Software…….Blimey

Have been thoroughly googling just how exactly to create digital masterpieces that can be ‘realised’ with this shiny new tool of mine.

Blimey……

There’s a bit of a general workflow to CNC. It seems to go something like this….

  • 1 – Create something in some CAD package
  • 2 – export it as some filename or other
  • 3 – use another software package to generate another format
  • 4 – import that into yet another software package to send to the CNC

It seems that every forum, every person has different answers to different requests. There’s a myriad of hardware drivers out there, different softwares more suitable for different drivers.

Right now, I’ll stick with a generic solution to learn and see how it goes.

I’m thinking

3D stuff -OpenSCAD – http://www.openscad.org/index.html

2D Stuff / 2.5D Stuff – Inkscape –  https://inkscape.org/en/  (i’ve already used this a little with my KNK ZING cardboard cutting machine

OpenSCAM – http://openscam.com/download.html#install – seems to be used a bit for making or simulating toolpaths

Heeks CNC – https://sites.google.com/site/heekscad/ – some sort of code producer for the CNC toolpaths – Costs 10 quid

Bits and Bobs

Rather ill little ‘uns these past few days, no real progress other than interwebbing and….

Found some great offers on ‘Dremel’ parts at the local DIY Store (Bunnings) – picked up four bits that look like they’ll work in the CNC reduced from nearly $80 down to less than $20

also picked up some offcut accrylic for under a tenner at some place that said “perspex” on the outside,

finally, got a few ikea kitchen painted pieces of wood for $1 each

pics another time, my seven minute parcel of personal time’s over

Where to put the CNC? – a cheap solution

Another night somewhat short on content….Lots of planning though.

Whilst on a trip to Ikea, I noted the Lack Coffee Table. I have one of these spare at home now we’re cleaning out the spare room

At 55cm x 55cm (Google metrification <> imperialisation link for you inches guysGoogle metrification <> imperialisation link for you imperial guys) this $7.99 (at time of writing) is the ideal sized throne upon which to sit my CNC.

Having roughly measured the CNC, it takes up roughly

  • 53cm in length fron back of stepper motor to the front
  • 42cm in width – from the back of the stepper motor to the far side
  • 41cm in height

Ikea Lack Table

An Ikea Lack table for those not familiar with paper masquerading as wooden furniture

An overly meandering perusal around the maze that seems to be Sweden’s least favourite furniture store can be enlightning. Not only are you kept alert looking for just the right part to do something with that it’s not supposed to, you’re also well fed. a Lack table, with some minor modifications can probably serve as an enclosure for the CNC!

I recon, stacking two tables and Bolting some see -thru plastic of some sort may do a cheap, temporary job until something better comes along?

Here’s a quick drawing my 3 year old knocked up, honest

MS Paint to the rescue
MS Paint to the rescue

Parallel Port Conundrums

Have spent a few days now reading up on solving the parallel port issue.

it really seems that Eight out of Ten CNC owners prefer Mach 3

Mach 3 is a somewhat antiquated piece of software it seems, I’ll figure out if it’s really worth purchasing a copy or if I stick to the lower number of lines limit for Gcode, or, well, i’m not really sure (other software maybe?)

None of my computers have a parallel port. few, if any are running a 32 bit OS. and Prices of devices to convert the 25 pin Parallel port on the controller…(shown in the pic below)

DB25 Parallel port
DB25 Parallel port

are fairly high (though perfectly reasonable) compared to the price of the CNC mechanics.

There’s an absolute myriad of controllers, convertors, power-ers, drivers, thingies and other stuff that’s been developed, kickstarted, knocked up, and sold on a whim, too much choice really.

I went the stingy route and picked up an ONTRON USB CNC Parallel convertor for just $34 AUD. My thought process was

  • I have a machine that looks like it’ll work out of the box
  • That machine has a parallel port
  • it’ll be safer to use the machine as it was intended before attacking it further with a soldering iron and screwdriver
  • Given my penchant for un-necessary teardowns (developed at a young age after discovering screws in my parents VHS recorder, and discovering screwdrivers in my dad’s toolbox) it’s probably best to buy a tested working device
  • find the cheapest USB <> Parallel device I can
  • if Cheapest USB device doesn’t work, then find other options (Arduino CNC ShieldGRBL, etc)

The Device I purhcased……

USB Parallel convertor
USB Parallel convertor
Mach 3 compatible apparently
Mach 3 compatible apparently

It was shipped within 5 minutes of buying it (somehow I doubt the French are that efficient), Fingers crossed it arrives in the next two weeks like the auction said it would

CNC Images – Fancy ‘pin up’ pictures

Not able to do much tonight, late day out watching the awesome Minions, The Movie in a jam packed, Sold out cinema.

