,
quickly and ramp for maximum speed. Here is a picture of one of the alpha
units:
http://www.massmind.org/images/www/quickstep/quickstep-view3-small.jpg

The prototype and alpha PCBs passed with flying colors and the first beta
run (18 PCBs) were ordered today. The software is ready for beta testing.
The last step is purchasing, testing and distributing the actual mill.

I'm talking now with a gent who makes a very nice set of slides and spindles
to see about a package price and distributor agreement but if anyone has
other suggestions, please let me know.


THE PICTURE:
Imagine the box arriving in the mail. It has the physical mill, the
controller and a CD. You unpack it, plug in a HD cable from an old PC power
supply, connect the controller card to your PC's RS232 port, load the
software, open a gerber, slip in a PCB blank and a few minutes later, your
circuit is made manifest!

If that isn't worth $500, I don't know what is!

THE PROBLEMS:
Having said all that, there are many places where this can still go wrong:

1) I'm still not totally sure that this mill will work out or that the
mechanical part can be make effectively for my price goal. I may have to
raise the price. This controller works just fine. If you can produce little
PCB mills for something like $300 (your cost) with better specs, please let
me know:
spam_OUTjamesnewtonTakeThisOuTspammassmind.org?subject=LOOK_AT_MY_MILL

2) I need beta users who are willing to purchase the system components at
cost and spend time testing, helping to working out bugs, and suggesting
better ideas for this or future versions. The controller and software in kit
form costs about $30 (but will be made available only as an assembled unit
eventually) the mill I'm currently looking at costs about $450 WITHOUT the
three steppers (spindle motor is included) and must be assembled (attach X
and Y slides and mount, mount Z slide, add 3 medium small unipolar stepper
motors, wire power to spindle) before use. The PC and power supply will also
be needed.

I'm not sure anyone will be willing to do that at this point... But I really
don't want to go forward before I get that feedback and I can't afford (at
this point) to underwrite that effort. If no one comes forward, I'll have to
save my pennies until I can go it alone.
.....jamesnewtonKILLspamspam@spam@massmind.org?subject=I_WILL_BETA

3) I'm not sure that a small unit like this will serve the needs of enough
people to make the volume necessary to continue production. Please vote?
jamesnewtonspamKILLspammassmind.org?subject=6x6_is_OK> .....jamesnewtonKILLspamspam.....massmind.org?subject=6x6_is_too_small

COMMENTS:
No, this doesn't compete with the Linistepper. The Lini is for users who
have the mechanical and some electrical skill (electronics skill not really
required) and need way to get high resolution, smooth motion at a minimum
cost but don't have the time, desire, or ability to develop and program a
high resolution, smooth stepper controller. You can buy the boards or full
kit from me for less than the cost of a digikey parts order.
http://www.piclist.com/linistepper Linisteppers may be available as an extra
cost option to this mill for increased resolution / accuracy. Also, the Lini
is OPEN SOURCE benefits the PICList and is really more of a service for EE
types than a commercial product.

This controller will NOT be open source, no design or engineering details
will be available (not that it would be hard to duplicate for any PICList
member) and will NOT be a PICList... Thing... In any way. Well, it does have
an '877 on it but that's all the PICness it has. The application to
controller command protocol will probably be documented so that *nix people
can write applications to run it as needed. But by and large, it isn't for
us, it's for small shops who want a quick, dirty, cheap CNC mill.

Why? A) I want one <GRIN> B) I think the designer of this board, the
software, and what ever mill I end up with deserve some good marketing,
representation, and customer support assistance so that they can concentrate
on coming up with other, interesting designs, C) I hope to make enough to be
able to devote more time to my web sites (all of them), family, and urban
farm and less time commuting to the day job.

Your advice, help, suggestions, criticisms, encouragement, and pre or beta
orders <GRIN> very much appreciated.

---
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EraseMEjamesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmassmind.org 1-619-652-0593 fax:1-208-279-8767
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2004\07\19@215700 by D. Jay Newman

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> I'm getting geared (hah!) up to offer a small (6"x6" travel) CNC mill with a
> "brains on board" three axis controller and custom software that accepts
> gerbers or HPGL. The only requirement is for an old Windows BOX (e.g. P1)
> and a power supply.

This sounds *very* interesting. If you can sell the setup for $500 I
would be interesting in buying one *if* it could do more than PCBs.

> I'm not sure anyone will be willing to do that at this point... But I really
> don't want to go forward before I get that feedback and I can't afford (at
> this point) to underwrite that effort. If no one comes forward, I'll have to
> save my pennies until I can go it alone.

Unfortunately I don't have the money at this time. I hope to have it when
you can sell them.
--
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@spam@jayKILLspamspamsprucegrove.com     !       as God and Robert Heinlein intended.
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !

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2004\07\20@070922 by Howard Winter

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James,

Are you aware of the Milford Instruments "3-Axis
machine"?

http://www.milinst.com/robotics/robotics.htm#axis

It's designed more for drilling than milling, and I
don't think it would be up to the accuracy of a mill
built of metal, but I thought I'd draw your attention to
it!

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\20@072622 by Dave Smith

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James

My idea is to use 3 very old A3 dot matrix printers for the mechanics. My friend Adrian has all the stepper motor PCB's and code already waiting. the problem is finding 3 very old A3 dot matrix printers here in South Africa at a reasonable cost.

thanks
Dave Smith
Cape Town
South Africa

 {Original Message removed}

2004\07\20@151927 by Randy Glenn

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Given how close to $10k a "real" PCB mill costs (LPKF, T-Tech... I
know because I was just involved in the purchase of one), this $500
mill looks like a mighty good idea.

If my Dot Matrix Carriage Monstrosity remains unbuilt once I'm on
internship, you may just have a customer in me :)

On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:05:47 -0700, James Newton, Host
<RemoveMEjamesnewtonTakeThisOuTspampiclist.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\07\20@161551 by Chetan Bhargava

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Is this something like what Elektor had published some time ago? I'll
have to find that article.

What would be the skill level to assemble the kit?

Regards,

Chetan Bhargava

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2004\07\20@172726 by David Minkler

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James,

Questions are all on the mechanicals.  You said 6X6.  What's the planned
Z-axis travel?  Standard mills?  To what diameter (regular collets or
what)?  Expected resolution?  Are you going to have enough torque out of
the steppers to drive cuts through anything substantial (steel or
brass)?  So far, the controller sounds good.  I like the "Gerbers or
HPGL" part!

Thanks,
Dave

James Newton, Host wrote:

>I'm talking now with a gent who makes a very nice set of slides and spindles
>to see about a package price and distributor agreement but if anyone has
>other suggestions, please let me know.
>

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2004\07\20@183327 by James Newton, Host

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All great questions that remain to be answered. As I said, the mechanical
part is the last mile.

I'm thinking the Z axis will only be a couple inches. Enough for drilling
PCB holes.

As far as torque goes, I would like to be able to at least cut through thin
metals for art, jewelry, and through softer materials for small gears,
etc... But that depends more on the spindle and the cutting bit than the
motors. It might not be very fast when cutting like that, but as long as the
bit doesn't catch, jump or vibrate and the spindle bearing keeps it smooth,
we should be ok.

Here is a sample of the sort of slides and spindle I'm talking about...
http://www.quickstepper.com/possibleslides.jpg
www.quickstepper.com/possiblespindle.jpg
http://www.quickstepper.com/ Is the site to bookmark BTW.

---
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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\20@185447 by Bob J

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James,

Check out http://www.kleinbauer.com/

Regards,
Bob


"James Newton, Host" <RemoveMEjamesnewtonTakeThisOuTspamspamPICLIST.COM> wrote ..
{Quote hidden}

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2004\07\20@193510 by James Newton, Host

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JCK is a.... Well, I guess if Olin can't do that, I shouldn't either. Email
me off list if you like.

But JCK is the absolute worst type of ... you can find: The type that is
generally right. And he is a brilliant guy to boot... Insufferable! <GRIN>
Really cool machines. I would love to built that crank organ someday as it
would be cool to set next to my old player piano. Another really neat site
is err... Well, google for B Mumford.

Just like certain other engineers I've met, I would hire him if I really
needed the job done and could afford the best... And had someone else to
assign to work with the guy.

But for this, I'll just look for someone I will enjoy working with. Like
Roman, Ash, Guenther, Tony, and Jon who I truly enjoy working with.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\20@194543 by James Newton, Host

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Humm.... That is an interesting idea.

www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47261
Doesn't appear to come with a computer output...

http://www.pcmx.net/gauge/ MAY work with that caliper, or it might not, but
even if it did, the labor involved in making the connection is a bit scary.

I'm sure some sort of thing could be worked out and might be useful in
making a sloppy mill less sloppy.

---
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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\20@201333 by Robert Rothe

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I built one of John Kleinbauer's designs and two of his controllers.  They
work well given they're made with scrap parts and materials from Home Depot.
I even mechanically etched a PCB...  the bits cost almost as much as the
entire cnc machine.

Rob

{Original Message removed}

2004\07\20@203208 by Michael O'Donnell

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I actually own one of these, so I can vouch for the computer output (at
least on the version they were selling a year ago... may have changed
suppliers)... I don't think Harbor Freight mentions it because there is no
obvious way to use it.  You're right that bare pads on the PCB are hardly a
user-friendly connector!



At 04:44 PM 7/20/2004, you wrote:
>www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47261
>Doesn't appear to come with a computer output...
>
>http://www.pcmx.net/gauge/ MAY work with that caliper, or it might not, but
>even if it did, the labor involved in making the connection is a bit scary.

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2004\07\20@220328 by James Newton, Host

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Scratch and etch.

