ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny things
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 04-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
DIY CNC Mill

Lookding for advice. Ive got this Rong Fu RF-40 knock off mill and a 6 inch rotary table that Im thinking about converting to a 4 axis CNC. Looks like, at a minimum, Ill need the following:

4 stepper or servo motors of various sizes.

4 stepper or servo motor drivers.

Encoders if using servo motors.

Motor couplers.

Perhaps ball screws for X and Y precision.

Motor power supply.

Board power supply.

Breakout board to drive the driver, process E-stop, interface to hand held pendent and interface to PC.

Enclosure and various connectors

PC w/Mach3 CNC software. Also used for software to tune stepper/servo motors.

The other option to modifying the existing mill is pick up a mill like a Grizzly G0704 and start from scratch with a bit smaller mill that can be driven with smaller motors and cheaper drivers. Cost would probably come out the same. Planning on using Lazy CAD with Mach3 initially.

Has anyone done this? Any words of wisdom or recommendations on which way to go?
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 01:39 PM   #2
a$$hole
Studly Adventurer
 
a$$hole's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: DFW
Oddometer: 955
Here's a guy that converted the same machine. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

http://www.smidgie.com/928/machineshop/rf40/cnc/
a$$hole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
Donkey Hotey
De Jo Momma
 
Donkey Hotey's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: 20 Mule Team Trail (Palmdale, Ca)
Oddometer: 10,908
Before you do another thing:

How will you program it? Assume somebody GAVE you the machine you're dreaming of, how will you generate the code that runs it? Not the controller software but, the thing that turns a design into G-code the machine will use to make parts.

Then: what do you want kind of parts do you want to make? Is the basic machine capable (mechanically) of doing the things you want? Spindle speed, HP, rigidity--all play into this.

What I'm getting at is: will it meet your needs or dreams? Or will you sink $1K into making an interesting toy that won't really do what you want?
Donkey Hotey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 10:03 PM   #4
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Before you do another thing:

How will you program it? Assume somebody GAVE you the machine you're dreaming of, how will you generate the code that runs it? Not the controller software but, the thing that turns a design into G-code the machine will use to make parts.

Then: what do you want kind of parts do you want to make? Is the basic machine capable (mechanically) of doing the things you want? Spindle speed, HP, rigidity--all play into this.

What I'm getting at is: will it meet your needs or dreams? Or will you sink $1K into making an interesting toy that won't really do what you want?
Solidworks for CAD, haven't decided on a CAM software yet and Mach3 for the control software. So basically don't know at this point. Probably start with writing my own G-code just to get to know it well enough to debug the CAM output when I need to. Will it meet my needs. Somewhat but I'm certain that what I really need is a 5 axis machine. In my dreams that is.
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
JamesG
Rabid Poster
 
JamesG's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Columbus, GA
Oddometer: 10,946
Most CAD/CAM software has the functionality to turn drawings into the machining operation and can spit out the G code instructions. I like CAM Bam the best.

The real tedious part and potential to frustrate a DIY project to failure is tuning the controller (in this case Mach3) to get the mill to behave properly. Even a "plug and play" machine can be a PITA at first.

@RonS- Have you ever set up and operated a CNC machine before?
JamesG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 10:15 PM   #6
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesG View Post
Most CAD/CAM software has the functionality to turn drawings into the machining operation and can spit out the G code instructions. I like CAM Bam the best.

The real tedious part and potential to frustrate a DIY project to failure is tuning the controller (in this case Mach3) to get the mill to behave properly. Even a "plug and play" machine can be a PITA at first.

@RonS- Have you ever set up and operated a CNC machine before?
I'll look at CAM Bam. No, never setup or operated one. On top of that I'm not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination. I've worked with wood for 35+ years but metal is a different animal. I've had this mill for a couple of years and thanks to Smartflix I've watched enough instructional videos and butchered enough metal to have a basic understanding. Still, as an embeded software engineer I've done enough signaling (DIO, AIO), PID loop and stepper work that wiring the components together does not bother me. The tuning software for the servo's actully looks pretty interesting. It's the things I don't know that concern me. There'll be a good learning curve here. Maybe it'll keep my brain from rotting but most think it's already rotted to the core
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2012, 02:18 PM   #7
JamesG
Rabid Poster
 
