CNCs for aluminum panel work

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by KSS » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:30 pm

revtor wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:37 am
“Cellular” nature of aluminum? I’m thinking of my metalphoto panels and those markings are as crisp as can be. I’d think a silkscreen to be more “cellular”
No, not the aluminum. The anodic layer built up -and etched into- on its surface. It holds te ink in a 'capped' vertical tubes structure which has optical ramifications. I wasn't talking about resolution, which as you say is great for metalphoto process. I was talking about the way it reads in brigh glare or dim lighting sometimes found while peforming.

Thinking silkscreen is 'quantized' or granulated to a pixel-like aliasing is a typical mistake in understanding the screen print process. In actual fact the emulsion creates a 'dam'-like resevoir with straight clean edges for the ink which passes through the screen and then is dispersed into the total area under it, bounded by the emulsion walls.

Finer screen gives better support to the emulsion, but finer screen also limits the amount of ink flow to entirely fill the recess created between the screen and the panel. It's always a balancing act between using the coarsest screen possible to give adequate support to the emulsion layer while still passing enough ink to fill the print areas. You want coarser screens when possible because they're easier to 'flood' and keep clear while printing and easier to clean or reclaim afterwards.

Emulsion layer itself is another variable as thicker holds more ink, but may not expose properly, leading to less crisp walls. Thinner emulsion gives nice, crisp edges, but limits ink thickness.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by revtor » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:24 am

KSS, great explanation. Silk screening sounds as if it’s as much of an art as it is a science.
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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:46 am

DSC, is your smaller router some type of home brew setup? It doesn't look like any particular machines I've seen.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by DSC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm

devinw1 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:46 am
DSC, is your smaller router some type of home brew setup? It doesn't look like any particular machines I've seen.
More info on my small CNC.

It is a cheap China version from about 5 years ago. Most versions of this model now have the router attached to the main Z axis. My version uses a flex shaft with the motor hanging above it. I have made several modifications over those years. The Chinese got most of it right. If you go for these cheap boxes, just be prepared to make some modifications and slight tweaks if you plan on cutting aluminum full time! I bought mine off of ebay.

Image

I like the Z axis about midpoint during running a long cut. To accomplish this I use 1.5 inch foam as a cut bed for the aluminum. The insulation handles the hard vibrations of large window cuts and could take a full accidental plunge of the Z without touching the actual bed. Plus if I do have any backlash it doesn't last long because of the insulation.

Image

Here I am cutting .092" acrylic sheet for a custom clear insert in a custom 48 channel mixer. I will use the acrylic insert to light up the board with custom color LEDs. When cutting soft acrylic you can use regular composite wood board as a cut bed.

Image


Here I am modifying a Bug Brand DRM1 panel to fit into the eurorack format. A couple precise cuts and some new slots and a few jack swaps. Good to go.

Image
Image
Last edited by DSC on Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by KSS » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:18 pm

Mid travel? Round rod end-supported axes are stiffest near their ends. Most resonant in the middle of travel. The same reason a harp is played mid string. Cut near the corners of available work area when possible for least flex.

a typo crept into your plastic thickness. missing a zero i think.

Liking your tensile stiffener mod!

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by DSC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:29 pm

I actually want the flex :tu:
You can cut faster with less backlash if you use the give of the rods like suspension :tu:
Comes with hours and hours of cutting and observation. Yes, counter intuitive, but it works.

Yes, typo on the thickness, corrected. Thank you.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by Stoneyards » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:14 pm

Wow DSC - thanks for the detailed posts. How do we find more info on the small mill?

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by DSC » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:10 pm

Stoneyards wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:14 pm
Wow DSC - thanks for the detailed posts. How do we find more info on the small mill?
Well, the one I have had my eye on for the last year is this one on ebay.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Axis-CNC6040 ... 1438.l2649

The CNC6040 is a little larger bed then my small one and seems to be a little better built, but remember
you are really pushing these little machines to their limit when cutting aluminum. So limit the use
of single fluted bits (better to use dual fluted and reduce your feed rate) and keep an eye on all bolts as they will come loose. Get a torque wrench so
you don't start snapping off heads. It also is the same price as my small one when I originally purchased it, so prices have come down :tu:
Don't get all wrapped up with fancy and expensive build software either, you can pick up adequate software for cheap.
Last edited by DSC on Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:10 pm

Nice, OK, now that I see you are zoomed out, that appears to be a basic CNC3040 like this yes? You hear the same stories like yours on those: You buy them, and then take them apart and modify them to make them ACTUALLY work correctly :D. Glad to see you are getting some good hard use out of it!