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jamesSTOPspamspamspam_OUTmassmind.org 1-619-652-0593 fax:1-208-279-8767
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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\21@021700 by William Chops Westfield

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On Jul 20, 2004, at 3:30 PM, James Newton, Host wrote:

> As I said, the mechanical part is the last mile.
>
As an owner of an LPKF (which is not really a mill, since it doesn't
really have z-axis control), I found the "mechanical part" depressingly
... complex.  well, not complex, exactly, but it sure looks like you
need a LOT of mechanical rigidity you need to achieve the end results
that LPKF claims their machine can do.  Lots of thick pieces of metal,
and mass...  Now, a non-PCB oriented machine is still interesting.
Maybe...  But aren't there a fair number of CNC-convertable mini-mills
in about that price range?  harborfreight has
www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=39743
for about $400. and while the cheap chinese tools have a mixed
reputation, they're probably a better starting point than scratch...

BillW

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2004\07\21@100639 by M. Adam Davis

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I was looking at this one:
www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47158
for under $300

It'll only manage 5.25" x 9.25" boards, but the vast majority of my
prototyping uses small boards, and on large boards I'd like to have
plated through holes, silk screen, etc anyway.

Alternately there's a 4"x4" compound sliding table for $50.
www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3135
For small circuit boards this is a cheap start to what's being built
here.  Mount it to a drill press, add steppers and away you go.  Buy
two, mount them 90 degrees from each other and put the motor on one, the
work piece on the other.  Instant $100 4" x 4" x 4" milling machine
(well, not including price of motor and spindle, but a $50 dremel will
do for this kind of light work).  Takes up one cubic foot of table space.

-Adam

William Chops Westfield wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\07\21@104525 by Jim Monteith

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I'm getting in on this one kind of late, but thought I'd put my 2cents in.

I built a mill a couple of years ago from plans and parts found at
http://www.hobbycnc.com/

It uses a dremel tool for its spindle, and will cut wood, plastic, circuit
boards, and light metals.
I can maintain 20inches/per minute feedrate in wood.

It has a cutting area of about 8x18 inches.  It is run from a PC using the
parallel port to communicate with the stepper controller (plans for this can
be found on the same website).

I use Kcam from http://www.kellyware.com to control the mill.  It does dxf, gerber,
stl, and gnc file formats.

All in all, it's a pretty handy thing to have.  Where I work they bought a
circuit board mill for $11,000, and its z axis is a simple up/down.  Mine
can cut 3d part (no undercuts) do complete profiling, and circuit boards.

If you haven't looked at the above addresses, they are well worth it.

Hope this helps.

Jim

{Original Message removed}

2004\07\21@110030 by Martin Klingensmith

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M. Adam Davis wrote:
> Alternately there's a 4"x4" compound sliding table for $50.
> www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3135
> For small circuit boards this is a cheap start to what's being built
> here.  Mount it to a drill press, add steppers and away you go.  Buy
> two, mount them 90 degrees from each other and put the motor on one, the
> work piece on the other.  Instant $100 4" x 4" x 4" milling machine
> (well, not including price of motor and spindle, but a $50 dremel will
> do for this kind of light work).  Takes up one cubic foot of table space.
>
> -Adam

What do you think the backlash is on a table that cheap?
I may buy one.

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2004\07\21@114709 by M. Adam Davis

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I looked more carefully at it and it appears the table only moves 2.5"
in each direction.  The next more expensive table moves just over 4",
and is $60.

Since the wheels are calibrated in thousandths, and it's a cheap part I
suspect you can expect at least 0.01" accuracy, repeatability and
linearity.  Just a guess.

I imagine it doesn't use ball screws, and may not even use loaded nuts.
Backlash could be quite high, but it isn't specified.  One could
probably modify it with a spring and nut to lower backlash to almost zero.

I can see it working just fine for small PCBs and milling projects.

-Adam

Martin Klingensmith wrote:

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2004\07\21@185257 by Alex Harford

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Rob (and others),

what kind of accuracy can you get out of the mill?  Can it mill small
enough to put surface mount components on a PCB?

This is something I'd like to do in the near future, so I'm wondering
if I should start researching it further.  Ideally I'd be able to work
in all SMT components and avoid drilling lots of holes for DIP parts.

What kind of bits would I use?  Are they pricey?

Alex

On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 20:15:08 -0400, Robert Rothe <spamBeGonerrotheSTOPspamspamEraseMEmindspring.com> wrote:
> I built one of John Kleinbauer's designs and two of his controllers.  They
> work well given they're made with scrap parts and materials from Home Depot.
> I even mechanically etched a PCB...  the bits cost almost as much as the
> entire cnc machine.

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2004\07\22@104334 by Howard Winter

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James,

On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 15:30:00 -0700, James Newton, Host wrote:

> All great questions that remain to be answered. As I said, the mechanical part is the last mile.

I think you may find that the mechanicals are by far the hardest part!  Are you planning to move the table in
two directions, or move the table one way and the spindle (and Z-axis mechanism) the other?

Rather than using a "proper" milling spindle and motor, have you considered using something like the Proxxon
M40 drill/mill?  They're probably not up to industrial standards of longevity, but they are a lot cheaper and
quite suitable for the "home" user, I'd have thought.

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\22@105409 by Howard Winter

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James,

On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 16:31:57 -0700, James Newton, Host wrote:

> JCK is a.... Well, I guess if Olin can't do that, I shouldn't either. Email me off list if you like.

He won't send stuff outside North America, either, which is a bit strange considering he only sells plans...

>...< Another really neat site is err... Well, google for B Mumford.

102,000 hits???  How about some more clues?  :-)

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\22@111447 by Howard Winter

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Jim,

On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 09:42:16 -0500, Jim Monteith wrote:

> I built a mill a couple of years ago from plans and
parts found at http://www.hobbycnc.com/

What is the method of moving the X and Y axes?  It looks
like it may be leadscrews, but it's not visible in the
pictures.  Were these components easy to find, and can
you get rid of the backlash?

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\22@112952 by Sergio Masci

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----- Original Message -----
From: Howard Winter <KILLspamHDRWspamBeGonespamH2ORG.DEMON.CO.UK>
To: <EraseMEPICLISTspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


> James,
>
> On Tue, 20 Jul 2004 16:31:57 -0700, James Newton, Host wrote:
>
> > JCK is a.... Well, I guess if Olin can't do that, I shouldn't either. Email
me off list if you like.
>
> He won't send stuff outside North America, either, which is a bit strange
considering he only sells plans...
>
> >...< Another really neat site is err... Well, google for B Mumford.
>
> 102,000 hits???  How about some more clues?  :-)
>

Try:
   Mumford cnc

Worked for me :-)

Regards
Sergio Masci

http://www.xcprod.com/titan/XCSB - optimising PIC compiler

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2004\07\22@114444 by Jim Monteith

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Each axis uses one leadscrew.  They are driven directly by stepper motors.
The plans give you a list of manufacturers to contact for all the hard to
find parts like leadscrews.

I only bought a leadscrew for the x axis which is the longest one.  I also
bought a anti-backlash nut that runs on the leadscrew.  It's basically a
plasitc nut about 3 inches long that has spring tension on it.  So, it
"squeezes" the leadscrew real tight to prevent backlash.

For the other two axis' I used threaded rod found at a local hardware store.
To get rid of backlash there, I used two regular nuts, one mounted on each
end of the carriage.  When I mounted them I made it so that each one was in
contact with a different surface of the threaded rod.  The idea being that
no matter which direction it wanted to travel, the threads of one of the
nuts would be in contact with the leadscrew to begin moving it in the right
direction.

Also, the software I use, kcam at http://www.kellyware.com has settings for
backlash in it.  As long as you can figure out what the backlash is, it will
compensate for it.

In reality, I don't use the backlash in the program.  After running a
several thousand line g-code program, it's only off about 1 thousandth.
That's close enough for what I use it for.

cya,

Jim

{Original Message removed}

2004\07\22@155759 by James Newton, Host

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I'm not looking to design the mechanical part, just resell some one else's
unit.

JCK says that machines should be designed from the spindle out, so I think
the best setup tends to be with the Z axis mounted firmly and the X and Y
slides stacked. Most professional mills work that way.

Looks like my best choice is not going to work out... I may have to start
looking at Harbor freight... But I really don't want to do this assembly.

HELP? Anyone what to make a living selling a little mill? Target $425 for
three slides (maybe 6"x4"x2"?) with the steppers and a good spindle and I
will get about $75 for the controller, software and serial interface. User
supplies power and a PC.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\22@160640 by James Newton, Host

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Brian Mumford
http://www.bmumford.com/index.html
http://www.bmumford.com/art/player.html
http://www.bmumford.com/art/box.html

http://www.bmumford.com/cncindex.html

On my list of people I'd like to meet.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\23@071950 by Howard Winter

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James,

On Thu, 22 Jul 2004 13:04:18 -0700, James Newton, Host
wrote:

> Brian Mumford
> http://www.bmumford.com/index.html
> http://www.bmumford.com/art/player.html
> http://www.bmumford.com/art/box.html
>
> http://www.bmumford.com/cncindex.html

Thanks - although his milling machine is a tad more
ambitious than the one you've been discussing :-)

> On my list of people I'd like to meet.

Indeed, his "Crackpot Inventions" certainly indicate an
interesting sense of humour!

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\23@082741 by Howard Winter

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James,

On Thu, 22 Jul 2004 12:56:18 -0700, James Newton, Host wrote:

> I'm not looking to design the mechanical part, just resell some one else's
> unit.

Ah, OK.  I've been looking at the sort of things currently available, and all of the ready-made milling
machines are far too expensive, and seperate x-y tables that would be suitable don't look as if they would be
easy to add stepper motors.

> JCK says that machines should be designed from the spindle out, so I think
> the best setup tends to be with the Z axis mounted firmly and the X and Y
> slides stacked. Most professional mills work that way.

OK.  From scratch it's probably easier to do it the other way, though, as the Milford Instruments machine
does.

