I’m working on a small CNC mill that uses a robotics building set as a starting point. I don’t know what to expect from the process. Maybe the connections will be too wobbly for the machine to be anything but a curiosity. Maybe I’ll be able to do pen plotting and balsa carving but nothing tougher than that. My goal is to have it carve PCBs, but what ultimately is important is that I have a tool whose awesomeness justifies the expense I’ve put into the project.
So far the process has been fun and interesting. But recently the Z-axis build has been especially so. It raises a really interesting question: where does the balance between unknown finished design and known material parameters fall?
Continue reading “Building Set Limitations Make for Z-Height Follies”
Don’t you just hate it when you spend less than $400 on a 40-watt laser cutter and it turns out to have a work area the size of a sheet of copy paper? [Kostas Filosofou] sure did, but rather than stick with that limited work envelope, he modified his cheap K40 laser cutter so it has almost five times the original space.
The K40 doesn’t make any pretenses — it’s a cheap laser cutter and engraver from China. But with new units going for $344 on eBay now, it’s almost a no-brainer. Even with its limitations, you’re still getting a 40-watt CO2 laser and decent motion control hardware to play with. [Kostas] began the embiggening by removing the high-voltage power supply from its original space-hogging home to the right of the work area. With that living in a new outboard enclosure, a new X-Y gantry of extruded aluminum rails and 3D-printed parts was built, and a better exhaust fan was installed. Custom mirror assemblies were turned, better fans were added to the radiator, and oh yeah — he added a Z-axis to the bed too.
We’re sure [Kostas] ran the tab up a little on this build, but when you’re spending so little to start with, it’s easy to get carried away. Speaking of which, if you feel the need for an even bigger cutter, an enormous 100-watt unit might be more your style.
Continue reading “Laser Surgery: Expanding the Bed of a Cheap Chinese Laser Cutter”
We’ve been following [glaciawanderer]’s CNC build for quite some time and he’s recently added a few upgrades to make for an even more interesting machine. He’s been trying out new bearing blocks, anti-backlash nuts, and z-axis plates hoping to get some improvements. In the case of the bearing blocks, he went back to the older style because of the added safety and smoother movement. The final addition he made was a dust collection system. It’s just a couple support hoops and duct tape, but it should keep dust out of the threads and rails.