"One Perfect Part at a Time"


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?

The Hole Picture

Holy AluminumI spent most of the day on Sunday getting the bulk of this project constructed. I’ll tell the hole story latter. For now lets say the project was really boring but I stayed with it. I took more pictures so there will be a thread to follow once I publish them. So for now many readers will recognise what this is for the rest of you be careful, it might be a set-up.

~ Dan’l

The “hole” job was finished last Saturday. See full story at The Hobbyist Machine Shop, first entry under Projects in the menu bar.

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

Long Weekend

Thanks Presidents and TAC. I have an extra long weekend ahead. More time to pla… er, work in the shop. 🙂 I have a couple of mods to make to the old CNC power supply/controller and am considering hooking it up to the HB1 machine. I have some new Dremel sized router bits ordered but may pick up one more at Lowe’s if they don’t show up today. Then I can give the HB1 machine a workout this weekend.

The new PS/Controller won’t be ready for awhile and I am anxious to see the little HB1 in operation again with the new Dremel mount. I may even get motivated to add the limit switches. A dilemma many of us hobby machinist face. Is it more fun to constantly modify the tools or use them? ~ Dan’l

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