> Looks like my best choice is not going to work out... I may have to start
> looking at Harbor freight... But I really don't want to do this assembly.
>
> HELP? Anyone what to make a living selling a little mill? Target $425 for
> three slides (maybe 6"x4"x2"?) with the steppers and a good spindle and I
> will get about $75 for the controller, software and serial interface. User
> supplies power and a PC.

I'd love to take this on (I'd like one myself for a start, and I could do with some income), but I'm not
convinced it can be done for that price - certainly not in the UK with UK£1 = US$1.80 !

I presume the software would be user-supplied as well, probably from one of the PC-CNC suppliers out there?

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\23@162123 by James Newton, Host

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The quickstepper
http://www.quickstepper.com has the software with it. It uses a special
command protocol (and via the serial port, which is unusual) which sends
paths, rather than step and direction, commands from the PC to the
controller. This avoids all sort of reliability problems with a Windows PC
(non-deterministic timing) and allows the controller to run the steppers
faster, get from point A to point B in a nice ramping motion, and never miss
a beat.

I have several leads for good (not great) machines that can be purchased for
around $400 to $500 dollars, but so far, none of them has worked out. For
example:
http://www.cnconabudget.com sells VERY nice 6" slides for $130 w/o steppers and a
hum-dinger of a spindle for $62 w/ motor. If he made one or two of the 3
slides shorter and added the motors, I think he could have a complete
machine for $500 or less. He says $700 (with his controller, etc...) but
that is not so much more.
Now: He is A) a one man shop with no (apparent) desire to expand other than
to buy new toys (like most of us!) B) several months behind on orders C) not
interested in other controller designs D) desperately needs better marketing
(web site is really bad and most forms of contact don't seem to work) and E)
with a more consistent product output, which could be taught to an
apprentice, he should / could concentrate on the development of new and
better stuff and automate his production (we are talking about CNC here
after all!) but it doesn't seem that he is headed in that direction... yet.

This is the classic problem: Some people love to tinker and design and try
new ideas. Others like to have a 9 to 5 with a stable, repetitive workload.
I like to work with people, market, do the web site stuff, etc... CNC on a
budget, E.g. Roman, Jon, and others are in the first group: Ask them to
crank out product on a production basis and they are stifled. A
(hypothetical) apprentice or other local associate of CNC, Jen (Romans
friend), my neighbor Jeff, and many others, like to know what they are going
to do every day and can challenge themselves to get more done. I like to be
in front of people, helping, calming, supporting, selling, writing etc...
In any successful business you will find each of these three people. Either
in one company or as a partnership between different companies. Trying to do
it all yourself doesn't cut it. We need each other. So I don't manufacture
(ever) or design (much). Designers should never be forced to manufacture
(ever) or talk to the public (much, feedback on design, high level support,
etc...) but I do think they should be forced to use what they design on a
regular basis. And production should never design (much, some feedback to
designers) or talk to customers (EVER!).

At least that is my perception.

Harbor freight here I come!

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\27@051419 by Lee McLaren

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James,

You mention that the quickstepper uses a special command protocol, is it
supported by the popular free cnc software packages? I am very intrested as
I have
a project to modify 250 plastic cases and expect that I can buy a milling
machine and convert it to cnc cheaper than getting the cases done elsewhere.

regards


Lee McLaren.


{Original Message removed}

2004\07\27@122954 by Win Wiencke

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<Lee McLaren wrote>
> I have
> a project to modify 250 plastic cases and expect that I can
> buy a milling  machine and convert it to cnc cheaper than
> getting the cases done elsewhere.

Before you do check out precision laser "engraving."  If you give them a
common cad/cam file they can whip out the holes as well as legends.  I was
surprised at how little it cost here in the US to get three D holes, 6 round
holes, a slide switch hole and a logo engraved on a 1" x"4" x 6" plastic
box.  Something like US$2.50 in 25s.  Naturally YMMV.

We did make two alignment jigs for them so all they had to do is drop the
box in the jig.  But the jig is quite simple because it serves only to align
and not fixture.

You can even use it to knock very clean holes in 1/4" plexiglass.

Check out "Engraving" in your area.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation


>
> regards
>
>
> Lee McLaren.
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\27@204502 by James Newton, Host

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No, it is specific to this product. Remember, the point is to provide a
very, simple, out of the box, minimal system for NON-techies.

And the controller is ready (I even have one to sell right now, although it
is in kit form) but the machine is still missing in action.

HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but quality minimill
for around $500?

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@070202 by Vern Jones

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Hello James,

Tried to e-mail you about this, I'm working on such a project. All the
e-mails to your other address were returned.

Please contacr me at RemoveMEsoundresspamspamBeGonefoothill.net for details.

Vern Jones, Sound Research
----- Original Message -----
From: James Newton, Host <spamBeGonejamesnewton@spam@spamspam_OUTPICLIST.COM>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 5:42 PM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for
~$500


> No, it is specific to this product. Remember, the point is to provide a
> very, simple, out of the box, minimal system for NON-techies.
>
> And the controller is ready (I even have one to sell right now, although
it
> is in kit form) but the machine is still missing in action.
>
> HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but quality
minimill
> for around $500?
>
> ---
> James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
> jamesnewtonEraseMEspampiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
> http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
> PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com
>
>
>
> > {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@074143 by andrej.nemec

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How small is small ?

On 27 Jul 2004 at 17:42, James Newton, Host wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> > {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@080223 by rad0

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----- Original Message -----
> > HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but quality
minimill
> > for around $500?
> >
> > ---
> > James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin

James,


Sherline makes a mill that they sell for around $900 USD,
this doesn't include the CNC equipment.

Perhaps they would be worth talking too.

Though, you could probably find someone in China to do
it for a carton of cigarettes or a good chicken dinner.

Good luck.

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2004\07\28@084544 by hael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: pic microcontroller discussion list
>[EraseMEPICLISTspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU] On Behalf Of James Newton, Host
>Sent: 28 July 2004 01:42
>To: @spam@PICLISTspam_OUTspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU
>Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and
>software for ~$500
>
>
>No, it is specific to this product. Remember, the point is to
>provide a very, simple, out of the box, minimal system for NON-techies.
>
>And the controller is ready (I even have one to sell right
>now, although it is in kit form) but the machine is still
>missing in action.
>
>HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but
>quality minimill for around $500?

http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html

A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.

Mike

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2004\07\28@090037 by D. Jay Newman

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> >HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but
> >quality minimill for around $500?
>
> http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
>
> A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.

The problem is that many customers (OK, I'm thinking of me) might be
willing to pay $500 for a CNC mill that would create PCBs and small
aluminum parts for prototyping. I would find it difficult to justify
more in the foreseeable future.
--
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2004\07\28@090625 by Alan B. Pearce

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> http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
>
> A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.

Trouble would be that by the time you convert it to the CNC version by
adding motors etc, it would cost about the same as their CNC version, i.e.
around 3 times the price.

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2004\07\28@093124 by hael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: pic microcontroller discussion list
>[.....PICLISTRemoveMEspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU] On Behalf Of Alan B. Pearce
>Sent: 28 July 2004 14:08
>To: .....PICLISTSTOPspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
>Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and
>software for ~ $500
>
>
>> http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
>>
>> A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.
>
>Trouble would be that by the time you convert it to the CNC
>version by adding motors etc, it would cost about the same as
>their CNC version, i.e. around 3 times the price.

I agree that it's certainly over-budget, and definitely over-specced for a
PCB mill.  However their CNC mill is around $2000, the basic small mill is
$629. Surely the motors doen't cost that much?

Mike

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2004\07\28@093744 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 02:08 PM 7/28/2004 +0100, you wrote:
> > http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
> >
> > A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.
>
>Trouble would be that by the time you convert it to the CNC version by
>adding motors etc, it would cost about the same as their CNC version, i.e.
>around 3 times the price.

That's about right. It might be possible to break the USD $1000 barrier,
but not with good performance or good accuracy (no ballscrews, no servos),
at least not a commercial basis in small quantities, IMHO.

I met a guy who built his own table-top mill (from scratch!) using surplus
high quality  bearings etc. It was pretty good for things like engraving,
but it took a LOT of effort (many hundreds of hours), and he had access
to real machine tools to make the parts.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffspamspamBeGoneinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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2004\07\28@094158 by Bruce

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Here's one for < $500 http://www.micromark.com/
that looks easy to modify.

Regards,

-Bruce
techspam_OUTspam@spam@rentron.com
http://www.rentron.com

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2004\07\28@101030 by D. Jay Newman

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> >Trouble would be that by the time you convert it to the CNC version by
> >adding motors etc, it would cost about the same as their CNC version, i.e.
> >around 3 times the price.
>
> That's about right. It might be possible to break the USD $1000 barrier,
> but not with good performance or good accuracy (no ballscrews, no servos),
> at least not a commercial basis in small quantities, IMHO.

The problem is that I might be willing to pay that much for something
with some decent functionality that would allow me to fabricate real
robotics parts.

However, this would depend on the device being as open-source as possible.

For example, if the input protocol to the controller was not available,
I wouldn't even consider it at that price.

Yes, I am willing to pay *more* for open-source software.

> I met a guy who built his own table-top mill (from scratch!) using surplus
> high quality  bearings etc. It was pretty good for things like engraving,
> but it took a LOT of effort (many hundreds of hours), and he had access
> to real machine tools to make the parts.

