[Blabber] CNCing the mini-mill / shop classes

Chris Stratton cs07024 at gmail.com
Fri May 31 00:57:25 UTC 2013


The problem with a "large" surplus machine is that you would pay a small
fortune to get it into the space, possibly even having to modify the
building to install it...
On May 30, 2013 7:21 PM, "Matthew Duepner" <matthewduepner14 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Sounds like a lot of money when you could but a rather large CNC mill for
> the same cost.
>
>
> On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM, Chris Stratton <cs07024 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Generally I think digital readouts would be a better compromise of
>> capability, usability, and price than actual automation - especially for
>> machines of this hobbyist nature where feeling force feedback can be
>> important.
>>
>> I did temporary conversions once years ago, but only bolted them on to do
>> a few complex shapes.
>> On May 30, 2013 7:06 PM, "Nickolai Belakovski" <nbelakovski at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> So we've been talking about a shop class on and off for a long time now
>>> and nothing ever seems to come out of it. A main concern I've had is that
>>> even though I've had some experience with mills, and could probably figure
>>> out how to work the lathe well enough to teach people how to make a
>>> turner's cube, if anybody wanted to make something a little bit more
>>> complicated, I wouldn't be of much help.
>>>
>>> So as I think about ways to make the shop more accessible I've been
>>> doing research into what it would take to do a CNC conversion on the
>>> mini-mill. CNC capability would enable the mill to do a much larger range
>>> of projects, all for (roughly) the same 'training cost.' This is a popular
>>> mill, so a number of tutorials and kits exist for doing the conversion.
>>> From my research I estimate the cost to do so would be between 1000-2000
>>> dollars.
>>>
>>> I think it's a fairly involved project with lots of parts and so we
>>> should have at least 2 people working on it. Ideally 3 or 4 so that more
>>> people have the knowledge of how it all works. Here's essentially what we
>>> need to do:
>>>
>>> Mechanics - Replace the lead screws with higher precision components and
>>> install mounts for the stepper motors. Kits exist to do this, I've seen one
>>> for around $500 that replaces them with ball screws, which are pretty nice.
>>>
>>> Electronics - Hook up stepper motors and controllers and things with
>>> circuitboards and wires and such. This is the part I'm weakest on so if
>>> someone would step up here that would be great.
>>>
>>> Software - Get a computer hooked up to the machine running LinuxCNC,
>>> which is free, open-source control software. Think of it as your
>>> "Pronterface" or "Repetierhost" for all the 3D printer folks. We should
>>> also load it with and learn/teach how to use PyCAM, which is kind of like
>>> Slic3r in that it generates the G-code file for the machine.
>>>
>>> I think this would be a great addition to our space and I hope that
>>> there are some people out there who are willing to put in the time and
>>> effort to help make it a reality. It's really not a whole lot of work given
>>> the amount of information already available, but it will be a serious
>>> commitment.
>>>
>>> What does the group think? Do people like the idea? Are people
>>> interested in being involved?
>>>
>>> --
>>> Nickolai Belakovski
>>> Purdue University : Class of Dec. 2011
>>> School of Aeronautics & Astronautics
>>> Department of Mathematics
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Blabber mailing list Blabber at list.hackmanhattan.com
>>> http://list.hackmanhattan.com/mailman/listinfo/blabber
>>>
>>
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