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Old 11-27-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
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Milling Machine Project

I guess this is the section to discuss tool upgrades.

I've been working on converting a manual milling machine to cnc control the past few months and finally got it powered up tonight. Need 1 more mount then I can make a part. Building this was an awesome learning experience and hopefully I will be able to make some sweet parts with it.

First day I got it (small green one)


I used the bigger mill to modify the smaller one


Machined the castings so the green machine will have longer travel distance


3 axis ac servo cnc kit from a guy that makes them in richmond


Welded up a little frame and wired up the electronics


Put the machine back together and took some measurements for a friend to make me motor mount brackets



Finally here it is just jogging around.

Remove the space in http to make the video work

ht tp://s72.photobucket.com/albums/i191/sdubfid/?action=view&current=bccde710.mp4
I should have the head moving up and down next weekend to make some parts.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:18 PM   #2
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Wow! Gotta get one for myself. Very impressed with your skill in making something like this work. How much are milling machines going for now?
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:59 AM   #3
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The green one that I'm cncing was $1000 in the states. If you buy in Canada expect to pay a lot more. Price varies on size but around 1-2000 will get u something decent for a garage and hobby use
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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So jelly of you.

What CAD software are you planning on using?
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:20 PM   #5
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So jelly of you.

What CAD software are you planning on using?
The control software for the machine is called mach 3. I have autocad and solidworks for drawing. I'm going to get my friend to show me how to use mastercam for machining. I have so many things to learn about this stuff.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:34 PM   #6
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Yea I love Master cam for creating g-code. So much more simplified than Gibbscam bullshit. You can even CAD quite easily in Mastercam and importing is a snap.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:18 PM   #7
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Yah I used gibbscam at work before and it looks like some guy designed the program in his basement haha. Going to get my friend to show me how to use mastercam now.

Got the machine together and running all 3 axes this weekend. I put a felt in the spindle just to test the motion. Much cheaper to crash a pen than an endmill.

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Old 12-14-2011, 07:57 PM   #8
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yeah i used master came in grade 10 and it was sorta easy
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:20 PM   #9
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Verry nice. I like it!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:33 AM   #10
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With no software experience could you jump into mastercam or would I be better off learning cad first?
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:30 PM   #11
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I would start off with just basic cad like autocad. It's useful for many things. If you sat down with someone to ask questions you can learn all the basics in a few hours. My friend gave me a mastercam demo a couple weeks ago to show me some basics and the first night I was able to make a very basic 3d surfacing program. It was so cool. You can import a solid from solidworks and then mastercam will make all the 3d toolpaths based off of the solid.

I got the machine running and made my first test cuts. I only made a 2 inch hole in some aluminum to fit a pipe in, but it came out within .004" on the first cut. Thats without any backlash compensation or offsets so i think it's going to work awesome once everything is dialed. Won't be able to use it until february next though.

So tempted to move this into the apartment
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:31 PM   #12
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I would add a enclosure and a catch basin setup to catch cutting fluid and left over metal scraps.. I added a pneumatic valve near the drill head to give a jet of compressed air once a while to clear the debris... It is useful for unattended / overnight code runs.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:34 PM   #13
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Yah, I'm in the process of moving but it will be getting a small enclosure to contain the mess and either air or flood coolant to clear the chips. I also plan to build a toolchanger and add a 4th axis and possibly 5th axis.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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Nice work mate!

I've always wanted to transform my garage into a workshop. Definitely keep us posted!
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:34 PM   #15
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With a mill that size and with cost of farming out G code to get it done on a full size machine getting cheaper by the day.. I suggest you convert the machine to do CMM instead of adding more axis. The more axis you add, the weight you add to head.. and you loose out on clearance.

I find having a CMM on site more useful because then I can transfer anything I want to copy in house rather than the specimen offsite and have it sent back.

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Yah, I'm in the process of moving but it will be getting a small enclosure to contain the mess and either air or flood coolant to clear the chips. I also plan to build a toolchanger and add a 4th axis and possibly 5th axis.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:05 AM   #16
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Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the hassle when in 10 years things will become so cut and paste that there isn't really any need to learn the ancient software.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:22 AM   #17
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Yah I used gibbscam at work before and it looks like some guy designed the program in his basement haha. Going to get my friend to show me how to use mastercam now.



i use MasterCam everyday, but it wasn't cheap. be prepared for a $8-$10K expense.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:12 AM   #18
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With a mill that size and with cost of farming out G code to get it done on a full size machine getting cheaper by the day.. I suggest you convert the machine to do CMM instead of adding more axis. The more axis you add, the weight you add to head.. and you loose out on clearance.

I find having a CMM on site more useful because then I can transfer anything I want to copy in house rather than the specimen offsite and have it sent back.
This machine isn't for production. Just hobby use and small quantities. I do have a probe on the way to experiment with measuring things.

Obviously it's size limited but it should be capable of many things. About 20"x9"x18" xyz.

Vise arrived the other day so first official part should be next weekend.


Godwin and N.V.M- what kind of parts do you make?
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:53 PM   #19
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I use mine to make custom linkages etc for my hot rod.. I am stuffing a M70 engine into a Ford 32 body.. so there are a ton of custom brackets etc to be made.

However these days I find sourcing the models to MIM places are so much cheaper and time efficient, I use mine for CMM mainly.. Mine can just barely CMM an I6 head. I am using my mill to blueprint engine heads. Having the data digitized is much easier to modify digitally and calculate things via Matlab.. than randomly doing it with a grinder.

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This machine isn't for production. Just hobby use and small quantities. I do have a probe on the way to experiment with measuring things.

Obviously it's size limited but it should be capable of many things. About 20"x9"x18" xyz.

Vise arrived the other day so first official part should be next weekend.


Godwin and N.V.M- what kind of parts do you make?
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:18 PM   #20
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I'm a woodworker, my CNC's have 10' X 4' beds. I probably don't do anything that would interest you guys.
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