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Our OX CNC Router Project

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by JWhitten, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    JWhitten published a new build:

    Read more about this build...
     
  2. Macchp

    Macchp Journeyman
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    Nice job John, I went through your album and found some very nice close-up.
    I'm going to build a 1000X1500 OX as well, and some of your picture will help me for sure.
    Actually, need to wait for the V-slot re-stock here in Italy ad for the CNC X-pro V2 release for my electronic set-up.
    Hope to be able to start building during the Christmas break.
     
  3. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    @JWhitten Awesome build! Thank you for sharing :thumbsup:
     
  4. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Great! I hope you'll post pictures so we can all follow along. I have found my OX to be a very nice machine. The only modification I'm really thinking about making to the design is to add a mid-rail support along both of the Y-Axis rail. I'll get a couple of 20x40 blocks and use angle brackets to connect them together. I haven't had any problems with sag so far, but I want to keep it that way into the future! ;-)

    John
     
  5. Macchp

    Macchp Journeyman
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    I saw someone using L shaped aluminum brackets to screw down the Y trails to the support table. Few of them for each trail, t-nuts and 5m screws to the internal face should do the work and make the Y axes pretty rigid.
    Don't know yet, but that's an option I'll evaluate.
     
  6. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    That's what I'm doing with mine. Works fine.

    EDIT-- Oh wait, you mean across the middle-- yes, that's what I'm expecting. I need to get some 20x40mm rails so I can give it a try.
     
  7. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Thanks Mark, I had a good instructor! ;-)

    (Your videos are really good and easy to follow)
     
    Mark Carew likes this.
  8. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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  9. MichaelDale

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    This is an awesome build. Even better is how you are taking the time to work with your kids and teach them (as I am sure the build would go much faster without them).

    I am looking at building an OX with the same dimensions. Just waiting for the v slot and a couple other components to become restocked. Have you found that the one center table support is sufficient in your design. I was looking at using 2.

    thanks,

    Mike
     
  10. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Thanks for the nice words! Yes, my kids and I do lots of projects together. They have a good time helping out and I'm hoping that all this will become second-nature to them and help give them opportunities as they get older.

    Due to height issues I finally just removed the center support. I originally was going to put in about four. The parts store was out of stock and I had to wait and wait and wait... Eventually I realized that since I have the frame firmly bolted to the table with angle brackets, it wasn't going anywhere, so I just removed the center support piece entirely. I still may revisit it though. My thought is to buy some 20x40 (or 20x20 regular aluminum extrusions) and lay them sideways to use as a poor man's "T-Table".

    John
     
  11. MichaelDale

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    Thanks John...that sounds like a good suggestion. I may add some sideways and length wise supports to reduce racking.

    Mike
     
  12. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    I haven't had a lot of problems with racking. Maybe I got lucky. I did have a problem with binding on one end initially. But as a totally serendipitous side-effect, I swapped the end rails from 20x60 to 20x80's and when I put it all back together the binding was completely gone. Now it operates smoothly from end-to-end. My guess is that there was a slight parallax error towards the one end that didn't bother it as it got wider, but was a problem when it got narrower. In any case, I'm glad it's gone.

    Now, my next trick is to take apart the cheap-Chinese-junkola stepper motor drivers and see if I can rebuild them into something a little better. Or else toss 'em out completely and go with Geckodrive 203V or 213V units.
     
  13. John Edwards

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    If you don't mind me asking, how did you slave your Y-axis motors to the breakout board? Did you use a separate stepper driver for each motor, and if so, how did you transmit the signals to the different stepper drivers?

