CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics





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  1. #1
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    Default CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Hi All, I thought I would like to start a thread too see how many of you enjoy watching or doing machining as a hobby or being home-shop machinist....

    My Story,

    Ever since I started my career as a draughstman I was always intrigued by computers telling machines what to do.
    So about four years ago I started watching You-tube videos and trolling CNC forums to see what is available out there, with my love for CNC machining growing by the day.I started looking at cnc routers, wanting to buy one but always hesitating because even if the manufactures state that these machines can cut Aluminium that I knew that they were never really meant for it. Then the 3D printing craze started so my thoughts shifted thinking that buying a machine like that is the answer, but once again I wasn't convinced that this was for me. I was interested in machining steel or at least aluminium to start of with. Again I left the idea of owning a cnc machine and moved the thought to the back of my head. Until two years ago when I came a cross a small cnc home shop milling machine company Tormach that was catering for somebody like me.

    Fastward to the present day and I am busy building a CNC router with Arduino backbone and I just ordered my cnc milling machine from the states. Super excited with expected delivery date of sometime towards the end of August I started thinking as buying a machine is one thing but off course there is so many other bits and bobs that goes along with machining in general that I would like to ask a couple of questions for those of you that have gone down this road.

    Question:

    1. How many of you enjoy watching or even share the same passion for cnc or even machining in general?
    2. If you are a hobby machinist where do you buy your consumables (End Mills, Coolant, Precision equipement etc.)?

    For those of you who are interested let me know? I will gladly upload photos and share my journey to becoming a Home shop Hobby machinist.

    I will upload some photos of the CNC router project and what I have done so far over the weekend.

    Finally I would like to compare this passion of mine with owning a 4X4 specially a Jeep because of all the accessories that are out there.

    To be continued.....
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    I am a home shop machinest.I cannot send an sms so unfortunately anything with a keyboard for me is a no no.My biggest regret is I cant draw and obviously cant cad.
    I get my stuff made by a local cnc shop down the road and always walk in the shop in awe.The prices of those machines must be hectic.
    Tormach has a good reputation. The owner recently died.What size milling machine are you getting? Desk top I presume.They seem to make some good stuff and much cheaper than most cnc.
    there are some good american you tube videos on the tormach.
    What runs it. Does it run on mach 3 or one of the fancier programmes.
    As for tooling I am very limited to what I have due to their high costs but I normally buy from toolquip or from auctions when I get a chance. Everyone is also buying the stuff from auctions so there is big competition.
    Yesterday I needed a 6mm corner radiusing end mill so I made one out of silver steel and hardened it and it worked for my one off brass application.
    Their is a site called homeshop machinest that has some very helpful guys on it.
    I needed to make a worm wheel and gear for my bandsaw and an english guy sent me a cad drawing that he drew up from the sizes I gave him. Amazing that a guy from across the ocean would bother .
    I have often thought of buying second hand cnc vertical center but I have heard nightmare stories of getting the electrics right.
    i have also thought of buying ball screws and stepper motors but my electronics know how is not up to it .
    A mate of mine near you bought an old capstan lathe and converted it to a very capable cnc lathe but that came in at over 100k but its a good machine

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    I work with CNC machines and robots every day of my life. I have helped to design purpose build machines for our process. Better than working with the papomatic robots.

    If you need a cad file, 3D rendering or even a CNC program I might be able to help. I have a hobby of making 4X4 accessories and most of that is manual. Get enough of machines at work.

    I am in the process of getting a couple of bucks to build myself a desktop 3D printer. My son works for a company that builds CNC machines so he has a good understanding of what we need.
    Last edited by Disco Smiley; 2016/06/17 at 08:12 AM.
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  7. #4
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Plunger - I'm getting the 1100. They use to run Mach3 but developed their own software called PathPilot that from what I've heard is much better than Mach3.
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    This is the frame that I modeled in Fusion 360 of the cnc router that I'm in the process of fabricating.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Just wait. Gert will be here soon...

  10. #7
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Would like to see how this goes, just been doing the costing for a mechmate 1500 x 2500 that a friend wants so far total cost will be round 40k but many hours labour

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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    In terms of linear motion what kind of accuracy do you think a home made router can get. Does it move on linear bearings or rollers that I see in your drawing. Can you tell us more about building this like what do you use for the spindle and what controls it. Does it work off ball screws or belts./ Looks like fun.

  12. #9
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Quote Originally Posted by pierre2013 View Post
    Just wait. Gert will be here soon...
    Yuuup, here I am!

    Been using cnc machines in various forms for more than 20 years as a signwriter. Since last year Ive been working at a welding company, but we do have an erection inducing 3x1,5m cnc plasma...I find excuses to go to work on Saturdays to play, uhm, do some work on it.

    At home I have a Techno Isel cnc router, about 570 x 960 processing area. The original German made Techno machines have propably the best liniar bearing system in the world. VERY rigid and pricise.

    My table is 30 years old, and was maybe the first cnc router in Namibia. When I bought it, it stil ran of a bespoke controller and DOS software...

    I changed that. Now running USBCNC ( Planet CNC- a much better option than the usual Mach 3). The step drivers are now Toshiba 6600 chipped chopper drives. Works a charm!

    Aluminium is one of the easiest materials to process on a cnc router. Correct chipload will prevent melting/gumming on the bit, even with dry cutting. Correct cut parametres will eliminate flex and chatter.

