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Homebrew CNC



Gadget
03-14-2009, 08:58 AM
I have been going through the process of building a home brew CNC table for routing and plasma cutting. I don't know all there is to know but I have learned a lot so far. I am more than happy to share what I have learned with anyone who is interested in exploring the option of building their own unit.
It is quite confusing at the start with all the different CAD/CAM packages out there. Some are extremely expensive for home use and others are free (I like free). Others are moderately priced making home use possible.
Anyone with any questions feel free to PM me or post your questions here. I will do my best to answer them.

Dan

Mike94531
04-09-2009, 08:18 AM
Hi Dan,

What did you end up using for the table portion that the metal sits on to me cut?

I'd guess something inexpensive and easy to replace?

Are you going to do or build something to capture the smoke and dust it creates or do you just open some doors??

Gadget
04-09-2009, 08:20 AM
Mike,
I have an open bottom with two angle iron cross members adjustable for width. I clamp the cross members then clamp the metal to them. It works on smaller items up to 12 to 15 inches. Larger the warpage can be an issue.
As for ventilation, I use a floor fan to blow the dust out the open garage door. Works pretty well for me. You can see some videos of my table in operation by searching Youtube for the user Gadget047. I had them linked here on the old forums but don't know offhand if they are still linked in the new forum.
Dan

technomitch
05-14-2009, 06:57 PM
Gadget . . what are you using for the elctronics ?? Did you scround all parts or bought everything ?? I have a book of plans for different CNC tables and have looked at a few on CNCZone, but just don't know !!

Gadget
05-14-2009, 08:14 PM
Hi Techno,
I used the board kit and motors from HobbyCNC.com. Get the biggest motors you can afford, the smaller ones cannot get the speed needed for practical use.
Dan

technomitch
05-19-2009, 10:10 AM
Another question . . How important is the "Idle Current reduction" feature ??

Gadget
05-19-2009, 10:42 AM
Another question . . How important is the "Idle Current reduction" feature ??

Idle current reduction reduces the power to the motors when idle saving energy and heat buildup. Some people run without it but most run with it.

Dan

TyRex
05-20-2009, 07:05 AM
Is there a reason you chose the Hobby CNC package over a g540 setup?

Gadget
05-20-2009, 08:34 AM
HobbyCNC was the most economical setup I could find. It included the board kit, motors, and cabling. The G450 drive alone was almost as much as the entire HCNC kit.

Dan

technomitch
05-20-2009, 02:06 PM
Gadget . . I ordered the HobbyCNC Pro kit Monday. Look forward to putting it together. Another question, you've probably answered . . . I have TurboCAD, but if I read right I will need some "Control" software to drive the motors. If so what do you use ??

Thanks.

Gadget
05-20-2009, 04:34 PM
I use EMC2 CAM software on Ubuntu Linux. If you go to the EMC2 site you can download the entire package and it is free. Just install from CD and it loads the OS and CAM software in one bundle. Don't be afraid of Linux it is pretty easy to work with.
An altrnative using a windows PC would be Mach3, that costs about $160.00
You will also probably want Sheetcam TNG to convert DFX files to GCode. You can get Mach3 and Sheetcam in a package deal if you want to go that way.
dan

technomitch
05-28-2009, 08:38 AM
The pro kit arrived Saturday . . . By that night I had it finished and tested. Very easy kit !! I have a couple of BIG plotters in storage that I have not checked yet for steppers and the rail system, hope to this weekend.

Quick question . . . Why is a big, 24Vdc - 30amp, power supply needed ?? I do not wish to flow 30amps through the driver board.

Thanks.

Gadget
05-28-2009, 01:58 PM
I know you need the 24v but since the motors only draw about 4 amp max and the fuze as I recall is at 10amps I don't know why you would need the 30 amp transformer. I just went with the exact unit they suggested and even bought from the suggested supplier.
Dan

JoshF
07-27-2009, 05:36 PM
Ok now Im curious. Got some pics? I looked at the hobbycnc site ez kit. It is cheap. But there must be a lot not included. How much could I expect to spend to build a similar setup to yours.

Gadget
07-27-2009, 06:42 PM
Josh,
I have several videos of the table in action on youtube. Do a search for Gadget047. I estimate I spent under $1500 for everything. I didn't have to buy the PC or monitor though. That doesn't include the plasma cutter though.
Let me know if you need links to the plans or any other info.
Dan

BearNPum
08-24-2009, 12:00 PM
Gadget,

Any reason not to go with the Solsylva plans? Looks like the biggest plan they have is a 24X48 bed. Looking at the video, looks like you opted for the 25X25 - yes? Do you think you could do without the Z motor?

Gadget
08-24-2009, 05:49 PM
Gadget,

Any reason not to go with the Solsylva plans? Looks like the biggest plan they have is a 24X48 bed. Looking at the video, looks like you opted for the 25X25 - yes? Do you think you could do without the Z motor?

