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 Post subject: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker logo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:57 am 
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I've been using my CNC router to cut parts for a self upgrade. It's mostly metal, but has some crucial elements that are either wood or HDPE, and they cause it too be less ridged than I'd like and don't allow me to use my bigger router.

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So I've been working on having the router cut it's own upgrade parts.

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And end up with some interesting small pieces, in addition to an Aluminum snow storm.

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So I was thinking about an interesting use / test of the current CNC capabilites and decided to try ....


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:34 am 
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.... routing something with fine detail in metal.
So I was pondering what to carve, and came across the iPhone wall papers for TC Maker, and thought, that's a pretty cool logo, so I decided to give carving it into a 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" inch block of 3/4" Aluminum scrap a try. I unfortunately grabbed the Blog banner pic and traced it in a CAD program, (Later I saw that an EPS is available, doh)

I had a variety of small Aluminum bits I hadn't used yet, but only a couple were small enough to capture all of the detail, .015" teeny tiny bits, and I suspected by present router setup isn't stiff enough to pull the carve off correctly. I did some tests in plastic and made sure the scale and line thicknesses were working and then it was on to the Aluminum. Two broken bits later, my suspicion about the fragile bits were confirmed. Fortunately, the broken bit retained the correct size and being much shorter, was stiffer, and able to finish the carving, with a much poorer surface finish, but it got the job done.

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I think the final product came out pretty well, my apologies to the designer for tracing it.

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I thought it would be cool to "light" it to emulate the gradient in the blog header, so I pointed a red LED at it.
I rather like the results of that too.

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I'd be curious what folks think. I think something like this (but thinner) might make a nice key chain or pocket LED flashlight to give away as swag at an event to generate some publicity. It's labor intensive, but a great learning experience.

I'll bring the logo and test logos along to tomorrow's Weds Night meeting if anybody wants to check it out.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:52 am 
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Location: Coon Rapids
Sweeeet!


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Here's a shot of the CAM software's tool paths, it's such a tiny piece but has so many tool paths.
I need the tiny .015 bit because the "T" cross bar is skinny nothing else would fit.

The software is Vectric's Cut2D.

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I'm looking for co-conspiritors to have a CAD to CAM g-code discussion / class, so if anybody is interested please let me know.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:04 pm 
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Thanks darus67

I'm pretty pleased with it, I haven't done anything little like this before. I'm hopeful I can do circuit boards and the like too.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:59 pm 
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What file formats can you take as input?

jtbarclay said that the same software that generates g-code for the MakerBot can generate g-code for subtractive machining by changing a configuration setting somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:24 am 
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That's awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:47 am 
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darus67 wrote:
What file formats can you take as input?

jtbarclay said that the same software that generates g-code for the MakerBot can generate g-code for subtractive machining by changing a configuration setting somewhere.


I think the cupcake g-code shouldn't be hard to make, but I haven't tried. As to formats, that depends, I have two pieces of Vectric Software Cut2D and Cut3D.
I use Turbo Cad on my Mac to make dxf files for (in 2D) for Cut2D I think vector files may be supported too. For Cut3D you can use 3D models. I'd have to check on the formats, but a couple kinds of 3D mesh formats are supported.

Check out Vectric..com they have great overviews on each package.

I've also used CamBam which has a very handy Sketchup plugin. I have a trial of CamBam, it has a funky user interface, but works pretty well, it's handy if Sketchup is how you design.

Other tools that are handy are in the control software themselves. I.e. the machine control and g-code interpreter software. I use EMC2 (Linux opensource) and it has a raster to g-code plugin. It produces a STL file basically a 3D mesh, it's nice to take a picture and carve it.

Also Mach3 which is windows CNC control software has a ton of "wrappers" that people have written, some free, some for $. I guy in a forum I use wrote one for dovetails and box joints. Mach3 can be run in a "no machine" mode for free, so I have that setup and have played with the dovetail wrapper. It's made the g-code for some dovetails, and can be exported, I just haven't cut it yet.

If you, or anybody interested is around tonight, (Weds the 11th) I'll be at the meeting and have VM's with all these tools on my laptop. I can show them to you and if anyone wants g-code created, I'd be happy to help out.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:55 pm 
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I'd be interested in hearing a bit more about the Mach3 aspect, and in joining pretty much any discussion about CNC. I'm a machinist for work, but I'm really interested in building my own CNC. I'm new to the forum, as well.

-Fletch

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 Post subject: Re: CNCiing Metal bootstrap parts, and an Aluminum TC Maker
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:41 pm 
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Hi Fletch, welcome to the forum!

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