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Discussion in 'General Talk' started by GrayUK, May 11, 2014.

  1. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Hello to Everyone!
    It has been a very circuitous route to end up here, at the Home of the CNC builders. I have been researching and watching videos about CNC's for ages, and now I think I'm ready to choose a path, and there are an awful lot of wrong paths I could have gone down by now. I feel I have been very lucky, and managed to come across your site by chance before committing myself to another CNC build.
    I live in a little village called Tolpuddle, in Dorset, England, (where the Tolpuddle Martyrs come from), and plan to call myself "The Tolpuddle Carver". I feel the products of CNC machines in England is a much neglected area, and there's a niche to be found.
    First I looked at machines in the USA, why do they do things so much better? I was going to go after the Shark, but they don't export! Then a couple of others, but sooo expensive. I felt I was going to have to spend an awful lot of money for a kit from the States. Then I discovered Neo7CNC, on You Tube, have you seen that guy? He is very thorough and changed my mind to build my own. A cheaper alternative. Anyway he has things to do with "Kickstarter" and that's where I came across "OpenBuilds" and the OX.
    So, after boring you with my life story, this is where I am now. My heart sank when William Sterling of "opensourceluthiersupply" said he didn't ship to the UK, but as he suggested I looked and found "Robocutters" in the UK. Yippee!. They seem to have a good stock of Open-build stuff available. More importantly, they have the "V Slot The Ox Max CNC", now this looks interesting, especially the variable options to buy system.
    Questions before you all go to sleep reading all this! I feel I will need Nema 34 steppers for the X and Y, and maybe Nema 24 for the Z axis, with the hoped for business. Would this be overkill? My son is due to go to China shortly, and I fancy getting a 2.2 or 3K water cooled spindle. Any opinions on the use of spindles over routers?
    Finally, if you could build your first CNC again, what would you do differently or better?
    Thanks for letting me chat on for a bit, but I will be very happy for any input or recommendations.
    Cheers Gray
     
  2. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi GrayUK,


    Welcome to the community.

    If you call yourself the 'Tolpuddle Carver' you know that you will have to join a Trade Union. :D

    For what it is worth, my opinion on your questions…

    I think NEMA 34’s would indeed be overkill and 23’s should do just fine.

    The brushless spindles are considerably less noisy than routers and in my opinion better but their VFD’s can radiate a great deal of electrical noise so this has to be taken into consideration when wiring the machine. It would be good practice to use screened (shielded) cables for controller inputs such a limit switches etc. and screened cable between the spindle and VFD also single point (star) earthing also helps reduce electrical noise. (electrical noise can cause lost or gained steps, neither of which is desirable).

    Perhaps design your Z axis so it is capable of mounting either a spindle or a router then you can have the best of both worlds. :thumbsup:


    Tweakie.
     
  3. skrider

    skrider Well-Known
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    I don't know, the "Tolpuddle Carver" makes me think of an English serial killer from the 1800's... :D
     
  4. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Serial killer, it does doesn't it! I thought about the Tolpuddle Woodshop, but then they'll think I sell wood. I'll work on that a bit. Thanks for the advice Tweakie. I could save a few pounds there as well. Has anyone bought stuff from China, and has it gone well? Although my son is going to Beijing in September for the E-Prix, I don't think he will have time to go traveling across country to buy my Spindle and Nema motors. So any news, about buying from China whether good, or bad, could be of great help here. Anyone know of places to avoid, or even better, Chinese companies with a good reputation would be great.
    So, I still need to make up my mind as to whether I go for a kit like the Ox Max, or just buy the bits and make one up to my specs. A calculator is called for here I think. Mind you, I'd rather like a set of Gantry plates as made by Robert Hummel, they look a lot more substantial to my mind, and I feel that is an area of potential weakness in a CNC.
    One last question for now. Belt and Pinion, or Chinese Ballscrew? Perhaps Belt and Pinion now, and Ballscrew later. What can't I do with Belt and Pinion that I could do with a Ballscrew. (Keep it clean guys)
    Cheers Gray
     
  5. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi Gray,

    From the UK there are no problems buying direct from China (via the bay) but be prepared that anything with a value exceeding £15.00 is liable to have 20% import VAT charged on the total (including postage) plus a standard handling charge once the item arrives in the UK.
    The actual regulations are a bit convolute but worth checking if importing stuff with a value exceeding £1,000.00 or so.

