Author Topic: Little CNC mill  (Read 1807 times)

Stonemull

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Little CNC mill
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:01:09 PM »
Arrived fast .. ordered Jul 2

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/CNC3018-ER11-GRBL-control-Diy-CNC-machine-3-Axis-pcb-Milling-machine-Wood-Router-laser-engraving/32802973337.html

Nicely packed little box, the larger oarts I thought were billet are 3D printed, pretty solid though (heavy infill) but not aluminium. Tricky using grey plastic so it looks like alloy in the photos.

The 2 main parts of the Z axis and the girder like Z braces are all plastic, also the linear bearing holders are not 3D printed but still plastic.
Can't complain given the price, it was cheaper to buy this than get the individual parts.

A little CD I assume has build instructions on it..


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Zax

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 07:09:35 PM »
Looking forward to your review once it's built, doesn't look too bad although the plastic worries me a little.

Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 09:35:58 PM »
So far so good, lunch break, gantry is assembled and but it was a pain, brought me back to my meccano days 40 years ago lol, the caaptive nuts they use are narrower than the ones with the eleksmaker kits, narrow enough to rotate in the slot and fit between the groove, so slack off the tension and it can fall out .. need to slide an allen key down the slot to help stop it rotating.
The brace 'girders'' are injection moulded not 3D printed, it actually feels quite solid.

Going to spend some time making sure it is nice and square before continuuing.
In between bouts of stripping paint off my FJ1100 motor ..
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Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 01:03:42 AM »
Turns out the narrower captive nuts are not so evil after all, so long as they are horizontal they tend to rotate to the correct position around 90% of the time, a bit like magic.

All assembled, kit is great, everything required, the only thing I added was spiral wrap for the cables so I have about 20 cable ties left over.
Canle management is much easier since only one stepper and the spindle move and then only in one axis, The board solidly mounts between the rails.
There are a few competing kits around the same price, I bought the one that came with 'bonus' work clamps and 10 engraving bits for a few dollars more, glad I did, they are solid clamps.

Power supply is substantial 24V @ 5.62A (why the odd curent rating, no idea)

'Blue' is bored, time for tennis balls !
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Zax

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 05:09:39 AM »
It's coming together nicely. Taking the time to get it square will save a lot of time later.

Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 05:44:14 AM »
I ended up not bothering with square more than lining up the front of the work surface with the front beam, I was more interested in Z and I added a probe and for the last hour been mucking around trying to get the X beams perfectly parallel to the bed, harder than it appears, back iff the screws to move one end and as soon as you tighten one it shifts. I have it within 0.1mm currently from one side to the other.

The board is quite nice, a whole bunch of useful pjns brought out with a corresponding ground, so connecting a probe was just a matter of bringing out the A5 pin and a ground. A lot easier than all the soldering mods I did on the Mana. Might add some home switches too.

Been checking out the software it came with, a nicely working version of grblControl, a pcb carving software (copperCam) and a really complicated looking carving one called ArtCam that I am yet to play with.

The spindle motor is more substantial than I thought and the E11 collet is good quality too.

Pretty much done with setup, that 0.1mm skew bugs me but its only going to be an issue with copper milling, then some of the software does a probe map across the copper and creates a map at the start of each job .. google 'openCNCpilot' for an idea of whats out there.

All in all these guys have done their homework I think, its a nice package overall.
Only issues I can think if are a fair bit of vibration with spindle and its a bit noisy on a full speed traverse. I can see me spending a bit of time playing around with this doohickey.
Only thing I have done so far is scratch 'iphone' into a piece of balsa, one of the demo gcodes.



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Lob0426

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 11:50:56 AM »
0.1mm, your talking 4 thousandths of an inch. Pretty darn close considering you're dealing with Aluminum extrusions. My mill is CNCed and I can get it within 2 to 4 ten thousandths of square. I think you are doing pretty well in the square.

I think you will find the table is out at least that much. If you have a friend with a mill you could lightly fly cut the table and spindle mounts and get closer. You might get closer by measuring the rails and then matching them to get the best fit, but that is a lot of work.

Most likely you can get better by milling then measuring then adjusting.
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wild.bill

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 12:30:43 PM »
When I am engraving in acrylic I usually only cut .1mm deep into it. The picture I posted yesterday was only cut .1mm deep.

