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4DThinker

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Everything posted by 4DThinker

  1. Probotix got back to me and said they were so busy filling out year end orders that they didn't have time to send me a quote for my "custom" order. That was back on Jan 5th. College classes start up again next week and that mean I may forget about this project until summer comes. 4D
  2. I've heard all sorts of wise advice for those considering getting a CNC. "Buy your second CNC first!" for example. I benefit from already owning 2 CNCs, but am honestly considering buying another one. Not a larger one. I looked back at the kind of cuts I do most of the time. Most (90%) were joinery cuts that only took up a small area of my Probitix Meteor (26" x 50" cutting area). Any project might consist of flat cuts needing my CNC bed configured one way, and vertical cuts needing it set up another way. Probotix also sells smaller CNCs, down to their V90 MK2 (20" x 13" cutting area) selling for $2999. For my needs though I can get that price down to under $2000. I don't need their MDF spoil board. I don't need the cheap mouse and keyboard and monitor they normally include. We have a spare unity controller that just needs a fuse replacement, so I don't need a new one of those. I don't need their router mount as I have a spare left over when I updated my meteor to use a different (larger) router. I would set this little CNC up on my usual simple base frame, except a little taller than normal. I'd make a version of my adjustable angle clamping jig that would fill the entire cutting area when horizontal, but rotate down to perfectly vertical when needed to hold boards vertically for tenons or related joinery. I have spare monitors, keyboards, and mice I can use. This smaller CNC will take up less than 1/3 the floor space of my Meteor. The smaller design actually has a higher maximum feed speed limit (300ipm vs 200ipm of their larger CNCs). With one CNC always handling the vertical/angled joinery cuts, my older Meteor can be left configured for flat cuts. 4D
  3. Well, I decided to go ahead and order a V90MK2 from Probotix if they can configure it how I want them to. A Christmas gift to myself, perhaps. I don't need their MDF bed, a router mount, or PC peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse or game controller). I do want their taller gantry sides and the 60mm x 60mm gantry beam. I'll likely rebuild the Z axis to maximize it's stiffness and minimize how much of it cantilevers off the gantry beam. I'm also toying with ideas for how to make the mounting height off the floor adjustable. So far my best idea is to mount the frame on two arms that cantilever off two vertical 2x6 posts where I've mounted heavy duty drawer slides vertically. A counterweight or bungee cords should easy moving it up when needed to cut joinery on the ends of long bed or sofa rails. I'll add some secure way to lock it at any height within the slide range. I sent Probotix a request for a quote. I don't expect to hear from them until after Jan 1. Shipping should hopefully be much less than it was for my meteor. the V90Mk2 is much smaller and will be much lighter than my Meteor was, especially with no MDF bed or monitor in the crate. 4D
  4. Super trivet

    Super job on a super idea! 4D
  5. Need Help from Probotix Users

    It has been awhile since I went through the re-install, but I seem to remember just holding the F2 key down while I turned on the PC. Otherwise the existing OS would start to boot up. Sorry I can't be more helpful. I know personally the aggravation when a tool I depend on is down for repairs.
  6. Most of what I'm using a CNC for is to cut joinery for furniture projects. This almost always involves two parts and two separate cut files. The positioning of the cuts and fit between the two parts is very important. I use several strategies for where to zero out the bit(s) used and they vary with each unique cut. I consider how I'll be clamping the parts down. I consider the orientation of the parts on the CNC bed for best access and clamp avoidance. I usually cut one half of the joint on a final part, but cut the mating half on a scrap to verify fit. Not all router bits will be the diameter they claim to be. A bit that is larger than you've told the software will leave tenons smaller than expected and mortises larger than expected for a very loose joint. A bit that is smaller than it advertises will leave a joint tight. Often too tight to go together with room for glue. If my test fit is flawed in any way I'll revise the vectors and recalculate before cutting a second test sample. Only when I am absolutely certain of a good fit will I cut the second half of the joint on the final part. Once I realize a particular bit is not the size it claims I'll cut a simple slot with it in some scrap then measure the width of that slot with digital calipers. In Aspire I can edit the tool database and change the default diameter to a more accurate measured value. It becomes important to keep track of any odd-sized bits. They aren't useless, but need to be accounted for in any project they are used for. 4D
  7. Joinery fit precision

