Choosing the proper CNC lathe for the job is essential. Your lathe will be producing numerous parts, the quality of which will depend upon the standards the lathe is built to. The correct lathe is an investment. Therefore, choosing a CNC lathe should not be a decision that is taken lightly.
Microprocessor-Controlled CNC Lathes
When space and electricity are at a premium, a microprocessor-controlled CNC lathe can be remarkably useful. Rather than receiving constant instructions from an attached personal computer, these lathes can be fed their instructions once from a remote computer or a disk. Afterwards, adjustments to the design can be made using an integrated control panel. Efficient but cost-effective lathes utilize the 6502, Z80, 8086, 8088 and 68000 processors. See “Energy Conservation Considerations” later in this article.
Upgrading a Microprocessor-Controlled CNC Lathe
It is not always best to choose the highest-end model when you select a microprocessor-controlled lathe. For example, many lathes utilise the Motorola 68000 processor. Other common implementations utilise a Hitachi, Signetics or Toshiba variant. In the event that this processor is socketed, as it often is, you can quickly and cheaply replace the chip with a newer model. It is important that the replacement chip you choose is pin-for-pin and instruction set compatible with the originally-installed part. Read the rest of this entry »
The Mantis 9.1 design is a radical departure from version 8 and earlier. Most notably, the part count has been almost halved! The current design has 13 parts, all of which can be made with a handsaw and a drill press. Also, I’ve traded away my alignment free exactly-constrained design for extra stiffness. Several unsuccessful attempts to eradicate the last of the slop in the Z axis on version 8 lead me back to the world of over-constrained parallel rods. My previous attempts at an over-constrained design (versions 1-5) all failed because I was unable to make the rods sufficiently parallel to avoid jamming. What to do?
Mantis 9.1 CNC Mill - [Link]
…starting today, I open source the complete code base of Pleasant3D:
(The slicer plugins of Pleasant3D were open source from the beginning. I’ll mark the old open source BitBucket repository as obsolete.) I’d be very happy, if some of you 3D-printing (or CNC-milling) Mac developers out there would help with the further development of Pleasant3D!
Pleasant3D is now open source - [Link]
David Clift-Reaves has created MezzoMill, a PCB router which can provide custom single-sided PCBs in short order. He’s currently running a kickstarter to get the project into production. He writes: [via]
The conversation that I had hoped that MezzoMill would help to shine a light on is the need for individuals, hackerspaces, and schools to have small-scale electronics manufacturing facilities. I believe that there are 3 key technologies that are necessary to a modern electronics fab. First is the ability to print circuits. Second is the ability to place modern components on the circuit. Finally, the third is the ability to do reflowing.
Like the iBooks Author program, I feel that these disruptive technologies have the ability to empower people and transform an industry. Clearly all of the technologies already exist for creating these machines. People hack together various versions of them all the time. There needs to be work done towards mass producing them and a guiding vision for making all of them work together seamlessly.
I designed the MezzoMill to simplify the problem of printing circuits. It turns the experience of printing circuits from EAGLE to one like from your word processor to your inkjet. It makes the process safe and repeatable while reducing the user interaction with the process as much as possible. It is the only solution in its price range that provides this user experience to individuals.
MezzoMill: An Easy-to-Use Personal PCB Router - [Link]
Mike is just controlling a CNC over the web with an iPad, no biggie – [via]
Controlling my cnc over the web with my ipad so I mocked up a powertail with an arduino to turn the spindle on/off. Took the original housing off and it fits easily into my adafruit arduino case. Matt Ratto made an on off button for me in processing that can leave on my desktop and click remotely.
Controlling a CNC over the web with an iPad - [Link]
DIYLILCNC 2.0 – Open-source plans for a low-cost CNC mill… [via]
DIYLILCNC is a robotic cutting machine that you can build yourself. It works kind of like a desktop printer: send it a file, and the device uses this information to carve out an actual object. The lil’ CNC handles many different materials, including plastics, wood, and light metals. The things that you can make with a lil’ CNC aren’t just pretty to look at: they can also be strong and functional as well! Applications include making circuit boards, mechanical parts, sculptures, toys and more.
There are lots of bigger, fancier CNC machines that do similar jobs in factories and shops. Unfortunately, they’re really expensive. How great would it be to have an idea, then walk out to the garage and tell your robot to make it?
That’s where we come in: visit our website, diylilcnc.org, to download a free, Creative Commons licensed copy of all the CAD plans, parts lists and instructions needed to build a little CNC. With this information in hand, you can make a lil’ CNC of your own for as little as $700, depending on your access to a laser cutter.
DIYLILCNC 2.0 – Open-source plans for a low-cost CNC mill - [Link]
A CNC wood router is a tool that cuts out objects from wood. Objects are designed on the computer with CAD/CAM programs, then sent to the router for cutting, making CNC routers great for hobbies, engineering prototyping, art, robotic education, and other applications.
CNC routers are typically very expensive, costing thousands of dollars in some cases, but thereʼs recently been a movement in DIY CNC. One of the sites embracing this movement is http://hobbyrouterplans.com, which sells DIY CNC wood router plans. Designed for the hobbyist, these plans are perfect for most weekend warriors. Nearly 2,000 have been purchased over the last 10 years to build everything from model airplane parts, to toys, to milling PCBs.
The finished machine has a 9”x24” cut area – big enough for most hobby projects – and has open ends to allow for unlimited stock length, a neat little feature. Itʼs constructed from birch plywood and other easy-to-find materials such as a Dremel type rotary tool and inexpensive stepper motors and controllers.
One of my favorite features is the vacuum part hold-down feature. This ensures the pieces stay in place, but without compromising the cutting surface or harming the part with straps or clips. Also, it keeps the cut pieces in place to ensure they donʼt get snagged and damaged by the drill. In addition to standard cutting, the router can easily be converted to milling of PCB with the
included plans and instructions. The PCB cut area is 9”x9”, adding a new dimension to the router for rapid prototyping and circuitry-related hobbies. The plans are very comprehensive and include detailed construction notes, bill of materials and suppliers list, CAD drawings, 16 color photographs, and PCB milling conversion instructions.
You can learn more about the plans and download them from http://hobbyrouterplans.com
CNC Hobby Router Plans for $22 - [Link]
Boostrap writes – [via]
Well, after some distractions (a small contract for NASA, and struggling to learn solidworks (AARG)), I got back to designing this device, made major configuration changes to simplify, improve reliability and improve precision, and have almost finished now. Reasonable CNC quotes permitting, I’ll have someone start making 2 or 3 prototypes in two or three weeks. So, last chance to add your two cents (or $64,000 worth) of ideas, and point out my worst ideas and design flaws.
I will attempt to post some photos here, and attempt to attach a PDF document that describes how it works. This is identical in principle to the original steps I outlined at the start of this thread months ago, but the configuration of the device has changed so the exact nature of many steps is somewhat different.
Sorry, but you’re probably going to need to maximize your window to see the images. If you’re willing to make a serious effort to critique the design, ask me for the solidworks 2010 files.
I usually think up really great, elegant names for things. This time I’m a total failure (!please help!), so the device is called “papec” for now (pick-and-place extra cheap). Sheesh.
DIY – Super-cheap pick-and-place device with ~1 mil accuracy – [Link]
CalebEng writes in… [via]
Here is a short video of a CNC hot wire foam cutter that is being controlled with an AtMega32u4 breakout board. It was programmed using the Arduino IDE by pressing the reset button and clicking on “upload” a second later. I have to make a few more videos providing details. I was surprised at how much the little thing could do; thanks for making such a fun little board.
AtMega32u4 powered CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutter – [Link]