    Tweakie.
     
  6. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Questions, questions, questions! Sorry for so many.
    Taking all that on board, have any of you tried, or heard anything about, the Kress-800-fme at £150? The UK OpenBuild suppliers, "Robocutters" seem keen on this unit as a CNC milling machine. Is it man enough to do the job?
    Just found this site:- http://grabcad.com. Anyone else been there and found useful stuff?
     
  7. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    I don't have one myself (I use a Bosch, when required) but the Kress has the highest router reputation here in the UK.

    Thanks for posting the GrabCad link - a very interesting site :thumbsup:

    Tweakie.
     
  8. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Right, now I've found a site called CNC4YOU, and it seems really good. Based in Milton Keynes, so no import problems. I like the look of the Kress 1050 FME (I don't know what the difference is between the 1050 FME and the 1050 FME-1 yet but one is quite a lot dearer. They also do some larger, 16mm, threaded bar with all the necessary bits, I don't know if that would be better for the Z axis. Does bigger mean better? Loads of Steppers and Drivers, too much to choose from! Like a kid in a toy shop!
     
  9. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    :D:D:D

    Tweakie.
     
  10. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    So. Tweakie, as my main correspondent, does using a 16mm, as against using an 8mm, threaded bar on my Z axis have any advantages? Does a thicker and heavier threaded bar produce more stability and accuracy? Or is the Z axis too short to really matter? I reckon it could make a big difference if I were using 1200mm of it on the X or Y axis. Yes?
    Gray
     
  11. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi Gray,

    To be honest, I am really not sure but I doubt you would find any advantage in using a 16mm (as opposed to 8mm) for the Z axis. It is unlikely to yield any more stability or accuracy.

    If it's any help, I use 16mm for the Z and 20mm for the X and Y but there again my machine is totally different in construction.

    Hope this helps,

    Tweakie.
     
  12. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    This is open to all who want to reply. What do you find is your most common sized shank that you use. I know there's loads of different reasons and tasks, to use any size available, I'm just trying to judge just how many different colletts, on average, I may need to invest in. I have lots of quarter and half inch bits from my router use. Can they be used? It is likely to be with a Kress 1050 spindle at the moment. But that could change with pursuation.
    Cheers Gray
     
  13. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    I must be the only one who reads this thread :D

    3 mm and 6.3 mm.

    Tweakie.
     
  14. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    I wonder why???
    OK got that. Is there a maximum size because of the particular spindle? I don't remember seeing a max size quoted anywhere. I'll see what other questions I can find later.
    Cheers Gray
     
  15. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    6.3 mm is the max. shank size my router will take (although I may be able to fit a larger size collet - I have never found the need).

    Tweakie.
     
  16. Brian Slee

    Brian Slee Veteran
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    The router I am using for Ultimo has a 12.7 mm (1/2") collet and two adapters. one for 3/8" and one for 1/4" bits. Although it is probably not suitable for use in small bots ;)
     
  17. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Apart from Mach3, I have access to Desk-Proto, Vectric Aspire, with all the Extras, and Alphacam. The last one, Alphacam looks real tricky to use after looking at some Videos on You Tube. The other two seem quite easy to use. Has anyone got any experience of these programs? Or preference?
    Cheers Gray
     
  18. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    I have used Aspire with Mach3 and can most things I need with these :)
     
  19. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    I eventually got enough funds to upgrade from V-CarvePro to Aspire and it is just brilliant and so easy to use.
    I have, on occasions, used Desk-Proto and again it performs very well and is easy to use.
    Never tried AlphaCam.

