1 2 3
Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
5/31/21 9:55 p.m.

Super Casual GIF - Invaderzim Whistle Whistling GIFs

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
5/31/21 10:11 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

Super Casual GIF - Invaderzim Whistle Whistling GIFs

Don't worry, there's still 50 minutes left on "this weekend" :)

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
5/31/21 10:15 p.m.

In reply to WonkoTheSane :

Yeah, but the "this weekend" he mentioned was over a month and a half ago

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
5/31/21 10:31 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

In reply to WonkoTheSane :

Yeah, but the "this weekend" he mentioned was over a month and a half ago

Haha, I missed that!

obsolete
obsolete Reader
7/10/21 9:04 a.m.

Dare I bump this back up to the top?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
7/10/21 11:05 a.m.

In reply to obsolete :

I was thinking about it yesterday, but I wasn't gonna be the one this time

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
7/10/21 2:31 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

I believe we're still waiting for Tom to admit this machine is a steaming piece of crap that didn't work right.

And also admit that he just went out and bought a knee-mill or something.  Drop bed trailer...

Gzwg
Gzwg New Reader
7/20/21 4:14 a.m.

I looked for years at cheap ways to get into CNC routing.

Last year I finally found something local to me:

For 500€, it came with the (massive) table, an old Windows 98 Laptop that connected via serial to an industrial DOS PC that controlled the Router via LPT Port.

After the first few tries it was clear this needed some updates. Now an old Desktop machine is running LinuxCNC, the Router is connected via LPT Port, and runs fine.

This thing was made in 1991 for laboratories, but is still sold today (seemingy unchanged..), so spare parts should be available.

I mostly use it for R/C Stuff (Carbon fibre/Glass fibre in a water pan), but also did some aluminium badges for a friends Gulf-painted car:

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 12:12 p.m.

Very cool! That seems like a killer deal.

Speaking of killer deals... I left off a few months back convinced I hadn't gotten one. Time for an update.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 12:29 p.m.

And I should apologize for the extended cliffhanger, too. I'll admit: This is all stuff I did back in March, but I kept waiting to post until I had time to perfect the story and make sure I'd learned everything about these machines. That never happened, so sorry if this is a little rough.

Anyway... when I left off, I'd managed to program the no-name VFD, so now it was time to figure out why my computer wouldn't talk to it. I'd installed the Mach 3 control software, but couldn't make it see the machine connected to the computer.

I suspected that the reason was simple: Mach 3 is made by a real company and a license costs money, but many of these 6040 machines come with a bootleg version on a CD (lol what am I supposed to do with a CD these days?) to run the machine. Remember, my machine's eBay listing specifically said I wouldn't get any software or support, so I figured my "real" Mach 3 wouldn't work with my machine without the piracy sauce included in the bootleg version. No amount of googling got me anywhere except the same 12 threads that all said "yeah it's crap just get a new controller."

But that was only a theory, and before I drove myself fully insane researching this, I figured I'd check the basics: Did the proper hardware to run the router actually exist inside the enclosure? I know that's a pretty big "What if?" But I'd read a few rumors that these USB versions didn't actually have the right stuff to talk to a USB port. So I cracked the box open. Sadly this voided my warranty. On the bright side, that warranty was completely fake and wouldn't be honored anyway, so not a huge loss.

I was stunned when I opened the box. It wasn't bad... it was fantastic. I mean, I'm sure somebody who does this for a living would have complaints, but everything was grounded, the cable management looked good, and I confirmed that the necessary parts to run a CNC machine were all present and accounted for.

What's that red board in the corner? It's a USB controller!! That confirmed this machine would talk to my computer, but more importantly it gave me a new lead: The text etched onto the PCB. Would that be the key to solving the puzzle?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 12:38 p.m.

Armed with a new string of characters, "BSMCE04U-PP," I went back to Google. And eventually stumbled across somebody selling the same board:

https://buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

And while finding somebody who sold it was cool, finding that they had the driver and instructions linked on the same page was FANTASTIC!

That USB Motion Driver (which I saved a copy of in case you're reading this and can't get your own) sure seemed like the missing piece of the puzzle, so I followed the instructions, plugged in the machine, and tried to move an axis....

SUCCESS! I heard a little whirring noise as the 6040 CNC actually did something for the first time in its life.

Next, I followed the instructions in this video to teach Mach 3 how the mill moved, effectively telling it how far each command would move it and such:

 

Finally, I made some simple code and uploaded it to the machine, then hit "Run." That's how I made my very first square on a piece of scrap aluminum. I'm still learning the capabilities of the 6040, but it's at least working now.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 12:44 p.m.

