# Portable CNC - Leaving the workbench behind

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by ScaleBirdsScott, Oct 12, 2017.

1. Nov 8, 2018

### ScaleBirdsScott

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I think the comparison of tablesaw to bandsaw is pretty valid.

I do think it's an interesting point about speeds and feeds as, yeah, the Origin makes it seem like you just plug in paths and that's it. A stepper-driven machine you do need to use some CAM software and mess with gcode and dial in your speeds/feeds and while it's not hard, it is something you could mess up. Could also screw up your coordinate system entirely with the standard fixed machines. There have been times I've screwed that up.

I'd like to have both tools eventually.

2. Nov 8, 2018

### FritzW

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I've never screwed up but I've heard of people who have :whistle:

The advantage of a big CNC machine is you can trash a whole lot of expensive material really fast, shoot it through your garage door and break a $50 cutting tool all at the same time. ...try that with a Shaper Origin ...oh, the war stories I could tell :emb: 3. Nov 9, 2018 ### Jay Kempf ### Jay Kempf #### Well-Known Member Joined: Apr 13, 2009 Messages: 3,594 Likes Received: 903 Location: Warren, VT USA I have half the size you do and I am still waiting to break my first bit. But I have sent some stuff flying already. Fortunately the mission for my machine is to cut foam molds for doing one off work so most of its life should be fairly easy. But I can see making a lot of aluminum parts wanting to creep into the mix. I'll end up with a larger machine within the year. I keep pining for a large format 5 axis machine. But then I come to my senses I also pine for tool changers. 4. Nov 9, 2018 ### cluttonfred ### cluttonfred #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 13, 2010 Messages: 6,350 Likes Received: 2,220 Location: World traveler While I am not ready to spring for any high-dollar tools just yet, as a total noob to CNC and with an eye toward my planned VP-2 build, the Shaper Origin is very appealing as an intermediate step between doing everything analog and a full CNC effort like Fritz is demonstrating with his lightened VP-2 wing project. If the Shaper Origin comes down in price substantially over time, then it would seem like a great option for wood aircraft builders looking to use a router to do things like adding lightening cuts to slab spruce spars or lightening holes to plywood parts, creating wing and tail rib templates, etc. 5. Nov 9, 2018 ### ScaleBirdsScott ### ScaleBirdsScott #### Well-Known Member Joined: Feb 10, 2015 Messages: 953 Likes Received: 611 Location: Uncasville, CT I'm totally sure that in 10 years you'll see something like a Milwaukee or DeWalt or Bosh or Delta or [insert tool brand here] CNC-assist router, very much like the Origin, available at Home Depot for somewhere around$4-500. It'll be just another slightly fancy tool for the prosumer.

6. Nov 10, 2018

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Oh my, it's been over 6 months since I got my Origin...

To be honest, haven't really used it too much due to craziness at work and my "homebuilt" time devoted to finishing up my design on paper.

I can't speak for larger work pieces, but it seems dead on for anything under 2'x2'. Not much has changed perception-wise since my last thoughts https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29725&page=2&p=425515&viewfull=1#post425515

The last software update, which updates automatically anytime you're on the internet, had some huge tweaks such as increased plunge and retraction rates to stop cutting to avoid mis-cuts.

Otherwise, what impressed me the most after purchase was how much thought the Shaper team put into work-flow. The software is built around Autodesk Fusion 360 (which is free for hobbyists by the way) SVG files. The same files can be generated by Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which opens up the device to graphic designers. The workflow after you generate the files is to upload them onto your account on the Shaper website, which your Origin will automatically download. Alternatively if you want to keep your files off the interwebs, you can use a flash drive.

Oh, and with the right cutting bits, it'll readily cut aluminum and probably brass. Larger skins might be a bit tedious and a bit problematic due to the tolerance wandering off to ~0.03 for pieces around the 8ft size, but it'll do the job.

