Saturday, September 18, 2010

CNC Router

 Here is my CNC Router that I built a few years ago based on plans from I was asked to make a sign for a friend and didn't like the router letter templates available so after doing a little research on the internet I found that you could build a CNC Router. It was a fun project to build and I never get tired of watching it move. Anyway, the sign may have taken a bit longer but it looked really good when it was done.

 The limit switches still aren't hooked up but I did make sure the E-Stop button works. I really like the Big Red Button I found at Gateway Electronics, it just makes it look more like a real machine for some reason. I also got the transformer for the power supply there.

I went with the Hobby CNC controller kit bundle which was very affordable but you have to solder it yourself and build the power supply. I am glad I did because this was my first big electronics project and it has been another hobby I have enjoyed ever since.

It is currently staying at the St. Louis Hackerspace called Arch Reactor. The video of it below is from the Arch Reactor open house at the old location and has some other cool stuff from there on it too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cutting the parts for the robot arm.

 I just got my Taig mill a few months ago and I am still learning a lot about machining (mostly how to break small end mills) and one of the reasons for getting the mill was to make robots with my 5 and 7 year old boys. So, we decided to start with a robot arm and I found drawings for one on I started cutting it out of 1/8 inch aluminum and realized pretty quickly that the time spent while the CNC mill cuts out the parts is spent removing the chips and spraying cutting fluid or else the aluminum welds to the end mill bit. After sitting for a couple of hours doing this I did some research and found that it wasn't that hard to setup a flood coolant system for the Taig mill. This lead me and my brother to build an enclosure to keep most of the coolant from flying everywhere and a tub, drain and filter system to get the coolant back to the sump. After a few hours of building and lots of on the fly re-engineering we ended up with this.


There are a few things I would like to change about it and a few things I will just live with but overall I am pretty happy with it. I had a pretty good idea of how to build it but as things went together I saw some problems with the design and just did quick things to get it working. I think I will at some point make a removable shield that actually mounts to the x-axis stepper mount and take down the table mounted shield on the right side.

I had seen a manifold to mount the coolant hose to the mill head at and so made something like that. It was my first real part that I made manually with the mill. It was pretty fun but I will probably do most things with the CNC.

So this is the difference between cutting without flood coolant and cutting with.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Robot Arm

 Just a quick post to have something to start with. Here is the new robot arm, just got it moving. It is based off of by jjshortcut. It is made from 1/8 inch aluminum cut out on my Taig CNC Mill. Halfway through cutting out the parts I had to stop and build an enclosure and flood coolant system for the mill but that's another post... It is controlled (currently) by a Wii Nunchuck connected to an Arduino which controls a Pololu Mini Maestro 12 servo controller.