[Blabber] CNCing the mini-mill / shop classes

Antonio diveblends at gmail.com
Fri May 31 01:56:24 UTC 2013


dynamite goes a long way...

On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 8:57 PM, Chris Stratton <cs07024 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
>>>>
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>>>
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>>
>>
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