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Uber-Cheap 1610 CNC Mill (Engraver) ... "Rounter"

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    More cheap upgrades

    Finally got around to trying out my 3D printed spindle for the Ronter:



    Results indeterminate as yet. At least it doesn't work a whole lot worse than stock. I'll have to optimise some gcode (faster feed rates) to see if the higher spindle speed will at least speed up the jobs, if not improve things otherwise. And, yes, I cheated a bit and spun up some aluminium for the motor pulley side. Not enough shaft to get an easy lock with plastic. The other side is just plastic printed as a spring-lock on the shaft. Seems to work well.

    Also finally incorporated my 56A 12vdc computer power supply, routed through a Chinese 20A boost circuit ($17). With this setup, I can run the spindle and steppers at 24vdc (as shipped) while also having 12vdc for the fans and lights. Oh yeah, I wired in a couple of COB lights as I was getting tired of fumbling around.



    I mounted the boost board right in the exhaust of one of the extraction fans. It's not going to overheat Did up a cheap control box for the switches as well.

    Oh, and I picked up and wired in one of those cheap z-probes. That's another $5 or so. Took a bit more learning to figure out how to use it, but seems pretty simple now. One more enforced lesson plan from the Ronter.

    Just about there. Next up is redirecting one of those extractor fans back into the case and through a hose so I can blow away the chips (okay, dust). Not that I'm making much dust. Mostly, I've been doing the vinyl stickers... lots of fun with that.

    David...

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Originally posted by garyhlucas View Post
    A cheap chip paint brush dipped in water and applied to the tool and the part works great. Moving the chips away with the brush helps keep them from recutting. Plexiglas is one of those materials where flame polishing the edges with a soft flame from a propane torch works really well too.
    Well... this is in the den, so I put the whole thing in a box to contain the mess when it's running, fans pulling the air out through a dust filter. That works well. I will, eventually, reroute the output of one of those fans back into the box to see if I can get a forced-air chip-clearing and cooling effect. Someday.

    And, yes, I'm going to try heat-polishing the edges. What I want to try, actually, is using my solder rework station. It has air that can melt solder, so it might be hot enough. If so, I can dial in the exact temp I want. Might make the whole process more controllable.

    My one and only attempt at flame-polishing with a propane torch did not go well... didn't quite have the technique down. This time, I made sure to keep some scrap for practice.

    David...

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  • garyhlucas
    replied
    A cheap chip paint brush dipped in water and applied to the tool and the part works great. Moving the chips away with the brush helps keep them from recutting. Plexiglas is one of those materials where flame polishing the edges with a soft flame from a propane torch works really well too.

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    that is pretty awesome!
    Well... that engraved plex will do that when you shine a light on edge is pretty awesome, but I can't take credit for the idea. I'm just making my own custom versions. On the other hand, the milling capability of this thing is decidedly not awesome at all. Any decent CNC would have done much, much better. But, bang for buck, this little piece of garbage rocks! I mean, it can do THAT for less than what people are spending for single pieces of tooling on the real stuff.

    And, that's what I'm trying to do with this thread. Not show how I can throw money at garbage and make it do something kind of okay. Not show all the stuff it obviously can't do. But, rather to find out and show what you can reasonably expect it to do... on the cheap. Real stuff... okay, real TOY stuff. But, that's just because the point of this is to entertain my kid. I actually do have a shop for me.

    So, I'll take one of those 60deg engraving bits and see what it will do if I round off the tip, make a D-bit out of it. Can it mill plex well enough to make stuff? Why not find out? I'm going to 3D print myself a spindle mod so I can see if higher speeds will make it work better. I could run a chunk of aluminium through the lathe and it would be much better, but I want to try the cheap and easy route first... see what happens when bearings are pressed into a plastic housing.

    Bottom line, this is my den. For under a grand, I've got a solder rework station, a 3D printer, a CNC engraver/mill/vinyl-cutter, a nice bench, LED lighting... and buckets of parts, arduinos and shields, displays... pretty awesome maker-space actually. About the only thing that didn't come from China was the plywood for the bench. Under a grand. It's crazy what you can do on the cheap now. I can't claim any success at making a Maker out of my kid, not yet anyway... but if I keep puttering around he's bound to pick something up. He might catch that bug yet

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 09-20-2018, 01:55 PM.

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  • mattthemuppet
    replied
    that is pretty awesome!

