V Slot Wheels / Bearings – Highly recommended Upgrade

Wheels – Bearings – they’re critical, load supporting and a highly recommended, immediate upgrade for your printer….only 6 are critically needed – 9 will upgrade the Y and X axis – if you’re feeling flush, 15 will do the whole printer!

The V slot wheels on the Y axis that came with my Duplicator 9 were a bit squished in transit…I tried to squish them back together but it quickly became clear that these weren’t quite circular and had an eccentric wobble that transmitted up to the Y build plate.

I tried a few times to use the printer, but the build plate would quickly sag at the rear, making the plate off level to the point where it interfered with and hit the rear microswitch!

 

I guess I needed new ones

Continue reading “V Slot Wheels / Bearings – Highly recommended Upgrade”

Delivery and unboxing of the D9 – part 2

During the unboxing, a bit of an oddity showed up, the build plate didn’t look level at all

taking a picture from the front, looking in, it’s clear that the height between the plate and that block thing is quite a bit more on the right, than the left

…….See post about V Slot Wheels

Continue reading “Delivery and unboxing of the D9 – part 2”

Delivery and unboxing of the D9 – part 1

It’s HOOOOOOOGE. look at that box!, you can fit a 6 year old child in that (no 6 year old children were harmed in determining that fact)

More pics…

Continue reading “Delivery and unboxing of the D9 – part 1”

Creality – comparing, Nah, just buy something else

Now i’ve discovered the fairly cheap seeming   Value for money Creality can be upgraded right from the go, with a much preferred (to myself) user interface….I’m looking more

I’ve dismissed the other touch printers right now as , they’re smaller or more than my £200 / £400 budget…..

Continue reading “Creality – comparing, Nah, just buy something else”

3D Printer Firmware – Support the Author

Wow,

In my research of 3D printers, it seems that just one bloke is responsible for the massive explosion in popularity in recent years……

This bloke develops and releases for FREE the firmware / software that drives YOUR printer

Sign up for Patreon and donate just once, or just a dollar or two a month….I’ve just signed up for $2 a month….Not much, just imagine how much he’d get if he had just $1 a month off everyone who had a cheap 3D printer

Scott Lahteine

https://www.patreon.com/thinkyhead/

 

Marlin is used on over 90% of printers worldwide. The lead developer Scott sometimes has trouble making ends meet. This should NOT be happening. Please consider becoming a Patreon at his Patreon page below even if you can only commit for a month it is better than nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tightening Belt To Mitigate Vibration Artifacts on Monoprice Maker Select (Wanhao Duplicator i3)

Great piece about why us tinkerers purchase 3D printers and what we expect from them!….it’s small but steady steps that allow you to make great prints

New Screwdriver

Now that my open-box Monoprice Maker Select (Wanhao Duplicator i3) is up and running, it’s time to take a closer look at the less than perfect print output. This was totally expected at this terrifically low price point, and part of the point of this exercise was to learn how to analyze 3D printer problems and how to address them. This printer is not just a tool – it is a project in and of itself!

The first (and as it turns out, a recurring) issue is a vibration artifact in the print after a sharp movement. After some web searches, I’ve learned this was called “ringing” because it’s the after effect of a sharp impulse, like ringing a bell. Looking at the printer, I thought the obvious culprit would be the Y-axis movement. It has to move the build platform so it would have more inertia to overcome and…

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3D Printing

Ok, so a lot has happened in the past few years, much procrastination, an additional child, a move to a new (old) country!

I’ve finally bitten the bullet and gone purchased me a 3D printermathingy

One of these –

2018041921043020

Wanhao Duplicator 9 Manufacturers website

 

It’s a little larger  than I’d anticipated – I can print 0.036 of a cubic meter on this thing!….If I ever get my head into an MRI, this beast’ll do a full 1-1 print!

I still own the 3020T CNC – see It’s arrived!

It’s setup right next to my new toy and now looking somewhat inadequate in size…..I’ve decided to keep both machines right now as it fits my procrastinatory nature quite well….if I can do subtractive manufacturing AND additive manufacturing, they really add up to nothing? (crappy dad joke!)