    Excellent l
     
  14. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Hi John,

    My original plan was to use four stepper drivers and slave the Y by just glomming on to the same control signals. Works fine, just need to reverse one of the pairs of motor wires so that the left & right "Y" motors operate "backwards" from each other (opposite directions) which has the effect of moving the gantry in the same direction. My concern was that the motors supposedly draw up to 5 Amps of current while operating. However, the reality is that they get far less than that. I haven't measured it to be certain, but I know those HY-DIV268N-5A stepper motor drivers are, in essence, CHEAP CHINESE CRAP and can't actually deliver 5 Amps if they wanted to. So, ultimately I just put both motors into one of the drivers for the Y and it's been working fine-- which is to say those HY-DIV-268N-5A drivers are CHEAP CHINESE JUNK. (I'm hoping that everybody gets the message!)

    (There is a long thread here on PlanetCNC which goes into great detail about the general overall CRAPPINESS of these CHEAP CHINESE STEPPER DRIVERS. I cannot say that my opinion of them is any better)

    I am saving up to get some nice Geckodrive drivers to replace them with. Maybe some G213V's. They look nice, but at $166 (MSRP) they're a little pricey. They also make a G203V which is a little more affordable $149 (MSRP). I've seen both on Amazon and Ebay (among other places for 20-ish% less than that). I've never used either one personally, but in reading what other people use and recommend, they seem well-regarded. Perhaps someone with more experience than me might offer an opinion?

    EDIT: I forgot to answer your other question-- many of the controller ("break-out") boards support "Slaving" an axis. Also the Mach3 software supports it also. So there are a number of ways to achieve it.

    John
     
    #14 JWhitten, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  15. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    By the way, I have uploaded some new photos of my CNC Router here. You can see my new Bosch 1617EVS variable-speed router, and the spiffy new motor mount and dust shoe that Chris Laidlaw made for me! You can get one too if you contact him. His Ebay seller handle is ChrisClub1.

    New CNC Router Mount.jpg

    John
     
  16. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Great pictures. Good lads. My boy would have loved to have built something like this when he was young. We had to make do with computers and model railways. Very interesting about the table warp. Something to keep in mind!

    Many Thanks
    Gray
     
  17. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Heh, we do computers and model railroads too! ;-)

    We just moved into this house a couple of months ago. I had to take down our previous train layout. One of the reasons I wanted to build this CNC Router was to help me make benchwork parts, front panels, and other useful items for the model train layout. Especially do all the repetitive cuts involved to do the helix.
     
  18. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    I can attest to the durability of Gecko 203v's I have 4 driving Nema 34's on my 5' x 9' machine... No problems at all... They don't call them vampire drives for nothing, can't kill'em. I too use Mach 3 and my electronics are from PMDX and Warp9, good stuff and excellent customer service.. Just be sure and heat sink any Gecko driver, they don't respond well to alot of heat...

    IMG_8030.JPG
    IMG_8031.JPG
     
  19. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    That's a nice rig you got there. What kind is it? I like the way you have the wiring cabinet set up. I'm looking to do the same thing but I'm going to see if I can fit it all into a mid-tower computer case. I think it will all fit. Plus it's already fitted for fans and whatnot which should make cooling the motor drivers a bit easier. I'm going to see if I can spring for the Geckodrive drivers after Christmas unless I get a set from Santa. I'm hoping that will fix my "power" problems-- the rails never seem to run as well as they oughta given the NEMA 34 motors.
     
  20. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    I was thinking of making railway building kits. Houses. Sheds and maybe etched brass bits and pieces. Once you get or make the master you can nest them up and knock them out as needed.
    Another little cottage industry.

    Gray
     
  21. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Unfortunately, here in the UK, the EU regulations have almost totally strangled the life out of our cottage industries - by the time we have paid for the BS compliance testing and the CE approvals testing etc., etc. there is very little profit left. The fines for non-compliance in this area are quite staggering - sometimes I just despair.

    Tweakie.
     
  22. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Yes, I was thinking of doing something similar myself, although my thought was centered around making railway cars.
     
  23. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    That really sucks.
     
