The Sherline Rotary table comes with a bracket to mount it directly onto the table in a horizontal configuration. Unfortunately it only works with the Sherline table because of the placement of the t-slots. I decided to make an adapter as the first metal on my new mill. The first thing I did was designed the adapter. You can see a picture of the design below.
I’ve attached two more pictures below of it installed.
What is the point of having it horizontal? It allows me to mill threads, hollow out wheels, or do anything that requires a rotational element. In some ways, it gives the mill the capabilities of a lathe.
I learned a few lessons.
First I need a work table to mount on top of this table. I hit the top of the table with the bit, but just barely. A work table on top would have prevented that.
Second, I needed to lower the spindle speed when drilling. At 10k rpm, the bit chattered and had a real though time. I dropped the speed down to 1100 rpm and it cut through the metal like butter. I don’t understand it yet, but it was amazing.
Third, I couldn’t fit one of the larger bits to countersink the hole. The shaft was too large for the Jacob’s chuck. I didn’t have much vertical room either. Things are going to be tight.
Fourth, I did lots of strange clamping because the vice couldn’t open large enough. Either I need better hold down equipment or a bigger vice.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I planned to add a 4th Axis to my Taig. With a 4th axis, the items that you can mill open up significantly. For example, gears are very easy to do with the table in a 90 degree position. You can also cut threads inside or outside of an item by laying the table flat on the x axis. Lastly, if you use a tailstock as well, you can mill the top and bottom of an object if you build the right jig.
In order to make it work, I first had to add another stepper controller to my CNC controller. You can see in the picture below that I’ve added the board all the way on the right. I also added a relay board, but I haven’t put that to use just yet. More on that to come.
On the stepper driver itself, I added a piece of angled aluminum to act as a heat sync. Running 3 amps of current through those motors generates a bit of heat. Its a little smaller than the one that Probotix used, but it should work well enough. Time will tell. There is a nice large fan that blows across them as well. I’ve used another xlr connector to connect this new stepper to keep consistent. I actually believe the xlr connectors work very well for this. The next picture is one of the power supply. This is a 40V linear power supply. Its a beast!
The following picture is the Sherline Rotary Table installed on the Carter Tools right angle adapter mounted to the Taig Mill. I’ve installed another Probotix 280 oz/in stepper. I don’t think that much torque is necessary for just using the 4th axis, but if I convert this to a 5th axis machine it will help with the additional weight.
Lastly, I’ve captured a video of it running. It looks awesome and I can’t wait to use it!
Today I finished my vacuum reservoir. I have posted before about the vacuum table and the pump, but this is the last missing piece. I used the instructions (and a few parts) from the JoeWoodworker site. The goal is that it should allow the pump to run in a more optimal manner. More specifically, it won’t have to run continuously. The switch will turn it on to replenish the vacuum just like normal compressors do. This isn’t exactly necessary for vacuum chucking, but it will help whenever I need to pull down and hold a vacuum. Here are the pictures:
So a few notes about the setup. I’m able to pull down about 25″ hg with the complete setup, which is a little less than I was able to get with just the gauge on the pump. That amount of vacuum is plenty for my purposes.
In the pictures, you see a lever with a red handle. That lever allows you to cut off vacuum to the accessory that is connected. This is useful to build up a vacuum before connecting it to the accessory. When you flip the lever, it immediately gives you suction. You’ll also see two standard light switches in the junction box. The first switch allows you to turn it on, and the second allows you to force the pump to run continuously. You would want to enable the latter switch if the pump was cutting on and off every 30 seconds or so. Frequent power oscillations are supposed to be more damaging than a continuous run.
The screw up of the night was dripping PVC glue on one of the brass fittings. Because of it, one of the pipes is sticking out an inch further than the other.
I bought a vacuum pump off of eBay not too long ago to use for a vacuum clamping system. While its works well, (and I’ll post about it later), there are two fan blades on each side that are exposed. I wanted to cover them up to prevent a foot, hand or other object from making its way into the blades.
I decided that it would be easiest to make a cover on my laser cutter. So I thought up a design, modeled it in a 3d program, and it came out like this …
I had originally hoped on doing a swirl, but I settled for a more classic pattern. So the next step is to turn it into something that is usable. The laser cutter acts like a print driver, and I’ve typically used Corel Draw to send the images to it. While some may grimace at the product, its commonly used for laser cutting systems. The dxf that I imported (and duplicated) looks a bit like this.
Notice that the color is red and that the lines are hairline width. This tells the print driver to vector cut those lines as opposed to raster cutting. There is a tremendous difference in the speed of one approach versus the other. The magic happens when I click print …
You can see from the video that it is completing the outer circle on the first cover. I’m using 1/8″ acrylic because its all thats required and I have plenty on hand. When the cuts are complete, it looks like the following:
I think it cut those out pretty well. You can see the first set of cuts on the left were from measurement errors. Like the old adage says, “Measure twice and cut once”. So lastly, I have a picture of the cover installed. It actually came out very well. The size was perfect. I think the restraints could be a bit better, but they will do just fine.
