# CNC Router, Plasma, 3D Printer, combo unit.

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Armilite, Sep 18, 2018.

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1. Sep 28, 2018

### Armilite

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2. Sep 28, 2018

### proppastie

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Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Theoretically some of those things could be done....practically speaking I do not see anyone working on it.

3. Sep 28, 2018

### robertl

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I used a standard router to cut the rib blanks of a CH-701 using a wood template. I cut 3 or 4 ribs at a time out of .025, 6061 T-6 aluminum with no problem.
Bob

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4. Oct 1, 2018

### Armilite

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I'm pretty good with the Simple 2D CAD program I use, that lets me view the Part in 3D, but I'm not Good with the 3D CAD programs. I have some Software that opens some of these 3D Models to look at.

Like here is an Example Designed for an RC Wing, not a perfect Design, it doesn't have the proper Spar Holes and Supports for them. But could it be Scaled Up to give us some Insight to what a 1ft and 2ft Wide Wing Panel may Weigh, and it Strenght? If it's used on a Part 103 that is say 650lbs, Plane & Pilot & Fuel?

This Design is close to what I'm talking about only Front Spar Hole moved forward, and add 2nd Hole toward the Back.

Another.

Here is an Average Tube & Fabric Ultralight Wing. I don't know the Spec's of the Tubing used on this 3D Model. Part 103 Ribs are on Avg 6061, 1/2"OD x .058" Wall, the Cross Tubes are Avg 6061, 1.0"OD x .065", and (2) Spar Tubes are Avg 6061 2.0"OD x .065" Wall.

Maybe a 3D Printed Rib Part for Part 103.

5. Oct 1, 2018

### Armilite

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That's because most People in the World can't look outside the Box. Most People are only Thinking about a 300mm x 300mm x 400mm 3D Print Bed on their Desk. They have been 3D Printing Homes, Building, UAV's, in other Countries of the World. Every Type and Size of 3D Printer will have it's own hurdles to over come.

For many People, it's the Higher Cost to go to a Bigger Scale. With these larger Scale CNC Router Tables in many different Sizes available, 2'x2', 2'x3', 2'x4", 2'x5', 3'x3', 3'x4', 3'x5', 4'x4', 4'x5', 4x6', etc., for under $5000, it opens doors to Bigger parts. I like the idea of a Combo Unit that can do many different things. For most People a 5'x5' Table would probably sufice. It's like my 12" x 37" Lathe I have, but I have never turned anything bigger or longer than 7" x 20" on it in 20+ years. You can even assemble a CNC Table from the many Plans out there to Save$. If you can 3D Print a Modular 18' Kayak, you can make many other Parts the same way. Just as every Airframe Design will be different, and each Brand of Motor used will be different, you will have many hurdles to work out.

I have seen a Carbon Fiber Reduction Unit for a 350hp Engine, that used Steel and Aluminium Inserts. There is Plastics out there as Strong as Steel. I remember when they came out with Plastic Rods for Racing in the 70's that were 20x the Price of Conventional Rods at the Time. They were breaking Cranks with them they were so Strong.

Today, we have many Lighter parts than in the past, and New Technology, Lithium Batteries, Carbon Fiber parts, 3D CAD, CNC Software/Tools, etc. Maybe a 3D Printed Rib Design is all we need for Part 103. Wing Sails are still Exspensive.

6. Oct 1, 2018

### FritzW

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FWIW: you left out the 4'x8' table size in your post. For me it was more than worth a little extra cost and a painful sacrifice of limited garage space to be able to handle full sheets of plywood.

Re: 3D printed wings. I played with 3D printed wings but, like you, I figured I really need a larger print area (I've only got a little ANET A8)

(6" models, not the real thing) I tried separate wing skins with a mono-spar to keep the "print grain" going in the right direction but the skin was too thin (0.4mm)

Then I tried a "corrugated spar". It was much better but printing it 12' long is going to take some more head scratching.