JamesG's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Columbus, GA
Oddometer: 10,946
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonS View Post
I'll look at CAM Bam. No, never setup or operated one. On top of that I'm not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination. I've worked with wood for 35+ years but metal is a different animal. I've had this mill for a couple of years and thanks to Smartflix I've watched enough instructional videos and butchered enough metal to have a basic understanding. Still, as an embeded software engineer I've done enough signaling (DIO, AIO), PID loop and stepper work that wiring the components together does not bother me. The tuning software for the servo's actully looks pretty interesting. It's the things I don't know that concern me. There'll be a good learning curve here. Maybe it'll keep my brain from rotting but most think it's already rotted to the core
Then you are better off than from coming the other way, a manual machinist trying to learn those infernal electric machines. Machining operations follow basic logic and common sense. The part that requires the skill and expertise is the actual cutting, and this is what the CNC automates.
JamesG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
SimpleSimon
Aspiring advrider
 
SimpleSimon's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Oddometer: 3,389
I have a similar model. I think you are better off just selling the round column and buying a BF-20, X3 or RF45 square column. There are turn-key conversions for the square column mills that are considerably less and the square column mills can be bought for what you can sell that round column for.

My 2 cents.
__________________
5f? Is that like riding down a 90 degree cliff face into a lake of fire? I thought 4f was bad. Abdelhub

"Assembled Spectator Scoring With Incriminating Photographic Evidence" or A.S.S.W.I.P.E. - Granparacer
SimpleSimon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
Tman66
Shawn's bro
 
Tman66's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Houston,Tx
Oddometer: 8,422
http://www.cnczone.com/

Have fun.
Tman66 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleSimon View Post
I have a similar model. I think you are better off just selling the round column and buying a BF-20, X3 or RF45 square column. There are turn-key conversions for the square column mills that are considerably less and the square column mills can be bought for what you can sell that round column for.

My 2 cents.
Yes, I've come to the same conclusion. I'm going to pick up a BF-20 for conversion and keep the RF-40 for manual until I sell myself on a bridgeport.
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 06:11 PM   #11
jdiaz
.
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Location: Flyover State
Oddometer: 32,154
If the mods only cost $1k, it would be the least expensive hobby Ron has had in the last 25 years.
jdiaz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 10:24 PM   #12
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdiaz View Post
If the mods only cost $1k, it would be the least expensive hobby Ron has had in the last 25 years.
True

It looks like a lot of work and a hell of a learning curve but it's something I wanted to understand for a while now. The biggest problem is that there appears to be a lot of domain knowledge that I'd rather not learn the hard way. It could turn into one of the more expensive hobby's depending on the volume "learning opportunities" (fuckups that is).
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 07:57 PM   #13
crazydrummerdude
Wacky Bongo Boy
 
crazydrummerdude's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: St Louis, MO
Oddometer: 7,567
Although you already have a potential donor, you might want to keep an eye out for someones abandoned project. There was one on St Louis craigslist recently - Grizzly mill, Mach3/computer, some tooling, and a bunch of stock for $550. I almost bought it, but I have a Grizzly lathe at work and it is such cheap junk I didn't want to spend that much on something I'd be immediately looking to replace. Spindle run-out/rigidity is my main concern.

I did acquire someones already-assembled DIY desktop CNC wood "mill" (just strap a Dremel to it) for ~$200 recently. I drive it with EMC2 software. I'm not sure if it's a real CAM program (generating g-code) as the little time I've spent with it so far, I've just manually written all my moves. I have to manually write tons of lines at work, so I'm used to the punishment.
__________________


crazydrummerdude screwed with this post 04-15-2012 at 08:03 PM
crazydrummerdude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 10:35 PM   #14
RonS OP
Out there...
 
RonS's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Dancing with roads
Oddometer: 19,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude View Post
Although you already have a potential donor, you might want to keep an eye out for someones abandoned project. There was one on St Louis craigslist recently - Grizzly mill, Mach3/computer, some tooling, and a bunch of stock for $550. I almost bought it, but I have a Grizzly lathe at work and it is such cheap junk I didn't want to spend that much on something I'd be immediately looking to replace. Spindle run-out/rigidity is my main concern.

I did acquire someones already-assembled DIY desktop CNC wood "mill" (just strap a Dremel to it) for ~$200 recently. I drive it with EMC2 software. I'm not sure if it's a real CAM program (generating g-code) as the little time I've spent with it so far, I've just manually written all my moves. I have to manually write tons of lines at work, so I'm used to the punishment.
Yeah, all these import mills (and lathes) need work. I've already replaced the spindle bearings and races with Timken's on mine. The thing is that they let you learn a lot with out spending big bucks and they do work (for some definitions of work).
RonS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 10:08 PM   #15
dorkpunch
Oops...
 
dorkpunch's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Blackfoot, ID
Oddometer: 5,115
Check instructables.com, seems like there were a few guys that had succesfully done this. Might be some good info over there.
__________________
http://www.mobilemrt.com http://www.dorkpunch.com

"I've been going to this high school for SEVEN YEARS. I'm no dummy!"
-Charles De Mar.
dorkpunch is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014