March 02, 2008
by: jovial_cynic

After buying a few wrong cables (it turns out that you cannot use a parallel-to-USB adapter) and collecting as much information as I could from the CNC Zone forum, I made some tremendous progress on the CNC machine.

The first thing I had to do was to figure out how to wire up the stepper motor to the controller board. The board has 4-pin terminals for the motors, but the motors I purchased were 6-wire motors, so it took me a while to figure out which wires were unnecessary, and then what order the wires need to be to work with the controller.

I went through nearly every configuration possible before I read that you can control the voltage going to the motors by turning a surface-mounted potentiometer. I had nearly no voltage to the motor, causing the motor to hum, but not actually do anything. Once I figured out the problem, I set the proper voltage and got the motor to move.

I currently have the X-Axis of the CNC machine set up. After getting the motor to run last night, I figured it was now time to get the X-Axis to move.

Check it out:

Now that the X-Axis is complete, it's time to start building the table, and mounting the Y-Axis on top of the X-Axis platform.
np category: 3D_Projects


Luke said:
Okay that's pretty freakin' cool that you made that yourself. What do you plan on doing with the machine? I've seen the ones that use a router style bit and cut things out, but what do YOU plan on doing with that (besides gloating that I was wrong...)
March 03, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
haha... I was wondering if you were going to say something about that. :)

I may build several heads (Z-Axis) for the machine, allowing me to switch back and forth between a few different projects. My main use will be for cutting sheet metal with my plasma cutter. I can currently cut the sheet, but it's by hand, and I can't make perfectly straight lines or curves. For my little figurines, it's not a problem; having the figurines "roughed-up" is the biggest appeal. But as I get into larger things, being able to cut perfect circles, rectangles, etc., will be ideal.

I can't think of anything I'd want to do in wood at the moment, but having a Dremel head for making PCBs might be useful. I frequently work with little electronic doodads (like the mini-amp I built), and having a circuit board pre-etched would be tremendously useful for me.

March 03, 2008

Luke said:
I'm nothing if not humble...;)

I also wanted to suggest having the comments in a pop-up window (with option to not have them that way for mobile users...). A lot of work maybe but that way I can just exit out of the comments window when I'm done writing and go to another post without having to reload another page?

That might be stupid but just an idea...

ta ta for now (obamamaniac...)

March 03, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Humble, or humbled? haha... just kidding.

Anyhow, having a popup comment may be a good idea. In any event, when you submit a comment, it takes you back to the page you were at, and then you're going to click to another post. With a popup, you're still clicking to go to another post... so unless you're just addressing the time it takes to reload, that may be a moot point -- it's the same number of clicks.

In any event, I'll see what I can do. I like to do what I can to improve the place.

March 03, 2008

Chris said:
hey i just wanted to tell you that your CNC moves too slow. we have one in my welding class (professionally made) and it goes much faster than that. if you go too slow the plasma cutter will burn through the metal too much. different speeds for different metals. you might want to look up professionally made CNC machines to see how they work. like we use a program for cutting things out. though i cant think of the name at the moment. anyway looks cool.
June 27, 2010

jovial_cynic said:
Chris -

Thanks! I actually sold the CNC machine parts; too many projects at this time. I will say, however, that some plasma cutters have a 3"-per-minute cut rate for thicker metal; the speed depends on the plasma cutter and the metal you're trying to cut.

June 28, 2010

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