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Topics - Stonemull

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Grbl Controller / Headless GRBL
« on: February 14, 2018, 07:31:31 PM »
Still have my CNC plasma cutter concept in the thinking machine but getting the hardware together.
Recently made a battery pack adapter to drive it with
Reason being is plasma cutters etc are pretty awful on the noise front, also requires my fairly large air compressor to cycle and between the 2 it iften blows the breaker to the shed, so decided I want the controller headless (no PC) and battery operated, if I stick a SD card on it, need a way to select files and home the machine etc, so a display and sone sort of input device is required.
I now have a PC just for going in the shed and wired the shed up with the house ethernet, its an old touch screen HP, I added a dual boot to it as I thought running LinuxCNC might be a future option, since decided to go headless on the plasma though. The PC is now setup with Eclipse and I have it compiling grbl for the Ramps 1.4 though, so good for dev work currently.
Today the rest if the hardware arrived, everything I should need.
Hoping someone has already done the hard work but not found anything driving these graphic displays with grbl yet.
Anyway, still alive and doing stuff o/

Mini CNC / Sieg ?
« on: December 20, 2017, 08:43:15 AM »
I was pricing bits to make an aluminium capable mill, still no idea, tossing up c-beam, sbr16, sbr20 etc etc.. looking like not much going to happen under $1000 in reality .. bits add up.

Then I saw these on ebay

These sieg machines are rebranded as lots of others, including harbor freight, so now I am wondering how hard it would be to add some nema23's to something like this instead, might need gearing down but so what, pretty easy to come up with something I reckon.
One thing that has me wondering .. backlash, I see the fine Z axis winder on the front has half a turn of backlash before it engages the coarse spindle.

couple of example videos in action

and oh .. here is one converted to CNC ..

and one doing 1/4 steel plate with CNC

comment by uploader
Exactly, I have not using a chuck, just a end mill holder made by my self, you know, to convert the X2 machine is very easy and not so expensive, have good kits on market like little machine shop.

ok, looking for sieg x2 cnc turns up like this kit
which is nearly as exxy as the mill and includes new ballscrews .. but not the motors or mounts, damn. I still wonder if its doable without exxy added bits.

found a thread with a dude doing a conversion

So .. what ya reckon.
Can you see disadvantages of going this route ?

edit: forgot to mention this guy too ..

combo lathe mill, dunno, might do neither well ..

Z Axis / Adding z axis driver to stock Mana SE
« on: December 01, 2017, 06:39:50 AM »

Wanted to link it here so I can find it in future.

Mini CNC / Spindle motor arrived .. now to assemble a machine around it
« on: December 01, 2017, 05:17:55 AM »
So I have had this in my shopping cart for months and just decided what the he** and ordered it..
Arrived today .. tested with my tacho at just over 10000 rpm, pretty torquey, I have not fully tried to stall it at low revs as I figure that is not nice to the controller but it hurts the fingers just trying to slow it down.
Peeking in through the side I can see the main filter cap is 400V, I prefer 450V which you get in better gear.
My mains is 253.5V today .. so multiply by root 2 and you get 358.5V .. a bit close to 400 for my liking.

I thought I found a glitch with Banggood website .. neither the iPad app or the website gave me the ability to confirm the delivery, the button is just missing. Sent an email off to the help desk thinking it was a bug, no

The "confirm delivery" button will be showed after 5 days of the order has been shipped.
Could you plesae wait for a few days?

So talk about fast delivery, damn, never seen that before. Sure enough I ordered on Nov 25.

Now .. what to do with it, my old sherline mini lathe runs an old universal sewing machine motor, that could do with an upgrade.

Or .. I fit it to the dodgy bendy mini mill and see if the extra torque allows it to cut aluminium, I doubt it.

Or .. I bite the bullet and buy some SBR12 or SBR16 .. which ? I would really like to make something that works, it does not have to be large .. I think now that buying the larger version of the engraver was a mistake, if I did it again I would buy the smaller profile version.

General Discussion / MIT concept printer
« on: November 30, 2017, 06:11:11 AM »
This could be interesting, up to 10x faster and melt with a laser.

Projects / SMD solder stencil
« on: November 29, 2017, 06:01:31 AM »
This is for stenciling solder paste onto a pcb so you can reflow it in an IR oven, hot plate or hot air, if you are careful not to blow the parts away.

If you are mass producing boards you usually buy a laser cut stainless steel stencil, you can also get cheaper mylar or polyamide versions, I wanted to try DIY.

I can't seem to find suitable sheet stock yet, figured I would try what was to hand first.
First thing I saw, black insulation tape.. hmm

Needed to stick it to something, blank copper seemed a good choice.
Imported a gerber 'paste' stencil into T2, ran auto trace and ran the default 'cut' profile, full powrr at 100mm/min.
Burn away .. realised after I started this is likely evil vinyl tape, toxic fume stuff .. meep, held breath, it's only small.
Advantage of tape is peeling it off leaves the cut out sections behind, tape is probably going to stretch but I think for a few boards it is probably a usable solution, might be a little on the thick side is all, which means too much solder on the pads.
Will report back later.

