Here's what's been going on in the shop on the milling machine the past few weeks:
Feb 7, 2008
The timing gears that I bought seem to be a bit pricy ($16 for the large one, $9 for the small one) so I thought I'd try my hand at casting some from the originals in aluminum. I made a mold using OOMOO silicon. They turned out pretty good.
Then I made wax copies from paraffin wax. I'll be messing with investment and molten aluminum at a later date.
Feb 16, 2008
I'll be using an old computer case to hold the motherboard and the CNC controller as well as the power supplies.
Feb 23, 2008
Today was a monumental day! Alive! It's Alive!
I did a test run with a laptop (it didn't work - I had to scrounge together the parts for a PC) and laid out the CNC controller, connected the motors and it worked!
The computer set up:
The motors connected:
The machine cutting!
And for your viewing pleasure, a couple short videos. The first one drawing the famed 'road runner' GCode file that comes with Mach3, and the second one actually cutting the same pattern in aluminum.
It's pretty exiting, and just a little bit creepy, watching those hand-wheels turning by themselves.
I learned a couple of things from this test, the most important being that even with a 2:1 gear ratio, the 120 oz-inch steppers that I'm using aren't nearly powerful enough to run a full-size milling machine. I ordered new 305 oz-inch steppers from Hobby CNC last weekend and hope they arrive soon. I've already got plans in mind for a Dremel-powered mini router table using the 120 oz-inch steppers
I'm also only testing the x and y axis of the machine as I haven't made up the bracket to hold the motor for the z axis.
Feb 29, 2008
Tada! The bracket for the z axis. A few adjustments to make, but it's shaping up nicely.
I scored big-time at Staples yesterday: They have a Sharp calculator, the Elsimate EL-344R, for $11. This calculator is perfect for the shop as it has 44 native metric/imperial conversions built in, the ability to program a new conversion rate, and will also work with imperial fractions! (ex: 3 1/4 + 5 9/16). It also has a 10 digit display instead of the standard 8 digit, and is dual power (solar and battery).
As I'm working on metric engines as well as American engines, the metric conversion ability is going to be very handy!
I highly recommend it for a shop calculator, as you can't beat the bang-for-the-buck.