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CNC Routers Building, Modifying, Running, and Programming CNC Routers

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2016, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

Going to meet up with him today for cheeseburgers, I'll get more information.

Both systems have strengths and weaknesses; the hand held one can't do much in the Z axis, but doesn't seem to have a limit on size in X and Y- probably could CNC the side of a barn if you where so inclined. To make a bench top for under $2,000, size will be severely limited- ball screws get real expensive in larger sizes and framework has to be made beefier etc.

I would like to be able to make small parts and some tools, so bench top is fine- cabinet work would be too big for it.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 06-16-2016, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

As an old guy, my memory is sometimes suspect and I'm starting to think that he had some extra parts that he would give me too, so the $1,800 was what I needed in parts after the free stuff, not positive though.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 06-17-2016, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

CNCs aren't really all that complicated; my friend has now built two. Here's what he said is needed: 3 ball screws with mounting hardware, 3 servos or step motors, a driver to run the motors, a controller to tell the driver how to move the motors, a spindle(or router,) wiring hardware, software and the frame work.

Of course as you built a bigger unit, the ball screws get longer and the structure needs to be beefier, other wise the flex takes away accuracy. A CNC moves in very rapid and sometimes "violent" steps, which can cause inaccuracy.

A router is also a pretty sloppy way to hold a cutter- most have a fair amount of runout and centering issues. A spindle is much better as it is more accurate and can also have it's speed controlled by the computer.

His opinion is that a small accurate unit could be built for under $2,000, of course that's parts- your labor is free, but it would be very nice when done.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 06-18-2016, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

CNC is a lot of fun. I have a Sherline mill that I converted to CNC - stepper motors were about $25 each, the controller and software (Mach3) were about $750 and I use Fusion 360 software for CAD/CAM and it also will do Rendering and 3D printing. One of the best packages out now and it's cloud based and free. Works on Mac or Windows. You basically draw on screen to create your plan, then use CAM to define the tool choices and paths. That is exported as a G-code file which is loaded into a program like Mach3 and sent to the controller.

Sherline makes small metal working lathes and mills. My mill which I bought several years ago before thinking about CNC was about $2K, so I have a little over $3000 invested.

If I was to do it over, I'd probably build my own or explore products like the CNC unit from Carbide 3D or http://www.Inventables.com here in Chicago. Those will cut wood and plastic but you won't be able to cut aluminum.

More money means more rigidity, larger size, and more power so you can cut faster and more accurately.

Search Youtube for X-Carve and you can see lots of videos and work with a hobby size that can work with up to about 36 x 36 panels. Peter Parfitt with New Brit Workshop has a nice series but there are others as well.

The shaper looks interesting but for $1500 you are getting the ability to large pieces but really only 2D. X-Carve and build-your own will do 2.5D or full 3D depending on the software.

Fusion (Autodesk) will do full 3D. Use a ball-end mill and it will cut contours that are as smooth as a cast piece in steel or aluminum.

I've done finger joints on my Sherline for drawers. Recently started playing around with inlays - a line of ducks, for example inlayed on the end of a doll cradle. You just find an image on the internet, download it, trace it and it will route it to within .001. Tell the software to do the negative inlay, then change and tell it to cut the insert. Boom. Perfect match.

Fun stuff. I look forward to learning more about the Shaper.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2016, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

Well, I went ahead and took the plunge (so to speak): I put in an order for the Shaper Origin (https://shapertools.com/). If you use this code when you order

https://preorder.shapertools.com/ref/YKWWMDC1J

you (and I) will get a $100 discount on the tool.

I think that the versatility of not having to be tied to a big, immovable frame will be a significant advantage in using the CNC capabilities of this system. I'm quite excited about the possibilities, particularly for inlay of large surfaces that wouldn't fit in a normal CNC system (table tops, etc.). Also, with the digital storage system for routing files, all your routing templates can be stored electronically - no need to have those plywood pieces taking up shop space.

I'm planning on building a set of dining room chairs - I think this is really going to help!
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2016, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

Peter,
Please keep us all in mind when you get this and start in on your chairs. I'd (I'm guessing we'd) all like to learn more.

Mike
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2016, 04:09 AM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

Will do, Mike. I've been bad about posting - I've made a few nice pieces that I haven't shown everyone here. Bad Poto. Bad!
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2016, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

Looks awesome, and I'm seriously thinking about putting in an order.
One potential issue could be it's ability to work on solid hardwood boards (say 8-10" wide), to cut out a series of parts for a chair, for example. I'm not sure it could economically use the whole board effectively.
For sheet work, it's a "no brainer".
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2016, 05:01 AM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

To come back to this thread, I ended up demoing the Shaper at Festool Connect and put an order in on it. What convinced me was the interface and speed in creating something versus my experience with normal CNC processes. Plus the idea that I could keep it in the Systainer until needed was really attractive for shop space purposes.

Okami - I do think that you could lay out a series of parts on a board and be pretty efficient with wood use with the Shaper. As I understand it, you place tape on the source material and then 'scan' the space with the shaper camera. Once you have scanned that space, it knows the distance you have traversed. So if you load in multiple pieces to cut, I believe you can lay them out in virtual space with that intelligence.

I'll be watching the shaper tools site for more details about the question you raise.

neil
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2016, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: A handheld CNC router.

From what I've seen in online videos anything that you can secure and support co-planar to the registration tape can be machined by the tool.

If you mean how tightly can parts be nested then the limitation is the diameter of the bit that you'd run between parts. Keep in mind that the adjacent edges of the two parts are finished minus sanding whereas you could nest parts more closely if carefully cutting out with the bandsaw but then you might have to sand away an amount equal to the extra kerf of the router bit.

For you I think the real limitation is speed. The Shaper can only mill about 1 square inch by itself. You have to push it to the next location (even though this can be a continuous motion).

If cutting out chair parts you would be much faster with the band saw and then finishing with a router template. For large parts a conventional CNC system would be more efficient. Load in the material and the program and let it run unattended while you get back to doing what you do best.

I'm very interested in this tool but it seems to be best suited for small intricate parts that are too difficult for templates, particularly inlay work on projects that are too large for conventional CNC systems.
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