I’ll hopefully update a little more often, there’s little information out there about these D9’s, maybe what I post will help some of you decide to buy, maybe not?

 

 

Chillipeppr, GRBL, JSON and CHROME

My little CNC Controller
My little CNC Controller

Real life’s taken over somewhat, with three kids (one 6 months, one 3.5 years, one, my wife, 38 😉 I rarely get time to learn how to use the equipment to actually cut stuff.

During a rare couple of hours free time, I decided to play about with GRBL

I figured I’d explain how I finally managed to get it going on my Arduino Duemilanove, with my Clone CNC Shield V4

Of course, as always, practically, nothing’s been done, the shield is sitting on the arduino, doing its shieldy stuff, there’s no motors or power connected, just a string of stuff coming out of the serial port! (so, it probably works, right?)

FIRST – use GOOGLE CHROME (wasted an hour on that one, couldn’t connect to JSON server!)

SECOND –  Download the pre-compiled HEX file – at the GRBL websit home page, scroll down a bit

Direct link – http://Grbl v0.9j Atmega328p 16mhz 115200baud with generic defaults (2015-07-17) (version 0.9J as of writing)

THIRD – Connect up your arduino and flash it with XLOADER – See instructions – HERE

Reset the Arduino

FOURTH – Download the JSON Serial server from Github – Home page Here

– unzip to somewhere nice (i’m on desktop!) and run the server, ensure to tick ‘allow firewall access

Note down which COM port your Arduino is connected to

FIFTH – Open up CHROME, type in http://localhost:8989

SIXTH – Type in the new window that appeared OPEN COM8 115200

(where COM8 is the com number of your serial / USB adaptor on the arduino)

Seventh – FIre up chillipeppr, Select GRBL

Voila, you’re talking, it all seems to automagically work!

Of course, there’ll be a way of automating  / adding a command line prompt to the JSON thingy so you don’t have to web into localhost first…..small steps eh!

On my travels, also discovered that it’s not trivial to get TinyG2 running on the Arduino Due – with the CNCshieldV4 that I Have  i’ve put that experiment off a little while

Next step, cutting stuff – ETA, 2016?

Copycats! – upcycling ikea tables for enclosure

Having two kids really means that you get almost Zero time to tinker, I can ponder many ideas, but often can’t carry them out in a reasonable time

Referring back to my post here – https://bleughbleugh.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/where-to-put-the-mill/

I’ve just googled someone that’s done just that!….

Sean's Ikea Lack Tables Enclosure
Sean’s Ikea Lack Tables Enclosure

http://3dprint.com/84409/ikea-3d-printer-enclosure/

Off to watch Mach 3 tutorial videos, mayaswell get some theory practice in!

It’s Alive, ALL 4 axis…..

It’s been a few weeks now, still haven’t actually cut anything proper like,

however, a BIG occasion, I can now JOG all 4 axis quite happily in Mach3!

for those looking everywhere (and I did), no-where really quite states obviously or easily the pins on the connector needed to control the 4th Axis, it’s pins 8 & 9

Axis Step Pin# Dir Pin#
X Axis 2 3
Y Axis 4 5
Z Axis 6 7
A Axis 8 9

And Also – another setting needed,

Under CONFIG – Homing / Limits.

Set Soft MAX and Soft MIN on A axis to ZERO, that’ll allow it to rotate forever.

Now, one plus side of getting the A axis to work, it uses the same stepper motors as the X,Y,Z. it should help me to be able to accuratley calibrate the system now as many websites suggest that the 400 steps per rotation is ‘off a bit’….

Here goes. Need to figure out ‘homing’ and how exactly the G-Code relates to the position on the table. most ‘dry runs’ so far have pushed the CNC past its limits…..which is annoying as i don’t have limit switches yet!