The next thing I'm going try is printing the ribs in 5 or 6 pieces that will fit on my little print bed and snap together. The ribs will look sort of like 1/4" stick ribs but the rib caps will have an 1/8" tunnel running the length of each cap strip. 1/8' CF rods will slide in through the tunnels, tie the rib sections together and carry the flight loads. ...hard to explain, sorry.

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7. Oct 2, 2018

### ScaleBirdsScott

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Have you tried getting an extruder head for the 4x8 router table? I guess Z height is the limiting factor there though.

I've considered it on mine; we built the table frame with options that I can lower the bed itself about a foot, and even remove it and install a very low 4x4 bed, so in theory I could have a 4x4x2+ foot 3D printer. That might be enough to print, say, cowling plugs or wing sections.

IF I were to even attempt printed wing sections I'd have to find a material with quite good layer-layer bonding or one that can perhaps be 'post print cured' where maybe some uniform and precise level of heat is applied, and if the part is standing the way it was printed, you might get some gravity-assist to pull the layers together without much distortion of the profile shapes. It might result in a scaling issue where it gets printed at 103% in the Z axis, but that's all in the art of it.

The other thing I'd look at is a smooth outer skin with a very thin double-wall of corrugated or isogrid style support underneath. It would be relatively easy to do long 'stringer' style corrugations following the airfoil where the skin alternates between being thin and having some infill between the inner and outer extrusion walls. It might be that some strange compound isogrid sections, with aluminum tube spars and truss tubes between to carry the primary load, printed maybe isn't the worst idea. Once the polymers are proven.

I was also thinking that inter-layer bond isn't the most critical thing, as it could be that there's ways to essentially clamp or captivate sections of wing so that even if in a section you have layers start to de-laminate it can't really go anywhere so worst case is it has to be replaced or repaired on the ground but it would not greatly compromise flight.

8. Oct 2, 2018

### FritzW

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I don't think the extruder cares (or even knows) how big the table is, it just heats and squirts. I think any extruder would work on any size table.

If your having trouble with the layers not bonding properly you might not be running the extruder hot enough or your running the print fan to high. Also, if the part is ABS you can melt the surface layers together with an acetone vapor bath, that could make a big difference. I'm not sure what it does to the chemical structure of the ABS though, ...it'd be worth a test.

9. Oct 7, 2018

### Armilite

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While I don't have a 3D Printer yet, I've sent my Parts out to be 3D Printed by someone else, so I'm still learning about them, so bare with me. I don't see any Problem Scaling up any CNC Router/Laser/Plasma/Water Jet/etc., Table to make a Large Scale 3D Printer. There is the Cost Factor and what you really want to accomplish. The different Type Beds can be either Swapped out or made for Dual Purpose use. The different Heads(Router, Laser, Plasma, etc., can also be Swapped out to make it a Universal Tool. Myself, I don't do much Wood Working these days, but if the Router Tool can Cut and Drill Holes in 6061 Plate like that Video, I would want one. I have a Hand Held Plasma, so if I could add a a Plasma Tool Head for my Plasma, I would want that also. Probably wouldn't use a Laser/Etcher myself. There is some Lower Price Water Jets comig out, but I could get by using the Router or Plasma.

The object of this thread is, can we 3D Print Larger objects on them like Wing Panels for Ultralights, and other Small Kitplane Parts?

