Saturday, January 4, 2014

Homemade CNC2 (Planning)

Since I built my first CNC with ShapeOko (see my previous post) as a learning practice project, I have being thinking about designing one by myself and build it. I have since converted the ShapeOko into a 3D printer and gave it away in a hurry. So for the new build, I will have to start from scratch and bootstrap it again. This is challenging because as we know it usually takes a CNC to build a CNC.

One thing I am thinking differently now is that I may want to build a CNC just as a CNC, instead of a potential CNC / 3D Printer combo. I have looked at a few milling machines and their CNC conversion. Also from my experience playing with my last build, I realize that it maybe advantageous to have a CNC with fixed tool head (and Z axial) with a separate X/Y compound table (as in traditional CNC). One advantage of this configuration is that enables easy change of tools without disturbing X and Y position. It also makes more sturdy and stable machines too, which is more important for CNC machines.

I have looked at the Harbor Freight milling machine (at $600). Another one of interest is Proxxon milling machine MF70 (at $400). But both of them are a little expensive. Then I found that the compound table of the Proxxon machine can be had for $90. That is perfect.

My plan is to build the head and the frame from there, and then put it with the compound table. Afterward, I can use it as a mini milling machine to mill the parts that is need for CNC conversion and go from there.

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