SUBNOIZE: 10 Tool Carousel, Tool Length Sensor and Dust Manifold

Well, the testing “Phase One” is complete for the new hardware. I have just a small list of changes that I should have on the machine shortly. Hopefully before this weekend, fingers crossed.

I mounted and machined a temporary 4 x 8 spoilboard to cut parts for the flow through fixturing (vacuum table) motor enclosure. That should give me plenty of opportunity to make some video in the coming weeks.

If I don’t get plenty of video of that then I will when machining these monster 1445 inch long, 61 inch wide MDF slabs for the plenum and flow through spoilboard.

Getting close!

UPDATE 01/18/2023

What a frustrating two months this has been. The first two ball screws were messed up and had to be reordered. :disappointed:

Then I started breaking things, not by operating the stupid thing but in assembly!

The good news is I have reduced the 3D printed part count in the dust manifold by making it mostly laser cut steel parts and increased the flow rate in the process! All of that is in production as of tonight. As usual, the powder coaters are backed up by weeks :roll_eyes:

I am also testing a camera mounted in the manifold. You know once you close your dust manifold or have a dust shoe on you can’t see what you are cutting, right? Well, I have a camera installed now in the plastic prototype. We will see how well it works. My bet is it will get dusty real quick and be unusable. But we shall see. It was an easy add while waiting for the ball screw people to get their heads out of their…

As I write this I am drying the ABS to print the ball screw adapter and then get that back on the machine. If it works then I will post video by Sunday night of that. I am hoping its wicked fast. It has to be to be cool, right? :rofl:

In the waiting I have been doing, besides adding the camera to the dust manifold I also have sourced 5’ x 10’ x 1" HDPE sheets. It is an hour drive to pick them up but this is the final thing I needed to make a better vacuum / flow-through fixturing table. Right now its made from droopy warpy MDF.

Then my local wood and lumber provider called and informed me he is getting Ultra Low Density Fiber Board for the spoilboard as regular stock.

That right there is huge too. Between the HDPE and the ULD I am going to have some fun!

This will probably be my biggest project, interest wise. Very few will be able to afford an ATC spindle and Tool Carousel but almost everyone will be able to afford the vacuum / flow-through fixturing.

Hopefully some video here in the next week or so! :partying_face:

1 Like

I’ll be glad to be a beta tester…lol Sounds like you are out of the beta and close to prime time. I like the idea of a camera under the hood, heck to keep the lens clean point some Loc-Line connected to a solenoid and puff it every so often.

I was thinking about that. It would be one of those sideways syringes, you know, one with the hole at the tip but sideways instead of straight out. Hook it to a solenoid and puff it every so often.

1 Like

Alrighty! This has been way too long a wait!

I have some video of motion tests that were conducted just a few hours ago. The basics of slot change and carousel extension/retraction are all working. The response times and speeds are much, much higher than before and monster speeds compared to the old lead screw system.

The vibration is gone in the ball screw and support bearings. The play in the table by 3 arcseconds is designed to be there. The system needs some play because of the dynamics of operating the drawbar and the motion that is involved in that. A rigid system would wear unevenly in that respect.

If you don’t count travel time to the carousel, Mach4’s slow response time to ModBus and tool breakage detection you “COULD” have a 4 to 5 second tool change. Realistically, you are looking at an 8 to 12 second tool change for a 12" AvidCNC Z axis.


Timeline is now Feb 7th to have the full system together, dust manifold, carousel etc. From there I am deep in software for the controller, Mach4 Lua :face_vomiting: and Mach4 screens :confounded: .

My digital commerce team demo’d the subscription site on Friday. The site will be the model for the aviation side of the business coming out Fall 2023. We will work out the bugs with the CNC products first before moving on to the aviation related content. Since our core product is builder assistance (aka, we manufacture parts for plans built and experimental aircraft as well as provide educational content) it ties very closely with the tool carousel, dust manifold, flow-through fixturing, etc.

So you guys win in more ways than you know!

I on the other hand have to figure out when I can get sleep :disappointed:


I wish I had bought the s30 instead of that 4hp…

If wishes were horses beggars would ride


Well, in your defense it was more of a hassle than a truly usable tool until “somebody” spent 4 years of their life obsessing over the “omission of basic equipment” :roll_eyes:

It HAD to be a complete hardware / electronics package too. The ESS is 6 axis but the AvidCNC breakout board is only 5 axis so you are out of motor and sensor channels. This system adds 3 more motor channels (axis), 3 extra proximity switches (make it 5 if you use standard steppers to home them), two pressure sensors, three solenoids, 2 probes (one is a tool mounted probe, the other is a tool length probe), 2 power supplies and one wicked industrial strength Arduino.

Oh, add 3 stepper controllers if you use regular stepper motors. I forget that part.

It’s really a whole other CNC machine that just swaps tools for you :thinking:

So, you can be forgiven for not jumping early.


