It has been a while since I’ve mentioned our unofficial Folding@home team; that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped crushing the competition. We recently completed 25 million points and are ranked 32nd in the world. Pretty good for a team that only really got rolling last October. That much processing power would rank us as #91 in the Top 500 Supercomputers list. To join the team or just to celebrate, head over to the unofficial forums or stop by #hackaday on EFnet.
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Yes folks it’s true: You can build a computer controlled 3-axis circuit board mill from cutting boards, a pile of printer parts and a Dremel. My coworker [Will] has posted the third and final installment of his CNC machine build on Engadget. This project was launched when Will stumbled across plans for an incredibly elegant and cheap ($22~$30) 3-axis stepper motor controller that originally appeared in Nuts&Volts in 1994. It uses a discontinued UCN5804B chip, but he lists a source for them. Building the controller and scavenging stepper motors from old dot-matrix printers is covered in part 1. For the body of the machine Will chopped up a couple cheap 1/2″ thick cutting boards from Sam’s Club. The polyethlene probably isn’t as good as say Delrin but it wins out for availability. Steel rod from the hardware store is used for the linear slides. Part 2 covers the constructions of the first axis (the table) which rides on inch long nuts on threaded rod. Part 3 covers assembling the final two axes in the head and installing the Dremel’s flex head. Amazingly he nearly got the entire thing built in the span of two evenings.
Continue reading “How-to build your own CNC mill”