CNC router

The CNC router was a multi-year project. Built out of 3/4″ MDF for ease of working with wood tools, here are some major pieces:

  • HobbyCNC Pro (4 axis) driver
  • AnTek toroidal power supply
  • 3 NEMA 23 steppers
  • 1/2-10 acme lead screws
  • 3/8″ steel guides, pillow blocks
  • approx 16x22x4 envelop
  • LinuxCNC controller
  • Rotozip router

The overall design was laid out using SketchUp (free version). cnc

The final version looks pretty similar!

IMG_20130826_180737There’s a few things wrong with the setup as seen above: the Y axis has a large amount of flex running on the 3/8″ guides, and the router is not too secure with only the bottom clamped down. An attempt was made to keep the y-axis from rotating due to the flex, but didn’t address the unintended z motion. So, the y-axis was redone using homemade (of course!) v groove bearings (sandwiched skate bearings). The x-axis uses the same 3/8 guide bearing setup but since a ‘brace’ passes under the table, bushings are used to prevent up/down flexing. The router bit is centered on the ‘brace’.

An additional clamp was also fashioned to better hold the router.

IMGP4843         IMGP4844

As for design software, I have been using F-engrave to make signs and convert bitmaps to g-code. CamBam has also been used to make some basic designs for patterns to use with the foundry/greensand casting, but for a later post!

To be done:

  • Add solid state relay for spindle switching. Currently using Harbor Freight router speed controller (set to 100%) as on/off manual switch. I have not used the speed control (yet!), and would like to have the router turn off after finishing job.
  • Fix the x-axis – there’s something binding at full extents of travel causing some skipped steps.
  • Better dust control. Using the hood from the portable dust collector, but still getting dust blown out by the router exhaust.
  • Shield lead screws from dust.
  • Use this to make the next one!

Here’s a den totem (Just alphabetical happenstance – not that I was subconsciously thinking of adult beverage!) that used the CNC and newly tried welder:

IMG_20130918_211001Old cedar fence boards used, and after carving, painted and sanded to reveal the letters.


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