New project- CNC


I shall be starting to collect items for a new project soon. I want to make
a CNC XY table to use in conjunction with my Myford VMC vertical milling
machine.
I?m taking this approach as a easy way into CNC experimentation without
needing to have the mill in pieces as I occasionally supplement my income
with milling work.
As a complete newbie to CNC, I?m interested in any suggestions for web or
other essential reading on CNC conversion, CADCAM software as well as theory
and practice of choosing stepper motors and drive circuitry.
I have downloaded the manual for MACH2 from
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which looks
interesting
I am also lurking on yahoo groups CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO and DIY-CNC.
I won?t mention that I intend to use a ** to drive the steppers to avoid
certain predictable responses from the troll.
From these it seems that most of the resources and sources of materials is
in US and Canada and furthermore many of the suppliers don?t ship to UK or
have UK agents.
Can anyone point me in the direction of UK suppliers, ideally reasonably
priced, for things such as ball screws, stepper motors, drivers and spring
steel helical protectors used on leadscrews.
If it helps, I'd rate my machining capabilities as reasonable, electronics
hardware experience as good, detailed PC knowledge as poor/zero and CAD
software experience nil.
Obviously if anyone has done anything like this already, I?d welcome any
guidance and info on pitfalls to avoid.
Thanks In Advance
Bob
Reply to
Bob Minchin
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Bob,
I can strongly recommend TurboCNC from DAK Engineering as the machine driver software, and Gecko drives to run the steppers. I use Dophin CAD / CAM to draw the parts and produce the G code for TurboCNC to run. I'm using this set up on a milll and a lathe and it was very straightforward to set up and use.
TurboCNC is free to download as an executable (
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) or you can pay a small fee for the sourcecode (I did the later as I wanted to add an automatic toolchanger).
Dolphin CAD / CAM is quite expensive for amateur use, but is a good package (
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) I think that there is a trial version that can be downloaded.
Geckos are again a bit pricey, but good kit and dead easy to get going off a normal PC parallel port. (
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)
Regards,
Andrew Mawson
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Bob,
You can download MACH2 to play with. I've set up some simple routines and they run - it doesn't seem to care if the parallel port is hooked up or not. Its an effective CNC simulator. Its twenty years since I've been near a CNC machine and running the software did bring the manual to life.
Mind you, although it appears to be a good bit of kit, you need an expensive PC to run it on, ie a sufficiently high spec PC to run XP with ease.
TurboNC will run on an much lower spec PC because it runs in native DOS. You can play with this too as a free download, FOC, though I've not played with this yet.
Steve
Reply to
Steve
Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the leads.
I collected an as new Axminster XY table today from Norman Billington in Brighton who in passing mentioned you as a friend.
Have you found a UK agent for Gecko drives? I dislike paying high transatlantic carriage, then duty, then VAT and parcel farce admin charges on top.
I've been looking at the compucut mill
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as this uses the same XY table. I might send for the manual.
Have you found a good source of ball screws? I'm unsure whether anti backlash feedscrews will be good enough for light work - mainly aluminium alloy and brass.
Best Regards
Bob
Reply to
Bob Minchin
Hi bob re help on getting started re lead screws i make my own from threaded stud i use english thread 5/6 unc 20 to inch or use metric and the lead screw nuts are simple to make use brass or bronze all you have to do is make a thin slit along the lenght and drill and tap them for two 3mm or 4mm bolts to adust them to get rid of any play, they also use in the states delrin and they work very well to dont worry as to the life of them as i have been using this set up for ten years now and find them to last a long time for hobby use, the fist one i made lasted about nine years on my 10/6 lathe on the cross slide and its still on there now cant use that setup on the other leadscrew as i still need to cut threads, re what kind of drive to use started with steppers but now only use dc servos advantage more power and closed loop system plus you can make them up yourself the motors i mean also you can buy servo drivers now in the uk like the geckos up to twenty amps and fifty volts for 70 pounds each, been using them for a while now i have three at the moment on a mill and like them so much i intend to replace my smaller 5 amp drives with these you can buy these at motion control products ltd in bournmouth uk they also do a very good range of steppers and drives the best prices i have seen on ebay re software to use the other members choice is a good starting point mach3 is all you will ever need top class program to produce your gcode i use a dedicated program called deskcnc it works great for me will drive steppers and servos using step and direction commands only bug is you have to use there intrface and software as a package, mack3 is more powerful but takes a while to learn and setup, hope this may be of use to you if you need any more help feel free to drop me an email regards vince and welome to the cnc world you will love it.
Reply to
ukcncslave
Welcome to the wonderful world of CNC conversions!!!! For parts, try Kevin at Marchant Dice
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He sells most stuff (via Ebay) and is very helpful in getting you what you want even if not listed in his catalogue. A mate of mine who is converting a mini-mill to CNC has bought a lot of bits and pieces from him. If you want ball screws, try ebay - the same friend got some really nice ones for peanuts.
I've avoided the mechanical side of the conversion process by getting an old Denford ORAC lathe, which is full CNC spec (i.e. ballscrews etc) and just changing over the electronics for Gecko drivers. The advantage of Gecko is the support - they even will repair or replace the first one you blow up!!!!
I'm using Mach3 for the control software
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- tried TurboCNC before but I'm much more impressed with Mach - it makes it like using a very modern machine.
Hope this helps
Alastair
ukcncslave wrote:
Reply to
Alastair

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