"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Home Brew 2

HB2 Lives

This is the first package of materials for the construction of the HB2 CNC router project. There is a full description of this first shipment in my The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop web site.

Look in the Site Tools drop down menu and select “What’s New”. Scroll down in the pop up window until you see the “HB2 Construction” link.

This is the first of what will likely be many articles on the construction of the HB2.

It is finally out of the dream and scheme stage and into the build phase.

Update 7/6: Drill Patterns all cut and trimmed.

Small But Mighty

If you read the special Article I wrote called Funding HB2 you know I am struggling with the cost of building a large first class CNC router, especially the long term consequences of a large investment. Like many hobbyist, I become very zealous in studying all the details before I leap. Actually that is a worthy trait for the hobbyist that has if nothing else, a lot of time.

What I decided is HB2 is not a machine for business. I discuss that option in the other article. HB1 is definitely too small for the work I want to attempt such as 3D Lithophanes. So is the Taig, but the Taig does provide a 5.5″x12″ working area. I can dabble there. My vision for HB2 has focused in on a working area between 18″x18″ and 24″x24″. Standard quarter and half sheet engraving material can be purchased in 12″x24″ and 24″x24″ sizes. That makes 18″x24″ sound real good as a target size.

That smaller footprint can help provide a very stable platform because of the shorter spans at a reasonable cost for materials. Also that sizes HB2 components so they can be machined on my existing machine shop tools.

The shorter spans reduce the need for high speed rapids and put the controls back into the realm of stepper motors. The best part is I think for me, that it can be built out-of-pocket with no long term finance or pressure to get return on investment. Hmm… a hobby perhaps?

HB2 Ramblin’ Update

HB1 and TaigI have been spending some more time with my HB1 (Home Brew) engraving machine. I have been taking careful measurements of the movement of all the axis. In an earlier post I reported that there was a problem in the Z axis “dead-band”. As I have observed and measured yesterday, the backlash in the other two axis although not horrible are nothing to brag about either. This drives me to thinking about why I built the machine in the first place.

I was influenced by John Kleinbauer’s web site on building low cost CNC machines. I ordered and built his controller and bought a set of drawings. I was influenced by his concepts but not so much as to duplicate his designs. John is just a bit of a weird duck but he is sincere. Appearing public on the web is quite a challenge in time management. I believe the HB1 is every bit as accurate as John’s designs. I believe John has provided a path for a lot of folks to do more than as he calls it “spin motors”. His web site is a good place to check out low cost CNC.

That said, Having HB1 operational within a few hundred dollars budget is a great introduction to machine design and construction. It is a good operating machine but can not be used where 0.001″ accuracy is required. I won’t be carving jewelry designs, but that was never the intention. Simple wood carvings come out well.

The key to the new design for the HB2 is intention. Just what do I want the machine to be able to do for me? The wrong answer is “everything.” I have spent a lot of time deciding on “purpose”. I have invested in Vectric software as… Continue reading

Projects Not Quite on the Bench

I am getting enthused with my many design sketches for the next CNC machine. It has been hard for me to scale back on size with my design schemes. It all relates to my own advice that I must have a product I want to produce and size the machine to accomplish the task. What I really must do is to keep it within a size constraint that will fit into my residential shop area. It still looks like ~ 25 x 25 or so working area with larger overall dimensions.

There have been lessons learned on the first machine I built both good and bad, which in a way makes the bad discoveries a good learning experience. Boy is it ever true; the bigger you want to go the much more it is going to cost!

On the first machine I found out how critical perfect alignment is for a machine just to be able to move. I am planning for that on the new design. Linear slides do not tolerate poor alignments and deflection.

It is too soon to release my machine design thoughts. I don’t have all the details worked out as I like to design/build. I am considering doing some drawings this time. It will be a more serious design than the first machine and that may gather interest from other hobbyists. I am definitely aiming at the hobbyist user (me) but the design will be able do serious work. A small machine shop is definitely required to build this one. I plan to make some of the more costly parts. (Mmm… maybe a kit design?)

I am currently working on the new CNC controller and I will grab some pix of that as it goes together. Electrically it will be very… Continue reading

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