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Built the 3018 machine just now... Not working

Built the 3018 machine just now… not working. The assembly of the machine was not the promised 20 minutes but it was simple enough after broaching some non-existent holes. the screws holding the board in place were a few threads too short but I got them to do what they should. The assembly was very carefully done and nothing was bent or damaged in the process. I may not know enough about the hand controller so could not get the Y axis to work although the motor makes a noise then stops as if stuck. The X axis appeared a bit sticky at first but now seems to be ok. the Z axis is fine but an auto stop would be useful.

Both X & Y screw threads appeared to be straight. All metal parts were cleaned of swarf before assembly was started. The bearings on the rails could possibly be a bit smoother and i wonder if there was any opinion about using grease of some sort on the stainless steel round rails. If I were to connect my computer via a USB lead to the machine, should Easel be capable of running it with no Z axis input other than spindle speed? Incidentally the speed of the spindle is nowhere near the claimed 10,000rpm. I was wanting to see for myself how the code would figure out what was required.

Any ideas about what needs to be done to troubleshoot and diagnose the issues would be most welcome. Just building the machine had me saying to myself what have I gotten myself into.

The movie is now very much smaller (apologies for the poor quality) and not too big in file size so I could upload it. I think it will assist other folk to get to the bottom of the problem. Thanks in advance for any thoughts offered.

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I built a Linksprite a few years ago which is much like what you have. I had a bad H bridge stepper driver chip. They are the ones that have the little heat sink on them.

I would switch the X and the Y wiring so that the X driver connects to the Y and the Y to the X. That should tell you it is the driver or the motor. If your wiring harnesses have connectors at both ends, you could switch the wiring around so that the X stepper connects to the X driver but using the Y wiring harness. That should tell you if the harness is wired correctly.

My controller board had LEDs on it. When the board was powered off and you rotated the steppers by hand, you could see the LED pulse. If yours is the same, try that with the various axes.

Hi Harry. Thanks for the response. I did reverse the wiring and that led me to look at the way the mechanical connections to the lead screw were made. Running the motors with just the connecting collar (held in place with a single grub screw on a ground flat) revealed the collar of the Y axis lead screw was displaying some runout ( >1mm was my visual estimate) so a little more care in assembly addressed that issue.

The grub screw fixing would have been assisted by a key way (woodruff key perhaps) or at least have a hole to locate the grub screw point. I realise these things are made down to a price and I should not complain too much for the money I paid. Anyhow, the machine now works in all three axes and I can get on with the business of learning CNC machining at this very basic level.

Some of the noise experienced was from a badly fitting piece of brass which covers a spring and the whole of the lead screw fits inside and through it. It looks like an effort to reduce backlash. I could accept the amount of backlash and account for it in the design phase of producing a piece of work. I fitted a small shim of electrical tape and that quietened the noise.

For now… onward. :grin:

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Or not… everything working fine then the board suddenly lost its power and could not be persuaded to run again. Very disappointing. :thinking: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

You have the 3018 Pro version. Important to note that because the vanilla version has lots of tweaking to line up the stepper motors. The Pro (normally?) has got updated firmware GRBL 1.1.plus the black “Bakelite” Z risers.

It is a 20-minute assembly if you really know what you’re doing with this machine. Most people follow along with a youtube build video. That’s much quicker and easier that the directions. My assembly took ~1 hour because I put the table on upside down and that is the really tricky bit.

The 10000 is not RPM. I hope the vendor didn’t claim that. Using the supplied GrblControl (Candle) g-code sender there is a Spindle Speed setting that goes to 1000 this is neither reliable and nor linear with the default 775 spindle. YouTube videos show the 775 able to reach 7000 RPM without load. See discussion of the spindle https://www.reddit.com/r/hobbycnc/comments/cvowlz/uncontrollable_spindle_speed_sainsmart_genmitsu/

I don’t think the 3018 is capable of producing “good” noise just bad noise and very bad noise. But I bought it as a learning platform before building something custom for my needs (whatever they turn out to be).

0:07 I’m pretty sure my X-axis can move a lot faster than that. Maybe you’ve limited the feed rate?

0:11 - 0:16 I can’t tell if that harmonic is just a video artifact or the sound of the fan and screw speed harmonising. Or: X-axis is unsupported and everything on it is plastic, so at the middle of the X-range it wobbles like crazy. I can’t tell in the video, but people swap the spindle and build wood, aluminium or steel spindle holders and even go so far as changing out the x-axis rails for supported rails. Minh’s Man Cave on youtube has done all these upgrades before cannibalising his machine to built his next CNC. But he carved aluminum.

0:33 that very bad noise is normally the Y-axis motor coupling slipping. I’m told Loctite is your friend on every grubscrew. I haven’t committed to Loctite and have ruined workpieces as a result. Tighten everything, everyday.

0:48 very bad noise you hit the max Z+ range. Happens all the time and I’ve order limit switches to install later. It’s a common upgrade.

0:58 bad noise looks like your Y-axis stepper is not coupled to the threaded rod. There’s no motion on that screw just the stepper turning.

My view on these machines is they are great to learn on. Fantastic to upgrade (don’t spend too much money on that). Then you’ll know enough about what you don’t like about it to build/buy your production machine.

Before I got the 3018 I didn’t think I’d use it for anything other than cutting plywood 2D parts for prototyping. Now I want to build a large 3D model so I’m about to test carving XPS and EPS. Didn’t know I wanted to do that until I had the machine. If it turns out that itch is scratched I need to change my requirements for my production machine or spin-off the foam carving to a different custom machine.

Thank you Paul. A very full and informative response. Being at the beginning of my CNC journey I had no clue what was needed or what problems I would need to address. Build quality and ability to work as intended was not high on my list of issues to be aware of. Dead machine now back in the box awaiting the courier to deliver it from whence it came. Thank the CNC deities for Amazon’s fantastic returns policies.

Next step for me is to build a CNC router if I cannot buy it. I want a simple wood carving machine and DeWalt D26200 1/4in Compact Fixed Base Router 230 Volt DEWD26200 or the Makita RT0700CX4 240 V Router/Trimmer seem to be well regarded choices for the spindle. I have looked at machines by Snapmaker and Creality and ultimately I suspect that the Workbee is much nearer to what I want to have.

I know enough now to know what I don’t want to buy/make. Thank you for your very helpful response.

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