"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Vertical Lathe

Photo 3a

Maybe not true vertical, but the X tooling moves in that direction…

If this photo grabs your attention then follow this link for the whole story in The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop — Visitors tab.  http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/cms/visitors/george-moorehead

George Moorehead hails from Gig Harbor, Washington and is currently in the process of setting up a new workshop in his home for his retirement years. Sounds like we share a lot in common. This is a mod George made to two machines to create a CNC vertical X movement lathe. Interesting!

Thanks for sharing George.

Are You a Digital Machinist?

CNCubeI have been looking at my past but more recent machining activities. I have realized it is almost 100% CNC operations. I now have two Taig CNC mills in my shop. Two? Yeah.

I have to sell the newest one or find a use for it. I have been doing wax carving so I could set up one machine for that and use the other for general metal machining. I am in no big hurry so I will just go with the flow on this.

My shop will remain on the micro/mini size of machining. I think I will be promoting a lot more of what can be done with CNC. I am doing that already so no change there. I don’t have a CNC lathe so maybe that is something for me to explore in more detail. It wouldn’t be too hard to CNC the Taig micro lathe. Perhaps a future project.

I just re-energized my subscription to the hobbyist Digital Machinist magazine. I need to come up to speed on what is the latest happenings in the hobbyist CNC. It’s only published 4X per year so it’s not that big a deal.

I admit I have been off wandering around trying to find a purpose in my hobby activities. For me its been a kind of pre-retirement panic of what am I going to be doing for the rest of my life. I am sure I am not alone with these thoughts. It’s not that I have nothing to do, it’s certain that I will be making things.

Like the special purpose magazine, Digital Machinist – I am thinking a special tab in my blog here or the old THMS website just for CNC activities. Maybe the mag will give me some ideas on subject matter and… Continue reading

Déjà Vu

Oh my goodness… I just had an amazing thought. I just realized I could have a use for two CNC micro mills. I have the new one (#2) up for sale but now I see there can be a good reason for me to keep it if it doesn’t sell. (But for now, it is still for sale …)

Mill one (#1) runs beautifully and with its SmoothStepper equipped controller, is still very much state of the art. I have a rotary forth axis already designed and tested with it. That is what sparked my thought. It is fairly “fussy” to convert the machine from three axis to four axis. That is because of all the squaring and adjusting to get everything bolted down, square and true to each other, heights checked, etc.

It is not a job to be spending time on if projects keep me jumping from four axis to three axis work. It’s like owning a “do all” three-in-one milling or woodworking system. Changing the setup becomes a major portion of the work.

The number 1 machine stepper motors max out at 50 to 60 IPM (~1000+ RPM) which is beyond what is normally needed in 4 axis milling. So it is ideal for that use. I could leave that machine as a dedicated rotary 4 axis setup.

On the new mill (#2) with its fast rapids (2000 RPM), I can keep the fixture plate mounted (plate not required for 4 axis milling) and then let it become the dedicated 3… Continue reading

CNC Controller Review

DSC04323No more sneak peeks, testing is done and a report has been written. I have a controller to recommend for the Taig CNC ready Micro-mill. Follow the link HERE toThe Hobbyist Machine Shop for my usual in depth and photographic review. I have the CNC4PC product, the CS4PAO-3 CNC Controller all exposed for your inspection.

Sneak Peak 2

Version two of the CNC controller I have been helping develop is now in my workshop. I have had a chance to do some testing and it is performing very well. There is a “Sneak Preview Two” over in The Hobbyist Machine Store Blog.

This is my recommendation for the Taig CNC Micro-mill. Of course it can be used for many other CNC machines.  Taig has a somewhat unique issue against running at high speeds. The 20 TPI screws provide excellent torque but require 2,000 rpm to achieve 100 IPM (Inches per Minute) travel.  Most steppers max out about 1500 rpm and run most comfortably at 500-750 rpm. The original Taig CNC Micro-mill still brags about 30 IPM rapids.

The stepper motors are picked for low impedance and high speed and using a digital driver that can punch out the torque using the 36 volts, the result is solid 100 IPM on the Taig Micro-mill. It will lift the heavy Taig motor and spindle all day at that speed without stalling.

I don’t intend to do any machining at 100 IPM as the bits I use won’t take the force. It is an impressive “rapid” speed when desired. However, I also have some concern about potential increased wear with constant operation that speed. More later…

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