CNC Router

This project was started as a result of work that was carried out on the Gloster meteor . I have always been interested in robots so a project like this seemed a good idea and if the resulting machine worked it would prove a valuable asset to the team . A quick search of the Internet provided a book with basic ideas .The electronics I knew would not be a problem as I have spent all my working life making computer controlled machines do what they are supposed to do.The mechanics would be the challenging part but having read the book and seen the pictures of what could be achieved with basic tools. I decided to see what could be done The bed rails lead screws and linear bearing were bought from a specialist company . The stepper motors ,sensors  limit switches were bought from various suppliers.The bed and X,Y cutting size was determined by the available space in my workshop and allows me to cut 48 x 24 inch boards up to 1 inch thick. The bed was welded up for me by a very good engineer from work .this resulted in a very flat and true base for the machine ,he also welded the gantry uprights . After some weeks of drilling the bed rails, gantry and linear bearings were assembled . To my surprise very little adjustment was needed to get all three axis friction free, the lead screws were then attached ,all home sensors, motors and limit switches were wired up, the computer interface, power supply ,emergency stop circuits were wired and tested .The original motor controllers I built from parts I already had ,The plan was to buy some computer based units should the router work . I needed some software to interface the drawing software with the motor control computer and some more software to get the motor controller to drive the router .I again needed some advice so a  Google search found CnC Zone ,this site covers everything to do with CnC machining and has proved to be a great source of information. I was expecting to pay a lot of money for the software as it would be windows based ,however there were two highly recommended packages the drawing to computer software is called sheet cam   and the design company is UK based and trial software is free. The computer to machine software is American Artsoft and again is free to try. I loaded the software .Carried the calibration and motor tuning  process ( a slow process but as the accuracy of the entire machine depends on it well worth doing  correctly). I decided to use cheap router bits for the testing as I was expecting to break a few . At this point I spent a few hours getting to understand how all the software interacted .but found the hardest to understand was the cad software not the machine or layout ones. A quick play with all the system  made me  decide that I should pay for the full versions and was surprised to find that I could buy the software and unlimited support and updates for less than £160. The end result is a machine of much greater accuracy and flexibility than I could have imagined and has been a very enjoyable and worthwhile  project .The router bits I am using are still the cheap ones ( £1.20p each) as one will cut a full set of the Orlik 3 fus formers before it is blunt

First cutting job for the router was the 1st Orlik

The router has now evolved into a much more versitile machine as can be seen in the following pages

Cnc Router's first job

 

The photo's below show the router during is firt job this was to cut parts for the Orlik

Since being completed the router has now cut many parts for different models a few

of which include

 

The Tiger Moth

2 x Orliks

Klemm

Wien

Musker

Falcon

2 x pegasus

2 x Mosquitos

and too many Greenlys to count

 

 

 

Very soon projects permitting the router will be modified to accept the extra axis and

air cooled 3 phase spindle.