Mine is the 25X37 unit in the old plans. I chose this unit due to the twin X lead screws. I didn't want a lead screw running under the cut area. I mounted the unit on a metal frame with a removable table so I can switch from plasma to router easily. I think the third axis will be needed to keep the torch close to the metal. If you were to use a floating head that rests on the metal and allows for free z movement you might be ok. I personally like the Solsylva plans, I would probably use the belt drive if I were to build again. The threaded rod lead screws were the first thing I replaced. I just couldn't get the rapid speed needed with the threaded rod. Went from 18tpi to 5, that made a great difference.
I would also check with Simon, he has been investigating the possibility of handling some CNC plasma outfits. Not sure if he has committed yet though.

BearNPum
08-24-2009, 11:42 PM
I will check their plans closer and likely buy the plans and start collecting widgets.

If I went belt drive, do you think I could take say the 25X25 plan and widen the table size to something like 30 X 30?

I would plan to buy the pilot arc cutter, any idea how to have the CNC SW light the torch up?

matteh99
08-25-2009, 09:08 AM
If you had a CNC controller that had a spindle start it wouldn't be hard to get that switched over to turning on a relay for the plasma torch. The controller kits I have looked at don't have any thing for spindle control but some one must make one.

Gadget
08-25-2009, 06:02 PM
I bought a relay break out board from HobbyCNC.com that will start and stop the torch. I use the coolant on and off function in EMC2 (cnc controller) to activate the relay. This is pretty easy when you get into it. I can help with the setup if you need it.
Dan

BearNPum
08-26-2009, 09:10 AM
I will be checking with Solsylva about sizing up the 25X25 table, and will be asking more questions as I start getting parts together.

Gadget
08-26-2009, 10:06 AM
It should resize with no problems. Don't pick a unit that has the lead screw for the X axis under the table.

BearNPum
08-27-2009, 11:23 PM
E-mailed Solsylva. David sells a set of the original plans for 5 machines, including I believe the one that Gadget built. Those are here - http://solsylva.com/cnc/original_cnc_plans.shtml (http://solsylva.com/cnc/original_cnc_plans.shtml) . One of these is a belt drive table. No problem expanding or shrinking the size as needed. I have ordered this plan set...

Gadget
08-28-2009, 06:20 AM
You are correct, I built my table from one of the original 5 plan sets. I wish now I had built the belt drive unit but mine works fine so I will just continue using it.
I think I will be doing some work with it this weekend. If I do I will take some videos now that I have better speed for the unit.
Dan

BearNPum
08-28-2009, 12:02 PM
Dan,

Would you rather have the belt drive just for the speed. Or is there some other advantage you are looking at? The disadvantage will be belt wear/replacement, and I suppose less accuracy (although I won't be making precision parts).

itsmecord
11-08-2009, 09:38 PM
If I can ever swing buying a plasma cutter (looking at the weldall 250PI ?) then I may be hitting you up for some more "detailed" details LOL

matteh99
11-09-2009, 07:25 AM
I have started on the electronics part of a CNC plasma. I have the stepper motor controller hooked up to my computer. Which is a fun toy but not as fun as if they were hooked to a plasma cutter. A while ago I had the time to work on the CNC plasma but no money to buy parts. Now that I started working at the antique car place I have the money but no time. Oh well.

KHK
11-09-2009, 11:04 AM
Just wait until you retire! You will have no MONEY and no TIME Every one in the family knows that you are retired and they find plenty of projects for you to do!

matteh99
11-09-2009, 11:42 AM
If I retire at 65 I have 36 more years to collect toys to play with after I retire. :) Hopefully my Longevity welder will still work then. So I have some time...

Eric

itsmecord
11-09-2009, 11:53 AM
Wow,I have A LONG time before I can even think if retiring.

HerbD
11-09-2009, 01:44 PM
Yes, Kieth is right. If I thought I was busy before retiring . . . now it is like having too many jobs. Everyone is sure you are looking for something to do and has a little project or something to fix for them.

I'd just like to get a chance to use my lathe, mill, and welder more on projects I want to work on.

After a year and some months I finally got to welding some aluminum, and it worked well. The Longevity LS200-P is a good machine, serves my needs well. Now where did I put that "extra" time I was waiting to use?

HerbD 8-)

Gadget
11-09-2009, 05:01 PM
March 12th 2010 is my retirement date. Can't wait, I already have all my toys gathered.

arandall
11-09-2009, 05:45 PM
Yeah. Retirement. - Ain't it grand!!
Actually it is. I'm as busy as I ever was, and no - people don't take advantage of the fact I'm retired. I just seem to be able to keep myself busy all on my own - sometimes too busy.
The difference is, I'm the one cracking the whip, not someone else - silly to complain about that I guess!!

Cheers,
Art R.

Gadget
11-09-2009, 06:19 PM
I'm really looking forward to it. I have lots of projects lined up and the fish are just out there waiting for me. Also, I can do two a day training runs and hopefully bring home even more medals.

D94r
12-02-2009, 03:05 AM
Darnit, the ease and price make me want to build one myself now.

I'm quickly running out of space in my garage though for "big" tools.

Kendrick
09-22-2010, 06:12 PM
maybe im blind but i dont see any plans but lead screw type :/

Gadget
09-22-2010, 08:30 PM
maybe im blind but i dont see any plans but lead screw type :/

The plans are on another website that was listed earlier in this thread. Here is the link.
http://solsylva.com/cnc/original_cnc_plans.shtml
Dan