Even if just 3D Printer was used to make Fiberglass Molds would be great for Kitplanes. Something Small like a Quickey(Q1) would be awesome. I once ran across a 5 Axis Industrial Gantry Router 5' x 20' x I think it was 42"-48" Height, they wanted $7000 for it and it was way out in Calafornia. I like the first Test Wing with the Spar, but why wouldn't you add a Honey Comb Type interior to Support the Skin? I guess you could fill it with Spray Foam to give it support or that 2 part Liquid Epoxy that is extrememly Strong & Light. I haven't done any RC stuff for 50 years, so is your 3D Printed Wing ideas comparble in Weight & Strenght? Are you thinking a one piece 3D Printed Wing or Panels Glued together? The 2nd Test Wing you say "corrugated spar" but you don't have any Spar attachment point, it's more of a "corrugated suppot". While a Small Model isn't facing the same Weights & Forces as Larger planes. There is a point of trying to go to thin on the Skin. There is about 15+ different 3D Print materials out today, and as you seen in that 3D Printed Boat Prop Test I posted, they had different results. The Carbon Fiber 3D Print Material is what I would have guessed as being #1, came in last. So the Material used is going to play a big role. They didn't do one in Nylon for some reason. Maybe that takes more Heat than their 3D Printer used. Have you ever 3D Printed anything in Nylon? #### Attached Files: • ###### 3DS_wing_3DPrint.jpg File size: 25.6 KB Views: 8 • ###### 3D Printed Airfoil.png File size: 31.2 KB Views: 8 • ###### 3D PRINTED PARTS 25.jpg File size: 42.6 KB Views: 8 • ###### World’s First Jet-Powered, 3D Printed Unmanned.jpg File size: 26.3 KB Views: 12 10. Oct 8, 2018 ### FritzW ### FritzW #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 31, 2011 Messages: 3,534 Likes Received: 3,148 Location: Las Cruces, NM Your post brings up a couple of thoughts... In the CNC hobby folks say router when they probably mean spindle. I don't know the proper technical deference between the two (and neither does the interweb) but, in my my mind a router is the thing you buy at Home Depot for ~$100 and no workshop could be without. They're great for what they we're designed to do but they don't have proper RPM control for CNC work, if you slow them down the torque drops faster than the RPM and they were never meant for the work load of a CNC machine. Spindles on the other hand have precise RPM control, high torque at low RPM and they can take thousands of hours of typical CNC loads and duty cycle. ...and they really don't cost that much more.

I think a "router" (spindle) would be the most valuable tool on your combo unit. If you have a decent machine you can cut foam, wood, plastic, composite, aluminum and steel if you have flood cooling (not a big deal).

For airplane work I'm not sure a plasma torch is going to be very handy. A laser would be nice because holding down the parts is much easier (no cutting bit to fling your parts across the garage) but you have to clean up the burnt edges before you glue/varnish/cover. A home waterjet would be great but you have to deal with huge water tanks, filters, pumps, big bags of abrasive and cleaning out tons of muck (abrasive mud and metal dust).

A large format 3D printer would be really nice but (as much as I want one) I can see two major drawbacks:

First is print time. Some of the Thingiverse 'toys' I've printed on my little ANET A8 have taken 3 or 4 days to print. I imagine a full sized wing rib would take every bit as long. A 4'X8', full 3D wing panel could, literally, take months to print.

Second is failed prints. Print jobs fail pretty often. It's one thing to have your Yoda figurine fail 3 hours into the print. But having a wing panel print fail 6 weeks into the job would just suck.

Maybe start with a \$100 printer to get your feet wet, then see where you want to go from there.

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11. Oct 8, 2018

### pictsidhe

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I have a Makita 1/4" router. The speed control is a thumbwheel with 1-9 or something like that. Once set, it does regulate the speed to hold it pretty constant. I'd happily use it for CNC, especially wood. Other routers I've owned have not held the RPM so well, but most newer ones are fairly good. My favourite abuse of routers is to find cheapo 1/4" ones with detachable bases and use them as die grinders. Yeah, the air ones are theoretically better, but you need a huge compressor that I've never had.

I'm sorta looking at CNC machining myself atm. I'd like a 3040 sized one that will (slowly) do aluminium too. Most of the ones I've seen have less Z travel than I'd like, so it may be homebrew. Which makes it even harder to choose... I know I'll want a bigger one for wood and plastic too.

