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Oh no! Now I'm building a CNC?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by John Nicholas, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    Honestly, this project started out as just a high tech router sled! Then as more ideas were incorporated, it morphed into what amounted to a hand powered router mill... as the ideas and thoughts percolated in my crazy mind... and I realized how many turns of a hand crank it would take to move the gantry along the Y axis 1500mm, the writing was on the wall! I'm building a CNC. :eek:

    Now, I'm a bit different than many of you guys... and that sometimes ends up with me putting my foot in my mouth... Even though I'm in IT and work on them all the time I hate pc's, even worse all the so-called "inexpensive" CNC controls run off older pc's with a parallel port! And many of these run on GRBL or other strange software you need to do programming on and a bunch of troubleshooting on.

    No way will my hobby require me to do even more work on pc's!

    So just stating upfront, this build will be somewhat controversial and maybe rub some folks the"wrong" way. To be clear, there are literally thousands of different ways to build or get into CNC. I just prefer to spend my time in using the machine, not troubleshooting it or learning to write code.

    Honestly, if it was in the budget, I'd just buy a turn key Laguna CNC. Unfortunately the size needed to build neck through bass guitars, would be prohibitively expensive.

    Instead, in cleaning out the shed, closets, attic and garage... you can find tons of stuff you no longer use, haven't used in many years and most likely will never use in the future! This is how my build is being funded! Sell some junk, buy more parts for the CNC!!

    Along the way, I purchased a set of plans from Chris Monck at Highline Guitars... he build his machine out of plywood, mine will be built using aluminum. But I really liked the base part of his machine, so much of what he designed will be incorporated into my build. But in the areas of the CNC controller, mine will be quite a bit different!

    If that kind of craziness sounds interesting follow along as I make a fool of myself and build a CNC.
     
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  2. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    Obviously the first step in building a CNC, well besides gathering all the parts together, is to build a mobile workbench that is sturdy and solid.

    So all the parts were gathered, cut list written, lumber cut and the base of the bench was assembled this past weekend.

    [​IMG]

    I never use the factory ends of lumber from anyplace, because they are rarely square. Since there is no chop saw in my workshop, this was all cut on my table saw. These tools are horrible dangerous, so it is used with a sled more than 90% of the time. I also needed to support the long length of the lumber.

    [​IMG]

    After cutting all the boards to the correct length, it was time to "notch" the 4x4's... so using the sled and stops, the cuts were made, broken out and a chisel was used to clean the inside of the notch.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the 4x4's all ready to be assembled.

    [​IMG]

    The 16" boards for the caster were notched to fit the working part of the hinge. The 4x4's were also notched and predrilled.

    [​IMG]

    The casters and hinges were attached to the boards all ready to be mounted to the workbench.

    [​IMG]

    This entire bench was build by just one person, you just need to be "creative" with how you approach the build.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you look closely you will see a clamp on the longer stinger, it was used with a small cutoff of 2x6, with one on each side it was easy to locate and screw in the cross bars...

    [​IMG]

    Here are the notches and predrilled holes for the hinges... the bench was lifted up on 4x4 cutoffs to leave a little "extra" room to work.

    [​IMG]

    With the 2x4 in the vertical position, the bench is raised off the floor by enough to roll it anyplace in the shop. To set it down all you need to do is kick the 2x4 to the right and the bench is securely sitting on the floor. This is a very simple design and works great!

    Hopefully later this week a trip to Home Depot will be in order to buy a 3/4inch sanded plywood top, which they will cut at the store to the correct size for the bench top. I have a couple of pieces of rough plywood for the lower shelf...

    Headed in the correct direction!!
     
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  3. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  4. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    It's true, another excuse to get a fun tool! Now it's time to figure out how to move everything around in my existing space, which is half of a two car garage!! Fun times!

    Yes, I'm using 30x60 extruded aluminum for the base. I have many of the parts for the build (rails, ball screws, aluminum stock, etc) but am still waiting for many parts from China.

    Like I mentioned, I'm following a set of plans while building the base of this CNC...
     
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  5. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    I neglected to mention the size of the footprint of the CNC table.

    Y Axis - 1500mm
    X Axis - 600mm
    Z Axis - 230mm

    Even though the Z Axis shows as 230mm, the actual cutting area will be a bit less than that. Why? I purchased this for the Z Axis.

    Screen Shot 2021-03-22 at 12.25.48 PM.png


    Between the length of the spindle and the height of the bottom of the gantry, it will be less travel...
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Good God man have you gone mad???

    I'm on a router sled project now with linear bearing rods, 1000mm x600mm.

    It DID occur to me that my hand id dangerously close to the CNC fire!

    WRT your bench, I'm planning a hollow flat top frame with no legs, since I'm not planning to "go too far" with it.
    Making it dead flat is a goal I'm waiting to see the results of!
     
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  7. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome to the club.

    For the controller software, I would recommend UCCNC. Can use either a USB port or ethernet to send signals to the driver. I am switching to it from Mach3 as soon as I am done with my current builds. For the motor driver you cant go wrong with a Gecko G540.

    https://www.cnc4pc.com/uccnc-control-software.html

    https://www.cnc4pc.com/gecko-diver-g540-4-axis-driver.html

    https://www.cnc4pc.com/motion-control/motion-controllers/ucx00.html

    If you are going with stepper motors, these have worked well for me.

    https://www.avidcnc.com/380-oz-in-n...-p-151.html?osCsid=e54eimud69nr2p1344e59igav1
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just my 2 cents. If you want accurate parts coming off the machine, you'll need to build your cnc from stuff that doesn't move. My first homebuild was drill rod, hdpe, allthread, delrin, and skate bearings. It did fine for Fender stuff. The Grbl stuff does work well with most regular gcode. I would opt for extrusion over wood for the machine.