I have now made the dust manifold adapter compatible with the new AvidCNC tramming plate. They changed it on me and I missed it until this morning :disappointed:

I have been going through prototypes so fast the powder coaters can’t keep up. The first photo is what the dust manifold will look like when complete and painted. The lighter blue is PTEG which is proving terrible for this project. I switched back to ABS but you can use PLA for those parts no problems.

The second picture is the complete “Beta” version of the manifold minus the paint and plastic.

The importance of this second photo is this manifold will fit the new AvidCNC tramming plate and base plate. So old and new machines will be compatible.

I couldn’t get the time to paint the new “Beta” version and I have to get my machine back cutting this weekend. Monday I need to do a project for a client that involves a lot of 4x8 sheets of 3/4" plywood. I figure that I should know more about how this works by end of February.


I am actually warming to the mill scale and blue color scheme.

I might do a zinc plating so it doesn’t rust if people are interested. The yellow and blue is very “super hero in tights.”

I have added a probe connector cable clip next to the camera mount. Keeps everything nice and safe but accessible.

That looks great. I been doing a lot of 3d printing lately, it can be a challenge. I quickly got caught up in 'there’s got to be a quicker setting" and end up wasting 3 times as much times as I would have if I would have set it to normal quality…

Nothing in software can speed up the print in an acceptable manner in my opinion.

You have to jump nozzle size which isn’t easy for the lower end printers.

I am lucky to have the Ultimaker S5 Pro with the Material Station. Between 30 seconds nozzle changes and a 6 position automated filament loader, it prints like you would expect a paper printer to print.

Save your pennies, a good 3D printer is worth it’s weight in gold. Especially if you own a CNC machine. Accurate jigs and fixtures will pay for that printer quicker than you can shake your fist at the clouds.

Testing dust manifold camera…

Two questions:

  1. What’s your solution for keeping the dust skirt out of the way when doing tool changes?

  2. Are you integrating anything to clean off the tool holders before grabbing them?

I’ve been putting of thinking about dust collection because I want to get the ATC working first, but I may be forced to think of dust collection sooner rather than later :wink: I planned on just having a row of fixed tool holders along the back edge, which looks like the same orientation as your carousel.

As for cleaning, I have provisions for air blasts to the tool holders (as well as air blasts down to the tool) but the method for it involves plastic on the spindle and interferes with the usual dust collection hookup :frowning:

If you scroll up to the top, second post down is a shot from the bottom looking up. You will see there is a pneumatic rotary actuator that swings the back half of the manifold open using an offset hinge.

I had that in the beginning but it never was a problem. The tool taper has remained clean and I removed it to reduce plumbing I had a copper tube rise from the center of the carousel table and was fixed to blow the tool taper and HSD. The worm drive has a 3/8 inch hole through the center which made it easy.

IF it becomes a problem, I would do it differently. I would leave the vacuum on during the tool change. The reason? You would need multiple nozzles surrounding the tool taper or you would just leave the dust hugging the tool because of static buildup in the cutting process. In fact that is why I took it off. I couldn’t ever get it to do anything but blow the dust to the other side. I believe its called Coanda Effect, you blow on a curved surface it it just pulls the dust around the curve. On the other side the boundary layer is large enough that the dust no longer presents enough surface area to be caught by the blowing air and just hangs there with static electricity.

Now, that said, I do blow off the chips during the tool breakage and tool length operation. The taper remains clean from what I have seen so far. But there is no question the bottom and end mills cling to chips and dust. I actually have more of a problem with the dust falling down around the carousel when in heavy production runs. I can actually have a ring around the table.

Now that I am using ball screws I might need covers for them as well.

I am going to release my dust manifold kits first. It is not tied to the carousel but will require a sensor input and a relay output. It was designed for the rear mounted tool forks like yours.

Wow at 10k it should make you a sammich and coffee…lol I started years ago with the Anet printers, you got a cheap printer and a never ending list of ways to upgrade it. I lost interest. Then got a delta, Just in the last little bit I got a large format. I just put in a 0.6 nozzle and trying some Cura 5.1 settings. Your system is really looking good.

  1. Every CNC machine REQUIRES a 3D printer OR any 3D printer is better than no 3D printer
  2. A better 3D printer makes a more accurate CNC machine
  3. A top of the line 3D printer makes the impossible to machine not just possible but also super easy to do so

Ah! The thread was so long I had forgotten that.

Yeah, that’s what my manifold did. Eight nozzles for each ring, one ring facing in, and one facing down.

I look forward to trying it :slight_smile:

1 Like

Today has been a disaster. I only got a little time in today and my print farm is backed up. Too many things needed for this week and not enough printers!

Here is a view from the camera inside the dust manifold and a picture of the GoPro mount for the out side position.

Just following along on this build. It looks awesome!