Sunday, February 17, 2013

Building a ShapeOko CNC

After some study, I have decided to build a ShapeOko CNC. I got the ShapeOko mechanical kit from Inventable.

The kit comes with all the machined parts in a box. The first thing I did was an inventory count, and everything comes out right. Here is the picture of the parts in the box.

The building process is quite straight forward and easy. The online wiki instruction is very helpful with updated info that corrects the errors in earlier version. The user submitted notes are especially useful. Here are the assembled Y-Axis Idle and Motor plates.

Here are the assembled X-Axis Motor and Z-Axis plates.

The assemble gets a bit more involved later when the plan calls for tapping a few holes on the frame. I have to go out to buy a tap/die set. Things do go smoothly most of the way.

The other complexity is with the electronics that runs the CNC. I have only the mechanical kits, so I bought the motors separately. Because I was intending to do 3D printer eventually, so I got an Arduino board and an RAMPS to control the motors. There is really a lot of overlapping between the CNC and 3D printer control. The emerging of the 3D printer community has really advanced the electronics and the software needed to run these 3D robot machines. I will write a separate post on it. For now, here is the completed CNC. I added my own base board and sacrifice board hold downs.

And here is one of first cut I made with this CNC - just leveling a square. I mounted a Dremel tool as my cutting spindle. You can see from the cut that it is not perfectly aligned. There is still a lot of work to do for improvement. For now, I have my first CNC and it is working!

Update: This unit is assigned a ShapeOko serial number 1,302.

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