I have a 1/2" mill bit that I used to do a light cut into the waist board and then you know that there
is no skew between the bed and the head.
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Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 02:37:09 PM »
Cherrs bill, only did one deep cut so fsr and that was by accident, I was seeing what versions of grbl worked with grblControl and had 1.1f loaded (the provided one is 0.9j .. zeroed it and started a mill and it stsrtedcwith a diagonal downwards traverse that went straight through my 6mm balsa and was half way through 12mm mdf as well before i hit reset.
I was surprised the little engraver bit coukd cut a groove that deep at full speed 500mm/min at 800steps/mm)
I ordered some 3mm spiral cutters a week or so ago, not here yet.
I have the soindle motor off atm, going to try a vibration balance .. works with drone motors.
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wild.bill

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2017, 02:52:45 PM »
I have had a few of those deep dives with mine. Once while doing aluminum I forgot to turn the spindle speed up and the force pushed every thing down deeper and deeper until the bit broke, couldn't get to the abort fast enough.

Did it with wood once because I had to fast a feed rate but aborted before anything broke.

There is a learning curve and my two machines are much different on how to set them up and what material you can cut, but that is part of the fun.
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Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 03:48:56 AM »
This thing is now officially driving me crazy.

Having a lot of issues finding a good source/cam creator/gcode uploader combo that is going to do the trick.

Tried T2 in CNC mode but I still had 0.9j grbl installed, every time I upload a different grbl I have to change a few parameters. A bit limited for anything but basic engraving, I want to mill things.
Tried Pycam .. cannot get the current standalone version working to import inkscape svg's .. it needs ghostview and pstoedit installed and I still get "cannot convert" errors.. gave up, its old.
Currently trying with the supplied software again, ArtCam and grblControl. Followed the tutorial to create a simple raster toolpath (just to see the result), edited the NC file as they want, probed the material, set XYZ 0's all fine.
Import nc file which starts with ..

F200
G0Z5.000
G0X0.000Y0.000S1000M3
G0X0.001Y0.001Z5.000
G1Z0.000
G1X0.153F100.0
X81.817
Y0.061
X81.666
etc etc ..

So nothing odd there (I set a slow feed rate so I can reach the power plug if I need to), run it on the machine and it starts traversing right, figured all good, but nup, its nearing the right clamp and I unplug the motor power, it is still connected to grbl though so I can see what happens in grblControl .. it is currently at work coord X 2860 and machine coord X 2840 and still increasing.

WHY ! nothing in that gcode is telling it to go to the moon.

lol

Y is 4.690 stable and Z 12.028 (WC)



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Zax

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2017, 04:15:57 AM »
Are you sure it's in absolute positioning mode? Add G90 to the beginning.

T2Laser in CNC mode will generate the g-code, just disable 3D mode if you want milling. It has separate feed rate for Z, supports depth per pass and tool changes that work with Grbl. The limitation is without any offset compensation it is limited to engraving or cutting on the line so you would have to offset the DXF path before importing.

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Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 06:21:43 AM »
Will look into it further, it appears to be a buggy Z probe method in grbl 0.9 .. if I use the probe to work surface then start the gcode it will wander out of bounds, if I hit the machine reset after probing then unlock it works fine.
I will look into getting the later grblControl working with 1.1f I think (now called Candle) , I vaguely remembering a bug comment about the probe but it is not something I have studied yet. I think probing was pretty young in 0.9.

I will end up using T2 for simple engraving I think, everything I have looked at so far wants to output toolpaths as a raster type method even if you start with a vector. Just been looking at visualCADCAM and FreeMill .. again, raster output. T2 is a pretty versatile package, I bought the mill to learn the ropes so to speak, I know T2 fairly well though not delved into the CNC side of it much yet, I just want to see what else is out there.

ArtCam appears to want to convert everything to raster though I am not 100% sure yet, a big learning curve on these different Cam packages. I have learnt a lot more about inkscape tonight.

Yet to revisit Flatcam since a brief look months ago and also find out why CNCPilot does not function with the machine at all.



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Stonemull

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2017, 06:44:00 AM »
hmm, Candle and 1.1F exhibit the same behaviour, so I must be missing the point somewhere..
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ggallant571

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Re: Little CNC mill
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2017, 06:56:07 AM »
I have been following your discussion closely. Do you think it is usable for light milling/etching and more importantly drilling 8mm aluminum? If so:

  1. do you have a recommendation / warning about any specific vendor
  2. required add-ons for a non-machine tool user (no cutting tools!!).
  3. vendor upgrades.
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