Home late after entertaining a couple of youngsters and some adult conversation.

have some rather nice images of this beastly machine courtesy of the eBay seller.

Personally, I can’t stop myself from Ogling that 4th Axis….just look at those curves!

gp2 gp3 gp4 gp5 gp6 gp7 gp8 gp9 gp10 gp11 gp12 gp13 gp14 gp15 gp16

Components, Circuit boards

So far, a list of things I’ve discovered

  • A rather large ‘old school’ torroidal transformer
    • HDB-200 – 200VA
    • JP-3163B – Stepper motor control board, 3 channel
      • Mine looks almost the same as the below one, it’s just missing the DB15 serial connector next to the parallel
      • JP-3163B Nice image
    • JP-1635A – Single Channel Stepper motor controller board
      • JP-1365A
      • TB6560AHQ – stepper motor controller chips
    • JP-1482 – Variable speed spindle driver
    • 57HD0401-15SB BiPolar Stepper motors
      • 57mm, so, NEMA 23 size
      • HD = 1.8°  Step Angle
      • 0 = Fuselage Length Code (57HD – M) – 0 in this case – 41mm shaft
      • 4 =
      • 01 =
      • N =
      • Can anyone read the text on this website? – it has more data

Seems there’s really no accurate information out there for this little thing. A good summary would be though ‘a bit crap’…..if you compare it to all the others available, every website suggests this is the lowest possible spec in its size. Maybe time for an upgrade 😛

Discovery of Internet Resources

It’s been fun getting back to my old routine and hitting up teh interwebs.

There’s a huge amount of resources out there

A few that I’ve discovered so far

And there’s quite a bit else out there too, I’ll try to keep this page up to date as I go along,

I’ve found that a quick Google for terms such as 3040, 3020, 6040 seems to bring up more webpages than you’d think.

There does seem to be quite a few different versions of this machine out there though, most look superficially similar, I’ll try to figure out what the differences are

Specifications

From the Auction, Specifications are as listed below. Certainly does seem quite impressive for the money.

Even more so considering I saved nearly $100 off the price!

  • 3020T triaxial engraving machine part parameters:
    • Shape dimension:550×400*350mm
    • Max.workpiece dimension:200mm*300mm<65mm
    • Work table dimension:200mm*300mm*15mm
    • Frame materials:aluminum alloy 6063 and 6061
    • Driving units X axis:1204 trapezoidal screws
    • Driving units Y axis:1204 trapezoidal screws
    • Driving units Z axis:1204 trapezoidal screws
    • Sliding units X axis:Dia.13mm chrome plate shafts
    • Sliding units Yaxis:Dia.16mm chrome plate shafts
    • Sliding units Z axis:Dia.12mm chrome plate shafts
    • Stepping motor type:57 two-phase 1.45A-2A
    • Spindle motor:200w dc motor,NEW
    • Principal axis collet:ER11/3.175 mm
    • Spindle speed:300 ~ 8000rpm/min (PWM stepless speed regulation)
    • Repeat accuracy:0.05mm
    • Empty line speed:0-2500mm/min (16 subdivided driving down)
    • Spindle precision:radial beat acuities 0.03 mm
    • Control unit:triaxial one-piece drive + ring variable power + PWM speed
    • Carving Instructions:G code/TAB files/nc file/NCC files
    • Communication interface:through parallel connection with computer
    • Software environment:Windows 2000 / xp
    • Carving speed:0-2000mm/min (different materials differ)
    • Machine weight:24KG

2 years Free warranty

  • High Precision Stepping motor makes engraving more precise .
  • Flexible coupling can be used for high torque transmission.
  • The chrome shafts is not easy to deform,suitable for long time use.
  • The reinforced and thickened machine body make transportation absolutely to be safer and longer life time.
  • Cover plates reducing pollution for the screws and shafts.
  • Spindle motor knob is useful for small positioning adjustment ,with steady and strong support structure.
  • Can engraving much more materials by spiral flute bits,such as metal,steel,MDF board,solid wood,composite board plywood,stone
  • Large 3D engraving in soft wood,MDF board,native wood,PVC,Acrylic we suggest use one or two spiral flute ball bits.
  • Emergency stop button enhance security
  • Can control the engraving more precise
  • Mach 3 software is simple and intelligent
  • Can be controlled by computer
  • More steady and strong equiped with aluminum alloy frame materials
  • Simple operation and installation
  • With four axis(rotary axis) and tailstock
  • Operating Voltage:AC110V or AC220V  50/60Hz(we also stock USA.UK.EU.AU.plugs and 110V-240V power version for the country all over the world.)
  • Control unit:2.5A stepping motor driver plus adjustable spindle speed controller
  • Computer connection:on board palrallel port
  • Command code:G code
  • Acceptable software:Mach3,EMC2
  • Protection:Emergency stop button

Unscrewing

Naked Power Close Up Too Close?

