It’s ALIVE!!! – first complete ‘dry run’ of a small Gcode worked

well, kind of…..

Have FINALLY gotten something sensible out of Mach3 demo and the machine by bolting a pencil to it…

more reading needed now though as I keep having the G-code plotting outside of the table display,

Zeroing on Mach

Have tried a few different things, I guess it’s just getting used to the workflow of making sure the CAD item is starting at 0,0,0, making sure the CNC is also starting there and somehow scaling the image….Bloody annoying and now i’ve run out of Ikea pencils to jam in the spindle with some tape, keep snapping them…must remember to disable the Z axis somehow when running tests.

Still, I’ve now at least done a complete dry run of the sample Collete spanner by loading a different 500 lines of G-Code each time and re-starting ….just need a non broken pencil now so I can take a photo and show the world!

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TinyG and G2 – an idea for the future!?

Have been reading up on control methods for the CNC (yep, too much reading, not enough actual do-ing),

Stumbled across something called GRBL, which to summise,is, “an arduino CNC controller”

There’s a shedload of websites regarding GRBL…..so……

I actually own various quantities of each of the following microcontroller boads that i’ve acquired over the years, a few more modern ones include

And, given my recent discovery of GRBL,and a penchant for hoarding un-used demo boards,

I’ve purchased one of these………

an arduino CNC Shield

SKU198457a(3) SKU198457aa

It’s a blatant clone of a couple of other shields out there, at under eight AUD though, it was worth a punt

it uses the standard Polulu style driver modules – that use the A4988 Stepper Driver from Allegro MicroSystems

I picked up five of them also….for just under $14 AUD, three for now, a fourth if I ever figure out 4 axis machining and a fifth as i’ll probably blow something up

a4988 2 A4988 1

so, for a grand sum of $13.81 Plus $7.63 = $21.44 delivered, I have a nice CNC Shield for my Arduino

Possible Z axis adjustment / improvement?

Specifications for the CNC suggest that the maximum working area is

  • Max.workpiece dimension:200mm*300mm<65mm

Z axis dimensions are <65mm

Measuring the total Z axis travel, there’s only 56mm of travel available….

it does look like I can slacken off the screws on the spindle a little to move it upwards to gain some workspace back,

great for using a sacrifical piece of wood orsomething on th ebase and maintain the full movement

Limit Switches & other stuff – Purchased, list of websites

Some pics of the two types of limit switch I picked up, 5 of each type for under $6AU delivered

limit switch 2 limit switch 3 Limit Switch 1

I’m also grateful to all of those websites out there that allow us to mispend minutes hours days weeks perusing endless pages of cheap tat.

Some of my favourites to date that i’ve spent waaaaay too much $$ on

http://www.dx.com – The original source of my additiction

http://www.banggood.com – The new favourite

http://www.tmart.com – a nice all-rounder site with some occasional good deals

http://www.lighttake.com – used a few times, not so much nowadays

http://www.focalprice.com – seems to have lost its way with pricing of late

http://www.buyincoins.com – has some ridiculous offers from time to time

http://www.icstation.com – so much i WANT from that site, yet don’t have the free $$ to buy 😛

and of course, now the ubiqutous http://www.ebay.com.au

oh, and whilst you’re there, check out http://www.ozbargain.com.au too

CNC Noobie – First Life – First Realisations – First Thoughts

I’ve discovered now that CNC devices are fundementally, quite rudimentary.

During my five minutes of ‘wow’, giggling like a small schoolgirl whilst repeatedly jabbing the arrow keys (mixed in with some heavy page up / down banging too) whilst proudly exclaiming vociferously to a somewhat bemused missus at half ten at night “it’s moving”. I’ve, somewhat soberly come to the conclusion that ‘it’s all a bit naff, really.

CNC should be quite easy in theory – just draw ‘this’, tell motors to go ‘there’, done…

it’s not quite like that

Some immediate observations.

  • Co-Ordinates….That X,Y,Z stuff. I, at this time have no idea how what’s on the screen relates to what’s on the CNC bed.
  • Limit switches….There aren’t any on my machine, I need some to stop me wrecking the thing whilst learning
  • Speed (or lack of)….CNC’ing is going to be a looooooong process. Also, it’s a tad slower than anticipated
  • Software…..Mach3 is going to be ‘fun’, CAD is going to be ‘funner’, and not quite sure about the levels of amusedness involved in linking those two yet.
  • PC specifications. My ‘procured from hard rubbish Toshiba NB255 2010 1 Gig memory mini 10.1″ laptop really doesn’t cut the mustard. The CNC was making all sorts of odd grinding noises whilst running the GCode demo. This caused a little worry until my previous interweb searching memory kicked in and i’d remembered that someone had reported similar issues with a crappy PC. Swapped it for my normal laptop Asus G51Jx and it all went quite well.
  • USBCNC software from that ebay bloke works quite well, out of the box for my 3020T, your mileage may vary but I suspect it’ll help me get some of the basics downpat in a hurry

More New Toys

In the vein of useless information and googling waaaay too much, i’ve figured it’s probably a good thing to purchase some measuring thingy

Picked up a stainless Steel digital vernier calipers from ebay for eight bux!…will see how well it goes,

probably only marginally more accurate than my previous ‘eyeballing’ and scaling against an A4 sheet of paper attempts

80003_369767_F 80003_369775_F 80003_369777_T

It’s Alive –

The small USB-CNC adaptor thingy arrived today,

And, I can now leave feedback for the CNC Seller ebay Bloke as all seems well!

First Connection

First Ever CNC-Ing – Ain’t pretty but it’s a start. Involves lots of sellotape and no pencils were harmed in the production. You can just about make out the letter ‘S’

Tado cooling

My kickstarter finally arrived!

Nifty little square thing to allow IT control of our AC over the internet by an app. 
Tado – website 
Tado – kickstarter 

I’d have a play at freezin’ the missus whilst I’m out at work but I can’t get it going 🙂

have asked the support team how to do a hard reset as it’s stuck on ‘not configured’ right now

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