# CNC Machine - for home-building aircraft

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Rienk, Apr 17, 2015.

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1. Apr 19, 2016

### Rienk

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I disagree. Though an ultra-cheap CNC router might be appreciated and necessary to some, I think that a machine that can essentially duplicate the functionality of a $15-20k router for under$3k would be an amazing feat.

Marc, if you're willing to design something like the 2448 Shopbot Buddy with Powerstick, I'd buy/build several - as I would try to put one in each of our five local high-schools.

2. Apr 19, 2016

### ScaleBirdsScott

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2.5k is reasonable if it has a true spindle and quality controllers and motors. The spindle setups alone can run into a few hundred bucks. But the control, precision, collets, and lack of noise is leagues better than normal routers. And using good boards and drivers are all key to happy running.

Ill take some of those big ticket items over a more costly set of linear rail or what not. Especially starting out for the hobby builder.

3. Apr 19, 2016

### Jay Kempf

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I used an inexpensive asian kit with individual Wantai motor controllers and steppers and a generic break out board with Mach3. I used single start 1/2-10 ACME rolled threaded rod from ENCO and some Delrin anti-backlash nuts. Really less than 30 per axis for near 6' of travel axis. The rest is all roller skate bearings and centerless ground rods as well as a lot of Ebay parts and hardware from my favorite hardware supplier. The 750 included power supplies and I made a spindle from a Harbor Freight long nose grinder. All came out surprisingly well. This is only for soft materials but it is 4' x 4' x 1'Z gantry setup so there are 4 Axis total with 2 Y drives. If I kitted the whole thing out with the design mods I already wanted to do I think it would be in the 2k range delivered. But if someone wanted to do the thing up with their own table saw probably $1500 would do it. When I first started looking at doing it the parts list alone was near$2k but when I really started scrounging and sourcing aggressively the total buy got down as low as it did. Course I am not including software and a computer I already had lying around as most have. But it did include castes for the base and the whole base and all the wood other than scraps I had. Simple design based mostly on https://www.rockcliffmachine.com/product/cnc-router-plans-download/. The plans are 10 and you get 3D models which I then completely redesigned for my purposes. I guess most people just aren't going to do that kind of work to just get a tool but hey, some of us will. I have a goal of modular tooling for my projects based on this tool so I had my reasons. 4. Apr 19, 2016 ### proppastie ### proppastie #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 19, 2012 Messages: 3,511 Likes Received: 1,006 Location: NJ anybody on the east coast want to cut some .016 for me? 5. Apr 19, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) Go the 100kGarages - Where projects are made by digital fabricators (fabbers) working with 2-D or 3-D digital fabrication tools which is a collaborative pursuing the goal of getting 100,000 CNC machines in "garages" (homes, garages, shops) and connecting them with people who want to make things, or have them made. Also connect with any MakerSpaces that may be relatively close. You may be closer to having a capable new CNC friend than you think! rdj, cheapracer and proppastie like this. 6. Apr 19, 2016 ### addicted2climbing ### addicted2climbing #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 27, 2012 Messages: 914 Likes Received: 255 Location: Glendale, CA Hello Rienk, I so wish you did not show me that video? Now I need to see what I come up with. :devious: Making a machine that has a similar stick arrangement is easy. However, before doing so, are there others doing this as well, or is this configuration proprietary to their design and patented. I am never the type to steal ideas, but darn that is a good one. Only downside I see is it relies on a rack and pinion system. The gear can be preloaded against the rack, but its tough to remove all the backlash and therefore software based backlash compensation needs to fix the deficiency in the machine. At the moment i am in the process of building up a small CNC machine from a ballscrew converted G0704. The machine is done as is the frame and enclosure. I am just cleaning up a few things and plan to put it in the frame this week and then the fun of setting it up and getting it running begins. So with that said, I could not start designing something like this for at least a month. Or if my weeknights are free can do a bit here and there. Some issues off the top of my head: Storing a large platform that can hold a 4x8 sheet would be at least 4'6" x 9' and still be pretty heavy to move and insert into the machine accurately by one person. When in use the machine takes up more space than if the work bed was static. Teh machine needs guides on both sided to support the cantilevered sheet as it transitions from uncut area already cut. However the storing befit does outweigh this problem I think. At the moment, I need the CNC going ASAP as I have my own aviation based product. I designed, patented and manufacture a product to attach GoPro type cameras to airplanes. Here is a link to my website: Cloudbase Engineering | Aircraft and Motorcycle Mounts for Go Pros Best regards, Marc Webster Cloudbase Engineering LLC 7. Apr 20, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) Marc, my understanding is that the PowerStick system is not covered by a patent, as it is essentially already prior art/public domain. As you know there are different types of CNC beds - some where the work material is stationary and some where they move (in at least one axis, sometimes two). I'm a fan of stationary material, with gantry moving in two-axis, primarily because they take up less floor space. Nonetheless, having moving material makes sense in this application - and it does simplify the gantry. You're right that the removable top will be heavy, and will likely need two sets of hands to install - if it is a full 4x8 - but it's also possible to have several of different sizes. The builder could have a 4x4 they can easily install by themselves, but need to get the spouse/kid/neighbor to get the larger beds on... not a deal killer. The rack and pinion system is not ideal - but well worth the compromise for someone to have a full bed CNC machine when needed, but takes up a quarter of the space when stored or doing small parts. Overall, I think that it is a nifty solution that should be emulated in a more affordable package. (full disclosure: our first two large format CNC machines were Shopbots - and we still have them. They opened up capabilities that we couldn't have afforded otherwise. In spite of their significant limitations, I will always be grateful for that). 