Hallo iedereen! All the way from the Netherlands comes this fairly unique CNC milling machine built by a handful of Mechanical Engineering students over at the Delft University of Technology. These guys only had one week to build the mill in order to fulfill a requirement of their Mechtronics class. Unfortunately, directly after showing the machine worked, it had to be disassembled.
If the frame looks a little toy-ish, it’s because it is. This particular system is called Fischertechnik and the main support beams are similar to that of aluminum extrusion (ex 80/20, Misumi) except that it is made from nylon. Notice the extremely long cutting bit and comparatively abnormal large Z axis travel capability. What this system lacks in rigidity is made up by being able to carve a very 3D shape with steep sides without the machine hitting the work piece. The loss of rigidity was totally acceptable since the team was only planning on cutting foam and the project’s purpose was to learn mechanics and automation.
The control system also a little unique. Although it uses an Arduino and off-the-shelf stepper drivers, a computer running a modified version of MATLAB sends the commands to the Arduino which, in turn, sends step and direction signals to a Motor Control Shield and one EasyDriver. Stepper motors are responsible for moving all 3 axes. The Z axis is lead screw driven while the X and Y are rack and pinion based.
As you can see from the above photo, this NC program removes a lot of material making a mess that hides the end result until the work piece is vacuumed off. The students had to wait in suspense for quite a while before witnessing how their machine performed.