    I'm putting a new bed on my xcarve from the plywood I have on there. 200 dollars in T slot for 1/4-20 and a few more 2020 braces. It's not a cheap endeavor.


    Take a look at the cnc4newbies stuff.


    C4N (cnc4newbie.com)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  9. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    I really like to see projects like this :).

    You've certainly got a good and solid foundation for the machine.

    That's a pretty neat way to set up the casters - it looks solid and simple way to get "retractable" action.



    When I recently built my router/planer jig I was contemplating adding CNC to it.

    There are so many good parts available now for a fair price.

    Your Z axis gizmo looks nice and stout.

    I'll be watching with plenty of interest :)!


    .
     
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  10. 999patton

    999patton TDPRI Member

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    You will be amazed at all the stuff you can do with this though. I use Mach3 software and a smoothstepper control board. My only problem is it's never big enough. Eventually I will build a bigger one and probably use cogged belts instead of ball screws. Cool project though and there are alot of different ways to build them.
     
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  11. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    I am completely off my rocker in so many ways!!:lol::lol::lol:

    Sure, you can start there, but it's a slippery slope... my original idea was something like this... mounted on 3/4 inch MDF... certainly not perfectly flat, but close enough to build guitars!!

    762677-799891d06aa58029b6860a54f1a0f5d4.jpeg

    That is the road I traveled down at first (UCCNC) but as I dug deeper I found something that works for me. Here is where I believe most of the controversy will begin... I'm going with a Masso controller.

    As for the Stepper motors, I purchased 4 of the NEMA 23 but the 425oz models. There will be two on the Y Axis.

    In fact this is the kit I purchased from Stepper Online.

    Screen Shot 2021-04-19 at 2.01.15 PM.png

    I agree with you 100%!!

    The gantry sides and back will be built using 3/4" 6061 Aluminum, with the gantry being reinforced with 2 1/2 inch wide 1/4 inch aluminum... the X Axis is only 600MM wide, so this should be more than stiff enough to produce accurate parts.

    The linear rails are 16mm diameter for both the Y and X Axis and I'm using ball-screws to move them.

    I didn't want to go down the road of replacing things over and over again on this project. It may be stalled every once in a while so more money can be gathered up. But this is preferable over going the cheaper route and then replacing later.

    I'm using extrusion (30 x 60mm) to build the base, with a 3/4" mdf sacrificial board for the table.

    For the controller, I will be using Masso.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Start planning how you plan to clamp stuff down that is fast and convenient...:). I used 1/4 -20 threaded inserts about every 6 inches and that was a pain to try and find locations for my clamps. I'm hoping the t -slot and t bolts will be a better solution. I'm putting basswood in between the t slot so I can mill the bed parallel to the axes.


    WoodRiver - 48" Length Standard 1/4" T-Track (woodcraft.com)
     
  13. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    I'm pretty sure I just posted a picture of your machine in one of the replies above! Truly I started there... but in order to build it big enough to work on a neck-through bass it just didn't make sense to continue on that path for a machine that would be so limited.

    I can not take any credit for the caster idea, it came from Chris at Highline guitars!

    This will cost me quite a bit more than my original idea, but what I'll be able to use it for will increase many times over!

    One of the reasons I'm building this one 1500mm x 600mm... I'm pretty sure that will be big enough for almost anything I can think of on a guitar!
     
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  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    You’re in pretty deep. Good luck. Me, I just buy a guitar.
     
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  15. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    T-Track was my first choice... but truthfully, no matter how I thought about laying it out, it didn't seems to be all that much better than your idea... plus it's really expensive.

    The plan I'm using does exactly what you did except mounted every 3 inches apart. I purchased a couple of bags of inserts from China, which hopefully will be enough for now!

    Screen Shot 2021-04-19 at 2.22.43 PM.png

    If this thing turns out good enough so that I can sell some stuff built on it... maybe the MDF will be replaced with aluminum track that has tracks every 20 to 30mm
     
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  16. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    This will be used to build more than just guitars!

    But I really do understand where you are coming from!
     
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  17. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Even if it all goes sideways, you got a darn nice bench out of the deal.
     
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  18. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    After looking into Mach 3, Mach 4, UCCNC and LinuxCNC... I stumbled upon an all in one controller called Masso.

    This contains everything you need to run the CNC without a computer. Is very easy to use and set up, is expandable, has built in WiFi and has tons of support documents and videos to help you set up everything you might ever want to add to a CNC (4th Axis? Yes! - Tool changer? Yes!, etc)

    The downside? It's more expensive initially. But the thing is, if you include all the modules, breakout boxes, software licenses, add-on boards to add more, the time invested in figuring out how to wire connect and get everything running initially, it turns out to be the cheaper alternative. But that's just my opinion.

    Screen Shot 2021-04-19 at 2.31.53 PM.png

    I will be purchasing the 5 Axis license so I can run the X, Y, Z and B to run my two stepper motor on the Y Axis. It also has automatic Squaring when set up in this manner!

    https://www.masso.com.au/product/mill-router-cnc-controller-g3/
     
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  19. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    Here is a video of an overview of the Masso, just keep in mind this video is a couple of years old and is an earlier model of the Masso. The new one comes standard with WiFi.



    For those that want to dig a bit deeper into this, check out this YouTube channel. This guy walks you step by step on how to set up the Masso. He also has a nice sense of humor!

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDLVKDi-aTYv7Z7omdaj1jg
     
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    I'm envious
    I'm envious. I can do a lot of things well. But wood and power tools are not in my skillset. I'd cut my hand off. Keep posting progress.
     
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