Not long ago.. well.. ok.. i'm lying.
About 6 months ago, i embarked on a rather strange journey. I decided to build my own CNC machine.. I had no real expectations, ideas, goals, or projects in mind. I just wanted to spend the winter doing something interesting, and hopefully have something fun at the end.
Well.. here it is 6 months later, and i have to say, I'm kind of proud of myself.
Using the open-source documents provided by Inventables, and a few modifications due to cost / necessity / availability... I have my very own 1000mm X-Carve.
Granted, it's not pretty, and painted / powder coated like buying the kit you just have to assemble.. but it's mine, and i love it just the same.
I started off, with an idea, and a butt-load of ignorance. Slowly, i've wittled one down, and carved the other out of pure determination, and some cash..
Starting with the the easiest stuff first, i spent time sourcing cheaper alternatives for parts.. mainly.. the bearings and wheels.. I just couldn't bring myself to pay so much for such simple items. Don't get me wrong, Inventables prices aren't bad, but if i don't have to pay retail, i won't. However, i did purchase my rails from inventables, and their support staff is awsome.. For some odd reason, one of the 1000mm rails sent to me was 5mm short, they cut, and sent a new one out immediately at no charge, and in all honesty, if i hadn't scrapped the first one through frustration, i would have shipped the defective one back to them..
I ordered a rod of Delrin from shmeebay, and the bearings i picked up locally for around $0.68 cents each. The flanged bearing for the Z axis i had to order, but it was only around $2 with shipping, so not that bad.
I turned down the Delrin rod using a friends lathe, and made all my v-wheels.. it was at this point i realized i didn't buy enough to turn off the idler pulleys, so i just used some large bearings instead. If you keep your moror pulley, belt, and bearings in line, they actually don't slip off..
Next i sourced some local 1/4" 6061-T plate, and set to manually milling, drilling, and tapping the gantry end plates. Also use the stock to mill and drill the 2 Y rail end plates... It wasn't really that tough of a job, but doing it on a drill press with modified bearings made it kind of awkward... Truth be told, i think it's time i retire that drill press, as it was a cheap Black & Decker bench top model i bout 15 years back for about $90, and i've replaced the bearings, and table a few times already.
Once the plates where done, i sourced some 1/2" 6061-& plate, and milled out the spindle mounts.. I decided to make two, as my spindle as of right now is just a crumby classic pro series RotoZip.. It works, does the job, but i had to modify the plans of the mounts to fit, as this spindle is oval shaped.. i.e. 67mm, and 65.5mm if turned 90 degrees..
I sourced my drag chains on shmeebay, total cost for both drag chains was around $16, but coming from china meant i had to wait almost a month.. eep..
While waiting, i shopped.. bought my motors, pulleys, and belts from shmeebay as well.. belt and pulleys came as a package deal, 5 pulleys, and 2000m of GT2 belt was around $20. motors were 36$ for three (didn't realize i needed four till later, bought the 4th from inventables)
Used the left over 1/4" stock to make the mounting plate that goes on the Z-Axis, and bought a 8mm TR8*8(P2) 4 start acme thread lead screw from openbuilds.
I used a small bit of the 1/2" aluminum to mill and drill out a nut for the lead-screw.. again, had to wait a month for china post to arrive so i could tap it for the acme thread..
I ended up cheaping out, and used some shielded ethernet cable to run my stepper motors, and built a project box for the arduino and connectors etc..
Limit switches were 4$ for 10, again from china, but they work well..
Anywho.. Enough about the boring stuff... here's a video of the the second cut attempted with the device (first had to be scrapped because i accidentally unplugged the USB cable.. lol)
I hope you guys enjoy, i'm a much wealthier person now, not in cash mind you, but in experience.. by doing as much as possible my self, i saved a small bit of coin, and learned heaps about the ins and outs of the machine.
Side note... you can see there's only 1 of the two mounting brackets are attached properly in the video, that's due to misplacing 2x 5mm x 45mm screws... it's been resolved since