If I had access to real machine tools, would I be looking at an inexpensive
milling machine?  :)

I've got a drill press and some hand tools. I only just got a decent table
for a work bench (a former library table that had been rained on). Someday...
--
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2004\07\28@103806 by Martin Klingensmith

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James Newton, Host wrote:

>No, it is specific to this product. Remember, the point is to provide a
>very, simple, out of the box, minimal system for NON-techies.
>
>And the controller is ready (I even have one to sell right now, although it
>is in kit form) but the machine is still missing in action.
>
>HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but quality minimill
>for around $500?
>
>
>
Call me in about 4 years after I get my MS degree and I can stop moving
all of my stuff every semester.
--
Martin K

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2004\07\28@105053 by D. Jay Newman

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> Call me in about 4 years after I get my MS degree and I can stop moving
> all of my stuff every semester.

From what we've seen, doing this now could provide a nice income to help
with that degree.

And it would add a *lot* to a resume to have sold product this early.
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2004\07\28@112206 by Russell McMahon

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> From what we've seen, doing this now could provide a nice income to help
> with that degree.
>
> And it would add a *lot* to a resume to have sold product this early.

From memory so may be wrong:
Despite his faults, Edison was a go getter.
He was printing his own small newspaper at age 17 and selling it on trains.
He ran headlines on Lincoln's assassination ahead of the major papers.
(Making mills probably came later).

       RM

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2004\07\28@113413 by Tim McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "D. Jay Newman" <spamBeGonejayspam@spam@SPRUCEGROVE.COM>
>
> If I had access to real machine tools, would I be looking at an
inexpensive
> milling machine?  :)
>

Well, yes you might. I've been looking at small mills too. I have
access to a pretty well equipped shop but the tools are all so
large that they are nearly unusable for any hobby things I'm
interested in doing.

Tim

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2004\07\28@114035 by M. Adam Davis

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I've read through the thread, but I may still have missed the argument
against this mill from Harbor Freight:

www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47158
$279, 1/5HP motor, 100-2000RPM, 4" x 9" table
If 6" travel in the Y direction was needed someone could modify the
table for well under $200, easily making it under the $500 mark

I think the problem with a "cheap" mill is that you aren't going to find
one with more than 3-4 inches of travel in the Y direction.  Supporting
the motor, spindle, mounting, and whatever force is applied during
milling without letting the tool move more than a mil is a pretty tall
order.  Doing that while extending over the bed by 6" even more so.

I'm not going to commit to designing and building one for you, but what
is the business plan?  Are you planning on buying a quantity at once, or
are you expecting someone to design and building them piecemeal as
orders come in?  Do you have an expected yearly volume?

-Adam

James Newton, Host wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>>{Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@121436 by D. Jay Newman

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> I've read through the thread, but I may still have missed the argument
> against this mill from Harbor Freight:
>
> www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47158
> $279, 1/5HP motor, 100-2000RPM, 4" x 9" table
> If 6" travel in the Y direction was needed someone could modify the
> table for well under $200, easily making it under the $500 mark

I could easily live with a 4" y direction.
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2004\07\28@132122 by Larry Green

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Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


>
> James Newton, Host wrote:
>
> >No, it is specific to this product. Remember, the point is to provide a
> >very, simple, out of the box, minimal system for NON-techies.
> >
> >And the controller is ready (I even have one to sell right now, although it
> >is in kit form) but the machine is still missing in action.
> >
> >HELP! Anybody out there that can make a minimal, small, but quality minimill
> >for around $500?
> >

Hi James et al,

I have been following this thread with a great deal of interest as I am
considering making a CNC router/mill myself.

I have a Unimat DB200 drill/mill/lathe that I was thinking of converting and now
a friend has asked if I can make him some small (sub 2" x 1") circuit boards for
a device he sells in his business as his supplier has been bought out and the
new company has a min. order of 1000 units and he only sells about 250 'gizmos'
per year.

While the Unimat could be converted (and some people already have) it is not a
particularly rigid machine so we were looking at the micro mill sold by Harbor
Freight as a suitable candidate for conversion (itemnumber=47158). This would
mean we could route PC boards as well as make small parts for our other hobbies
(kites and RC planes) and even use it as a computer controlled engraver.

I have a few questions as I didn't save the original thread.....DOH!......  (and
a search of the PIClist didn't turn it up....just this thread!)

1) Was it your intent to have an entire machine for sub $500 or just the control
system?

2) If it was just the control system would that include stepper motors?

3) Is your system just a link between the computer and the mill (i.e. you would
require some sort of CNC software to run it).

4) If yours is a 'complete' control system will it handle the common CNC
commands (i.e. G/M codes).

I am sure there are more questions but those are off the top of my head.

My friend is really keen to do this and has offered to pay for the machine if I
make the parts for him. We have looked at a number of 'conversion kits' already
that include motors and control interfaces.

I am disabled (medical condition) and can no longer work a regular job but I
could sit at home and turn out small circuit boards and small CNC parts etc. My
thinking is if we could convert one of these small mills to CNC I could then use
it (in conjunction with my Unimat lathe) to produce more parts (motor brackets,
backlash eliminators etc.) which could then be made available to anyone who
wanted to do a conversion on one of these mills. I am a former technical
writer/technical illustrator as well as a qualified toolmaker/machinist/CNC
programmer so the part building is not a problem nor is coming up with detailed
instructions on the conversion process.

Just some thoughts,

Larry Green

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2004\07\28@135008 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
I'd be happy with 6 x 4 x 2 but 6 x 6 x 2 would be fine for most. That is X
x Y x Z. Actually the z axis could really be less as it only has to cut or
not cut, but 2 inches allows for some variation in bits, material thickness
and some minor 3d work.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@135422 by James Newton, Host

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All the mills mentioned in this thread are really overkill for what is
needed.  Really, it is just 3 medium precision slides, one really strong one
with a 1 or 2 inch travel for the Z axis. Two longer ones of fair quality
(Harbor Freight has that part for $60 or so, with handles that can easily be
cut off and steppers connected) and a good spindle. Like a dremel but with
less play in the bearing. Cnconabudget sells a really nice one for $62.
Start with really low power motors (option to upgrade) and I can't see why
someone with a CNC mill and a desire to start a sideline business can't do
it.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@135423 by D. Jay Newman

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> I'd be happy with 6 x 4 x 2 but 6 x 6 x 2 would be fine for most. That is X
> x Y x Z. Actually the z axis could really be less as it only has to cut or

Don't you mean that 6 x 4 x 2 would be fine for most?

While I'd like something bigger, I'd gladly take even 4 x 4 x 2 if it
could be made affordable.
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2004\07\28@135631 by James Newton, Host

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That would be perfect if it were about a quarter the size, with a MUCH
shorter z and cost about $200 without the steppers.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@145821 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
DAMN! How did I miss that! Yes, it could be the answer. Unless I hear better
in the next few days, I'm going to order one.

Now, I do NOT want to do the "convert to CNC" thing myself. I'm not a
production person. I need someone who will unscrew the handles, mfgr an
adapter to attach stepper motors, wire and drop ship the units. Any
interest? Located in SoCal would be best.

Keep in mind, we are not talking about high power, high torque, super high
accuracy connections. I have seen several machines that used nothing more
than a short bit of rubber hose and a pair of hose clamps and they worked
just fine.

As to a business plan, I don't invest ahead of what my immediate needs are
until there is a solid trend to predict from. I'm not going to spend $$$
gearing up for large production before I have made a few "beta" machines and
sold them (at cost) to qualified users for evaluation.

If you want to do it, I'll buy you the machine, pay some for you time and
parts (negotiated), and then pay to have you ship it or if you decide to,
you can beta the machine yourself (then we can establish an account and not
be sending money back and forth except once a month or so if you like). The
point is, you get paid for what you do (at least some) and you don't invest
and even if you keep the thing, it doesn't cost you any more than what it
would to build the thing yourself. If you beta the thing, and you're not
happy with it in the end, as long as I can find someone else who wants to
continue with it, I'll buy it back from you.

Ask anybody, I take good care of people. (faint burning smell of the one or
two persons I've pissed off rising from hell to make me eat those
words...<GRIN>) I've been waiting for years to do this but would not invest
money I didn't have or ask others to work on promises.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@151731 by Roland

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>>Trouble would be that by the time you convert it to the CNC
>>version by adding motors etc, it would cost about the same as
>>their CNC version, i.e. around 3 times the price.
>
>I agree that it's certainly over-budget, and definitely over-specced for a
>PCB mill.  However their CNC mill is around $2000, the basic small mill is
>$629. Surely the motors doen't cost that much?

If you consider how slow a pcb mill would run, and the low loads, all you
really need are small steppers(deskjet size), a reduction belt, and a
regular threaded bar as the feedscrew. (high tensile easily available in SA)
Also, re-working an old photocopier may be a good idea. Older ones are
trashed complete. Through re-arranging of all the bits, there's enough in
one machine to do the trick.

Regards
Roland Jollivet

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2004\07\28@152350 by M. Adam Davis

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James Newton, Host wrote:

>If you want to do it, I'll buy you the machine, pay some for you time and
>parts (negotiated), and then pay to have you ship it or if you decide to,
>you can beta the machine yourself (then we can establish an account and not
>be sending money back and forth except once a month or so if you like). The
>point is, you get paid for what you do (at least some) and you don't invest
>and even if you keep the thing, it doesn't cost you any more than what it
>would to build the thing yourself. If you beta the thing, and you're not
>happy with it in the end, as long as I can find someone else who wants to
>continue with it, I'll buy it back from you.
>
>
>
That's an offer that's too good to resist...  Hmmm....

The nice thing about the project you are requesting to have done is that
it's self bootstrapping - The machine itself can be used to form the
necessary bits from aluminum stock to adapt the steppers.  Then plop on
some steppers and the machine can make better ones - hundreds a day if
needed.

I'll go to my local Harbor Freight store tonight and see if it'll be
overly difficult to make adaptors.  Then I'll go over my schedule for
the next few weeks.  If you don't get any better offers then I'll take
you up on it.

-Adam

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2004\07\28@160335 by Howard Winter

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Michael,

On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 13:47:55 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

>
> http://www.taigtools.com/mmill.html
>
> A little over you budget, but it looks very well built.

