Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lots of failure and some success with my CNC router

The first iteration of my home-built CNC router

The one thing that I have learned while building and learning how to operate my Shapeoko variant CNC router, was that success is achieved by preventing any one of a hundred things from going wrong.  So before I show you any of my successes, I think that it is only fair to show off some of my many failures and the lessons learned:

Lesson learned:  Don't forget to use holding tabs to keep the part secured or bad things can happen.

Lesson learned:  An overloaded circuit can bring a multi-hour job to a sad end.

Lesson learned:  If your Z axis starts to drive your bit deep into the wood for no reason, check the Z stepper motor to make sure it hasn't gone bad before wasting days exploring other possible causes.

Lesson learned:  When milling Aluminum, slow down.

Now for some successful cuts:

This was cut out of pine and is about 10" wide.

This was my first successful milling of 1/8" Aluminum plate.  The parts, all with precision-drilled holes, are fastening plates for T-slotted Aluminum extrusions (like those from which this CNC router was constructed).

I look forward to milling other materials like HDPE plastic, hardwoods, cork, and if I get really brave, stainless steel.


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