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Everything posted by 4DThinker

  1. 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
  2. I'm using ball screws and linear rails on all three axes. I started with a tinyG controller and steppers from an unused X-carve kit. I have the whole CNC assembled, and it turns out the steppers don't have enough torque to turn the Y axis without losing steps. I bought larger steppers which I thought would work but the tinyG doesn't have enough oomph to turn all three axes (4 steppers) at the same time without complaining. I like the tinyG as it has great acceleration/deceleration routines built in, but apparently isn't powerful enough on its own. So I'm stalled at the moment. I need a controller+driver combination, preferably something with included controller software. 4D
  3. 4DThinker

    Tool Changer Survey.

    Old thread I know, but awhile back Probotix teased a tool changer as a potential option for their CNCs. I'm not sure how they could implement one with their current design, but that doesn't mean they aren't working on a solution. I've been contemplating strategies to swap out the whole router (trim routers are cheaper than some tool changer assemblies) with different bits installed. But then I look at how much trouble it is (isn't?) to separate toolpath files by bit used, change bits for each file, zero the new bit before loading and running the new file, etc.. I've concluded it is a welcome break in the process, where some quiet is regained and some different muscles can be used. It also eliminates worry in letting the CNC travel over to pick up a tool where it might crash though clamps on the way. Yes, some time might be saved in a repetitive production setting, but fortunately my little shop is far from that. 4D
  4. I'm looking for data on how many unique bits a CNC operator uses for a typical job they run. I do mostly joinery cutting and use at most 2 bits and usually only one. The occasional 3D cut will use an end mill for roughing and a ball nose for finish. 2. Flat 2D/2.5D cuts may use a V-bit for v-carving or inlay, and maybe a downcut spiral end mill for first passes and an upcut spiral end mill for the rest. So I'd say I average 1.4 bits per use, or 2 hole bits. How many bits do you use on average for your CNC projects? Just the number for each individual board clamped to the CNC. Thanks for participating! 4D
  5. 4DThinker

    All A Yall Know Bout This

    Nothing wrong with UPS advice. They typically have a battery in them, and that battery will wear out eventually. When it does the UPS is worthless and will need replacing. Just keep an eye on any you use. 4D
  6. 4DThinker

    Fairy Tree Or Gnome Home In Your Forest

    Now if only the scene would change each night (door or window open or closed), and unusual sounds could be heard coming from the tree (gnome activity) and all would go quite if you get too close. Excellent work as usual! 4D
  7. Update. Old thread I know. Probotix eventually got back to me with a $200 discount on a V90-spoilboard-monitor/keyboard/mouse. By that time though I'd already started collecting parts to build my own small CNC. 90% of the parts have arrived, and I have raw materials to start on a plywood prototype. My design process requires critical evaluation of existing designs (like the V90) and iterating through variations looking for any improvements I could make. I'm using linear rails rather than round bars, and looking into mounting matched pairs (left and right Y rails, top on bottom X rails on the gantry beam) at 90 degrees opposed. One on top and one the face of the gantry beam rather than one on top and one on bottom. Y axis rails leaning in at 45 degrees rather than vertical. My thinking is that as angle iron is stiffer than flat bar, having these pairs of rails in right angle planes should help cancel out any play either might have. I puzzle on. 4D
  8. 4DThinker

    Looking for recommendations

    Hi Joey, For 15k or less you might contact Len (at) Probotix.com. The last I talked with him (He is the owner of that company) they had been working on making a 5x9 machine for a client, and although their prices may be higher now the last quote I heard for one of these large machines was right around 10k. 4D
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 4DThinker

    Super trivet

    Super job on a super idea! 4D
  12. 4DThinker

    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.
  13. 4DThinker

    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
  14. 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
  15. 4DThinker

    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
  16. 4DThinker

    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
  17. 4DThinker

    Three crosses trivet

    Well done! Beautiful. 4D
  18. 4DThinker

    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. 4D
  19. 4DThinker

    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.
  20. 4DThinker

    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
  21. 4DThinker

    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.
  22. 4DThinker

    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.
  23. 4DThinker

    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
  24. 4DThinker


    Looks good to me. A bit seasonal of course, but effective nonetheless. 4D
  25. 4DThinker

    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

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