    Solid carbide tooling, nothing else. I import from HaZo country. Pay less for a pack of 10 solid carbide 3mm single flute upcut mills including transport than what a single Belin cutter costs ex RSA, excluding transport. The chinese 3mm cutters a basically on par with the high end european ones, but with the 6mm cutters Ive had only bad luck from china. Good for wood, not alu and perspex.

    I'll fire up me laptop shortly,,and post some project pics. May ve one or two on the tablet, from when I disassemled the router last week to lift it into the loft, and do a bit of clean and refurb.

  13. #10
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    "but we do have an erection inducing 3x1,5m cnc plasma..."
    Is this what I hope it is, or ..............?
    We can make money, man!
    Last edited by hatjohan; 2016/06/17 at 05:55 PM.



  14. #11
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    The bug has bitten me a month or three ago. Currently drawing my model. Then run it is a Kickstarter project so that I can buy a CNC laser.
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  15. #12
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Started with the frame 50x50 tubing and 25x25 internals. The gantry will actually be running on skateboard wheels. Why because it's cheaper then linear rails. I'm using five wheels per side. Two on top two on the inside and one at the bottom this will keep everything running smoothly. As far as precision goes we will have to wait and see I'm trying to make everything as rigid as possible.
    The spindle will be a Kress 1050 fme. The speed will be manually adjusted in the beginning. As far as control, I'll be using the Arduino uno board flashed with Grbl to communicate with the stepper motors.
    As far as motion I'll be usinging ball screws for all the axis, wanted to use acme screw but looking at lifespan they don't seem to last that long. If any of you have had experience with acme screw please let me know.

    PS I haven't finished the z-axis yet will still model that part already know what I'm going to do there.
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  16. #13
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    With scate bearings you have to keep the trackway perfectly clean, something that is very difficult once you start making chips.

    They can have acceptable accuracy, but require endless fiddeling to get right. OK for wood and the likes.

    The Kress is a fantastic brushed spindle. Very low runout. Very good collets, although pricey (IIRC about R 500 per collet. You wil need a 0.25 inch (6,35mm), a 6 mm and a 0.125 inch at least. (3mm bits usually have 0.125 shanks, so no need for a 3mm collet) Also a 2,2 mm for burrs....

    The fme2 can go down to 6000rpm, the normal fme 10000. That low rpm can be helpful if milling soft plastics that melt easily, if you dont have a coolant system.

    Where you got the Kress from? Mine is FUBAR, and I want to replace it. The only suitable "spindle" I could find in Windhoek is a Makita 700W trim router, also 10-30 000 rpm, with electronic speed control. About R2k, vs about 3,5k for the kress....

  17. #14
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Interesting comment about keeping the rails clean. I didn't think about that. Maybe I lean connect a vacuum to suck up the chips.
    Got the Kress from Paro services just google the name. He also does refurbishments on them.
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  18. #15
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Lets get the juices flowing with some pics.

    Firstly, my cnc router. Bought it for R 3000, and redid the complete control electronics for R 1500...... So, Sub R5K A similar system from isel will now set you back about R 200 k
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  19. #16
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    I started by ripping out everything but the 45VDC transformer in the control box. Replaced the 1985 spec stuff with modern stuffs.

    The small, new stepper drivers handle the same Volts and Amps as the original, but with a 15kHz step frequency. Originals were about 5kHz IIRC. Also, the new ones support microstepping, the old ones only full and halfstep. No benifit to me, since I dont use microstepping. I use them at half step, i.e. 400 pulses per rev.

    The BOB is a USBCNC. Hardware and Software solution. Trust me, this is the way to control a hobby cnc....
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  20. #17
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Somebody mentioned cutting Aluminium. This is some 3mm Alu letters I cut for a local sign company. I used a 6mm Single Flute upcut solid carbide bit, lubed with some Tool In A can (later, 2SO when the spookpis ran out)

    Cut with Kress spindle, SINGLE PASS.......

    That there is about R4000 worth of cnc'ing, on client supplied material, in a single evening after work. And it was done dirt cheap - I could have asked 2x as much
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    Last edited by Gert du Preez; 2016/06/17 at 09:41 PM.

  21. #18
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    One of my favourite passtimes (It does not earn decent money, so this is purely as hobby) is doing 3d photo relieves, and Lithopanes.

    Basically, on the 3d photo relieves, I change a bitmap into a Hightmap. Black becomes e.g. Zero -3mm, white becomes Zero -0mm, and greyscale in between.

    After engraving, (usually 1mm ballnose, 2 flute, with 20% stepover) I stain the wood, and sand it... Raised areas sand off, recessed does not. The result......
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    Last edited by Gert du Preez; 2016/06/17 at 09:53 PM.

  22. #19
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Lithopanes are a revesal of the method used in picture relieves. Here black is not machined away, and white is deeply engraved. When illuminated, the deeper engraved areas allow more light through, and the other areas less. Even though it is engraved on white perspex, and illuminated with white light, the brain interprets this as BLACK and white.

    I love seeing the reaction of people the first time they hold up a lithopane to the light..... Is magic
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  23. #20
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    Default Re: CNC Hobby or Homeshop Machining Fanatics

    Another Lithopane, this time of my lovely daughter Carla
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