7. Nov 10, 2018

### cluttonfred

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8. Nov 10, 2018

### FritzW

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The Origin is a really neat tool (it's probably the next major tool I buy) but I don't think it'd work well for the Mk-2 wing (or any tab and slot stuff).

Radicaldude1234, our resident Origin expert, say's it's "dead on" within about 2' x 2'. There are VERY few parts on a Mk-2 wing that would fit in that sweet spot.

As I understand it (bear with me) when you set your home, zero, location (0,0,0,) the Origin's camera sets the domino dots at zero for that location. As it moves it sees more dots and sets those dots as offsets from the 0,0,0, dots. The location the Origin sets for those dots have some error (even if it's very small). As the Origin moves it sees more dots (each with it's own very small error) and adds those locations (with their errors) to the last dots. (errors are cumulative). Even if the Origin gets back to it's "home" dots, it adds the accumulated errors to the location of the home dots and continues from there. ie. you start at 0,0,0, when you get back to zero the new 0,0,0, is .002,040, 00? and the error just adds up from there.

It's not really the size (2' x 2') that makes the sweet spot, it's how many times the Origin has recomputed it's location from camera interpreted dot locations (errors). When you cut something like a wing rib your staying in a small area but your recomputing (adding small errors to small errors) the router position a whole bunch of times. ...errors add up

Radicaldude1234 says we're okay to about 24". Think about the 25' (300") perimeter of the spar that takes 4 passes (1,200") to cut. You'd be lucky to finish the cut, let alone end up with a usable spar.

There's a reason, like it or not, that 99.99% of CNC routers are the gantry type. ...they take up a lot of room but they work.

9. Nov 11, 2018

### Vigilant1

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Maslow, Origin Shaper--it seems that many of these units are cutting based on where the controller "thinks" the cutter should be (based on counting previous dots, how far the suspension mechanism has moved--since it was last calibrated, not counting cable/chain stretching, etc). It seems better to make the cutter much smarter about where it actually is, in real time. Feedback on the actual cutter location (three "dumb" omnidirectional light sources of different colors around the workspace and a "smart" high-resolution angular sensor on the cutter unit?) would go a long way toward enhancing accuracy. I'm sure this "closed loop" approach is old hat in the high- units.

10. Nov 11, 2018

### FritzW

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There are two very similar threads running at the same time: Portable CNC and Handheld CNC ...so:

Bottom line, (IMHO):

Maslow has the mechanical aptitude of a fruit fly. He's a blooming genius at getting equally "mechanically challenged" Patreon supporters to fund his 'man bun' but if he dropped his Snicker Bar he wouldn't know why it fell toward the Earth. People who haven't got a clue about 'defection in a structure' keep thinking "...on the next software update, steel cables and bicycle chains will stop deflecting" aughhhhhh!!!!!!

...yes, he has a 'man bun' but he still hasn't got a clue about why his machine doesn't work. ...yes, it'll fit against the wall of your garage and yes, it only cost \$10 ...but it doesn't freaking work!!!! WTFU people! (Wake The heck Up people)

The Origin has a lot more promise and it has a legitimate business structure (they tell you what they're going to sell you and they sell it). But it's a looong way from being as practical a regular 'ol gantry style CNC machine. ...it's system of knowing where it's at is still flawed. ...it needs still needs some time.

.....IMHO

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11. Nov 11, 2018

### proppastie

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It does work....just not as good as other machines. Its great for making signs, chairs, tables, bookcases, or anything that does not need a tight tolerance. The best features are as you pointed out, and playing with it is better than watching TV.

12. Nov 11, 2018

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Well, to be fair I only say I know for a fact it's good to 2'x2' because that's the biggest work area I've tried it on. I've not yet made full use of my awesome assembly table that I built a while back https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29724&highlight=. I've only heard that it's not as accurate for larger pieces but have not experienced it.

I am quite certain that the there's an algorithm in the Origin's software that self corrects so that the origin (0,0,0; heh) doesn't migrate. When I was testing it out with the US map, it could retrace the state lines repeatedly, with an engraving bit, after almost 2 hours of cutting.