Now that the machine worked, I needed to find a home for it that wasn't "Centered on my welding table with cables and controllers draped across every bench." After some quick measurements, I realized it would fit nicely on a spare cart I had laying around. I cut a piece of plywood to keep it from denting the top tray, and to provide a somewhat level surface for it to sit on. I also built a shelf underneath to hold the controller in a mostly chip-free zone.

 

I also copied the Mach 3 profile I'd created over to a spare laptop without anything else installed on it. Why not run the router from my main shop computer? Because USB controllers don't operate at a very low level in the operating system, a computer doing other things while running a Mach 3 machine via USB can occassionally miss steps/commands if it gets busy. So it's best to dedicate a computer to only running the router.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 12:48 p.m.

And, well, now we're caught up to the present day. I realized I needed a little vise to start making parts with this, but have you seen the prices for those lately?

Rather than spend $70?! on a vise, I decided the reasonable path would be to instead buy a Bridgeport knee mill and make my own. Hey; nobody ever accused me of being a reasonable person!

You can follow that adventure here.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/20/21 1:27 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Part technical writer, part storyteller. I like your style, kid.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
7/20/21 1:30 p.m.

Glad for some semi-closure!

So, despite being at the basics, it sounds like this little thing might actually be worth a crap?  

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 1:37 p.m.

Angry, thanks for the compliment! I'm thinking I could maybe do this writing thing for a living someday. laugh

And Mr Asa, yeah: I'm cautiously optimistic. Honestly the main thing holding me back now is a lack of free time to draw parts in Fusion. Building race cars and restoring Bridgeports takes lots of free time!

I'll probably regret this, but I have a few chunks of 1.5x3.5x5.5" 6061 sitting around. If anybody has a CAD file that fits in this stock and wants me to try cutting it on the 6040, I'm taking suggestions.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
7/20/21 1:54 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

The logo I designed for the truck would probably fit that with tweaking.  I posted it in a thread at some point, I'll try and dig it up

 

Edit: There's the thread https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/anyone-designed-an-emblem-for-their-vehicle/180971/page1/

obsolete
obsolete Reader
7/20/21 2:09 p.m.

Well, this is just fantastic! Thanks for the update Tom.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese UltraDork
7/20/21 2:38 p.m.

Which one of these small machines would you choose for very small parts like for RC cars? It seems like the 3018 is the right size for the job, but I think the 6040 may be worth the extra expense.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/20/21 2:46 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Angry, thanks for the compliment! I'm thinking I could maybe do this writing thing for a living someday. laugh

I dunno, you might want to ask your parents and see if they approve.

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
7/20/21 4:20 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Angry, thanks for the compliment! I'm thinking I could maybe do this writing thing for a living someday. laugh

And Mr Asa, yeah: I'm cautiously optimistic. Honestly the main thing holding me back now is a lack of free time to draw parts in Fusion. Building race cars and restoring Bridgeports takes lots of free time!

I'll probably regret this, but I have a few chunks of 1.5x3.5x5.5" 6061 sitting around. If anybody has a CAD file that fits in this stock and wants me to try cutting it on the 6040, I'm taking suggestions.

Feel like making a pair of adapter plates so I can bolt cheap chinese idf throttle bodies to a 2.5 duratec head??? Seems apropos given the tooling origin. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 4:52 p.m.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Do you have the ability to draw the CAD file for them?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 5:05 p.m.

I decided this machine needed a proper workout, so I drew up a rough design I've been kicking around in my head for a few weeks: Quick release ARB awning mounts for my camper. Everything else on the market requires tools to install/remove, so let's see if I can build a better mousetrap.

This end will go on the awning:

While this end will be attached to the camper/roof rack/trailer/etc:

Time to make some mistakes and break some end mills!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 5:09 p.m.

So, let's talk about the workflow when milling a part. As you can see, I finished my quick and dirty CAD (why draw the curves you want when you can just draw squares and abuse the fillet tool...).

Next step: CAM, or Computer Aided Manufacturing. Basically, I need to tell the computer to write the directions for the router to follow. Here's what Fusion 360's CAM view looks like:

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/20/21 5:12 p.m.

Next step, we choose a block of metal to make it out of, and tell the computer how big the stock is. I also tell the computer where I see the model in relation to the stock. There's no sense cutting it out of the middle and wasting the Aluminum on either end, for example.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners
MejYLEb6zVry6yrb0NhHpwyYMFdqpIjRIQFi553VSbdWFKaZ4XqnsRWt2MAALOoA