    This coming week is the last week of classes for the Fall semester 2017. As is typical, I'm getting a rush of requests for CNC work from desperate students. One of the more challenging requests is shown below. The legs are for a small table. Already cut as 2-side 3D files on our CNCs, the notch in the top couldn't be cut with the part lying flat. The only workable approach is from the top. I've carefully clamped the leg onto my variable angle clamping fixture. I used a digital angle gauge to tilt the fixture 1.45 degrees, which is the side taper of the legs. Then I had to clamp the leg to the fixture in the vertical position it will be in when assembled. I added blocking around the shape so once I've got the first leg cut I can simply swap in the next 3 which need the same pocket cut. The notch they need is a simple 90 degree corner so the legs can be bolted to the corners of her table frame. Repeatable clamping and toolpath alignment are the critical requirements here. I have the toolpath ready, but haven't yet gotten up the nerve to cut the first one. It is hard to tell where the center from the fixture is. I'm just not yet sure I've picked the best origin point to set for the toolpath. I'll post a results photo once I've finished cutting one good one. 4D
  8. Need Help from Probotix Users

    Password are typically probotix as username and probotix as password. If you can't get back to a working screen then it might be worth doing a reinstall of the OS and LinuxCNC. The needed files are available on Probotix' wiki page. Not a simple fix, as you'll also need to run their configurator to set linuxCNC up again for your specific machine. Links: http://www.probotix.com/wiki/index.php/Reinstalling_LinuxCNC_on_Galaxy_Series_Machines http://www.probotix.com/wiki/index.php/NEW_LinuxCNC_Configuration 4D
  9. CNC Purchase or Build

    Old post, I know. I just thought I'd add an update that I'm now located in a new fabrication lab where I have easy access to a large CNC that can cut aluminum. We also have a large plasma CNC. Our college budget is strapped at the moment, but I can likely convince the lab manager that my Z-axis revision is worth investing in. He is already aware of the weaknesses in the current configuration. We may be able to make parts to assemble at least one for our nebula over the Christmas break between semesters. 4D
  10. Three crosses trivet

    Well done! Beautiful. 4D
  11. Route 66 Sign

    Google is your friend: https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&safe=off&biw=1682&bih=874&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=lRwLWpOSKuq_jwSn_5XwDA&q=bullet+hole+in+sign+images&oq=bullet+hole+in+sign+images&gs_l=psy-ab.3...10382.11866.0.12769.8.8.0.0.0.0.152.769.0j6.6.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..2.1.134...0.0.8f6CcNHAiy8#imgrc=xYiKR8ZDaB3gkM: 4D
  12. Route 66 Sign

    Looks good! Although as long as route 66 has been there perhaps a little weathering after painting would be appropriate. Maybe a bullet hole or two? It would be interesting to figure out how to CNC what looks like an authentic bullet hole.
  13. DIY Touch-off Tool

    Not a bad idea. I made my own using a green LED (3V) and two AA cells in a 4-cell battery case. Included a switch to turn it off when stored away. I used the same exact puck as well and probably the same alligator clip. I'm sure I was inspired by someone else posting the idea on one of these forums. I also found the puck a bit uneven, and used my CNC to mill upside down the plastic bottom parallel to the metal center. I've since abandoned it and moved up to a touch plate that works from LinuxCNC though. Probotix was nice enough to do the software side in their configurator, and show how to do the wiring side on their wiki page. It is VERY convenient to let the software run a subroutine and do the math to set where Z0 is. All that is needed is a single wire running from the plate to the 2nd parallel port on your PC. The router I use is grounded all the way through its body. That passes the probe ground through the frame down through the metal bit. Not all routers ARE grounded through though, so you might need two wires from the parallel port and the alligator clip. 4D
  14. Gaggle of trivets

    I agree. Very nice! You mention airflow, and it makes me wonder if there would actually be any under a hot pot? Hot air rises so perhaps slots that ramp up in one direction would encourage air heated by the pot to flow out and pull cooler air in. Air expands as it heats, so maybe the slots get wider as they climb up/out. As I have no personal need for trivets, you can pursue this idea for free.
  15. Will AI do it all

    As long as there are folks wanting to make things, then there will be tools available just like there are tools available today. I had a student ask me Friday if I knew of any examples where the engineering of a thing to work complicated/corrupted or distracted from what the designer had imagined/designed to build. I see many things that are beautiful beyond their raw functionality and know no A.I. came up with that beautiful part. I've also seen many things that were beautiful because they were the simplest execution of the desired functionality. Will an android brain ever dream? Can the human thing that makes us creative/inventive/original and WANT to express those thoughts ever be anything more than mimicked by a sim? Personally I'm not worried. Much of what I do no "smart" robot would want to do.
  16. Go Astros!