Knowing where you are has been the problem with machining from the beginning. Stepper Motors do it by counting angular steps, and Servos rely on a separate feedback sensor. Shaper does it by stitching together the work area in machine vision using the domino stickers, which are well understood and fixed (by the way you can in fact print your own domino stickers, though you won't be saving much money http://browncowww.pythonanywhere.com/). How Maslow does it with moving chains (each link of which has movement and therefore compounding error) and claim those tolerances is beyond me.

PS: I looked in the Shaper forums and the company's CEO had this to say:

Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
13. Nov 11, 2018

### FritzW

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No It doesn't. Not when we're talking about practical "part making". It'll cut out low quality "pretend" parts ...eventually. But other than making a pretend, sloppy ass "see, it works" 'wine rack', it's useless. ...give me a sharp rock and the same amount of time and I'll make make better/faster parts than a Maslow ever could.

Bull Defication!!!! Give your Etch-A-Sketch a shake proppastie!!! The Maslow sucks at all of that! It might do a ****ty job of it it, one of these days, ...if the parts don't need to fit together at all. ...but it sure as f^@# isn't "great" at it.

Send your money to Maslow's Pateron account if you want (he survives on people like you) but the machine is still garbage!

If you think I've pointed out a single positive aspect of a Maslow, my rant has been in vain. Yes, A Maslow will fit against the wall of your garage, so will a dying syphilitic elephant , I'd rather have the elephant.

IMHO: Maslow is a scammer, he's relying on stupid people to make his 'snake oil' money. ...write your flippen check

...but I'm an introvert and I don't want to burden others with my opinions :roll:

Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
14. Nov 11, 2018

### cluttonfred

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Fritz, on the Origin Shaper and the VP II Mk2 wing, I was actually thinking more of the spar routing, which would be a series of cuts within the 1-3 feet/hundredths of a an inch category described above. I was not thinking tab in slot, that's true, but what about a more conventional VP-2 approach? If there were a way, for example, to use the Shaper Origin to scan or trace the rib drawing and then make up wing ribs without having to make any sort of template, that would already be pretty great.

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15. Nov 11, 2018

### FritzW

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It's a neat idea but it would be very difficult to do, even with a very accurate drawing. It would be impossible to do with something like the rib drawings out of the plans book because they're only rough sketches of the rib to show where holes and slots go.

Even on a PtP VP-2 wing there are places where a pretty small error could make life miserable (spar slots in the ribs, spar spacing, etc.)

16. Nov 11, 2018

### proppastie

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Well I am a "musical snob" I have now found a "dyi home tool snob".....thats what we need here a little more passion.....When I was working professionally, the tolerance of the CNC jig grinder was +- .0002 with the traveling wire EDM at .00005 multiple passes, you could get a mirror finish that way. I guess it never bothered me that I did not have 250K or whatever they cost for one of those.

17. Dec 3, 2018

### Armilite

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Since more People today use Facebook than look at Craigslist, there is a lot of CNC stuff showing up on Facebooks Marketplace today. Just Type in Key Words, CNC, Airplanes, Snowmobile, Boring Bar, Rotax, Ultralight, etc.

18. Dec 3, 2018

### dcstrng

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That’s about the only reason I’d bother with a techno-gizmo in the shop – I loathe making ribs for some reason; doesn’t matter whether metal or wood, the unending tediousness doesn’t have the tranquil effect on me as some others. But otherwise, I’m contentedly of the mechanical pencil, hand grinder and O/A torch era – I used to have a nice 2D CADD program abut 30-years ago in the DOS 5.1 format. But they kept adding feature after feature through many upgrades and I went back to hand drafting as the program became too confusing. The computer is just a semi-trustworthy box for email and ersatz simulations, not real life… :nervous:

19. Dec 6, 2018

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Perhaps a bit of choice supportive bias on my part, but interesting application of the device:

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20. Dec 6, 2018

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