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Thread: HF Drill/Mill to CNC ?

  1. #21
    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    These pics belong to holescreek, I found them on the WG forum.
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    Last edited by Coils; 04-13-2012 at 12:39 AM. Reason: To give credit to the owner of these pics
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

  2. #22
    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    And this one I found on the net, no real details and it looks like a generic conversion. I was just looking at the X & Y setups, I was thinking of angling the X so the motor is up rather then below the table.
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    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

  3. #23
    tired of idiots vz58's Avatar
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    After 3 years of cnc I hit a glitch. In the middle of a complex part, rhe computer harddrive failed. I have a new computer and am trying to get it back up

  4. #24
    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    That sucks
    If the hard drive in your new pc isn't too big or expensive, you might want to add another one the same size just as a backup unit.


    And a friend is delaying me a few weeks in buying the ball screws & nuts that I was going to order this weekend, he's thinning out some of his gun stuff and I can't pass this one up, he's selling a litely used Hornady Lock-N-Load AP press with some extras well below the cheapest price I can find on the net. At this price I can't pass it up.
    So I'll most likely have to wait until next month to order those parts.


    OK now a program question, which anyone can answer.
    What's a good but easy to use CAD program or whatever is needed to design stuff, by easy I mean for "a complete idiot" style one, free would be best but a trial version that you have to buy is ok too.
    And it has to work with Mach3, this seems like the standard for the home user.
    I want to start messing with the programs a while, I think it will take me some time to figure them out, so I might as well get a head start on them
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

  5. #25
    Gunco Member Holescreek's Avatar
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    Here's the X axis double ball-nut setup, stack of spring washers between ball nuts to keep tension between them:


    Same thing on the Y:


    I built my own controller one part at a time and stuffed it all in an old computer case. I added a 4th axis after this photo was taken, luckily I left room for another gecko drive:


    I started out trying to position the Z axis like this, but it didn't work well enough because of the slop in the geartrain:



    And ended up going this route:

  6. #26
    Gunco Member Holescreek's Avatar
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    I made the 4th axis from a stepper driven rotary stage I found on Ebay and adapted a little 3 jaw chuck to it. It's been very handy for making replacement gears:







    My uncle gave me the mill so I had nothing in it. I already had a Bridgeport and didn't see a need for two manual mills. I started out with an idea that I should be able to make the conversion toCNC for about $800 since I made a lot of the mechanical parts myself, I think I ended up with about $1100 in it when it was all done. Whatch what you buy on Ebay with regards to controller boards, I learned the hard way (but this was many years ago).

  7. #27
    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for adding the pics Holescreek, gives me more ideas to use.

    I was planning to get the Gecko driver that VZ posted on the first page, the four axis in one unit style, because I was thinking a powered rotary would be nice to add later.

    I heard about most of the stuff on eBay being low quality, I did look on there for ball screws & nuts but none of it had any brand names I've seen others recommend, so I'll just buy a brand name I've heard of.

    One question for now
    I like how you got the Z axis setup on that, and think I understand how you did it. But in that first pic of the rotary, what is that metal flat bar thing on the left side of the Z (it's black with a weld)?
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

  8. #28
    Gunco Member Holescreek's Avatar
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    That welded bar holds the adjustable stops for the home and limit switches. The bar moves up and down with the spindle while the switches are mounted to the side of the mill head.


    The Z axis works a little differently than most I've seen. I actually rotate the ball nut with the stepper motor instead of the ball screw. I have the ball nut captured between thrust bearings and the end of the ball screw is fixed where it attaches to the ram.

  9. #29
    Gunco Member Holescreek's Avatar
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    I ended up getting a good breakout board here: CNC4PC

    My original board came from Ebay and had so many glitches I thought I really screwed something up badly. Swaped in the new board and all the problems went away.

    Back when I built my conversion Gecko was just getting into the 4 in one drives and had just came out with the V203 "vampire" drive. I'm kind of old fashion in that I think that separate drives make more sense. If one goes out I can swap the 4th drive out and keep running 3 axis until the replacement gets here. But in reality, I've been running the system for over 5 years without a hiccup.

    I bought a 6' ball screw from Rockford and turned the journals myself. Be warned: this is the hardest stuff I've ever machined! I was having no success getting through the case hardened top layer with carbide inserts and had to switch out the carbide insert for a diamond. Once I got through the first .03" or so the carbide worked fine.

  10. #30
    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    OK for the limit switches, nice and simple design.


    And on your Z, I'm a little confused with the part about "turning the ball nut with the motor". I understand what your saying, I just can't picture it functioning and how you mounted it all. Like how is the pulley attached to it?
    Are you using those square shaped ball nuts, or the fancy looking round ones?


    Thanks for the link to CNC4PC, added them to my list.
    I'll be asking more about the electronics later, I mainly want to figure out the ball screws and mounting them up first.
    And thanks for the warning about the hardness of the ball screw, VZ mentioned it earlier.
    "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan

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