I have the large x carve with the dewalt 611 and nema 23. Its looking more and more like I will need a machine that is much better at cutting aluminum. I was wondering what the best mods where for it and what kind of performance gains I would actually get from it.
I figure a new z Axis is in order and probably a new spindle as well. Will downsizing the frame help? Also how much will having an aluminum bed help.
At this point im wondering if its worth it to go through all that just to get something okay at milling aluminum or to buy something better at milling aluminum already. What do you guys think if im only milling aluminum worth the upgrade or just get something different. I have a bit of money saved up so lets say right now price isnt a limiting factor (within reason,im not buying a Tormach) but size kind of is, The x carve is about as big as I can go
First, you should have the new 40x40 X extrusion. Then a new heavier Z axis would help. As for the spindle ,I’m partial to the Makita 700 series because of:price (under $90.oo),speed variation (8000-27,000 rpms) and weight -3.8#. As far as a new bed, I don’t think that that is an issue.
I do have the x extrusion and I upgraded to the x controller as well. Why is the makita better than the dewalt? Is it just a better speed variation? As far as the bed goes I was thinking more for leveling. Ive had so many issues with the mdf waste board even after milling it flat or putting a new piece over it and milling that flat.
The DeWalt is a good machine-don’t get me wrong, but it simply isn’t the best choice for most cnc routing because of the high speed. Even at it’s lowest setting it’s still spinning at 16000 rpm. As I pointed out the advantages of the makita over the DeWalt is price, speed variation and to a lesser extent, weight. there is also some debate about the brush issues with the DeWalt as compared to the Makita. The DeWalt rushes simply do not have the life span of the Makita.
Then again, there’s the Hitachi 12MVC 21/4 horse router that I also have for my X carriage. If you are going for a new Z axis it is also worthy of consideration. You can pick up one of those with both bases, case wrenches,bushing ect. for around $155.00. I had about .002 inch sag in the middle of my X axis with that set-up . It also has the low speed options the same as the makita. It also is able to use 1/2" bits.
None. It has a locking button on the shaft to hold it while changing collets,only one wrench. As for bits getting stuck I don’t run them up tight in the throat. . In my set-up I purchased a 8mm colette and purchased 10 4 " ER11 collet extensions from E-Bay that I cut down to 2 1/2 " and installed a locking collar on the shaft for indexing. I also have the Cnc4Newby 5" to 6" inch Z axis. I also dont’ see where the problem is with the switch and speed control Mine are slightly left off center and I don’t have any problems with access. It depends on where you run your power cord.
The best way to stiffen up your machine is to upgrade the first weak link. Which is the z axis assembly. Then the x rail. The next is to either upgrade your belts or to replace the belts with screws.
I realized this when I did my upgrades in reverse. I did the x. Then I upgraded to screws. Then I did the Z. I tried to keep the machine as close to hobbyist as I can since it’s all made of hobbyist materials anyway. So new x was no brainer, right out the gate I preordered it when it was announced. Then I began working on a full kit for swapping out my belts for screws which was a huge success ( search the forum for “screw drive”). Then I replaced the z when I realized that it was allowing way too much chatter ( and couldn’t reach the wasteboard after the gantry lift).
All in all the machine is almost there for aluminum. The last two upgrades for me is aluminum wasteboard then spindle to water cooled vfd spindle. Wasteboard is arriving later this week and vfd is on the slow boat.
Im milling aluminum camera bodies. Ive cut plenty on my setup now but the amount of time these operations will take with this setup simply isnt going to work due to how long it takes to cut. Also its kind of been hit and miss with the success of the longer cuts and I dont want to deal with it crashing or snapping a bit all the time.
I think a new Z Axis and a new spindle will be enough to make it much more reliable. I know the cut time will be long no matter what but it would be nice to cut it down even a little.
If you go with a new Z axis you might consider purchasing a set of Y axis end plates from Charley (of Triquetra fame) to go along with the extra depth. I bought a set and then bolted them on the top of 20mmx80mm extrusions to get a total rise of about 8" from the base to the bottom of the Z axis base. They are very reasonably priced and are of great quality.