JP-1482 Spindle Board

Noting some of the ‘stuff’ on the board, we can see that it’s quite simple really, it’s a small microprocessor controlled, dual sided PCB Two voltages – 18V AC and 36V AC from the secondaries of the transformers, 18V dropped down to 5V to feed the processor electrics….. 36V rectified to DC, then passed to the spindle somehow the micro takes in the variable resistance from the POT at the front of the box and converts it to DC, PWM at whatever voltage the 36V AC is converted down to. Not sure what the extra plugs do yet though, i’ll keep adding to this board STC 15W408AS –

  • SOP16 – Single Chip Micro – 8051 based – 8-12 times faster than standard 8051
  • 8K RAM,
  • 512 Bytes SRAM,
  • 3 Channel PWM,
  • 10 Bit ADC,
  • 5K EEPROM
  • UART
  • SPI
  • 5 external interrupts
  • 2 timers
  • comparator
  • internal clock
  • encryption
  • RS485 Control

Page 68 onwards of the english PDF datasheet covers this IC, LNK 306DN –  AC TO DC CONVERTOR – DATASHEET HERE – 8 PIN IC WITH PIN 3 MISSING IRF 640N – IOR P447D – 5TH Generation power Hexfet MOSFET – DATASHEET HERE KBJ 1510 – Bridge Rectifiers – DATA SHEET HERE 78M05  – 5V Voltage regulator – DATASHEET HERE EL817 X 4 4 PIN DIP PHOTOCOUPLER – AKA OPTOISOLATOR – DATASHEETS HERE ES1J X 3 – 1A Ultra fast recovery rectidier – DATASHEET HERE

Spindle Board
Spindle Board
Spindle Board - Top
Spindle Board – Top

There is a few versions of this board around, one older one seems similarly laid out but based upon a 555 timer! Theres a fellow Aussie doing much more digging than I at this time, ill pinch some wording from his page on how my board works. The spindle speed control works by passing the PWM through a low pass filter, then reading the DC voltage produced on an analog pin of a PIC micro. The micro then reads the value (most significant 7-bit’s of 10 bits), and sends it to a digital pot. The digital pot contains an 8-bit data register (16-bit really with command byte) and is 10K and we need 5K, so that’s why we are grabbing 7 bits (need 8 bits and grabbing 7-bits divides the value in half). The last log explains why I need to convert PWM to a resistive value (voltage divider). I’ve also added a feature for the Z auto level probe on the board. The issue there is, my system has been configured to work with Normally Closed limit switches and the act of probing, is a Normally Open operation.    Have look at his projects on Hackaday.io Here

TinyG, TinyG V2, Arduinos

Gonna be slow few weeks….

Some researching on alternate control methods for the CNC, avoiding totally the old school parallel port…

Well, today the parts have arrived, I’ll be assembling them soon,

Looks like it’s Very early days for TinyG V2 and the CNC shields along with the Arduino Due..

However, good news it does seem.

TinyG V2 is compatible with the RAMPS-FD and modified RAMPS 3D printer boards…and another board I’ve just discovered  – GAUPS – HERE

Those devices use  the standard Polulu style driver modules – that use the A4988 Stepper Driver from Allegro MicroSystems

My CNC Shield V3 device also uses those devices.

So, fingers crossed, it should be, worst case a simple pin-reconfiguration, probably something I can do in some spare time here

Software!, Another!!!!, CAM thoughts

The Actual, Physical CNC’ing is on hold for a few weeks whilst family come down to visit.

So, doing waaaaay too much research, i’ve narrowed down some software selections,

Here’s some thoughts on the CAM, which’ll probably go out of the window as I’ve still not decided on which CAD software to start putting time into to learn.

this CNC stuff is 90% preparation, design, bugger about. Turns out the fun, actually making physical stuff is only 10%! D’oh!

CAM software – stuff wot makes the toolpaths, in order of pricing

  • http://www.grzsoftware.com/ – Meshcam
    • easy to use
    • well priced – $250 USD (around $340 AUD at time of writing)
    • great for 3D, not so good for 2D

Here’s some other peoples thoughts

http://www.factorydaily.com/node/1223089 – quick compare of 3 CAM softwares

http://blog.cnccookbook.com/2014/01/20/results-from-the-2014-cnccookbook-cam-software-market-share-survey/ – Survey showing top used CAM softawre – Meshcam top, followed by CAMBAM for the hobby market!

CAM2014LowEnd

Annoying, 32 Bit, 64 Bit….More toys to buy?

