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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

This is my firstpost

I am in the early stages of looking at build methods and materials for constructing a CNC router. I envisage it having a work area of approx 500mm x 600mm. I wish to use the machine for engraving, profiling thin sheet of non-ferrous metal and possibly for light machining of wood. The machine is for hobby use only.

Whilst I own a CNC milling machine I am new to CNC routers and would very much appreciate receiving advice on materials to use in constructing the frame, choice of bearings and drive screws etc.

Thanks

Alan
 

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Hello

This is my firstpost

I am in the early stages of looking at build methods and materials for constructing a CNC router. I envisage it having a work area of approx 500mm x 600mm. I wish to use the machine for engraving, profiling thin sheet of non-ferrous metal and possibly for light machining of wood. The machine is for hobby use only.

Whilst I own a CNC milling machine I am new to CNC routers and would very much appreciate receiving advice on materials to use in constructing the frame, choice of bearings and drive screws etc.

Thanks

Alan
Alan,

I would be glad to help you answer any specific questions you have about building a CNC. There are many good plans out to accomplish your goal. Your machine is small 19"x24" so the frame won't be difficult.

Since you have a CNC mill the task is even easier.

Let me know how I can help.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bill
Thanks for your offer of assistance. My first question concerns material for the frame. Is there a significant difference in rigidity between MDF, Plywood and aluminium extrusions?
I am inclined towards a design with a moving gantry.

Alan
 

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Alan,

The short answer is yes. However lets look at it a little closer. In the size machine you plan to build, MDF can work nicely and so can a quality plywood such as Baltic Birch ply or Apple ply. When you get beyond about 3' in length MDF will sag under it's own weight. Unless you build some sort of reinforcement into it you will not be satisfied with the repeatability. Certain designs like the Joes 2006 and the Lionclaw fix this with torsion box structures.

Aluminum extrusion will build a stronger frame at a greater cost. You really need to analyze what you plan on making with the machine as your primary product before you decide what materials to make the machine from. All of the materials mentioned will work. Some will work better for a particular application then others.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bill
Thanks for your help. My interests include woodwork and model engineering. The model engineering use would be profiling thin brass sheet and aluminium. I am less certain of the type of woodworking projects it would be used other than sign making, making jigs and cutting joints.

Considering your advice and my uncertainty on the range of woodworking projects to be undertaken I think it makes sense to bite the bullet and increase the size to 24" x 36"and go for the more rigid construction method.

Alan
 

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If Ahren will ship to the UK, a cncrouterparts 4'X4' might be in order or custom order it for 3'X4'. It would be bolt togther for the most part and would be 8020 in construction with steel parts for gantries and rails.

You can go router or spindle and accomplish what you want to cut.

I personally like rack and pinion machines with slaved motors on the Y axis.

I own/built a Joes Castcnc machine with a spindle personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bill

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate the time you are taking to help me. I will look at the webb site and the posibility / cost of importing a cncrouterparts kit whilst also looking at what is available here in the UK.

I know from using the cnc mill that it is sometimes helpful to be able to change the both the speed and feed rates during an operation to improve cut and finnish. Is it the same in using a router?

Is a rack and pinion arrangement viable on say a 3 x 4 machine? (I am constrained for space in my shop

Kind regards

Alan
 

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If you're up for a DIY build, I would make a knock-off of the Fine Line Automation build using CNCRouterparts parts. If you are in the UK, you should also consider finding a local supplier for the extrusions and cut, drill, and tap yourself. With the money you save from shipping the aluminum extrusions, you could use that money for other items (unless money is not an issue).

If non-ferrous metals are your primary use for this machine, you really ought to look into a SuperPID if you are going to use a router as your spindle. This can control the rpm from 5,000 to 30,000 rpm, which is lower than most routers are capable of doing, yet recommended for cutting aluminum. For example, I think my Porter Cable 690 will only go down to 10,000 rpm.

SuperPID LINK
 

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If interested in building there is many sites on the net that offer kits or plans. I suggest Solsylva dot com for one the other is buildyourcnc dot com. Good luck with your build!
 

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Bill

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate the time you are taking to help me. I will look at the webb site and the posibility / cost of importing a cncrouterparts kit whilst also looking at what is available here in the UK.

I know from using the cnc mill that it is sometimes helpful to be able to change the both the speed and feed rates during an operation to improve cut and finnish. Is it the same in using a router?

Is a rack and pinion arrangement viable on say a 3 x 4 machine? (I am constrained for space in my shop

Kind regards

Alan
Alan,

Another member was the one who recommended the CNCrouterparts machine. I built a Joescnc and think it is nice. However, if you could afford one, the Camaster Stinger would be a nice fit. The stinger is a Rack & Pinion machine.

Personally, I will probably build all my machines because I enjoy it and it saves me some bucks.

Bill
 

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I have lots of pictures of my build posted on several forums. I will post a few here but perhaps it would be better if I just did a thread so I don't hijack this one. I plan to post some pictures on my blog as well as here. Obviously my blog will have more details :).

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Paul

Paul

Thanks for sharing the pictures.
The cost of importing parts from the USA, such as the linear motion carriage is high due to post charges and import taxes. Does this type of bearing have a significant advantage over say linear bearings on a supported rail? I can buy the supported rail, ground and hardened in sizes 12mm to 25mm diameter bar, in the UK.

Alan
 

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Hi Bill,

I'm interested in the comparison you just made in your post. Does it mean that up to a certain point, Baltic Birch and Apple Ply could fit beyond 3'? Or will they tend to sagging as the MDF?

- plouf -

In the size machine you plan to build, MDF can work nicely and so can a quality plywood such as Baltic Birch ply or Apple ply. When you get beyond about 3' in length MDF will sag under it's own weight.
 

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Hi Bill,

I'm interested in the comparison you just made in your post. Does it mean that up to a certain point, Baltic Birch and Apple Ply could fit beyond 3'? Or will they tend to sagging as the MDF?

- plouf -
plouf,

Essentially the same problem exists with MDF and ply longer than 3 feet. To see what I mean, go to a local lumber yard and select a 4'x 4' sheet of plywood. Suspend it horizontally between two shopping carts and look to see if the board bows. You will notice that it will bow.

Most people design big MDF router tables and don't take this into consideration. However, a properly designed torsion box could solve the problem at the expense of weight. Another solution is some form of metal supports beneath the wood table....

Small routers are great for MDF. Big router require special designing and material selection.

Hope that helps.

Bill
 

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hello

I have just finished my first CNC build

I can't post a video yet as I need to post 10 time before

I would be happy to help you if I can on finding materials and suppliers I used

as I live in the uk as well

Tom:shout::shout:
 

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I have just finished my first CNC build

I can't post a video yet as I need to post 10 time before

I would be happy to help you if I can on finding materials and suppliers I used

as I live in the uk as well

Tom:shout::shout:
Welcome Tom.
Say hi to 9 more people in the introductions forum & you will have your ten in a matter of minutes.
 
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