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Milling Plex on the "Ronter"

    So... I figured I'd try milling out some plex, 1/4" of it. This is a pretty stock machine, as-shipped spindle and no air jet for chip clearing/cooling, but does have an ER11 collet instead of the stock setscrew affair. I'd estimate the spindle speed around 1000rpm. I didn't have high hopes of success, and my suspicions were confirmed fairly quickly.

    The first go was with a 2mm endmill, 300mm/m and 0.5mm depth. Worked okay until it got hot, balled up in mass of plex, and snapped off before I could stop things. Goes from cutting to dead surprisingly quick. The second go was with a 3.175mm ball endmill. Same ball of plex but I managed to save the endmill on that go. Took a while to clean up. Next, I tried making the cut much more aggressive, as google suggests: 600mm/m and the same ball of mess. Next, 600mm/m and 1mm depth, which just ended up being a chattering mess... and a ball of plex I had to chip off. Pretty much gave up at that point. I just couldn't push the machine to cut aggressively enough to not start melting.

    So, I did the engraving part, figuring I'd just bandsaw out the shape I wanted. That went well (same as the nightlights before). But, when finished, I looked at that 60deg D-bit thing... figured "why not?" I ran it through with the last ball endmill gcode and it did not too bad. Still chattered a bit, but no melting. I had to dial the zero down to finish the cut, and there's a whole lot of clean-up to do, but better than I'd have had with a bandsaw.



    Here's the point to all this:



    A glowing "magic key" for my kid. On Sunday, we get to ride the busses looking for the magic door.

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 09-21-2018, 03:41 AM.

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  • Noitoen
    replied
    I make circuit boards using my laser engraver. You can paint the copper with some auto spray and use your machine to scratch the paint before etching the copper the normal way.

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Just a (poor) example of isolation routing. I could probably get it better if I tried harder.





    --- Yay! 1000th post :P ---

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 09-06-2018, 02:34 AM.

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Vinyl Cutting on the Ronter

    So, as an update... this little thing is pretty fun. Been making isolation-routed PC boards, which worked sort-of okay but a big improvement over my typical dead-bug circuitry. Now I'm making vinyl stickers with a drag-knife adaptor I 3D printed.

    The learning alone has been worth 10x what I paid for this thing and my kid is having fun telling me what stickers he wants next. And, how can you put a price on that, eh?

    So, as noted on another thread, the drag-knife adaptor write-up is HERE.

    Here's a sample of what I'm getting with it:





    Oh, and for those not reading from the start, "Ronter" is a ... Gathering on Engrish from the Chinese Ebay seller. I've been Rontering the cow fertiliser out of everything since it arrived

    Seriously... I'm running out of stuff to stick labels on,

    David...

    P.S. DANG! just realised I misspelled 'Rounter' as 'Ronter' on the label. Think anyone will notice? Can you misspell Engrish?
    Last edited by fixerdave; 09-06-2018, 02:39 AM.

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  • wmgeorge
    replied
    I think but may be wrong but its built into Inkscape, which I found lacking for CNC work. But it is free. I would just get more practice on Fusion 360 and do it all there.

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post
    I think for the price you got a good deal. Nice engraver, but you will learn to hate GRBL and the controller board. Mine kept faulting out on say, light fixture noise, random EMI in the shop. Maybe your having better luck.

    This program in the Laser mode worked for me, they have a trial version> http://www.picengrave.com/
    Actually I used Pic Sender https://www.picengrave.com/PicSender.htm I think Inkscape can generate the gcode.


    I have a 6040 (?) router purchased from Automation Technologies in Chicago, running on Mach 3 and a Ethernet board. If you really want good professional software, the VCarve Pro desktop will generate GRBL code off designs you do, check it out.

    So far, I've had no issues at all with the controller board. I popped the provided power supply on the first mistake, but all the rest of the issues I've run into are operator error Might get around to adding limit switches someday; might catch a few of my mistakes. But, really, it just works... when I tell it to do something reasonable. It's quite surprising just how far that spindle will bend out of the way when I tell it to do something stupid. Probably a good thing at this point... I'll get around to complaining about rigidity when noodling isn't buying me time to shut things down

    And, I had no idea there was a gcode plugin for inkscape. I've been going from inkscape to plain svg and then importing into Fusion 360. Works well enough, but direct from inkscape sounds interesting. I'll try that out. Thanks.