Well, looks like i’m faced with a few more barriers to my lovely days of CNC’ing

Conventional CNC’s use parallel ports. None of my PC’s have those

complex CNC Driving software, currently is split into two main options.

  • Mach3
    • Needs windows 32 Bit. Ideally a Parallel port but can be used with a USB dongle
  • LinuxCNC
    • won’t work with a USB dongle, only a parallel port, or plugin card

My conundrum  –

All  PC’s in the house are 64 Bit,

I have an old Toshiba netbook, NB255-N250, it’s performance is somewhat lacking though with a CPU Mark score of just 290 and an out of the box windows performance rating of just 2.4 (memory jumped from 3.6 to 4.7 after chucking in a 2Gig stick of RAM from hard rubbish instead of the included 1Gig)

So, Time to look at other small, powerful PC’s to run the mill?

Doing a quick compare on CPU Benchmark suggests that the new, cheap intel Atom PC’s, using the Z3735F / Z3736F processors  can get a three fold performance improvement – in the range of 900 CPU Marks

Decisions….

I’ll probably re-install windows AGAIN on my Laptop, it has  a Core i5 M 430 processor which sits around the 2100 PC marks, mark, i’ll chuck windows 8.1 on it and suffer the potential grief of transferring my 64 bit licence to 32 bit, and limiting myself to just 4 Gig of RAM

Right now, i’ll manage with the Toshiba

Another new gadget purchsed – Android TV Box

Thanks to Ozbargain on this one, a $50USD android TV Box

Just picked up one of these Tronsmart R68’s at http://www.geekbuying.com, youtube unboxing here

geekbuying-c8f4d2e5-4d3b-4bf9-9cda-2700556f1d33

Tronsmart-R68-Exclusive-Private-Mould

Some thoughts as to why I purchased

The Boards….Some more information

There are a few circuit boards in the black box that comes with the CNC

    • JP-3163B – Stepper motor control board, 3 channel
    • JP-1635A – Single Channel Stepper motor controller board
    • TB6560AHQ – stepper motor controller chips – TB6560AHQ_AFG-20080407 – PDF Manual
    • JP-1482 – Spindle controller board – more information at CNC Arena

Some more information about these, including DIP Switch Settings

TB6560 JP3163B Board inputs outputs TB6560 JP3163B Board Dip Switch Settings TB6560 JP3163B Board PCB ConnectorsJP-1365A

GreenBoard

TinyG – G2 – Arm Processors

Arduino Due 1 – Arduino Due 

Reading up in-depth more about Arduinos, CNC’s and ‘stuff’, I’ve found a superb product called TinyG

Reading further on the Synthetos website about the TinyG, I discovered a forked branch of the code that is called G2. It’s basically a TinyG Arm port that uses their G-Shield, which at the time of writing is, unfortunately sold out.

I’ve noted that the G Shield uses TI’s DRV8825 stepper drivers

Whilst Googling those parts, I discovered – This website that basically suggests that they’re pin compatible with the A4988 used in those cheap drivers I picked up. Main advantage of the G-Shield device is that it can do 1/32th of a microstep, so much finer resolution for the CNC. Given that i’ve trouble locating the spindle within roughly the 30×20 area of the CNC without smashing into the limits, I think i’ll manage with 1/16th for now

Oh, the picture.

The V2 sounded rather good, so, I picked up an Arduino Due also, my favourite cheap chinese webstore had a voucher for 10% off so I bagged this for just over $23 AUD

Grand total for my new Shield is now $44.59. and I have the option of standrd TinyG GRBL, or G2

I think i’m going to spend more time buggering about making the thing cut than actually cutting anything…..Still have the software to go yet

Finally, why I haven’t bought a Syntheos product.

I can see that the TinyG V8 board has been out a little while now, there’s headway being made to V9, even some reports of them out for testing. I’m on the wall right now and really happy learning, tinkering.  i’ll be jumping and buying a V9 when it’s released :-). V8 is a very well reviewed product so I can’t wait to see what V9 has to offer.

For those of you less into the electronics and general tinkering – highly recommend to get a V8, it’s almost plug and play with these cheap, chinese CNC’s

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!

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

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