*Way* over budget, unfortunately - US$829 for the CNC-ready version, to which you have to add the stepper
motors and driver circuitry.  That would take it to about $1000, and I believe James is trying to achieve a
*total* price of $500.  I hope he can but I'm not optimistic!

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\28@161200 by Larry Green

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----- Original Message -----
From: "M. Adam Davis" <adampicspamBeGonespamspamBeGoneUBASICS.COM>
To: <spamBeGonePICLISTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 3:22 PM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


{Quote hidden}

How's this as an addendum........if you need parts designing/drafting I can
probably help out there too! This could become a nice PIClisters combined effort
by pooling our respective skills :-)

Larry Green

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2004\07\28@161749 by Larry Green

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Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


{Quote hidden}

Hey James, I might be interested in a deal like that, did you see my previous
posts on this subject?

Larry Green

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2004\07\28@171207 by Howard Winter

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Adam,

On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 11:40:13 -0400, M. Adam Davis wrote:

> I've read through the thread, but I may still have missed the argument
> against this mill from Harbor Freight:
>
> www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47158
> $279, 1/5HP motor, 100-2000RPM, 4" x 9" table
> If 6" travel in the Y direction was needed someone could modify the
> table for well under $200, easily making it under the $500 mark

I think the thing you've missed is that it's manually operated, and the whole point was to have it computer
controlled.  It's non-trivial to convert a manual machine to accept stepper motors, and in the case of the
machine you mention the Z-axis is not screw-driven, which makes it much harder still.  If you look at the Taig
mills, for example, the extra cost to allow for motors is $200, and that's for them to build it with CNC-ready
components instead of the manual ones - we would have a much harder job to do!

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\28@173150 by Nate Duehr

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On Jul 28, 2004, at 8:38 AM, Martin Klingensmith wrote:

> Call me in about 4 years after I get my MS degree and I can stop moving
> all of my stuff every semester.

When you stop moving your stuff it means you bought a house... then you
get to mow the lawn, clean the gutters, pull the weeds, walk the dog,
etc...

Trust us, you have more free time right now than you know.  ;-)

Heh heh...

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2004\07\28@174435 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
1. The entire machine, but I didn't actually say $500. I said that was my
target, and I might have to charge a bit more.

2. The entire machine, including steppers.

3. The entire machine, including software.

4. Not at this time. The controller understands path commands from the PC so
a program could be written I would imagine, but that is not the target for
the unit. The current PC software reads HPGL and Gerbers.

That is the entire machine, you supply only an old windows PC, a power
supply and materials to cut. It is assembled and tested and little or no
technical ability is needed to set it up and run it.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\07\28@185845 by Howard Winter

face
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James,

On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 10:46:07 -0700, James Newton, Host wrote:

> I'd be happy with 6 x 4 x 2 but 6 x 6 x 2 would be fine for most.

I'd stretch your minimum just a tad - to 160x100mm (say 4"x6.5") which is "Eurocard" size (also Olimex's
standard size).

> That is X x Y x Z. Actually the z axis could really be less as it only has to cut or not cut, but 2 inches
allows for some variation in bits, material thickness and some minor 3d work.

I'm always surprised at the often huge Z-axis movements of some small milling machines - I've seen them with
movements of 8x4x7" and wondered why on Earth they need 7" of drilling movement, unless it's to allow for
adaptors and chucks to be inserted.  2" is about the minimum needed for changing PCB drilling and routing
bits.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\07\28@202307 by M. Adam Davis

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The Z axis is a screw unit (it also has a hand feed like a drill press
would have).  You can read the manual here, which has an exploded parts
diagram: http://www.harborfreight.com/manuals/47000-47999/47158.pdf

In the exploded parts diagram we would be functionally replacing 3
blocks on the machine, two of part #110, and one of #96, and the hand
wheels.  I can see that the screw needs to be supported by these blocks
- The screw both pulls and pushes against these blocks.  The tricky part
is making a block that supports the screw, and still allows a stepper
motor to be fixed to the block with the shaft attached to the screw.

I didn't say that it's trivial, but it appears to me that it is easier
and cheaper to modify this mill than it would be to build one from scratch.

But I could be wrong.  I've jumped into more than one project that
looked easier from the outside than from the inside.  Perhaps you could
take a look at the exploded parts diagram and offer some tips?

-Adam

Howard Winter wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\07\28@204211 by Denny Esterline

picon face
> > www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=47158
> > $279, 1/5HP motor, 100-2000RPM, 4" x 9" table
> > If 6" travel in the Y direction was needed someone could modify the
> > table for well under $200, easily making it under the $500 mark

There's a yahoo group all about converting this one:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hf47158toCNC/

-Denny

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2004\07\28@210739 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
part 1 4853 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

I really do think that is massively over-complicating it.

Just take off the hand wheels, attach a short rubber hose or flex shaft and
the stepper. We don't need to get massive resolution here. Unscrew 68,
remove 64-67, attach the stepper shaft to end of 111. At the very worst,
replace "64/65/66" with a belt sprocket and mount the motor under that.

Rather than mess with 96, attach to "86/87/88" ("Handle shaft" in figure B)
or the unlabeled "fine feed hand wheel." The operator would use 96 to
manually adjust for chuck, bit, part etc.. Height and then the z axis would
go up and down a bit from there.

The hardest part is working up a mounting bracket to hold the stepper motor
for the "LONGITUDINAL FEED" since it has to travel on the lower slide.

The couplings of the stepper motor are NOT that critical. The human hand is
less precise by a long way. I've seen old men with shaking hands manage a
mill just fine. The mass and lubricant of the slides dampens things nicely.
I've also seen a unit that was coupled with nothing more than rubber hoses
that produces very nice PCBs

From the hf47158toCNC group on Yahoo, the attached photo clearly shows a
simple attachment. The mill is at the top of the photo, the stepper motor at
the bottom (the light blue) and there is a flex shaft in-between.

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> {Original Message removed}
part 2 8586 bytes content-type:image/jpeg; (decode)

2004\07\28@211156 by Larry Green

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Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


{Quote hidden}

I looked at the exploded diagram and agree that those are the blocks in
question. Now the way I see it there are two options.......

1) Replace those blocks with a new design as you suggest.

or

2) Leave those blocks in place to support the shafts but extend the mounting
screws to support a bracket of some description for the stepper motors.

In either case a coupling of some sort would be required between the shaft and
motor. A flexible 'hose type' coupling would allow for any minor misalignment of
the motors yet still provide enough drive for most needs. A simple backlash
eliminator could also be added to all three axes in the process.

When it comes to the 'Z' axis I can see a couple of options there too. A stepper
motor could be added to the main screw but I would imagine the feed would be
rather 'coarse'. A stepper motor could also 'possibly' be added to the 'fine
feed' control shaft (un-numbered) which is driving a worm and gear......a method
that results in much less backlash. The tool could then be brought into close
proximity using the hand wheel and the 'controls' could look after the feed from
there. If you had a 4 axis controller then both of the 'Z' axis shafts could be
powered and you'd have the best of both worlds! The smaller up/downs as you
moved from track to track could be done on the fine feed with the coarse feed
raising the head for tool changes.

Larry

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2004\07\29@044550 by hael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: pic microcontroller discussion list
>[PICLISTKILLspamspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU] On Behalf Of James Newton, Host
>Sent: 28 July 2004 19:56
>To: EraseMEPICLIST@spam@spam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
>Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and
>software for ~$500
>
>
>DAMN! How did I miss that! Yes, it could be the answer. Unless
>I hear better in the next few days, I'm going to order one.
>

Lots of good info on www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Main/mini-mill.htm
about using and improving/modifying this mill and it's variants.

Mike

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2004\07\29@125824 by Win Wiencke

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<Larry Green opined in part
> In either case a coupling of some sort would be required
> between the shaft and  motor. A flexible 'hose type'
> coupling would allow for any minor misalignment of
> the motors yet still provide enough drive for most needs.

What may happen is that the elastic coupler absorbs some torque because the
table will drag when repositioning.  When the cut begins there will be some
vibration.  The vibration will let the coupler deliver the stored torque and
shift the table somewhat.  In the worst case travel while carving a trace
could become sort of lurchy.

An elastic coupling also means that the final position of the table can be
different for a heavy cut (through hole for example) or a light one (milling
off plating material).

> A simple backlash
> eliminator could also be added to all three axes in the process.

This interests me because I've never actually seen a backlash eliminator.
What is it?  Perhaps it could also compensate for the slop in the coupling
and you'd be in great shape.

I guess my education stopped with ball screws, split followers, and
preloaded split gears designed to avoid backlash in the first place.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\07\29@131934 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 12:55 PM 7/29/2004 -0400, you wrote:
><Larry Green opined in part
> > In either case a coupling of some sort would be required
> > between the shaft and  motor. A flexible 'hose type'
> > coupling would allow for any minor misalignment of
> > the motors yet still provide enough drive for most needs.
>
>What may happen is that the elastic coupler absorbs some torque because the
>table will drag when repositioning.  When the cut begins there will be some
>vibration.  The vibration will let the coupler deliver the stored torque and
>shift the table somewhat.  In the worst case travel while carving a trace
>could become sort of lurchy.
>
>An elastic coupling also means that the final position of the table can be
>different for a heavy cut (through hole for example) or a light one (milling
>off plating material).

Yes, OTOH, being flexible in the angular direction will help solve the
problem of the rather limited rotational inertia capability of steppers. IOW,
first the motor steps relatively freely, then the table moves (maybe).

