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.
What a frustrating two months this has been. The first two ball screws were messed up and had to be reordered.
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
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?
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.
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 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 and Mach4 screens .
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
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”
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
So, you can be forgiven for not jumping early.
GOOD NEWS THOUGH!
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