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  #1  
Old 09-07-2013, 01:31 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Adding a CNC router / mill to the shop project

I have a metal fabrication business and have been wanting to get a CNC router / Mill for a long time. I have been doing research for a few months and spent sometime at a few trade shows looking everything over. I have a lot to learn when it comes to routers and mills, just a little different from plasma.

I decided to start out with a small bench top system and build it up as sort of a DIY project and see how it works and maybe expand to a larger table down the road.

My goal is to make this a multi-purpose machine if I can. I want to be able to make signs out of wood and plexi, machine parts out of aluminum, cut sheet goods like vinyl and cardboard for prototypes, and if I can attach an extruder and make a 3d printer out of the same machine....

So here goes I have been buying components as time and money allows and finally have enough to get started. I though I would post the build here and hopefully get some good advice along the way and share my trials and tribulations as I go.

So day one got the table from Precision Plasma assembled it and attached the Porter cable 7310 router. I'm waiting on my steppers and controller which I hope will be delivered soon.

This forum wont let me add pictures not sure why??
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:06 PM
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Got the Controller package and stepper motors in from CandCNC yesterday. I went with the BladeRunner Package. Its the same package I use on my CNC Plasma System and it has worked very well. About the only difference is that this one does not have torch height control.

The steppers are 300 oz - The router has a 2TPI screw for x and y, so the steps per inch is 4000. I use 50 for acceleration and can go 200 ipm or faster. The Z is 5 tpi, so the steps per inch is 10000. Acceleration 50 and velocity 100 or faster. With this setup I will have about 175 lb of cutting force on X and Y.

I was not expecting the steppers to be double shaft steppers. My plasma machine uses single shaft steppers. I did some reading online and from what I read no real difference some people suggested adding a thumb knob on the end to allow for some fine adjustment when the power is off.?

The case has two built in Aux power outlets. I will use one to plug my router into so that I can control it via the computer and the Mach3 interface.

This weekend I plan on installing the software from CandCNC as well as Mach3 and Sheetcam, getting everything plugged in and do some test movements to make sure the basics are working.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:10 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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If anyone can let me in on the secret of adding photos, I read the FAQ and none of the options it describes are available in my User CP
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2013, 11:44 PM
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alwaysFlOoReD alwaysFlOoReD is offline
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I think you have to be a paying member to add photos directly. But you can host the pictures on a site like imgur or photobucket and then link to the photos "img". In other words, copy and paste the "img" photo link into your thread post.
Hope I explained good enough.
I'm looking forward to seeing your project,

Richard
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:20 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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I have been slacking on updating the build progress. Had to squeeze in a little vacation while I could.

I was able to get all of the software installed and do some basic motion testing and configuration. I installed Mach3 for my machine control software which has custom screens from the bladerunner package. I also installed Sheetcam for 2d work. I use it all the time for plasma cutting so I though I would put it on this system since I'm familiar.

I also installed Aspire and Photo V Carve from Vectric which I plan to use for most of the routing and carving.

Program install was easy no problems. Powered up the the machine and was able to move it around the table using Mach3 No cutting yet.

Anyone have another programs they think I should have or could use. I want to eventually add a rotary axis. I'm still reading up on aspire and getting familiar with all it can do.

Next project is adding the home and limit switches along with some cable management to the machine.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:03 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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I got most of the cable management done with the Igus track I got of ebay and I mounted the Air system for the blow off nozzles for clearing the cut path. I plan on just plugging the system into the shop air and regulate it with the on off valve.

Had a few people suggest the nozzle system for doing aluminum. I don't plan on running any type of coolant system. I would like to keep it all dry if I can.

Its nice having the plasma machine in the shop. I needed some custom brackets and supports to mount things so a quick drawing threw some aluminum on the plasma table and made some bends and I had come custom brackets.

Next project in this build was to start building the cart that all this will mount to and on. My shop never has enough room so I have to keep this project mobile.
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2013, 11:51 AM
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Spencyg Spencyg is offline
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You will absolutely want a mister if doing any aluminum work. Aluminum will fuse to the end mill very quickly if you don't keep things cool. Between a coolant mister and proper selection of end mills, you can do aluminum all day long without any clogging issues. I just finished up a job doing a bunch of precision aluminum molds, total run time was around 180hrs and didn't have a single issue with clogging.

I'd recommend 1helical.com for all of your endmills, and fogbuster.com for a very good misting system.

SG
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2013, 09:36 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencyg View Post
You will absolutely want a mister if doing any aluminum work. Aluminum will fuse to the end mill very quickly if you don't keep things cool. Between a coolant mister and proper selection of end mills, you can do aluminum all day long without any clogging issues. I just finished up a job doing a bunch of precision aluminum molds, total run time was around 180hrs and didn't have a single issue with clogging.

I'd recommend 1helical.com for all of your endmills, and fogbuster.com for a very good misting system.

SG
Your the second person to recommend the coolant mist system. I was hoping to get away with just air, because I do not want the mess and the liquid spray. Can you do this and keep it pretty dry so we dont have a liquid mess?

I looked at the fogbuster they are a little pricy, I'm also looking at Kool-Mist. I got a bunch of tooling from LMT Onsrud to start with. They make some quality pieces going to give them a whirl.
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2013, 09:18 AM
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Spencyg Spencyg is offline
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If you have the mister system adjusted correctly and are running carbide end mills at their appropriate feeds and speeds in aluminum than the coolant droplets will flash to steam as they hit the cutting zone, stripping heat from the end mill and not leaving much liquid behind. You could run dry but you won't be getting good life from your cutting tools and certainly won't be getting as much output from your machine.