The couplers on my machine are torsionally rigid but tolerate a bit of
misalignment. They are machined from aluminum, as are the mounts. But they
were around $55/axis plus the motors (another $55 for double shaft motors),
which is $330.00, not including the driver board, power supply or mill.
Also the drive screws are quite small diameter, so direct drive is possible.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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2004\07\29@143446 by Larry Green

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Win Wiencke" <spamBeGoneWinKILLspamspamTakeThisOuTSLYCURVES.COM>
To: <EraseMEPICLIST.....spamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2004 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~$500


>
> > A simple backlash
> > eliminator could also be added to all three axes in the process.
>
> This interests me because I've never actually seen a backlash eliminator.
> What is it?  Perhaps it could also compensate for the slop in the coupling
> and you'd be in great shape.
>

In it's most simple form a backlash eliminator can be a nut that has a hole
drilled and tapped in one face. The nut then has a saw cut put through the
tapped hole for half the thickness of the nut. A pointed grub screw is inserted
into the treaded hole and by tightening the screw the faces of the nut can be
spread apart to take up the slack in the thread. 'Generally' only the taper tap
is used and the thread is left tapered so that the point of the grub screw can
bite into the taper and spread the nut. As the LS wears the grub screw is
'snugged' up to take up the slop.

Other types exist that use a threaded bushing that is slit and a 'C' clip or
circlip applies constant pressure so that it is self adjusting to some degree.
This type generally has hollow dowels inserted into each half  to allow mounting
screws to hold it to the machine.

Another rather neat way that some home CNC enthusiasts have come up with is to
make a nut out of Delrin but instead of tapping it out with regular taps (which
can cut oversize) they make a tap out of a spare piece of the LS material. By
doing this they get an almost size for size thread in the nut and backlash is
not a problem. Apparently the Delrin stands up to the wear of use very well.

Larry Green

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2004\07\29@143825 by Jamie

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PICLIST NO LIST

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2004\07\29@164839 by Win Wiencke

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> > > A simple backlash
> > > eliminator could also be added to all three axes in the process.


<Win Wiencke asks>
> > This interests me because I've never actually seen a backlash
eliminator.
> > What is it?  Perhaps it could also compensate for the slop in the
coupling
> > and you'd be in great shape.
> >
<Larry Green explains>
> In it's most simple form a backlash eliminator can be a nut that has a
hole
> drilled and tapped in one face. The nut then has a saw cut put through the
> tapped hole for half the thickness of the nut. A pointed grub screw is
inserted
> into the treaded hole and by tightening the screw the faces of the nut can
be
> spread apart to take up the slack in the thread. 'Generally' only the
taper tap
> is used and the thread is left tapered so that the point of the grub screw
can
> bite into the taper and spread the nut. As the LS wears the grub screw is
> 'snugged' up to take up the slop.
>
> Other types exist that use a threaded bushing that is slit and a 'C' clip
or
> circlip applies constant pressure so that it is self adjusting to some
degree.
> This type generally has hollow dowels inserted into each half  to allow
mounting
> screws to hold it to the machine.


Oh.  Ain't nomenclature vexing?  That's what I was referring to as a "split
nut."  It prevents backlash by preloading both sides of the lead screw
thread (at the lead screw better be a good one too).

I got hung up on the word "eliminator" and thought someone had come up with
an active device that actually undoes the lash.  By throwing in the word
"cheap" too, the author definitely had my attention!

Thanks for the clarification even though you've dashed my fantasies...

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\07\29@171127 by Charles Craft

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As fascinating as this had been can you guys move this [OT] since it's now a dev project and no longer a [AD]?



{Original Message removed}


'[AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and sof'
2004\08\03@094605 by D. Jay Newman
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face
> I have several leads for good (not great) machines that can be purchased for
> around $400 to $500 dollars, but so far, none of them has worked out. For
> example:

I'm wondering if a machine could be designed using 80/20 aluminum
extrusions (http://www.8020.net/)?

I'd still suggest the spindle from http://www.cnconabudget.com

Unfortunately I prefer software and electronics to hardware.

I am planning on attempting to build a large robot base (we're talking
over 100 lb of batteries alone) from 8020 extrusions. I'll be ordering
as soon as I get paid for my latest article and will let you know how
it goes.
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2004\08\03@101511 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
Just to tack on to this thread, does anyone know where I could get
either a 10"x10" travel XY table, or even a 20"x20" one? i'm looking
at automating a process here at work. Currently, little circles of
this material are cut out with a hand punch. I'm thinking it should be
easy to make the punch pneumatic, and with an XY table under the
material, you would plop the material down (possibly held down with a
vacuum), press go, the table would move, and the punch would punch,
and all would be well. The material comes in 20"x20" sheets, but we
can cut it down to 10"x10" (since I believe that finding a 20x20 table
will be hard, and finding an affordable 20x20 table with be darn near
impossible).

I don't need super accuracy on this,  I would probably be able to
tolerate +-20thou with no problems.

Any ideas?

Josh
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2004\08\03@103132 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I don't need super accuracy on this,  I would
>probably be able to tolerate +-20thou with no problems.

For that sort of accuracy I would start by looking at the slides used to
rack mount the older type 14" disk drives, and use them as guides for a slab
like the table from an old drill press. Driven with a set of stepper motors,
with a bit of settling time built in, I would suspect that it would do what
you need.

I suggest those type guides, as the disk drives I am thinking of were the
sort of device that needed two people to handle them. You should be able to
mount the whole thing so that there is enough spring in the table to lift it
while moving, while the punch pushes it down onto an anvil, so the guides
don't carry the punch pressure - your looking for probably less than 10 thou
clearance when moving.

Just some thoughts.

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2004\08\03@105041 by hael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: pic microcontroller discussion list
>[spam_OUTPICLISTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU] On Behalf Of D. Jay Newman
>Sent: 03 August 2004 14:41
>To: .....PICLIST.....spamRemoveMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
>Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and
>software for ~$500
>
>
>I'm wondering if a machine could be designed using 80/20
>aluminum extrusions (http://www.8020.net/)?

Useful looking stuff, but typicaly priced for industrial useage (i.e.
expensive).

>
>I'd still suggest the spindle from http://www.cnconabudget.com
>

That guys makes some quality looking components for pennies almost.  I
wonder if it's worth James approaching him to commission an entire mill?

Mike

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2004\08\03@111504 by D. Jay Newman

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> >I'm wondering if a machine could be designed using 80/20
> >aluminum extrusions (http://www.8020.net/)?
>
> Useful looking stuff, but typicaly priced for industrial useage (i.e.
> expensive).

While some stuff there is expensive, a 96" length of basic 1" x 1"
T-Slotted extrusion costs about $20. There basic nuts and bolts
are fairly decently priced.

There the costs add up are the machining costs and the specialized
parts (an L-bracket costs $5!). I'm looking to see if I can find some
of the tools locally and do the machining myself.

I added up the costs once and found out that the connectors and machining
cost *much* more than the rest.

So I figure I can get the minimal amount from them and use fairly standard
nuts and bolts to fasten the sucker together. I can cut it using a
basic miter saw and deburr it with my Dremel. Or I suppose I could put
a cutting bit on my drill press and use that...

But the point is to get the reasonably priced stuff from them and make
due for the stuff I can't afford.

> >I'd still suggest the spindle from http://www.cnconabudget.com
>
> That guys makes some quality looking components for pennies almost.  I
> wonder if it's worth James approaching him to commission an entire mill?

I think that the guy is a one-man shop and is backed up.

Pehaps we could pay him for plans for a simple mill and have some other
shop build it?

I'm still considering getting a spindle as soon as I have the money. I may
not have a use for it yet, but I'm sure that I can find out.  :)
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2004\08\03@112338 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
Hmm...interesting. I will have to try and find something I guess.
Anyone know of some heavy duty stuff like this in Toronto?

Because this isn't a personal project,  if a commercial solution is
out there, it might save expensive manhours finding something and then
taking it apart. Granted, it will be much less fun though.

Thanks,

Josh

On Tue, 3 Aug 2004 15:33:43 +0100, Alan B. Pearce <@spam@a.b.pearcespamspamrl.ac.uk> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\03@113522 by Roland

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At 10:13 AM 03/08/2004 -0400, you wrote:

>material, you would plop the material down (possibly held down with a
>vacuum), press go, the table would move, and the punch would punch,
>and all would be well. The material comes in 20"x20" sheets, but we
>can cut it down to 10"x10" (since I believe that finding a 20x20 table
>will be hard, and finding an affordable 20x20 table with be darn near
>impossible).

move the sheet and not the punch. Look on the net at any automatic turret
punch, like the Amada to see the config. The sheet is gripped at the one
edge, and it slides it about, so the only really rigid part is the punch
post. The Euromac is even closer to what you need, where the material is
supported by a rubber needle mat.
A few steppers and threaded bars as feeds, should be a cinch?
Turbo CNC would be a good prog. for this.

Regards
Roland Jollivet

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2004\08\03@115425 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
That is pretty much my plan. I'm looking for a premade XY table at the
moment to save time, but also so I won't have to deal with as much of
the backlash as I would have to in a homebrew system. A bit of play is
fine, but if it takes more manhours tweaking the thing every time, the
I mught as well have a line worker punching by hand.

Thanks for the links, I will check them out.

Josh
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On Tue, 3 Aug 2004 11:35:22 -0400, Roland <TakeThisOuTjemelectricspamspam_OUTmweb.co.za> wrote:
> move the sheet and not the punch. Look on the net at any automatic turret
> punch, like the Amada to see the config. The sheet is gripped at the one
> edge, and it slides it about, so the only really rigid part is the punch
> post. The Euromac is even closer to what you need, where the material is
> supported by a rubber needle mat.
> A few steppers and threaded bars as feeds, should be a cinch?
> Turbo CNC would be a good prog. for this.

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2004\08\03@160135 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
I did. He doesn't have time. He needs to get his order backlog out.

