Monday, June 8, 2009

CNC, Pt. 10: First Test

Everything was moved back out into the garage and all the power supply, controller, and computer parts were mounted into a single tidy computer case.

You'll notice the computer we're using is one of those little ViaC3 mini-ITX setups. They're small, relatively cheap, and have everything built into the motherboard.

Mike made a quick model in Lightwave3D and imported it into DeskProto. DeskProto is a tool that creates machine code (in G-Code format) from 3d models. From there it's just a quick trip to the machine's hard drive to run the file. And here it is, our very first test cut, hacked into a 2x4.

It's fair to note that while the machine is far from done, this is a pretty significant milestone. The first goal: a machine that could cut intricate shapes into wood for use in furniture (or whatever) has been achieved. There are several other goals ahead though.


  1. I was thinking of buying parts from the same e-bay seller that you did. Would you recommend this, or should I get some name-brand stuff instead?

  2. I intend to buy from the seller again, all in all good experience and quality parts. Only down side is that they come from China so shipping time may not be predictable. Also my order went smoothly, which means I have no idea how he/she might handle things if there's ever a problem.

  3. Today I ordered a 3 axis rails and bearings set (300/750/1000mm) from this same seller, I was a little reluctant but after googling for people's experiences (including yours) with this seller it seems they're quite careful with their shipments (I really hope the customs guys won't feel like sitting on my rails!). I did read that the rails aren't cut very carefully (not something that I care much about anyway), do your rails suffer from that problem?

  4. Yeah, it's pretty clear they just hit them with a chop-saw then ground the edges a little. Nothing really wrong with this, so I didn't think anything of it. In fact when I went to cut down a ball screw it was basically impossible to do with a bandsaw so I ended up doing the same. The rails and screws are case hardened, making them quite a bit harder than a saw blade. I'd consider this a good thing, really.

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  6. I got my rails today!, and fell in love with them instantly. Not only do they work smoothly, but they look cool too (you'll probably agree that pictures don't do them justice). The rails' cut/grounding is quite clean IMHO, even beter than I imagine.

    I can't imagine a better Christmas present :D (I didn't have to pay customs' fees! I guess they're too busy on the holidays and just let more packages through untouched)