CNC Machine

I just wondered whether anyone had any experience of the following 3 axis machine:
http://www.milinst.com/robotics/robotics.htm#axis
I've been looking at CNC-type equipment recently but generally found it rather expensive. It's nice to find something sub-300.
PoP
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I must confess I bought this basic kit about 4 years ago mainly to help my son with his studies. You get the PCB with the Stamp controller (and software to reprogram it via a PC using the serial port, you can download assemblers for free). You also get the steppers x3 and the corresponding stepper drivers. You are also supplied with ball bearing drawer runners for the 3 axis guides, special 'string' which goes around the stepper shaft and connects to brackets on the corresponding table to provide the motion. The rest of the machine you have to make yourself (I used 12mm MDF). I have used it for a small amount of engraving, and bearing in mind the string and drawer runners, can give you sub 1mm repeatability. Its great as a starting point, fun to programme, and gives you a base to build on. As a serious CNC machine, it is not. The steppers are not really powerful enough to do anything more than lightweight positioning of a model router or engraving tool but if that's all you need its a good starting point. You would be hard pushed to buy all the bits new for the price, so on that basis its good value.
Dave
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wrote:

Thanks Dave. I'm not planning on using it as a serious CNC machine, though I have been musing over whether it might be suitable for doing small wooden signs with people's names, witty jokes, etc. Maybe just as an extra little sideline.
It might also be feasible to use it to create small jigs for my router (for cutting hinges and letter box templates for example - those things are rather expensive!). Hmm, just thought - maybe I could make a few bob on ebay selling jigs made from MDF or plywood!
I realise the work area is limited to about 8in by 8in so it wouldn't be suitable for larger work.
Looks to me as though it would take the Rotozip Rebel as the cutting tool, which is plenty for the sorts of things I was dreaming about.
Wonder what wifey wants to get me for Xmas..... ;)
PoP
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I have got one, we are messing around trying to use it as a prototype PCB drill. However the supplied drill software needs a lot of modifications to make it work (silly things like it initialises the drill Z position to zero, which is through the pcb to be drilled, but does not switch the drill on)
Milford sell 2 kits, one without and one with all the wood parts, this makes life much easier.
The active area is only about 6 in by 6 in. The drives use tension cord wrapped round the stepper shafts, I have been having problems with this slipping. You are not going to get enough sideways force out of it to do routing. It might do very thin engraving on that black/white plastic laminate. The steppers really need to have splined shafts, that would give much more torque.
If you want something to play with and you have visual basic 5 or above, it's quite fun to mess around with, but be prepared to have to modify the software, and don't expect to be routing shapes out of MDF with it.
--
Tim Mitchell

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On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 17:31:49 +0000, Tim Mitchell

Thanks for these comments - much appreciated. I have VB6 here and have spent the last several years programming with VB so that wouldn't present a problem.
It is something to mess around with. With respect to slippage on the stepper shafts I guess it might help to put some heatshrink tubing on the shaft.
I found this web site which shows some modifications to the basic machine design:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gloomy-place/cnc.htm
Looks worth a look at to get started with CNC anyway.
PoP
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Nice!! I'm surprised he doesn't have backlash problems with the threaded rod drives though.
--
Tim Mitchell

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PoP wrote:

I suggest you follow this link
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadidb920 And learn more than you ever wanted to know about building and operating small CNC routers
Good luck.
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wrote:

Been there, tee-shirt acquired etc. But these CNC "kits" tend to sell for a lot more than I was looking to pay. There's only so much my wife will allow for a Christmas pressie before we get into areas which are better not trespassed.... ;)
PoP
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wrote:

Just ordered mine today as an early Christmas pressie. Not intending to do anything too serious with it, but the idea of perhaps being able to make some small templates for my router does appeal.
It may well be that it isn't butch enough to cut the template in one pass - I'll see what transpires. But there's no problem doing the template in several passes, keeping the depth of cut to a minimum. Depends on repeatability obviously.
According to the girl who took the order they sell quite a few of these kits.
PoP
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PoP wrote:

Look up "CompUcut" as well for some other ideas.
Steve
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 19:08:14 +0000, Steve
Useful - thanks!
For anyone else who might be interested:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/compucutters/compucut.html
PoP
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