    Tweakie.
     
  20. Brian Slee

    Brian Slee Veteran
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    Hey Tweakie :)
    Since you guys were talking about it here I thought I would ask your opinion on the different freeware cam systems. I was looking at Mach3 and EMC for Ultimo but haven't decided on which one to go with...any recommendations?
     
  21. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi Brian,

    Just my opinion...

    I am committed to using Mach3 with my machines (having purchased the license some 10 or so years ago, when it was Mach2). It still has some bugs but nothing that bothers me. I use it with:- various spindles, drag knife, different types of laser, electromagnet impact tools, and various other gadgets so it is pretty versatile and suits my way of working.

    Although I have done some testing with LinuxCNC (which is free) I was not really that impressed but then again I have not yet given it a fair trial.

    If I were to change to a different machine control software / system for my machines then my first choice would be the Planet-cnc CNC USB Controller.


    Hope this helps.


    Tweakie.
     
  22. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    I was looking at the USB Controller to save the worry of finding a parallel port cos I would like to build a simple, small, but up to date PC to run it. Does this affect whether you use Mach3 then? Or was that, just a comment with regard to doing it all again today, thing? Perhaps I've misunderstood what a USB controller is.
     
  23. Brian Slee

    Brian Slee Veteran
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    I still have one of my old AT style computers with a real parallel port that I can dedicate and the controllers for that would be really cheap about $25.00 US. I also have an Arduino Mega and P-shield that could be used with an SD card reader for running g-code off line.
     
    #23 Brian Slee, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  24. Brian Slee

    Brian Slee Veteran
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    I believe you have to have a parallel port to run the Mach3 software. I have seen that 4 is in Beta but I have heard rumors that they still have some work to do before it's ready for general use. I went and looked at the USB controller and it looks to me like they have their own CAM package to go with it.
     
  25. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Mach3 can either be operated via a PC's parallel port or, by using an external motion controller card (such as the Warp9 SmoothStepper etc.), via USB or Ethernet connection.

    Tweakie.
     
  26. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Now then Tweakie. You just hang on there a cotton pickin minute!! Are you saying, as a man who has no doubt eaten and slept with the Mach3 on many occasion, that you would, if given the chance, switch over to the Planet CNC USB Controller!!?? You can't just say that sort of thing and walk away! Explain yourself! Now I know I have access to the Mach3, but I've been looking at the USB Controller, and it looks good, but what would I know. So, what's so good about it? And why would you need 9, or more, axis? If you say it's better, and a good path to go down as a beginner, then I'm on my way! This does replace Mach3 and the normal breakout board? Does it do anything the Mach3 doesn't do, or vice versa?
    Bet you wish you never answered my first thread now.
    Cheers Gray
     
  27. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    lol someone is in trouble ;)
    I personally switched from Mach3 to CNC USB not too long after parallel ports became hard to find on newer computers. Its a great system that has all I need (plus) and it works wonderful.
    A lot of folks may not know but there is also a support forum for the boards as well as the software. Hope this helps
    http://forum.planet-cnc.com/index.php
    Mark
     
  28. Robert Hummel

    Robert Hummel Custom Builder
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    Just get yourself a $12 PCIexpress parallel port card and spend the extra on hardware ;)
     
  29. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    I have not found one that actually works with Mach (without jitter). I've read that a few people have got it to work, but most of these post are about those who could not seem to make it work.
    However I just found this cool little gadget that may get the job done, if you want to go with Mach3 http://cncdrive.com/UC100.html
    This looks promising as well http://cncdrive.com/UC300.html
     
  30. Robert Hummel

    Robert Hummel Custom Builder
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    I had problems until I did a proper star ground including a ground lead from my BOB
    I myself am trying to get away from parallel ports also, I'm sure you can tell by my control schemes in all my projects ;)
     

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