  24. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    Thanks !! It's a Joe's Evo. I built it about 2 years ago, it's a workhorse for sure... I've seen quite a few folks put the drivers and breakout board in ATX computer cases, works great and if somehow you could find room to keep the power supply then you could have 5 and 12 volts to power breakout board and fans.. Your build looks great ! Nice to see your boys taking interest, I have a 3 year old, just waiting for him to get alittle older and start building planes and CNC stuff with him... Anyway have fun with the machine !
     
  25. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    My kids, especially my oldest (he's now 7) have both been doing "projects" with me since they were barely old enough to stand. For instance, when we built our last model railroad, I would hold the drill and they would get a big kick out of pulling the trigger at the right time to screw in the screw. And we've always practiced safety at every opportunity. We always wear eye (and now ear) protection, and have always stressed the importance of wearing shoes when doing construction, etc. The whole idea is to get them used to thinking about safety as a normal facet of doing projects. I don't let them anywhere near the saws or drill press (or similar tools) though. And we always unplug our power tools after using them. A little bit overkill maybe, but again, we stress the importance of safety.

    In my case, I'm not planning on using the original power supply, I've got standalone power supplies to use with the router electronics. Although, in hindsight, perhaps I could have. So my case has a lot of extra room up at the top where power supplies normally go. Oddly, one of the biggest problems I had in getting up and running was finding a computer with an actual parallel port! This ubiquitous feature available on every computer just 5 / 10 years ago is now virtual extinct it appears! Go figger.

    How hot do your Geckodrive drivers get? Do you really need the heat sinking?

    John
     
  26. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    I think that's the thing that is missing with kids today, learning to create things, using your mind and sitting down and just thinking about how to solve a problem. In the age of cell phones, tablets, video games, Facebook, and google not a whole lot of thinking going on, just entertainment, it's rather sad... They would rather just buy the "thing" then go through the trouble of learning and making it on their own. That sense of accomplishment is gone. Anyway this is may second go round raising kids, my oldest are 28, 26, and 24 and I have a 22 year old stepson. I worked my a$$ off long hours when they were growing up and missed out on alot, didn't get to teach them as I would have liked too. So when we had our youngest, I was determined to change that, I started a home based business, and my wife already telecommutes so we spend alot of time with him.. I am the same when it comes to safety, he's not allowed in the shop when machines are running, at least not till he knows how to respect them. Parallel port is a dead feature it seems, I use a ethernet smoothstepper. I figure better go with something that won't be phased out anytime soon, plus I can move my PC wherever I like...

    As for the Geckos, I believe it's recommended by them to use a heatsink, mine do get quite warm but I am running 28 amps through them for the Nema 34's... Heatsinks are cheap, I got this one off Ebay, downloaded the mounting diagram with hole locations from Gecko or PMDX and just drilled and tapped it myself... The ready to go heatsinks are crazy priced... I even mounted a little fan on the end to blow air through the fins.. Probably not necessary but I like to go a bit overkill on things like that. I mounted CPU fans on my Nema 34's (they do get hot), at $10 bucks a pop on Amazon, couldn't hurt.. Here's my motto on electronics, buy the best you can afford. Less issues, better support (most of the times), and better quality. I use the ESS smothstepper with a PMDX-126 breakout board and the PMDX-134 driver motherboard.. Been using them for almost 2 years now running 5-7 days a week all day long no issues at all... Plus goto build a different machine and the electronics and motors can go to, pretty universal. Just my opinion..

    Anyway just have fun with it !!
     
  27. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    I couldn't agree with you more. My goal is to help them see beyond the tools and techniques and into their own imaginations. To help them get to the point where they are thinking about what they want to do more than how to make it, secure in the knowledge that when they come up with something, they probably can fabricate it somehow. Too many people-- myself included for far too long-- are held back by their fears of what they can't do, rather than emboldened by their innate sense of adventure to "give it a go and see what happens". I am hoping they grow up to be "big picture" thinkers. When you have that sort of curiosity and imagination, there's almost always a way to manage the details.