The fogbuster is 10x what the Kool-Mist unit is. The fogbuster uses tank pressure to deliver the coolant to the nozzle while the kool mist unit uses a venturi to "suck" the coolant from the tank. Because of the venturi requiring quite a bit of air volume to work, the coolant in the venturi is often atomized and will "fog" up your whole shop. The Fogbuster (now the name makes more sense, eh?) runs much lower air volumes and doesn't atomize the coolant, delivering it fully to the work zone. This is definitely one of those "you get what you pay for" instances.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2013, 08:23 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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When I built up my plasma cutting system I built a custom cart / control center for it. I wanted to do the same for this project. Space in my shop is very limited so I wanted to put the entire machine and all of its components on a single cart and keep the entire project self contained and mobile.

I think this is one of the fun-est parts of the project building and designing. When I'm done I hope to have the computer, Bladerunner Control box, vacuum hold down system and vacuum dust recovery system all built into the cart.

The first couple of pictures is of the cart that I built for my plasma system. It folds closed and rolls neatly under the plasma table. Then opens up with gas assist shocks to expose the entire control center.

If anyone has built something like this for their router / mill I would love to see it and get some ideas.
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2013, 09:42 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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After a lot of mock ups planning and measuring I finally came up with a plan for the Cart/Control center that will hold this router and all of the components. The cart will be 26" wide x 44" Long x 36" tall.

The router will mount on the top of the cart and inside of the cart I will house the Computer, monitor, keyboard and Mouse, Blade Runner Control box, UPS power supply,
Vacuum System, Vacuum Hold down system, and all the accessories that go along with it.

If everything works out like I have planned this will be a very cool cart. The whole thing will be on wheels to allow it to easily move around the shop and out of the way when not in use. Because I do more welding than woodwork I decided to build the cart out of steel. I'm using 1x2 tube for the base and top frame, and 1in square tube for the internal supports. All of this will support a 1/4 steel plate top that the router will mount on.

Here are a couple of pictures there are quite a few more on the build site photo gallery = http://www.cncrouterbuild.com/buildpage8.html
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  #12  
Old 11-03-2013, 09:33 AM
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Lonnie-S Lonnie-S is offline
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I've been following this thread since you started it, but just this morning took a look at your detailed build log for the first time. Outstanding! It is like a super-tutorial or something. And, your project workmanship is excellent too.

I'll be looking forward to the next installment.

Cheers,

Lonnie
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  #13  
Old 11-03-2013, 09:31 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie-S View Post
I've been following this thread since you started it, but just this morning took a look at your detailed build log for the first time. Outstanding! It is like a super-tutorial or something. And, your project workmanship is excellent too.

I'll be looking forward to the next installment.

Cheers,

Lonnie
Thanks! its a lot of work putting this all together I hope I can help a lot of people who follow me and learn from those who have come before me.
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  #14  
Old 11-15-2013, 08:48 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Here are the latest picture updates from the cart build. Have not had enough time o dedicate to this project too many other things going on. Slow going at the moment.

I figured out my fold up monitor system and finalized the locations of some of the equipment in the cart.

Here is a link to more pics on the build page: http://www.cncrouterbuild.com/buildpage9.html
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:25 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Life got way too busy during the holidays and got behind on this project. I was able to get the cart finished. I cut a custom front door panel with the BullDog router logo on the front of the door.

Everything is back from powder coating just putting the finishing touches on everything and getting all of the cables and controls run.

Hope to be cutting and making things soon. The cart / control center for this project really came out nice.

I hope to have pictures and a video of the completed cart / control center up next week. Here are the latest pictures till then. I have some more pictures on the build website: http://www.cncrouterbuild.com/buildpage10.html
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  #16  
Old 01-03-2014, 09:17 AM
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Very nice work! The cart with the fold up monitor stand is slick!
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  #17  
Old 01-03-2014, 11:12 AM
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R.DesJardin R.DesJardin is offline
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This is looking pretty sweet. I'd say the Fogbuster System is the way to go, low air useage and youcan cut aluminum without worries. There is little to no coolant residue produced. We use it on a couple of our CNC milling machines, only down side is hole drilling and tapping deep extra coolant.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:41 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS3g View Post
Very nice work! The cart with the fold up monitor stand is slick!
Wait till you see the Monitor system in action for this build. It came out better in my opinion. Should have pics up next weekend I hope.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2014, 09:42 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.DesJardin View Post
This is looking pretty sweet. I'd say the Fogbuster System is the way to go, low air useage and youcan cut aluminum without worries. There is little to no coolant residue produced. We use it on a couple of our CNC milling machines, only down side is hole drilling and tapping deep extra coolant.
Thanks for the info, its nice to find people have used the stuff and have experience. Thanks
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2014, 09:27 PM
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Desert Fabworks Desert Fabworks is offline
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The CNC Router Cart is finally finished! I was able to get everything mounted and all of the wiring routed, hooked up and get all of the components functioning. Now I get to start cutting.

The monitor gas shock system to flip the monitor up and hold it in place came out great. a little hard to grasp in a picture should have a video soon. I had some red led's laying around and decided to hook them up and place them round the stainless steel insert panels and wire them to a small 12 volt battery.

With a flip of the switch the front panel glows red. Not very practical but looks cool.
I used pVC pipe to route the shop vac line up to the table and have a fitting on the top of the table for the hose to hook into and then attach to the dust boot that will go on the router.

I also ran the vacuum system line up to the top of the table with an on off valve and a gauge for controlling the suction to the hold down pods.

I started working on vacuum hold down table design that I saw on Donek tools, that will mount to the bed and be used for holding down pieces when cutting with the drag knife.

I hope to get the video edited and have it up soon but for now here are some pictures of the completed cart and the start of the vacuum hold down table.

http://www.cncrouterbuild.com/buildpage14.html
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