The choice is a bit bewildering, could those of you who have used CNC stuff let us noobs know which might be worth getting and which we should walk away from? Technically, I'm not a noob at CNC, I did some at college about 30 years ago. I am a wee bit rusty, though...

12. Oct 8, 2018

### FritzW

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Picking a CNC machine is like picking which airplane to build. If you wait for the perfect one you'll never do it.

IMHO a 3040 would be a good place to start.

Keep everything (breakout board, motor controllers, power supplies, etc.) as generic as possible, ...all the 3040 kits I've seen already are. All the chinese stuff on ebay is as generic as it gets. If you get some sort of fancy controller you'll pay way too much and it might not be compatible with the "dime a dozen" stuff on ebay.

Get the most basic kit you can find (just the frame and hardware if you can, no electronics). You can save a bunch of money by buying the exact same electronics package on ebay.

Mach-3 is probably the most popular and inexpensive control software. There are loads of newsgroups and youtube tutorials on Mach3.

Building a CNC machine might look complicated but it's actually very easy and can be pretty cheap.

13. Oct 14, 2018

### Armilite

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Yes, Routers are also called High Speed Spindles, some are Variable Speed and come in different Sizes/HP/Rpm! Here is some good examples of them Cutting 6061 Aluminium. For most Home Built Airplanes, 1/4" Thick is probably the Max you would ever use.

Using a Cheap CNC Router.

Shapeoko 3 Aluminium milling/cutting, cheap endmill, no cooling

Industrial HD Router

Cutting 3/4" 6061

Nice Demo of setting one up a CNC Shapoko - Part 1.

Engraving 6061

14. Oct 14, 2018

### pictsidhe

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How would you go about a 3040 with 6" z travel? I'm think that just raising the gantry on a stock 3040 would degrade the rigidity too much.

I'd need linux compatible software, which I'm sure I can find.

15. Oct 14, 2018

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Lots of rigidity is key for machining aluminium on a router. It can be done on a lighter machine but the pass depth will be very shallow.

16. Oct 15, 2018

### FritzW

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You'd be redesigning the gantry anyway so I think making it stiff enough wouldn't be a problem. If you raise the gantry you'll also have to redesign the Z axis (increase the Z travel) and you'll have to make sure that's stiff enough also.

It might be easier to just roll your own from 80/20 extrusions (there are lots of free 80/20 cnc plans for inspiration).

17. Oct 15, 2018

### pictsidhe

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I'm wondering if I should get a 6040 and change that. I csn make the x gantry and y slide larger and end up with a 5035? I'll have the advantage of a working CNC before I get the CNC I want...

18. Oct 15, 2018

### proppastie

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Thinking today, be nice to 3D print/machine a mold for example a 1/8 x 1/8 truss rib to fill with CF Uni Tow, in such a way as to not have to join the elements out of separate pieces......

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19. Oct 15, 2018

### Jay Kempf

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I have a 4' x 4' x 6.5" DIY machine right now. All built out of big cross section aluminum extrusion. Works great. Will be lifting and stiffening the gantry soon. Have all parts to do it. Redoing the gantry with more Z and more stiffness normally just means widening and increasing the Y bearing spacing or number or both plus stiffening the side plates. We did that by just designing an adapter to bolt the existing gantry to that has a wider footprint and an extra bearing. Once you get into DIY machines you can do whatever you want. 25k RPM with the right bit can cut aluminum dry all day long with quite a high cutter load so pretty fast. Still learning a lot about setups and programming vs. CAD. It is only limited by your imagination. I'll also be adding a rotary and tilt axis soon. The price of those has dropped. Will relocate the important parts onto a larger chassis to get larger parts.

Fritz is right. 3D printer limitation is run time and each time you change anything you get bad prints until you dial in. Flatness of the bed at temp is what has messed with me. The laser cutter I have on the other hand is so easy to use that it never screws up. I just wish every machine was that easy.

In our shop we use whatever machine makes sense. Sometimes we just print out templates full size and get out the jig saw.

20. Oct 15, 2018

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