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Thread: CNC Mini-Router

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Default CNC Mini-Router

    I've made some progress on my CNC Mini-router project:



    The toolbox contains a set of electronics from Xylotex:





    It was super easy to get those electronics up and running with Mach 3.

    Now all that's left is a set of couplers I need to order and I can bolt up the step motors to the router and start making a mess. It should be a real cute little machine, and portable to boot.

    Best,

    BW

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Kingsport, TN
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    Bob, that looks real good. I'd love to get my feet wet in cnc converting of machine tools and that looks like a great way to learn with out a lot of cost and also makes a nice little tool for engraving. Are you planning on selling any kind of plans for that because I'd definitely be interested? I guess I need to check out your website because I'm sure you have some info over there as you always seem to keep it updated with your current projects. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing.
    Jonathan P.

  3. #3
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    May 2003
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    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    That's really neat Bob. I have been thinking about something like that too as soon as I get my mill finished. To that end I broke down and ordered a MiniIO-2 breakout/opto board from CandCNC today. It will save me a lot of time building one.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  4. #4
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    Nice work Bob, I like the size and portability and the fact that it's an interesting concept for a beginner to get their feet wet in CNC.

    Not everyone has the use for a full sheet router or even the room for it and making badges can be addictive

    The toolbox idea is also good and I'm surprised more people haven't clicked onto this idea. I built one a while ago in a cheap aluminium camera / toolbox just for taking out on site doing test work but it can run a full 3 axis machine.



    I was going to fit plugs and sockets to the leads so it could be used closed but you work with it open so you can see the lights on the various bits. It has it's own main power supply plus 5 volt and 12 volt for relays and everything is fused via the DIN rail. The board on the end of the power supply is a beta NCPod board that connects to Mach3 via a USB cable and takes the timing off windows plus acting as a breakout board. Eventually it will be able to handle spindle speed as well but that's not on the remit for this box.
    Drivers can go up to 8 amps so it can power anything from a small desktop to a full sized bridgy and the nice thing about these drivers is that everything is dip switch settable, no having to take readings or fit resistors.
    With a laptop and this case it's all you need.

    .
    .

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.




  5. #5
    Too_Many_Tools Guest

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    Great job!!!

    Anyone else have a CNC setup to show?

    TMT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Japcas, the mini-router itself was purchased off eBay: it's one of the Widgitmaster's units. They go for $600, and are darned well worth it. They're really nicely made. What I've done is simply to mount the Xylotex electronics in the toolbox. This is a dead easy way to play with CNC for not that much money, and I highly recommend it if learning is your aim.

    I made a set of couplers on the lathe this morning and have been gleefully moving the axes around on the router. It's been very straightforward to configure and set up Mach 3. I'm getting about 30 ipm rapids, which is fine for this small machine.

    I have to go run some errands for most of this afternoon, but this week hope to start cutting some trial projects with it. I understand they make good PCB routers, but I will start out by making a couple of engraved signs.

    In terms of other CNC projects, I also have a CNC lathe conversion underway on a Lathemaster 9x30, and when I have finished that, I will be converting my Industrial Hobbies mill over. This little router I just couldn't resist. I want to use it to give demos of CNC for various clubs and organizations. Eventually I will build a bigger router table, but I doubt I will ever need a 4' x 8' monster.

    Best,

    BW

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Nottingham, England
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too_Many_Tools
    Great job!!!

    Anyone else have a CNC setup to show?

    TMT
    Not really, my last one looked like the first one

    .
    .

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.




  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    The xylotex kit works well youll be happy with it for that size mill. Mach 2 also works quite nicely. I would learn to hand write some simple code to get use to your new machine. (let me know if you need help) I have a xylotex controlling a HF mini mill. I built a small tabletop router from scratch and used an old computer case to house the controller. I have a hard time understanding why boxes that house electronics are so expensive. The tool box is a sturdy and cheap alternative. Nice work.
    Matt

  9. #9
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    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techtchr
    The xylotex kit works well youll be happy with it for that size mill. Mach 2 also works quite nicely. I would learn to hand write some simple code to get use to your new machine. (let me know if you need help) I have a xylotex controlling a HF mini mill. I built a small tabletop router from scratch and used an old computer case to house the controller. I have a hard time understanding why boxes that house electronics are so expensive. The tool box is a sturdy and cheap alternative. Nice work.
    Matt
    I have to admit I am spoiled on the g-code front. I have no doubt I can write the stuff: wrote tons of graphical C++ code in my professional career. I can read it reasonably well, but I've no real desire to write much g-code from scratch in a text editor. I have much the same approach to HTML and web pages too. Hence I own a CAM program--OneCNC. I've been playing with it this afternoon working out engraving toolpaths and watching the machine cut air.

    It's time to stick a cutter in, fire up the Dremel, and have at making some chips, but I don't really have a computer in the shop, so I'm playing in the office and daren't make chips while SWMBO is nearby. The married gents will understand how that goes.

    SWMBO is largely oblivious to the mini-router at present, although she has commented that it sings to itself. Steppers can make some odd noises!

    I must say it is curiously mesmerizing to watch the silly thing go through the motions of engraving a logo. I have to make that chip making plunge pretty soon!

    Best,

    BW

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    It's time to stick a cutter in, fire up the Dremel, and have at making some chips, but I don't really have a computer in the shop, so I'm playing in the office and daren't make chips while SWMBO is nearby. The married gents will understand how that goes.
    Heh. I showed Janet the pic and explained what it can do. Her eyes began to light up when I explained that machinable wax would make a perfect mold for casting latex rubber or RTV for making specialized custom card stamps. I think she wants one.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

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