I've been looking a bunch now at the WorkBee routers now. They look pretty decent, lead screws all around, and the kits can be had for $700 or so.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:11 pm

Ah you beat me to it, OK the 6040.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by KSS » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am

Purple threadlocker is a wise part of the rebuild for these.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by Flounderguts » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:15 am

I just bought this as a project....



4481 (1) (1).JPG


12 x 24 x 8" travel, highspeed water cooled spindle. I love public auctions!
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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:20 am

Dang, that's a cute little machine, with enclosure to boot! Nice score!

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:35 pm

Welp, just pulled the trigger on a 6040 machine. Planning on accepting the fact that I will have to fuss with it and upgrade it a bit to get it to where I want, but I think this will be a good fun project. I found one that actually looks like it's going to ship from the US, so that's good. So many sellers on ebay say they are in US but you look at the ship date you KNOW they're full of shit and sending it from China.

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by Flounderguts » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:54 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:15 am
I just bought this as a project....



4481 (1) (1).JPG


12 x 24 x 8" travel, highspeed water cooled spindle. I love public auctions!

I'm into the beast now, and it's not all roses. The spindle was smacked by someone (I think they tapped it with a hammer), and I don't think it can be saved. Happily, I have a 1.2 kw spindle which has identical diameter. The main board will not power up at all. I would spend more time tracing the issue, but the main board only works with the PCI cards sold by Armor CNC, and I don't want to pay $850 for a board that locks me into using their crappy 2003 software with a full form factor ATX case.The motors are servos with (really great) Renco R35i encoders, so I'm going to go with Viper servo drivers. I haven't decided which BOB I will use (any recommendations?) and I'm torn as to whether I will go with a Mach windows machine or LinuxCNC. I actually have a license for MasterCAM (from my work), but I really don't want to pay out for a computer that can run it, and I don't need all the production bells and whistles.

I ran some power to the motors to measure the backlash in the ballscrews, and I'm pretty chuffed that they all came in around 0.0004"...better than the desktop machine at work! It also came with some keen tooling that holds panels in the T slot platen. I will probably make custom wasteboards, though. That's a system that works well for me.

There is a vacuum attachment and a brush around it. I don't think the machine cut anything other than hardboard or MDF. I will put a plastic tub inside for coolant.

The servos, encoders, limit switches, ballscrews, belts, and ways are all in perfect shape, not worn at all. The enclosure is sweet, but really heavy. It's also pretty deep front to back (48") so I'll have to make a stand for it. The gantry is made of welded 14mm plate aluminum, and the base of the enclosure is 4 mm steel plate. I'm not worried about gantry flex for cutting panels. I can fit up to 120 hp x 6u into it, with a bit of room to spare. There is about 4 inches of overrun available at the front of the machine, so I may build a tool change station if it doesn't get in the way...my spindle has that capability, and I can throw it with pneumatics or a solenoid.

The door was a bitch to open after I closed it for transport. I ended up removing the latch, but I'll replace the stupid solenoid latch with a mechanical lever. Maybe I can use that solenoid for tool change.

Unfortunately, it's too wide to go through any door into my house. My shop is still getting repairs from the earthquake damage, so I may have to wait until fall before I have a place to set it up. I figure I need to spend about $1k before it's where I want it.
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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:34 pm

Well, the nice thing about machine tools is the quality mechanics tend to be the most expensive part that is the most difficult part to DIY if you wanted to, so you have that! The fried electronics can always be scrapped, as CNC controllers are a dime a dozen these days, all the way from cheap Arduino based GRBL stuff to MACH3 to Gecko, to whatever!

Spending 1k to get that thing running seems totally worth it if all the tables are working nice. You have that enclosure too. Go for it!

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by DSC » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:39 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:15 am
I just bought this as a project....
4481 (1) (1).JPG
12 x 24 x 8" travel, highspeed water cooled spindle. I love public auctions!
Nice to see new life brought back into an old machine :tu:
Keep us updated with more pics as you make adjustments and changes.
We could spend a few pages just talking about bits alone :help:

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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by Flounderguts » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:32 pm

Maybe I'll start a thread about the rebuild when I get it really going.
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Re: CNCs for aluminum panel work

Post by devinw1 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:43 am

That'd be great, Flounderguts!

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