See and Seeing
I have committed myself to taking a fresh start and doing some more CNC work. The reason being is I have discovered some projects I want to do that will provide new products for The Hobbyist Machine Store. They will be best produced through CNC repeatability. The store has proven to me that I must produce my own product. Exclusivity is the key to success. My products may be similar to others but will never be the same.
I am doing some minor rebuild on the original homebuilt CNC gantry style engraver shown here, primarily a solid mount for the Dremel tool I already own. I am also considering making a mount for the Proxxon Professional Rotary Tool IB/E (NO 38 481). The working area of the engraver machine is 5.5″ x 6.0″ so the small hand engravers are a good match. My first projects will fit this small machine very well.
I have also ordered the basic parts for a second CNC power supply / controller. It will be set up to operate this little gantry machine. I will post that project in the THMS web site. I will use the same components as my first controller but in a different case and layout. I don’t like to mess too much with success.
Then, a new design is to build a larger gantry CNC machine that will be able to use more powerful spindle drives such as high speed routers. Table working area will be at least 12″ x 24″ and may approach the 24″ x 36″ range as anything bigger than this gets out of the reliable range for stepper drives. Extremely fast rapids are not required and I don’t want the expense of designing a servo system. Anticipated first project (product) is much smaller than the larger range but extra area can’t just be added later.
I am in the design / discovery phase on this larger machine. It is fun starting off a design with a clean slate. This machine will be another engraver and not be designed as a true mill. No flood cooling or heavy metal work, thin metal yes. All machining will be dry. The shop vacuum will be the primary clean up tool. That makes the design choices easier.
I will say I have been influenced by my interest in the laser engraving and cutting machines (projects) that I have been studying. I finally “saw the light” so to speak when I realized many items I was looking at could be done by a rotary engraver at a lot less initial cost with no burned edges. This was sort of backwards engineering but was exactly how those items were made before the laser was available. I also realized I could cut and engrave metal without the laser limitations. Do I want a laser? Of course! But not until it can pay its own way.