I started sewing just over a year and a half ago. I thought it would be really neat to have an embroidery machine to add personalization to some of the things I sew. I love making gifts for people, especially for babies. So I put it on my Christmas list. After finding out that my husband and I are going to have another baby in July, I told my husband that I didn’t want it anymore. I was worried that it would be a while before I would really have the time to use it. Regardless, there was a large box for me under the tree with a Brother 270D Sewing and Embroidery Machine in it!
With all of the excitement with Christmas and just being tired all the time, it wasn’t until today that I was able to give it a try. I sat down with the manual to get acquainted with my new machine. I decided to just use the thread that was already threaded in the machine since this machine threads much differently than my other sewing machine. I sewed a few straight lines just to make sure the thread was threaded properly and that the machine did work before trying to embroider.
Once that was done, I prepped my fabric by ironing some interfacing to my fabric. I put it onto the hoop and attached the embroidery unit to the machine. I selected a simple bow pattern that used only one color for my first test. It didn’t come out perfect. There is a place on one side where the thread is not laying flat against the fabric. After I looked at the thread in the machine, I found that it was all purpose sewing thread. I am off to find some embroidery thread so that I can try it again.
Here is a picture of the finished product:
Our son, Alex, loves his Dad’s Makerbot. He likes to sit with his Dad, watch it print, and try to “help” him work on it. Since he can’t quite say “Makerbot”, he calls it a “Make Bot.”
Alex got a tool set for Christmas. Whenever he carries around the pliers, he says “Make Bot” and goes looking for the Makerbot so that he can work on it.
We are looking forward to doing lost of fun projects together once our little maker gets older. I am NOT looking forward to all of the things he will take apart like his father did when he was young.
In the first part, I created took the circuit and created the gcode that the machine would use. This part will show it actually running on the machine.
First, the overall setup that I’m using. I’m using a Taig CNC Mill with a vacuum table to hold down the PCB.
The first thing we do is load up the gcode file into emc2, put the bit in, home it, and get started. You can see two videos below of the etching process. The first is an overview and the second is a closeup.
Etching is the first step in the process. As an option in pcb2gcode, I have predrill the holes in the copper. The next step is to drill.
After we drill we need to mill the board. Milling is effectively cutting out just the part of the PCB that you need. A video of the milling process is below.
The end result of the process is in the following picture. I didn’t go deep enough with the drill or milling bits. Since this was my first attempt at milling/drilling, I don’t feel so bad
Unfortunately I was not able to cut it the rest of the way out. Its easy enough to do another board, and I want to get it right anyway. Look for more updates to come.
So you’ve see my milling examples in previous posts. I’ve been working on getting the toolchain right, getting the hardware right, etc, etc. I’m going to walk you through the steps on milling a PCB. For his example, I downloaded a RBBB arduino from this instructable. You can see the board pulled up in my Eagle window.
The next step is to run the pcb2gcode ulp program. I’ll leave it up to you to google on how to install and configure it. Needless to say, the configuration requires a lot of customization for your setup. Once we run it, it generates a negative image of the cut path. There are two images below, one for etching and the second for milling. I’m not sure why drilling doesn’t show up.
These aren’t particularly riveting images. They do allow you to check that the paths look right and the right files are generated. The output of pcb2gcode is a series of ngc files. Next, you load these up into emc2. Emc is the cnc controller that I use. When you load them up, they look like the following:
What I typically do is run the emc2 software in a emulator to simulate the run before running it in the actual mill. I like to make sure that the tolerances are correct and that the gcode doesn’t make the machine do something strange. I’ll add the actually milling in part 2.
Trying to mill PCBs requires a very accurate spindle. The spindle is the part that holds the collett that you mount the tool in. Basically, the more it wobbles, the less accurate your cut will be. On PCBs with SMT size traces, this is critical. There is a measure called T.I.R. (Total Indicated Runout). To measure this, you need a precise dial indicator. Typically, runout is measured in the thousands of an inch. One of the members in my local hackerspace (Midsouth Makers) was nice enough to loan me his Starrett Last Word Dial Indicator.
First, I measured the runout on the Taig spindle. I plan to use the Taig as my primary milling tool, so I checked it first. The video is below:
The runout on the Taig measures .0015, which isn’t too bad for an endmill an inch away from the spindle.
At the same time, I measured the runout on the special spindle that I purchased for PCB milling. You can see the results below:
Here you can see a big improvement. The runout on this one is < .0005. That will allow me to do SMD components. Keep in mind though that its a precision purpose built spindle that runs at 20k rpm. I need to build an adapter to mount the spindle to the Taig so that I don’t need to remove the Taig motor. Look for that to come.
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