Building a bigger Shapeoko router

Hackaday alumni [Will O'Brien] sent in a few projects he’s been working on lately while he’s in the process of upgrading his workspace. He’s building a 1200 x 1200 mm CNC router based on the Shapeoko router, and it sure looks like he’s having fun doing it.

The Shapeoko router is based on the Makerslide open source linear bearing system. This system uses common aluminum extrusions as the frame of a very simple, very inexpensive CNC router. The Makerslide system is designed to be expandable; if you want a larger axis, just bolt in a longer piece of aluminum extrusion. We haven’t seen many Makerslide builds take advantage of this fact, a shame as the stock Shapeoko only has a build area of 200 mm square.

[Will] is expanding this build area to 1200 mm square, but of course this means beefing up some parts of the build. He’s already moved up to very hefty 250 oz/in Nema 23 stepper motors (up from the Nema 17s for a standard Shapeoko), as well as beefing up the motor mount a great deal.

[Will] also sourced a few lengths of cable drag chain (yes, that’s what it’s called) to keep all the wires for his huge CNC routers out of the path of a moving gantry and spinning motors. It looks like he’s got a very nice build shaping up, and we can’t wait to see it in action.

Hackaday Links July 18, 2012

Apollo 13 DJ controller Follow Up

apollo13 DJ controller

[Adam] had a really impressive DJ controller build featured here recently. Many of you had more questions about the internals and such, so this post should clarify a few things. He’s still got a few more updates to make, but promises to reveal all if given enough time!

Noise Absorbing Headphones from Shooting Earmuffs

earmuffs-ipod

If the circuitry on your microphone-enabled shooting earmuffs has gone bad, the actual speakers may still be good. Why not convert them into some noise-blocking headphones? For that matter, if you’ve broken a pivot, there’s a simple solution for that too!

Help Choosing your CNC Router

cnc-kits

If you’re in the market for a CNC router, but aren’t sure where to start, Ponoko has put together a handy pricing guide to several of the more popular DIY routers available.

DIY AC Unit

ac-unit

It’s very hot out, so what is one to do when your shop or garage is burning up?  Why not build your own “AC unit?” Sure you have to supply your own ice, but at under $20 for this cooler-based unit, maybe it’s worth it. Here’s the Reddit thread explaining it as well as a picture of the finished product.

3D Topo Map on a CNC Router

3d-topo-map

Once you’ve purchased your CNC router using the above guide, why not make your own 3D top map? This tutorial features a map of Ross Island off of Antarctica. Why Ross Island? It was the first vector-format topo map found off of Wikimedia.

Cheap and easy linear supported rail

Some of the very largest – and coolest – CNC machines use supported linear rail for their movement axes. For any home tinkerer trying to reproduce these supported rails, the problem of cost comes up very quick; these rails can run over $100 for just a few feet. [Michael] came up with a great way to build his own supported rail so he can build his very large CNC router.

There aren’t many tools needed to build [Michael]‘s rail. He put a 90° notch in a 2×4 to support his 25mm rail, and clamped it down with a piece of plywood. After drilling a 5/16″ hole every 12 cm, he tapped these holes out to receive 3/8″ threaded rod. Yes, we also hate the mix of metric and imperial units in that description, but the results speak for themselves.

The now-supported rail was mounted to a piece of MDF with a few bolts and washers. MDF isn’t the most dimensionally stable material, so [Michael] will be covering the whole thing in a coat of epoxy very soon. Now, he’s one step closer to his gigantic CNC gantry router.

You can check out [Michael]‘s demo video after the break.

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Noise Reduction Techniques for Your Shop-Vac

shop vac noise-reduction setup

Shop-Vacs are great tools, but they do have the notable disadvantage of being loud.  Fortunately, much of the noise emanates from the exhaust, and with a muffler or “silencer”, this can be controlled. The results of my noise-recustion experiments were noticeable, reducing the noise by roughly 5.6 decibels. This may not sound like a huge improvement, but since the scale is logarithmic the sound intensity is actually cut by roughly two-thirds, according to this calculator.

As for how to actually make the muffler, I’ve outlined everything in this post.  As of now, the Shop-Vac muffler is used in a static configuration, but with some changes it could be used on a mobile vacuum.  The disadvantage of this reduction in noise is a slight reduction in suction, but it seems to be an acceptable trade-off in this situation – used for a little CNC router with this adapter.

For a video of the Shop-Vac in action with the CNC router in question, check out the video after the break.  Note that this is pre-silencer, so you can definitely hear the vacuum noise! [Read more...]

Worried about Haloween this Year? Why not a Giant T-Rex Costume?

Although some might note that [Jamie]‘s creation could mistaken for a Velociraptor or even Allosaurus, his giant T-Rex costume/model is quite a feat of artistry. It stands at over 14 feet tall and 10 feet long. For comparison, the room that you see in the picture above measures 25 x 25 feet. If you happen to live in the Atlanta area, or are willing to travel, this costume is expected to make an appearance at Dragon*Con in 2012, so be sure to look for it there.

The whole thing is made from poly foam plank cut with a CNC router.  It also has a metallic support structure. As noted in the article, you could, in theory, cut all these parts out by hand. Persistence would be required though, since there are over 140 parts!

[Jamie]‘s making capabilities are obviously quite advanced at this point, but he’s trying to expand them by winning a router in the Instructables Shopbot contest. If you like his creation, be sure to vote for him! Check out the video of this costume in action after the break. [Read more...]

CNC Light Painting

Light painting is a technique where a shape is drawn with a light source while a camera is taking a very long exposure shot of it. To do this well by hand would take a lot of skill, so I naturally decided to make my “light art” with a CNC router.

Using this technique, the LED light is treated just like an engraving bit would be under normal circumstances. The difference is that the Y axis is swapped with the Z axis allowing for easy movement in the plane that you see displayed in the picture above. This allows the old Y axis to switch the light on and off in the same way that an engraving bit is lifted to stop engraving and lowered to start (explained here). Instead of a bit though, it’s a switch.

Be sure to check out the video of the router in action (with the lights on) after the break: [Read more...]

Building a CNC Router to Call My Own

As with most writers for [HAD], I enjoy doing projects as much as I like writing about them. As a mechanical Engineer that writes for a blog mostly about electronics, a CNC router seemed like something I needed in my garage. Building a router like this requires a bit of expertise in both electronics and mechanics, so it seemed like a good challenge.

This router kit, made by Zen Toolworks, comes fairly complete frame-wise, but requires a lot of knowledge on the electrical side to get things running correctly. In order to make it look decent and work correctly, I had to rely on some zip-tie and basic diagnostic skills that I’ve honed as a former engineering Co-op and technician. Also, I had to figure out a way to cheaply stack everything in my garage as we park two cars there (the footprint is 14″ x 22″, so I consider that a success).

One of the bigger challenges that I still have to overcome with this project is learning “G-code” and how to use software to generate it.  Although I’ve done some basic programming already, as seen in the video after the break, there’s still much to learn. I’d hope that having this tool around can lead to better projects as I won’t have to be restricted to simple milled lines and circles anymore.

[Read more...]