It’s now the weekend, If I can’t have fun playing with the CNC, driving it electornicially in the manner it’s intended, I’ll have fun with the screwdriver instead.

11 Philips head screws later (yep, these Cheap CNC’s are really screwed up well)

Some things of note

The Stepper motor driver board is labelled JP3163-B, uses Toshiba TB6560AHQ drivers. Looks like it’s only a 3 channel board

There’s a smaller stepper driver board on the side labelled JP-1635A. This looks like it’s fulfilling the 4th Axis role. it’s probably not on the main PCB as most of these devices will only ever be sold as 3 Axis….why spend the extra few dollars on un-used components.

The Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Spindle driving Board is labelled JP-1482

There’s a HUGE HDB-200 (200VA?) toroidal transformer in there. centre tapped 18-36V secondaries.

Looks like there’s some googling to do tomorrow

Yet more unboxing

What's in here
What’s in here

Black thingy

More unboxing. This time the power supply, another three of those 57HD0401-15SB steppers. two have large adaptor things on them, one has a smaller – must be the X,Y axis and the Z axis

Lots of bits
Nicely packaged

Layed out nicely on the dining room table

Parallel Port!
Parallel Port!

I did get quite excited now, thought I’d be CNC’ing on the weekend IF the power supply was 240V as ordered. Well, it is. However, I did see a somewhat ominous DB25 style connector, a parallel port. That’s something that i’ve not seen on a computer for a while. annoyingly, none of  the computers I own (don’t ask) seem have the pre-requisite hardware to drive this thing.

A quick Google suggests that it’s not gonna be that easy and more hardware’ll be required.

Tools and Bits
Tools and Bits

Ah well, a cute little case full of Screws, bits and tools is always good for a cheer up

More unboxing…

Tad gutted at the 110v issue, however, lets keep going regardless. I’m liking the new CNC smell too much

Suspense is killing me
Suspense is killing me

These Guys sure wrap their stuff well, Plenty of foam

Not an inverter
Not an inverter

And, Brilliant. Never have seen a 110v inverter with a pointy, handley thing on it before

Not an inverter :-)
Not an inverter 🙂

Mislabelled box is proven to hold the 4th Axis of the machine – i’ll put more detail another time

Stepper Motor Markings
Stepper Motor Markings

A close-up of the first ‘part numbered’ part i’ve seen so far, A 57HD0401-15SB Stepper motor. 1.8 Degree Steps, 2.0 Amps rating and N1504 (whatever that means?)

I’ll list all the parts I come accross another time

More unboxing

Some more pictures….

Well packed so far
Well packed so far

Pulled out the smallest box to start with, this is exciting

Inverter
No Idea why I’d need an ‘inverter’

However, something a little ‘odd’ here, I’d ordered a 240V version of the CNC, could it be possible they’ve sent some other voltage?

IMG_20150619_205908
Uh-Oh…

Aaw, crap, this means I’m probably not going to be able to ‘play’ on the weekend

It’s arrived!

I’m rather impressed really, Twenty Five Kilograms rolled up  to the front door on Thursday. Just four days after purchasing…..

IMG_20150619_205702
The Box…….After being lugged into the dining room

I Purchased this CNC from An eBay 3020T CNC seller late one late night,

it was the 15th June and the chaps at Ozbargain had become aware of a fantastic 20% flat discount off anything purchased from eBay offer.

Turned out that eBay had goofed somehow and globally enabled a discount code only intended to be released to select individuals back home in Blighty.

That discount code tipped me over the edge. I frantically rummaged around for my credit card details, my forgotten paypal account’s password and perused the behemoth auction site for something, anything, a bargain to acquire. I simply MUST save money (ironically by spending money)

I’ve always liked the thought of making stuff, have been ‘making’ vicariously through various websites over the years, finding little time to end the procrastination and actually, physically do something. This CNC, this 3020T I believe will allow me to grasp within my grubby mitts the ability to turn some lovingly crafted and digitally stored squiggly patterns, three dimensional wotzits, any old crap really. It’ll allow me to turn digital crap into actual, physical, holdy in your handy, crap.

Yep, that’s right, I’ll effectively be procrastinating no further, no longer filling hard drives with even more ones and zeros. This CNC, it’s an enabler, I’ll be contributing physically to the amount of detritus in my abode by converting those digitally stored files into three dimensional junk that I can store all over the house, thoroughly annoying the missus even more!

Unboxing to come