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May 5, 2016 AT 10:24 am

CNC Build Part 6: First Cut! #3DThursday #CNC

With the wiring complete, the rails aligned and the limit switches adjusted, it’s time for a test cut.  I’ve installed a 1/8″ ball-end mill in the PC-690 router I am using for a spindle.  I’ve also mounted PDJ’s nifty see-through dust boot and connected it to the shop’s dust collection system.  We’ll start with a simple engraving cut on a scrap of plywood from my off-cuts bin.

234A1472

I generated some simple engraving G-code using Cam-Bam and loaded it into the Mach3 CNC package, positioned the bit and zeroed all the axis at the origin.

Mach3

And off we go.  We can see through the dust skirt as it starts to make the cut.

234A1473

Almost done now.  Everything appears to be working smoothly.

234A1475

And there it is!  Looks like I need to level the work support rails a bit, but otherwise a successful first cut.

234A1477

Work remaining includes speed control for the spindle, cooling fans for the steppers, emergency stop buttons and general cable-dressing.  These will be the subject of future posts.  But for now, this CNC build is fully operational.


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1 Comment

  1. Just my 2 cents on this since I have built a CNC router too. I initially made a vacuum chamber like you did with strips of vinyl. I found that this let far too much air through and my workshop ended up quite dusty. I switched to an enclosure that has thin brushes around it. I think that they were supposed to be used for smoothing out concrete. They are only about 3/4" wide. The top I made out of acrylic. Over time I modified the top to allow a sprayer for coolant for when I was cutting steel (I made mine really beefy) I also have a small hole for a WD40 nozzle to pass through for when I am cutting aluminum and brass. I added a couple of small LEDs to allow me to see what is going on in there since the vacuum hose and brushes block a lot of light. If I were to remake it (and I probably will eventually) I’d make it a bit bigger with a larger viewing area, have a LED strip light that goes around the entire perimeter so I could really see what is going on, and have a third port that I could hook up to my air compressor to blow away cuttings in some situations. For example, if I am cutting a hollow book, the cuttings tend to stay in the groove that was cut so being able to blow them out would be useful.

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