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 05-31-2018, 11:02 PM.

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  • wmgeorge
    replied
    I think for the price you got a good deal. Nice engraver, but you will learn to hate GRBL and the controller board. Mine kept faulting out on say, light fixture noise, random EMI in the shop. Maybe your having better luck.

    This program in the Laser mode worked for me, they have a trial version> http://www.picengrave.com/
    Actually I used Pic Sender https://www.picengrave.com/PicSender.htm I think Inkscape can generate the gcode.


    I have a 6040 (?) router purchased from Automation Technologies in Chicago, running on Mach 3 and a Ethernet board. If you really want good professional software, the VCarve Pro desktop will generate GRBL code off designs you do, check it out.
    Last edited by wmgeorge; 05-31-2018, 05:59 PM.

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  • mattthemuppet
    replied
    sweet! I think that looks fantastic.

    For the LEDs, their individual voltage is probably ~2.5-3V for red LEDs and the resistor built into the 12V strip (usually to drop the voltage down from 12V supply to ~9V total LED forward voltage) might drop that down a little bit more. So if you ever want it brighter, remove the resistor.

    I need to get back to my 3D printer. I have some yard work to do this weekend and I've been meaning to print a B&D>Milwaukee M18 battery adapter for ages so I can use my M18 batteries with my yard tools..

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Another follow-up:

    I tried engraving some stainless steel... I managed to scratch it, but that's all. Just bust the tip off the engraving bit after I tried to feed it in more aggressively to get it to cut. The idea of using those cheap diamond burrs was also entirely ineffective. No stainless engraving, sorry.

    I tried doing isolation routing for a printed circuit board. That did work, though nothing to scream about. I would not buy one of these things specifically to do isolation routing, but if you've got one.. it can do it. Just remember to keep your traces extra wide and over-size the pads as well.

    It works awesome on Plexiglass:



    I lost more detail converting the bitmap into an svg than I did engraving it. Very nice engraving... the point of which is this:



    Pictures don't do it justice, actually. It looks awesome.

    3 leds from a 12vdc led strip connected to a (in this case) 9vac power adaptor, all mounted in a 3D printed block hot-glued to the adaptor. Yes, a nightlight. The plex is just sitting there, with the leds shining up from the bottom... pretty neat 'eh?

    I'm trying to get my kid into drawing different things that I can make into nightlights... no luck yet, but I'll make him a creator rather than consumer yet.

    David...

    P.S. 9vac because there was a box of them at work nobody wanted... who want's 9v AC? Well, I'm just running them through leds, and that 'd' part of led means diode... so it's a half-wave rectifier, and I don't want full brightness from the leds anyway. Perfect use for them.

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  • fixerdave
    replied
    Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
    Does it have any possible practical use in a shop, besides being a "trainer"?
    I'll answer that by comparing it to the 3D printer I bought, same basic uber-cheap approach. I bought it to learn, and maybe print some Lego for my kid. I learned a lot, discovered that Lego is particularly hard to print (features on top and bottom), and that the thing is incredibly useful for all manner of other things I never thought of. I've used to to print brackets, hangers, wheels, strain reliefs, bumpers, knobs, clamping kit for my engraver ... it's just another useful tool now. Indispensable, really.

    Will the engraver be the same? Don't know. I've already learned a lot so it's paid for itself as far as I'm concerned. Cheaper than most textbooks for college courses. Otherwise, I figure I'll be able to use it to engrave stuff, maybe make little 3D name-blocks out of wood, even maybe fancy stuff like 3D shapes and twig letters, stuff like that. I figure I should be able to make really quick and dirty PCboards that can adapt pinouts to more breadboard friendly layouts, maybe reduce the number of dead-bug circuits I end up making. Maybe, I can get it to drill fancy hole patterns in bits of metal that I can then use for fan grilles, stuff like that. Maybe elaborate little box sides and tops that I can glue up. Yeah, not a whole lot I couldn't live without. So, basically, a toy I can learn with. But, who knows, it might end up as useful as that 3D printer. Time will tell.

    Oh, one other thing. My 3D printer is really small. I figured that would seriously limit it's usefulness, but it hasn't. There have been a few things I couldn't print, but a surprisingly small percentage overall. Part of that is that it forces me to think small but, honestly, that's probably a good thing anyway. I'm hoping this little engraver goes the same way.

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 02-26-2018, 06:48 PM.

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