We are moving forward with the Harbor Freight micro mill, but would love
other suggestions.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\05@153742 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>Currently, little circles of this material are cut out with a hand punch.
>I'm thinking it should be easy to make the punch pneumatic, and with an
>XY table under the

This is done by cutting the material into strips and the machine uses only
one moving direction, with a pinch roller that typically pulls. If you
don't want to cut strips first then build it on a table edge with a
parting knife for the current 'strip' built in. The output will be the
base material minus the current strip (which was also punched out), and
this output is reloaded until it's too narrow.

Peter

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2004\08\05@160518 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I had thought about this. The nice thing about doing a full X-Y table
is that since we're cutting little circles, I can "nest" them and get
a bit more out of the material. To give you an idea, a 10"x10" sheet
of the material is  US$150 in singles. Cost goes down of course when
you move to quantity, but it still isn't cheap. So if I can next the
holes and gain say, an extra row per sheet, it'd be worth it.

Crude ASCII art:

X X X X
X X X
X X X X

Josh
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On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 22:21:03 -0400, Peter L. Peres <spamBeGoneplpspamRemoveMEactcom.co.il> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\06@042846 by hael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

Or making a punch tool that cuts out multiple circles in one operation
perhaps?

Mike

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2004\08\06@081049 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
Hm...interesting. I hadn't thought of that. The only problem I can
think of is making sure the bed is perfectly flat, and that the tool
gets even pressure all the way around. Otherwise some of the circles
may not cut out.

Josh
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On Fri, 6 Aug 2004 09:31:52 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones
<spammichael.rigby-jones@spam@spamSTOPspambookham.com> wrote:
> Or making a punch tool that cuts out multiple circles in one operation
> perhaps?

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2004\08\06@085241 by hael Rigby-Jones

picon face
>On Fri, 6 Aug 2004 09:31:52 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones
><spamBeGonemichael.rigby-jonesspamBeGonespam@spam@bookham.com> wrote:
>> Or making a punch tool that cuts out multiple circles in one
>operation
>> perhaps?

>{Original Message removed}

2004\08\06@085922 by Matt Redmond

picon face
Water/abrasive jet!!!  If you've got a spare $50-100 grand <g>.  Those are
the coolest machines I've ever seen.

Water leaves the tip at mach 3 and will slice right through 1" steel.  Kerf
width is extremely narrow, typically .5mm or something like that.




{Original Message removed}

2004\08\06@093452 by Martin Klingensmith

face
flavicon
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Matt Redmond wrote:
> Water/abrasive jet!!!  If you've got a spare $50-100 grand <g>.  Those are
> the coolest machines I've ever seen.
>
> Water leaves the tip at mach 3 and will slice right through 1" steel.  Kerf
> width is extremely narrow, typically .5mm or something like that.
>

It doesn't cut a straight vertical line through the material unfortunately.

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2004\08\06@094246 by Matt Redmond

picon face
It does when you have a pivoting head under CNC control.  You input your
material thickness and the software uses speed/direction information to
correct for the bevel.



{Original Message removed}

2004\08\06@100154 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I'm not really sure which is the best way either to be honest. Cutting
against a flat surface means that the center of the circle is left
untouched, which is what we care about. Wouldn't a punch/die system
possibly mangle the inner part of the circle? FWIW, the flat surface
is some sort of plastic material, it might be Delrin. That way it
should give slightly.

Josh
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On Fri, 6 Aug 2004 13:55:02 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones
<RemoveMEmichael.rigby-jonesRemoveMEspamRemoveMEbookham.com> wrote:
> If you were making a custom tool then it would probably be better to have a
> punch and die arrangement, rather than a sharp edged cutter working onto a
> flat surface.  However, I'm not a production engineer so I may be wrong!

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2004\08\06@100155 by Hazelwood Lyle

flavicon
face
>Matt Redmond wrote:
>> Water/abrasive jet!!!  If you've got a spare $50-100 grand <g>.  Those are
>> the coolest machines I've ever seen.
>>
>> Water leaves the tip at mach 3 and will slice right through 1" steel.  Kerf
>> width is extremely narrow, typically .5mm or something like that.
>>
>
>It doesn't cut a straight vertical line through the material unfortunately.
>

They also tend to de-laminate many materials.
They are a lot of fun to play with, though.

Lyle

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2004\08\06@133326 by Vern Jones

flavicon
face
Could do it with a laser as well. Can do small or large jobs.

Vern
----- Original Message -----
From: Matt Redmond <mdredmondKILLspamspamspamCHARTER.NET>
To: <spam_OUTPICLIST@spam@spamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 6:41 AM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for $
500


> It does when you have a pivoting head under CNC control.  You input your
> material thickness and the software uses speed/direction information to
> correct for the bevel.
>
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\07@084633 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Michael,

On Tue, 3 Aug 2004 15:52:46 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> >I'm wondering if a machine could be designed using 80/20
> >aluminum extrusions (http://www.8020.net/)?
>
> Useful looking stuff, but typicaly priced for industrial useage (i.e. expensive).

And as far as I can see, obtainable only within the USA.  They don't sell direct, and the "Find a distributor"
page only allows entry of a ZIP code.

Ah well...


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\07@093650 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> > >I'm wondering if a machine could be designed using 80/20
> > >aluminum extrusions (http://www.8020.net/)?
> >
> > Useful looking stuff, but typicaly priced for industrial useage (i.e. expensive).
>
> And as far as I can see, obtainable only within the USA.  They don't sell direct, and the "Find a distributor"
> page only allows entry of a ZIP code.
>
> Ah well...

If you're truly interested, send them email. They might either sell
direct or have an English distributer. I have found them responsive
to email.

I keep hoping that they'll sell direct soon.
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2004\08\07@112050 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>Hm...interesting. I hadn't thought of that. The only problem I can
>think of is making sure the bed is perfectly flat, and that the tool
>gets even pressure all the way around. Otherwise some of the circles
>may not cut out.

A normal pneumatic punch would use a proper die (male & female) for
punching, and never punch over a flat surface. The punch will not last
unless this is done so. There is also an air supply fed to the hollow of
the upper punch or to the bottom die using tangential holes (depends which
is overlapping which) that causes air pressure to push out the cut disc
when the plunger rises. This is needed only if the punch-out is complete.
Normal setup is for the male punch to have the air puff and the female die
to be the pickup and evacuate punched goods to a bin under the table. If
the goods are sensitive then they fall on a chute and travel by conveyor.

Peter

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2004\08\07@112051 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>I had thought about this. The nice thing about doing a full X-Y table
>is that since we're cutting little circles, I can "nest" them and get
>a bit more out of the material. To give you an idea, a 10"x10" sheet
>of the material is  US$150 in singles. Cost goes down of course when
>you move to quantity, but it still isn't cheap. So if I can next the
>holes and gain say, an extra row per sheet, it'd be worth it.
>
>Crude ASCII art:
>
>X X X X
> X X X
>X X X X

You can still use the single punch and no 'xy' table if the y is only
moved when at the end of a line. Think carpentry cutting disk table, where
you move the guide edge, and lock it, to set the cut position. Note that
punching always warps the scrap and/or the punched disk so the sheet will
no longer be straight after a while. Also, punch & die assembles must both
move (not just the punch) if you want minimal distortion. This gets
complex pretty quick. Imho it pays to look after the material supply, see
if you can have it in tape rolls. At a price like that I'd be surprised if
you couldn't. Also if they would't buy back scrap for reprocessing. I'm
assuming it can be reprocessed.

Peter

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2004\08\07@112053 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>I'm not really sure which is the best way either to be honest. Cutting
>against a flat surface means that the center of the circle is left
>untouched, which is what we care about. Wouldn't a punch/die system
>possibly mangle the inner part of the circle? FWIW, the flat surface
>is some sort of plastic material, it might be Delrin. That way it
>should give slightly.

No flat surface. Every punching operation stresses the material up to a
point. You sound like you need a female punch and male die (the reverse of
what's used normally). This leaves a small kerf on the disk and a large
bevel on the scrap. Also the disk has nowhere to fall unless the whole
machine is horizontal or similar (the punch axis would be horizontal).
This is also unusual but do-able.

Peter

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2004\08\07@121236 by Aaron G.

picon face
On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 09:31:57 -0400 "D. Jay Newman" <STOPspamjayspam_OUTspamspamBeGoneSPRUCEGROVE.COM>
writes:
> If you're truly interested, send them email. They might either sell
> direct or have an English distributor. I have found them responsive
> to email.
>
> I keep hoping that they'll sell direct soon.



It looks like one of 8020's competitors, Faztek, sells direct.
http://www.faztek.net/

McMaster-Carr also sells a similar product.  I think its in the catalog
index under "structural aluminum."

Not sure if this helps Howard, though.  But, it seems to becoming common
enough in the manufacturing industry that there's bound to be a place to
buy it across the pond.

Aaron

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2004\08\08@080258 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 09:31:57 -0400, D. Jay Newman wrote:

80/20 extrusions...

> If you're truly interested, send them email. They
might either sell
> direct or have an English distributer. I have found
them responsive
> to email.

OK, I'll give that a try.

Thanks!


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\10@095959 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 12:12:17 -0400, Aaron G. wrote:

> It looks like one of 8020's competitors, Faztek, sells direct.
> http://www.faztek.net/

I requested a catalogue from Faztek, and got:

"Unfortunately we do not reach beyond Canada and the U.S at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Of course, their web site doesn't actually say that!

Cheers,




Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\10@125429 by Larry Green

flavicon
face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard Winter" <EraseMEHDRWRemoveMEspamH2ORG.DEMON.CO.UK>
To: <.....PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: [AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and software for ~ $500


> On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 12:12:17 -0400, Aaron G. wrote:
>
> > It looks like one of 8020's competitors, Faztek, sells direct.
> > http://www.faztek.net/
>
> I requested a catalogue from Faztek, and got:
>
> "Unfortunately we do not reach beyond Canada and the U.S at this time. Sorry
for the inconvenience."
>
> Of course, their web site doesn't actually say that!
>
> Cheers,
>

I spent the entire weekend designing a PCB router in 3D CAD using alumin(i)um
tee slot  extrusions and fittings from http://www.frame-world.com . They had
downloadable 3D part files so I used them to 'build' the machine but could not
find any prices on the site so I went to the Faztek site and priced it out
there.