    Hmm... I'm glad to learn about the Smoothstepper. I looked it up online, it appears to be a very nice unit. The specs say it has 34 I/O ports (which I assume mean "pins")-- so are you able to use that to connect all your limit and home switches and such? That's what I've been needing. The board I have does sort of allow me to connect switches, but only in a limited way-- you have to connect them together (either in parallel or serial) and then hook them up to one of the input pins available on the parallel port. There's only a small number available on my setup. Sounds like something worth looking into as a step up. I started my machine on the cheap. I figure that I can start with less expensive motors and stuff and then move up as I can. They can always be reused for other projects.



    28 Amps! That's a lot of power.Is that just what they're rated at or do you actually push that much power?

    John
     
  28. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    Your exactly right. Like these CNC machines, anyone with a few $$ can buy one already assembled and ready to cut, but to build it with your own two hands, figure out what works and what doesn't, and to have the skills and understanding to make changes and improve a design. That's knowledge you just can buy or learn from a book. Hands on experience coupled WITH the willingness to read and learn, that's the key I think.. Have to think outside the box.


    Nope i'm sure they mean I/O ports...

    "This product provides a DSP (digital signal processor) that handles the precise timing of step and direction signals to motor drivers, and sits in between your PC and any breakout board you might use to communicate with your motor drivers and other IO (relays, sensors, etc.). It does not require any special software drivers, simply utilizing the standard ethernet driver provided by your operating system.

    The Ethernet SmoothStepper supports up to (3) 25 pin ports worth of IO (simulates 3 parallel ports), interfaces nicely with the PMDX-126 card in our Nema 34 electronics systems, and comes with a convenient plugin for Mach3. The Nema 34 option includes the appropriate cables and a RJ45 Panel Connector. The G540 option includes a short Ribbon cable to allow the ESS to plug directly into the G540." CNCrouterparts

    Simulating 3 parallel ports, I have it connected to my PMDX 126 and I still have a bunch of ports open, not to mention 2 onboard relays I used to trigger SSR's for my dust collector and router.

    From what I understand the Gecko drives have a power saving feature that cuts the amperage down a bit when they're resting, but moving I believe it's a full 7 amps a piece... They are the 960oz Nema 34's CNCrouterparts sells.
     
  29. JWhitten

    JWhitten Journeyman
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    Our next project, probably after the New Year sometime, is to build a 3D printer. I know I can probably just buy one, but like you said, I'm interested in learning how to do it and to have the experience doing it. Plus, I want my kids to have the experience doing it also. I've been encouraging my oldest to get more creative with his legos. I'm more than willing to buy him more sophisticated parts to play with, but I want to see him actually trying to figure things out with them. Sometimes we sit and look at things other people have made with legos on Youtube and it gives him ideas and exposes him to new concepts and things he hadn't thought of before. My youngest is extremely sharp but keeps it to himself more. Some days he just floors me with how much he really pays attention. Anyway, I am hoping both of them will grow up with electronics, mechanical engineering, computers and automation as "old hat" so they can focus on the "fun stuff".




    Yup, that sounds like about what I need. I was thinking I could use the old drivers to run the 3D printer when we get around to building that.





    Well, the CHEAP CHINESE CRAP drivers I have have a built-in feature (read: design flaw) that cuts their power down to about 30% output, all the time. And even though they claim to be able to do 5 Amps, analysis of the circuit suggests strongly that even if they didn't have the 30% output problem (an error in copying the original reference drawing shown in the data literature for the driver chip), it probably wouldn't be able to push more than about 2-3 Amps max anyway. So no matter how you look at 'em, they're CHEAP and CRAPPY, and they drive my motors way too weakly. As a result it has probably saved my machine a couple of times when it has snagged a cable or run into a limit, but apart from that, they do not work well at all. I am anxious for the day when I can swap them for better Geckodrive units.

    John
     

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