CNC Log: 1- Humble beginnings

January 1, 2015

I had this project on my mind for quite a while now and I’ve decided to finally start on it.

Instead of buying a kit or follow plans, I thought it would be way more fun to make my own.
I also wanted to make it a bit more sturdy in the hope that one day I could make it actually mill steel – most frames out there are made of aluminum extrusion which is not great for stability.

So far I got the following things for it:
– 3 Axis Nema34 kit from eBay ( dual shaft motors @ 878oz torque, 7.8A/256microstep drivers & 200W 60VDC power supplies) stored in the electronics housing of a 36″ HP DesignJet 750C plotter I got off craigslist.
– 3W 445nm laser diode + driver. ( still waiting for a larger radiator heat sink to arrive from China )
– 2 16mm linear rails from the same HP DesignJet plotter.
– Matching linear bearing blocks from eBay that fit the rails above.
– 10m (33ft) of 1.5wide, 3mm pitch PU timing belt for driving the axes also off eBay.
– A bunch of different size steel square tubing that I’m prototyping the frame and the axes for now.
– Skateboard bearings & patio door bearings to prototype linear slides.
– Random nuts & bolts
– Random other things too small to mention.

Since you can’t really do any proper metal work without proper tools I had to update my collection with some more:
– 4.5in angle grinder with different abrasive cutting discs, grinding wheels & wire brushes.
– 7.5in circular saw with a few carbide tipped blades for cutting steel (it goes through 1/8in steel plate like it’s butter)
– large 20in bench drill press
– Impact wrench
– combination hammer/impact/drill
– orbital sander
– jigsaw with metal cutting blades
– files
– a bunch of other small things like screwdrivers, pliers, etc

There are also some things that I’d really like to add to my collection, but since they’re quite expensive new I have to wait until I find them on craigslist:
– MIG/FluxCore welder as screwing things is not always the sturdy thing to do
– Plasma cutter ( that I’d like to add as an attachment to the finished machine so it can improve
itself )

Now, I’ve been playing with different things for the past couple of months and I figured I could really use a log of sorts to record the good ideas, the bad ideas, successful and failed attempts at doing different things.

Since the rails from the plotter came out different sizes it only made sense to start the video log with plenty of sparks so here it goes:

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