    Another clever project, Mike. Now if you could cut it in reverse and have it sear the logo onto any pan that sits on it..... 4D
  17. BOO!

    Looks good to me. A bit seasonal of course, but effective nonetheless. 4D
  18. Question about work flow

    I use tabs all the time in similar situations. I have a benchtop bandsaw and a flush trim bit in a router table next to my CNC so it is just a couple of steps after taking parts off the CNC to where I can release the part and trim off what remains of the tabs. The only risky time is when the board you are cutting has a warp or twist to it that you are keeping flat with clamps. Tab across the grain will hold better than tabs running with the grain. If you have an easy way to trim off the tabs then it doesn't hurt to make them thicker/longer if you are doing aggressive cuts after you've done the perimeter cut. I found a 1/4" diameter spiral flush trim bit that works great for cleaning up tab remnants. 4D
  19. An Apple for the Teacher

    You need to set inverse purchase/pricing benefits.... The more per order, the more each one costs.
  20. Spiral Maple trivet

    Never hurts to try out a new idea. It doesn't look bad to me, but with a little iteration there may be a new craft show hit hiding close. Thanks for posting it. 4D
  21. Joinery fit precision

    Your experience doesn't surprise me, Joe. Often with bits that come from countries where the metric system is used I'll find the real dimensions of an imperial bit is closer to a metric dimension. 1.1 inches is very close to 28mm. 4D
  22. Yep, my adjustable angle clamping jig gets more use for furniture than the flat bed of the CNCs do. That is the whole reason I'm consider a V90 to dedicate to that task. I've accumulated many redundant parts (spare monitor/keyboard/mouse/router mount/router) and may even have a controller I can get working again with a new fuse. I don't need their MDF bed, tool length sensor, touch plate, or dust collection either. We haven't located that old controller since we moved into our new fabrication lab but when/if it shows up I'll decide if I still want to buy a V90. I know one would get plenty of use in our new shop space. I often teach a CNC joinery elective and one more CNC that can cut joinery will help with the CNC demand then. 4D
  23. I had a closer look at our CNC Shark and it has slanted uprights so must be an HD2. They did that to better balance the cantilevered router over the center of the under-table gantry cross beam. I also noticed that the Probotix V90 MK2 uses smaller stepper motors than all their larger CNCs. The Y motors have less weight to move with the narrower gantry. X and Z have less to move only if a trim router is used rather than a full sized router. I'll guess the smaller steppers still should have no trouble doing their job or Probotix wouldn't have specified them. Makes me wonder why they use large steppers on their larger machines if the smaller steppers of the V90 can do the job. I've come up with a way to motorize the angle adjustment of my adjustable clamping jig. I can't see any need for it to move dynamically during a cut, but I'd love to be able to hit an up or down button to move it to exactly the angle I need and lock it in position. The angle it is at would show on a small display. I see a future version with a phone app you can use to tell it to move to any desired angle. For that matter, I expect to control the whole CNC wirelessly with a phone/tablet app in the future. The phone would also display a real-time view of the cut in progress from a camera installed over the CNC. 4D
  24. Since you brought up the fact that Probotix uses two Y motors to move the gantry it has me wondering how hard it would be to split the gantry into two cantilevered halves. Doubling up the height of the Y frame rails and using two rails/bearings one above the other should be enough.... maybe. Split the available cutting width of a Comet or Nebula then add a second Z axis to have two independent CNCs within one frame. Link their controllers so they can both cut identical parts, both could cut mirrored parts from one G-code file, or each could cut their own unique g-code file. Their Unity controllers already support 5 stepper motors. X/Y1/Y2/Z and A. Add just one more to have X1/Y1/Z1 and X2/Y2/Z2. As fun as it is to watch one router/spindle cut one file just double it when two are cutting at the same time. Or just adding a second X motor on the opposite end and splitting the X feed into 2 self supported halves while leaving the gantry beam intact would let 2 Z axis run the same or cloned cuts for 2/3 the fun. 4D
  25. Roughly 50%. That is the percentage of the jobs I do for my students that use the same cut file more than once Cabinets sometimes have a taper cut on 2 or 4 sides of each leg, and 4 legs per cabinet. Most furniture has left and right sides, which sometimes are identical and sometimes mirrored. The frequency of mirrored cuts leads me to contemplate what it would take to make the two heads on a CNC gantry mirror each other rather than clone each other's movement. A lead screw with left handed threads on one half and right handed threads on the other perhaps. When one head moves left the other would be moving right. Of course the first mistake I'd make would be clamping the right part under the wrong (left) head. 4D

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