One of the original ideas behind the RepRap project was for the machines to create their own upgrades. That philosophy is shining brightly in [Ivan Miranda] CNC milling machine project, which has been used to upgrade its aluminum and 3D printed frame components to steel.
For precision machining on hard metal, machine rigidity is of utmost importance. [Ivan]’s original CNC mill made extensive use of lightweight aluminum extrusions with 3D printed fittings. The machine worked, but the lack of rigidity was visible in the surface quality of the machine parts. The latest upgrade included a completely new frame from welded steel tubing and heavy aluminum mounting plates. The original machine was used to slowly machine slots in the steel tubes to retain the adjustability of the Z-axis. Some of the 3D printed motor mounts remained, so in the second video after the break [Ivan] used the newly upgraded machine to mill some aluminum replacements.
While this machine might not be perfect, we have to respect [Ivan]’s willingness to toss himself in at the deep end and show all failures and lessons learned the hard way. This project was clearly used as an opportunity to improve his welding and machining skills. His fabrication skills have come a long way from mainly 3D printed projects like the giant tracked tank and screw tank.