8. Apr 20, 2016 ### Jay Kempf ### Jay Kempf #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 13, 2009 Messages: 3,531 Likes Received: 865 Location: Warren, VT USA Any open bed 4x4 machine can do 4 x 8 with one reposition of the work piece. This just requires a program stop and two alignment pins. That is a pretty good compromise for foot print vs. capability. 9. Apr 21, 2016 ### addicted2climbing ### addicted2climbing #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 27, 2012 Messages: 914 Likes Received: 255 Location: Glendale, CA Hello Jay, That was my plan with my original design as shown in a previous thread. However this power stick option is intriguing and I may see what I can come up with then make the call on which I build. Marc 10. Apr 21, 2016 ### Jay Kempf ### Jay Kempf #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 13, 2009 Messages: 3,531 Likes Received: 865 Location: Warren, VT USA Basically two versions of the same concept. If I didn't have a large shop I would be looking to reduce the footprint even more. Moving the sheet all the time is a bit of a beeeaaaaatch for small parts. 11. Apr 23, 2016 ### addicted2climbing ### addicted2climbing #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 27, 2012 Messages: 914 Likes Received: 255 Location: Glendale, CA OK so I spent some time looking at the shopbot buddy with power stick, and I am at a loss as to why they charge so much for the machine. The Y axis is nothing more than a set of V groove wheels with the material supported by standard conveyor rollers. I suppose this is fine as its only cutting in one location and that location is supported by rollers and Vee groove wheels. The Power stick option is interesting, but on an 4'x8' sheet it would be a pain in the butt. The powerstick rail will need a full sheet of material attached to it as the base since the Power Stick slide looks to be only abut 6" or so wide. This makes loading tough with the weight of the sheet attached to the Power Stick. I wonder if the Powerstick could be loaded without the base sheet and have some locating pins on the powerstick to then set and hold down the base sheet. This would make it easier if alone. I think a dedicated large format machine is the best option, however, when space is at a premium the powerstick option is pretty interesting. I rent a 12' x 35' area of our EAA hangar and having the machine made in such a way to put it against a wall when not in use is a big plus. Anyone on here have any formal experience with a shopbot buddy with powerstick or something similar? I wont be buying one, I will build my own, but want info on how well they work. Marc 12. Apr 23, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) All their machines are now very overpriced, but I don't hold it against them, as they charge what the market will bear. But a 'Kit' for a few thousand dollars with the same capabilities would be a boon to the 'Maker' movement overall, and to Aircraft homebuilding in particular. I don't have direct experience with the Buddy, but it mostly operates the same as their other units. I like your idea about having a power strip with indexing marks for the table top; I had actually thought that two power strips in parrallel might be a good option as well, to keep everything square? Regardless, a basic 2'x4' bed for using while in the corner o the shop seems ideal, and pull it out when you need to do something larger. I think that having both a 4'x4' and 4'x8' powerstick setup would be the way to go. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with this project - I sure would like to see units like this in every FabLab and Makerspace - but especially in every high school and junior high in our country! 13. Apr 23, 2016 ### addicted2climbing ### addicted2climbing #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 27, 2012 Messages: 914 Likes Received: 255 Location: Glendale, CA I definitely plan to see what I cna come up with using as much off the shelf items as possible to make it easy to build. I do need to finish the CNC machine first and should have that sorted out by the end of next month. I can work on the design in the evenings, but can not split my time during the day between two assembly projects. Plus I will likely need to use the CNC machine to make some of the parts for the router. I'd like to run it closed loop on the X & Y axis if possible and cheap RGH22 & RGH24 linear encoders are available on ebay. Take care, Marc 14. Apr 23, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) I sent you a PM 15. Apr 24, 2016 ### proppastie ### proppastie #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 19, 2012 Messages: 3,511 Likes Received: 1,006 Location: NJ Last edited: Apr 24, 2016 16. Apr 24, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) Not sure if you're joking? That machine is made out of CF plate, not for cutting CF? Sure looks cool. As someone who has gone through a dozen Porter Cable routers on my CNCs, I would recommend the new low cost (and water cooled) spindles you can now find on Ebay and elsewhere. 17. Apr 24, 2016 ### proppastie ### proppastie #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 19, 2012 Messages: 3,511 Likes Received: 1,006 Location: NJ .016 2024-t3 a heavy duty scissors does work, I use it for the close work, and an air shear/scissor for the long cuts. It did take 4 hr. for this piece when all was done, and I still have to put some holes in,. But it's a hobby. 18. Apr 24, 2016 ### Rienk ### Rienk #### Well-Known Member Joined: Oct 11, 2008 Messages: 1,364 Likes Received: 190 Location: Santa Maria, CA (SMX) Ah, now I see what your saying - I thought you meant for cutting CF/FG cloth! I'm not sure that a CNC like this could even cut that thin of metal without chewing it up? I've used an air-nibbler for that kind of work - very fun to use - but it has an 1/8" kerf. We mounted it upside down in a router table, and it was like cutting butter (even in 15 gauge, IIRC). Hot Wings likes this. 19. Apr 25, 2016 ### proppastie ### proppastie #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 19, 2012 Messages: 3,511 Likes Received: 1,006 Location: NJ You just brought back a memory, when worked for McDonnell (1976 I think) they had at the time the best tools government money could buy to cut the carbon cloth for the AV8B. When the programming was off or the fancy (I think water jet) did not work they used3 scissors. (\$3 bought a little more back then)

20. Apr 25, 2016

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