To my horror I found I had wasted all that time as the cost of the parts could
not be justified in my situation. For the extrusions, brackets and linear slides
the bill would have been over $800 US. The slides were $440 and the tee nuts and
bolts to hold it all together came to over $150.

It may be possible to reduce the costs using just the extrusions for the frame
and drill rod and roller blade bearings for the slides and linear bearings. Time
to take a trip to the local alumin(i)um scrap yard to see what they have lying
around I guess!

Larry Green

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2004\08\10@132338 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> "Unfortunately we do not reach beyond Canada and the U.S at
> this time. Sorry for the inconvenience."
>
> Of course, their web site doesn't actually say that!

You should be glad they actually are aware that anything exists beyond
US and Canada!

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\16@062040 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
About 8020 extrusions, Howard said

>And as far as I can see, obtainable only within
>the USA.  They don't sell direct, and the "Find
>a distributor" page only allows entry of a ZIP code.

Howard,
wander down to the local DIY store, and look at the extrusions they supply
for patio doors and frames. Nice long straight lengths, at pretty reasonable
prices. I am sure that there would be enough range of suitable sections to
make something suitably rigid for a small mill.

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2004\08\18@083842 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Alan,

On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 11:22:32 +0100, Alan B. Pearce
wrote:

> About 8020 extrusions, Howard said
>
> >And as far as I can see, obtainable only within
> >the USA.  They don't sell direct, and the "Find
> >a distributor" page only allows entry of a ZIP code.
>
> Howard,
> wander down to the local DIY store, and look at the
extrusions they supply
> for patio doors and frames. Nice long straight
lengths, at pretty reasonable
> prices. I am sure that there would be enough range of
suitable sections to
> make something suitably rigid for a small mill.

I've never noticed anything like this in my local and
not-so-local DIY places (Homebase & B&Q respectively) -
they seem to want to sell whole doors, windows,
conservatories, and don't seem to do parts like this.
They have a fairly pathetic range of 1m lengths of flat
and angle aluminium, but nothing like the extrusions you
mean.

Can you recommend a chain of DIY places that does this
sort of thing?

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\18@084916 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Can you recommend a chain of DIY places
>that does this sort of thing?

Hmm, My local Focus-Do-it-all in Didcot used to have such items. I remember
idly looking through the rack there one day thinking in terms of using a
piece as a guide when cutting large sheets of board with a circular saw. It
may be that they are not selling it as individual extrusions any more, it is
a while since I looked.

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2004\08\22@034635 by hilip Stortz

picon face
there are some very nice steppers on the market that are 200 steps per
revolution (400 half steps) for about $5 each, i've seen them several
places.  the sherline website has some good links to cnc stuff including
some of the companies with these steppers.  also, for dual shafted
(which i'll be buying soon, i was given a proxxon mf 70) try jameco,
they have some smaller dual shaft steppers, also 200 steps/revolution
for about $5 ea.  i'll be using the driver chips from allegro as soon as
i have a board made and probably the free emc package for software, at
least initially.

i'd like to build a microcontroller based interface that coordinates the
axes and just takes motion commands like someone else on the list
mentioned, freeing the computer and allowing better
control/interpolation.  the nice thing about the emc package is that it
runs under an rtos version of linux etc. on a pc and seems to work
fairly well.  there is a user and development list for emc that i've
been watching, it has a few problems but handles most jobs nicely.
also, the adapters for the proxxon are very simple, just a stepped piece
that replaces the handles, an aluminum plate that bolts to the slide,
and 4 long screws that mount the stepper to the aluminum mount, and a
piece of vinyl tub for the flex coupler which is kept fairly short so
there isn't much twist (hopefully).  eventually i'd like to use proper
flex couplers.  also the proxxon's spindle runs at 5-20k rpm, i think
the harbour freight unit runs much slower and the higher speed is
appropriate for most materials.

i'd eventually like to build or buy a larger mill/lathe.  i've seen used
bridgeports for $1500 (although freight would obviously add a lot to
that).  mostly because i'd like to eventually build firearms, i.e. i'd
like to chamber barrels and possibly make my own receivers (totally
legal in the u.s. as long as they aren't fully automatic etc. and aren't
sold, or you can sell one year and pay the $200 tax, more than that and
you do need a commercial license).  one reason i'd like to build the
lathe part is so that it would have a head large enough for a heavy
barrel to go through for chambering, i wouldn't really need a long bed.
i'm also thinking very seriously about edm, it seems to be that an edm
mill would be fairly easy to make especially since you don't have to
worry about the high forces during cutting and keeping everything rigid
against those forces.  obviously i'll be reading some edm and machine
design books soon!

Spehro Pefhany wrote:
-------
> The couplers on my machine are torsionally rigid but tolerate a bit of
> misalignment. They are machined from aluminum, as are the mounts. But they
> were around $55/axis plus the motors (another $55 for double shaft motors),
> which is $330.00, not including the driver board, power supply or mill.
> Also the drive screws are quite small diameter, so direct drive is possible.
-------

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'[AD]: (will be) Small CNC mill, controller and sof'
2005\02\04@125608 by Aaron
flavicon
face
On Mon, 19 Jul 2004 18:05:47 -0700, James Newton, Host
<@spam@jamesnewtonSTOPspamspampiclist.com> wrote:
>  I'm getting geared (hah!) up to offer a
>  small (6"x6" travel) CNC mill with a
>  "brains on board" three axis controller
>  and custom software that accepts
>  gerbers or HPGL. The only requirement
>  is for an old Windows BOX (e.g. P1)
>  and a power supply.


James,

Did you end up getting this project off the ground?

Aaron

2005\02\04@170008 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
The controller is ready... I just can't seem to find anyone to try them out
with a small CNC unit before I start advertising the combination. I really
don't want to have to build the physical unit as well as the controller. I
am working on my own design for one, but I don't see that being complete
anytime soon and that has never been my intention.

I want to find someone who can make a small hobby CNC mill for not a ton of
money and sell my controller with it. I am working with a guy in Finland who
has produced a good design for a basic unit but shipping it from their would
be dumb so selling the plans is the only option for that unit.

I currently have the driver units in kit form but no CNC machine to sell
with them. If you have something that could be controlled with it, I would
be happy to sell you one for $30 (my cost)

--- AND THEN ---

IF you build it and connected it to something and send me a picture I will
pay you back $10 (via PayPal)

If you describe the operation of the system (positive or negative) in at
least 200 useful words, I will pay you another $10.

If you send detailed pictures of something that was made with your unit
while driven by the Quickstepper, I will send you another $10.

The end result is that I will give away the unit, in kit form, to anyone who
will actually try it.

I can't send any more units out for free no matter how solid a promise I get
that it will be tried and reported back. (Do you smell something burning?)

And of course, if your CNC machine works ok with the Quickstepper and can be
sold for a reasonable price, I will be happy to help market and resell the
combination.

Pictures and online manual are at
http://www.quickstepper.com

For anyone who might be interested, the design is simple with regard to the
hardware, just a standard unipolar drive, no chopping, simple PC PS
connector, TTL level serial (use an adapter
http://www.piclist.com/io/serial/rcl1
or just wire it up yourself with a resistor) and screw terminals for the
stepper wires.

But the software is unique. It communicates with a Windows PC over RS-232
serial. The stepping waveforms are generated in a microcontroller; the
Windows PC sends line segments to the microcontroller, and the
microcontroller turns a request to "move in a straight line 0.100 to the
left and 0.500 forwards" into a sequence of steps to the x and y motors.

This allows us to generate precisely-timed waveforms from a Windows PC;
Windows does not provide accurate timing, so we could not do this if we
generated the waveforms on the PC. It allows us to drive the stepper motors
faster, and ramp up the speed slowly instead of starting abruptly from a
dead stop.

So we get to work in Windows, and still run the motors as fast as possible,
including ramping up and down without missing steps.

Future versions will drive 3 of the linistepper units
http://www.piclist.com/io/stepper/linistepper
to provide fantastically smooth linear microstepping and may begin to
support chopping for digital microstepping. Basic G-code support is also
possible. Support for bi-polar steppers is not planned.

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2005\02\04@183039 by Lee McLaren

flavicon
face
Hi James,

Have you checked out http://www.hobbycnc.com, Dave has plans and stepper motors
and he's in the US.

regards

Lee McLaren


James Newtons Massmind wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>>{Original Message removed}

2005\02\04@204624 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think Dave would appreciate me
selling machines built with his plans. If he sold the actual machines, or
even a kit, I would contact him about packaging his stuff with my controller
or my reselling his machines in quantity.

Again, what I need is a little machine that I can sell, ready made, for
around $500 along with my controller and software from
http://www.quickstepper.com

I don't want to make the machines, making the controller is enough of a
pain. I don't want to sell the controller by itself or sell kits because I
think the market that hasn't been reached is for people with minimal
technical skills who have an artistic or other need for CNC machines. E.g.
Artists who want to crank out jewelry designs. Electronics hobbyists (with
little or no mechanical ability) who want to mill PCBs. Modelers who want
pattern cutouts.

I've sold a lot of linistepper kits and I wonder if half of them ever
actually end up running anything. The mechanical stuff is hard for
electronics majors. Hardware is hard for software people (me for example)
and trons and bits are geek for machinists. CNC is the place where it all
meets and so few people can get all that working together...

I really want to provide everything, together, ready to plug in and go.

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

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