Picture shows the cut bits left behind on the copper and the resulting tape once moved and stuck elsewhere.

I also have a slightly sore throat now, might die overnight..

Projects / Thermal paper labels
« on: November 09, 2017, 05:11:35 AM »
Needed to make labels for parts drawers and grabbed my trusty labelling machine, problem was I only have black on clear tape and on clear plastic drawers it is impossible to read.

However I have a roll of good quality thermal stickers my ex grabbed me from a meat packing factory.
These things stick like sh** to a blanket andcare waterproof too.

So set a custom frame size of 30x15 in T2, write the text in sketch, etched at 200/1000 .. then right click the trace border function to burn a thin scissor cut line.

Took a while but still not found a better method. 5 more sets of drawers to go ..

General Discussion / 3 in 1 table
« on: October 18, 2017, 08:44:39 AM »
Trying to minimise desk space so modified an old computer table I boug for $10 recently.
Engraver on bottom cause it is narrow enough, 2.5W laser second floor and my pcb exposing plotter 50mW laser top.

Going to add a powered switched hub so I can just use one USB cable, power board etc..

Mini CNC / grblgnu software
« on: August 24, 2017, 09:20:52 PM »
I think this might be some useful stuff, not managed to get it to connect to my machine yet though, I have asked him a question on his youtube channel as he seems active there.

Basically I uploaded grbl 1.1e to my machine and still get 'grbl not detected' on the correct com port.
I have a bunch of 888888888888888<<<<<88888888888 in the status window from the machine.
If I close grblgnu and then open the port in realterm I get the following ..

Grbl 1.1e ['$' for help]

So it looks like grbl is hanging or something similar, I have confirmed that grblgru expects 115200 baud, so its not that... will report back if I get a response.


Mini CNC / PCB creation
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:55:09 AM »
I have had some success with making very small pcb's including double sided.

Software used is flatcam to generate gcode files which are then imported into estlcam.

Following is my very first attempt, well fourth if you count the failed ones on the same bit of copper.
I was using the 0.1mm 60 degree V bit, set width to 0.21mm for a 0.1mm cut depth.
I have found 0.05mm is a useable depth if you have flat material, I am yet to try probing in multiple points, estlcam can do it but I am not sure how to apply it to imported gcode, not even sure you can.

Note: this is a double sided board, I cut the first layer, drilled then did the edge cuts and removed the board, then realised I was going to have a mongrel of a time clamping it for the second layer, also the alignment hole I drilled turned out to be in the middle of a track on layer 2 .. but it did work.

edit: added a couple of pics of the completed board too..

Mini CNC / CAM software
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:52:51 AM »
You will need some..

This is the most promising so far, I am yet to pay for it as I am still hoping there is a nice open source solution, I find it a little lacking in a few areas.

Mainly .. mill a hole and it comes out smaller than expected ? it may just be a setting I have wrong.
It does not work with grbl I dont think, it expects that you are using a grbl type board or a number of other boards and uploads its own firmware.

The photo shows the settings I am using..

Mini CNC / Milling bits
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:45:49 AM »
These are decent quality and cheap for the price, each one in its own nice plastic box with text in english for the size that is totally readable with a magnifying glass..
I have only used the 3mm and 6mm so far, I tried the 6mm on aluminium and it was horrid, spindle speed is too slow and forces too great, wood though like MDF .. turns it into dust quite happily.
6mm shaft on all.

Mini CNC / Burr bits
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:42:32 AM »
These are great ! Well worth it, I have used them to cut into a coin (australian 50c piece) and also aluminium with no sign of wear or degradation of the tool. Also very useful in the dremel .. I have used them to carve up 3D printed plastic like a demon.
They vibrate much less than milling bits and are far more suitable for these CNC machines than milling bits. They remove a fine powder of metal, don't expect chips.

They are a 3.00mm shaft but I just tried one in the standard 3.15mm collet and it does grip, feels like about the limit of the 3.15mm collet.

Mini CNC / Collet sets
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:34:03 AM »
This one is a good one...

Only issue is the little plastic boxes they come in are a mongrel to get the lid off.
Note these are actually ER11A collets, not ER11 .. they have the extra groove that means they lock into the nut, ideally you would buy an extra nut for each collet as they can be hard to grip and remove.

Mini CNC / Play in Z axis
« on: August 24, 2017, 08:26:51 AM »
Trying to come up with a way to eliminate this movement, preferably without rebuilding it from scratch :)

I think if this could be eliminated then aluminium could be machined with care and careful control of feed rates and cutting depths and direction.
As you can see, the 8mm rods flex, the narrower machines might not be as much of a problem so perhaps the easiest solution would be to reduce the width, or perhaps adding a removable brace or two and working with a reduced feed at times, I am not going to need 300mm of X when machining metal.
This is with about a kilo or so of force, maybe a bit more, the z axis can easily generate this by itself.
The problem with milling is that this flex means the tool can be 'sucked' into the workpiece with traditional milling or forced away in climb milling, leading to chatter, crap surface etc.

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