I have had a number of folks ask me about milling my aluminum parts on the X Carve with the new VFD spindle. I am going to let the pictures do most of the talking and welcome any questions.
500x500 X-Carve with: Upgraded NEMA 23 185oz 3a steppers, Planet CNC MK3 controller, 4X Leadshine DM442 DSP drivers, 1.5KW 220V VFD & .8KW water cooled spindle and forced air chip clearance system. End mills used: 2.5mm 1/8" shaft carbide drill, 1/8" 3 flute Destiny Viper “Stealth” coated end mill.
Since I use a more advanced controller from Planet CNC which is no longer GRBL, I can not use UGS, Easel or Chilippr any longer. The controller runs on standard RS274/NGC G-code instead of GRBL. So it is fully compatible with Gcode from MESHCAM, V Carve Pro, HSMxpress and HSMworks along with SolidCam and many others that GRBL at times has issues with. It understands and uses advanced Gcodes like G40,G43, G49, G54 and such. Planet CNC has their own advanced Gcode sender/GUI. It is closer to MACH 3 than it is to Chilipeppr and such. It is not cloud based so no more worries about internet issues or needing to download a new version of a server to fix a bug or work with a new update. It has many great advanced features which work great on both a small mill like the X Carve such as 3d digital probing/mapping and auto leveling, full support for GERBER file milling (PCB), along with native support for DXF files and even some great features for larger mills like automatic tool change and support for up to 9 axis mills. I switched all three of my mills to it after experiencing a growing number of issues with a TinyG and Chilipeppr. Since switching I have had zero controller caused issues. Now just down to good old fashioned human error on my part.
Enough talk. Picture time!
Forced air chip clearance system test mount.
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Closed loop .8KW water cooling system mounted atop mill enclosure.
167mm x 200mm 1/4" Alca 5 5083 aluminum tool plate with 173 2.5mm drilled holes. These are later tapped to M3 with a tap head on a drill press.
Mill is cutting down about 4.75mm in this cycle to produce a raised flute on the pieces. The forced air system is keeping the cut and area around it clear of chips.
Nice clean cuts and good holes. So far so good.
Again the area of the last cut is clearly shown by the clearance of chips by the forced air system.
Larger format: 168.75MM x 320.675mm 1/4" Alca 5 5083 tool plate. End mills used: 2.5mm 1/8" shaft carbide drill, 1/8" 3 flute Destiny Viper “Stealth” coated end mill, 45 degree 4 flute Chamfer end mill.
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2.5mm holes drilled and #2 sheet metal screws inserted.
Prepped for anodize
Details of the stepped center cut
Final products all come together.
So if anyone really wants to know the secret behind great aluminum milling it is really pretty simple…
More than willing to answer any questions if anyone has them. I am not an expert by any means but I do seem to get very good results so far. The VFD spindle is really good and the right end mills really make a huge difference.