DIY CNC Dust Collection Really Sucks!

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CNC Routers are great. If you’ve ever used one you know this but you also know that they will cover the machine and everything around it with a layer of dust. It is certainly possible to use a shop vac to suck up the dust coming from the router, however, the only problem with that is the shop vac’s filter will clog with dust and lose suction, defeating the intent of your vac system.

CNCdust-assembled2[Mike Douglas] was ready to step up his CNC game and decided to make his own dust separator. This design is extremely simple and only uses a couple 5 gallon buckets, a few PVC fittings and pieces of wood. To keep the cost down and the style up, the accompanying ‘shop-vac’ is also made from 5 gallon bucket with a vacuum lid. The project is well documented so head over to his site and check out the build process.

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A Different Kind of CNC Workpiece Clamp

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[Mike Douglas] joined the world DIY CNC machining recently with a FireBall X90 CNC router. Instead of buying an expensive aluminum T-slot bed, he decided to try something we haven’t seen before…

His local hardware store sells aluminum bar clamps designed for clamping wood together — the best part? Only $10 each. What he’s done is added the bar clamps along the two sides of his bed, by adding plywood braces attached to the outside frame of the machine. He is losing a few inches of his usable bed area, but the added convenience of a quick clamping system is well worth it.

With the clamps in place, all he has to do is add two wooden braces (the black bars in the image above) to hold his work piece in place. This wouldn’t work very well for cutting metal, but this CNC router isn’t designed for that anyway.

Too bad he didn’t finish it sooner — it would have been a great entry for our recent Hackaday Hackerspace Henchmen CNC contest!

DAGU: The Standalone CNC Controller

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In terms of user interfaces, 3D printers are far, far beyond the usual CNC machine. It’s difficult to find a new, commercial 3D printer without some sort of display, set of buttons, and an SD card slot for loading G Code and running a printer. For CNC routers, though, you’re usually dealing with a parallel port interface connected to an old computer.

DAGU hopes to change that by providing a huge 240×128 LCD display, a bunch of buttons, and an SD card slot for loading G Code directly from an SD card. This is a fully functional controller, able to deliver 3.5 A to each stepper motor winding.

Right now DAGU is in the prototype stage, but already there are some really interesting features: the interface allows for a basic preview of the job before it begins, and should be somewhat affordable. At least as cheap as using an old computer for CNC control, anyway.

Video demo of the use and operation of DAGU below.

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The Ripper: A Different Kind of CNC Machine

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Here’s an awesome CNC build that crosses a standard CNC router… with a CNC machine capable of milling metal with ease. Introducing The Ripper. No, not Jack.

[Maximilan Mali] has been reading Hack a Day since he was a kid. A few years ago, he saw a guide on a DIY CNC build which inspired him to start designing The Ripper at the young age of 16. He’s 19 now (studying mechatronics in Austria), and raised enough money last summer to finally build his first prototype. It cost approximately 4000€ to build, which is pennies compared to a commercial machine of this caliber.

The machine has a bed size of just over a meter squared, with a Z height of 225mm. It’s also rigid enough to slice through aluminum at 850mm/s with ease! Take a look at the following video — we’re very impressed. Our favorite part is when he shows off its accuracy and repeatability by plunging a tool towards the screen of his very own iPhone.

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Cyclone Dust Collector Requires No Bags or Filters

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After discovering their dust collection vacuum was blowing through filters and leaking powdered fiberglass dust all over their workshop, the folks at i3Detroit decided to take matters into their own hands, and built this awesome cyclone dust collector that requires no bags or filters!

They were inspired by a similar wooden sawdust collector, but as they cut many different materials, they decided to build a steel cyclone for durability. The build makes use of two 5-gallon buckets, a 5-gallon vacuum cleaner, and a meticulously designed sheet metal cyclone cone. The vacuum creates a strong suction force and the dust enters the cyclone, getting sucked to the bottom and into the blue bucket. This keeps the filter in the vacuum clean, and keeps all the debris in an easy to access bucket. [Read more...]

3D Printing Metal Structures with a 6-axis Robot

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[Joris Laarman] is working on a project called the MX3D-Metal which uses an ABB industrial robot arm and a welding machine to create strong metal structures on any working surface and in any direction.

He started last year with the MX3D Resin printer, which is the exact same concept, but instead of metal, it uses a two-part epoxy that bonds instantly upon mixing. Their lab is located in Amsterdam, and they work closely with IAAC (the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) — Autodesk provides funding for the research.

[Joris] has successfully printed complex structures using steel, stainless steel, bronze, copper, and even aluminum. Poking around their website you can find many examples of different things they have printed, including intricate matrices of multiple curved lines which end up looking more organic than mechanical. It uses mostly the same concept as the Rostock Welding robot we covered a few months ago, which is open source and fairly cheap to make at home!

Stick around for a video of both the MX3D-Metal and Resin robot printers in action!

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A Cheap Honeycomb Table Replacement for your Laser

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CO2 lasers make use of a honeycomb table which allows you to support parts you are cutting — without cutting into the bed too much. Unfortunately they are a consumable part, so they will eventually wear out, and they aren’t that cheap. [Claptrap] came up with an excellent alternative.

A few months ago, his radiator blew in his station wagon, and it had to be replaced. He was about to throw it out when he realized the similarity of the radiators cooling fins, to that of his honeycomb table… He cut it down to size, pressure washed it (though he notes you should probably wash it first before cutting) and put it in place. It works great!

The only caveat we have is that you should probably flush the radiator with a water pump first — you don’t want to be heating up any residual radiator fluid inside the radiator channels!

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