Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by MuadMusic » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:48 pm

devinw1 wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:38 pm
(Cutting Speed X 4 / D) = RPM
D is diameter? (I hate being a newbie, but I hate staying a newbie worse, so I'm askin' the newbie questions :) )

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by MuadMusic » Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:57 pm

nateflanigan wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:59 pm
Still reading and re-reading the KSS masterclass posts

Image

the OFFSET version looks quite good and only took about 10 minutes to run
Shout out to KSS for "leading the people". I'm beginning to follow what's going on ... very helpful.

IMHO, unless you're doing just a single knob, the 60% speed improvement is a a no-brainer. My latest project has 8 knobs, not to mention the jacks, which have labels. I'm guessing it would take a good two hours to do one panel. I'm wondering how many panels could be done before the machine needs a rest (I'm thinking one or two).

In any case, thanks again Nate for sharing your journey and documenting it so well and KSS for being our "Yoda".

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by devinw1 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:56 pm

MuadMusic wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:48 pm
devinw1 wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:38 pm
(Cutting Speed X 4 / D) = RPM
D is diameter? (I hate being a newbie, but I hate staying a newbie worse, so I'm askin' the newbie questions :) )
Yeah the cutter diameter. Make sure your units line up . :)

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:06 pm

http://www.antaresinc.net/FactCF.html

This I found helpful w/ regard to in-filling.
Thank you, very good resource. I hadn't considered that the depth of the engraving would be an issue with infill. I played around with infill on the dotcom panel some more tonight. Nothing great happened, but I kind of got to work on the engraved text, the lasered text is just way too shallow. I noticed that even wiping with acetone or mineral spirits the dotcom paint gets hazy from the infill stick. Figuring that this panel is "highly experimental" I tried waxing it with meguires, that really took out the haze and made the black look great. Don't exactly know what to do with that information though. New bits come tomorrow, but first order of business is making a properly leveled spoil board and a better jig for holding the dotcom panels.

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by KSS » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:11 pm

Yes.
When you think about what I said about how deep your .005 cutter is desgned to go, you can also see why havng an .010 cutter and using single stroke fonts is a thing with mechanical engraving. This reference talks about the depth difference but doesn't relate that with an .010 cutter and single stroke fonts your throughput is maximized.

There was a world before CNC engraving, and we can learn from it.

Picture the hundreds of women -and some men not off to war- sitting at their classic Gorton pantographs cranking out tens of thousands of engraved panels for fighters, bombers, tanks and all the other parts of the military machine in the 40's, 50s, 60s and even 70's.

They wouldn't use an .005 cutter to do an .010 stroke font. And we shouldn't either. At the very least, we should make effort to understand what the choice means in detail.
-------------------

Something else to consider as I keep pushing making or at least sharpening your own D-bits.

Anodizing is the creation of an aluminum oxide coating on the surface. Aluminum Oxide (AlOx) may sound familar if you've ever shopped for 'sand'paper. It's one of the harder materials on the Mohs scale where diamond is the original highest and hardest. Before modern creation of many intermediates like Carborundum AKA Silicon Carbide it was the nearest to diamond. Sapphire is largely Al Oxide.
Whenever you're mechanically engraving anodized panels, you're literally cutting through really fine 'sand'paper.

It's a thin layer .001" or less with type 2 cosmetic protective anodizing and you want to get THRU it quickly and not stay within it to cut! It is absolutely going to dull the cutting point with each insertion and eat into the sides of your cutter at its level as you cut. For this reason your toolpath should aim to minimise Z moves.

That's also why in the forties the war machine engraved, paint filled and THEN anodized. We have TCT and solid TC they didn''t but it's worth thinking about our approch compared to theirs sometimes. Expecially at a hobbyist level.
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:53 pm

1,000,000x this

This is exactly what has been on my mind, well at least the bits about different engraving bits and how all this was done before the C in CNC. The hardness of anodized is news to me (useful news, I had no idea)

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by KSS » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:03 pm

nateflanigan wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:06 pm
but first order of business is making a properly leveled spoil board and a better jig for holding the dotcom panels.
Don't confuse the two.

The dotcom panels are flanged on a press brake and won't necessarily be flat to the cutting plane even if their flanges are sitting on a cutter coplanar spoilboard. Remember the floating heads I mentioned first post?

Okay so you're probably not going 'there' for now.

You want to support the Dotcom panel from behind and between the flanges. This is actually good news! Because it means your ideal MU fixture-spoil board is a less than 2" -maybe 1-7/8" wide by 9-12" long material thicker than 1/2". You want the width to be less than the point where the flange bends on the rear stert to go 'down' below the aluminum panel's REAR plane. 2-1/8" minus two 1/16" flanges means something less than 2" wide. The 1-7/8" suggested.

Fasten this to your threaded insert -or Tee nut- grid with two flat head machine screws -brass, nylon or aluminum recommended in case you accidentally hit them with a cutter- and then surface its top to be coplanar with the cutter XY.

What? You don't have a threaded brass insert grid on your machine table? ;)

I really should write this up in a document and sell it like Pelsea sells his Synth Basics manual.

Okay so you just use two screws -or god forbid use the cutter-'attracting', moving-axis-smashing hold-downs- and t-slots.

Put two side screws into the fixture you're making for the MU panel -which can be simply two sheet metal or fine 'drywall' type flatheads. They can bear against the side flange from the inside and make for great repeatability. A similar smaller round head screw sets the endwise location of the panel. These three points define a fixed XY for a rectangle.

obviously put the roundhead screw in AFTER you've surfaced the fixture, and make sure the fixture's two holding screw heads sit below the flattening plane with countersinks. The MU panel will bear against the flat heads of the side screws and the round shaft of the top RH screw. 3 locating point contact. Ideally the FH would be domes, but FH works well enough here. The slots or Phillips, Robertson square, TORX or hex of button or RH screws only complicate things. FH sheet metal screws then. Doesn't hurt to pre-drill the MDF saince this is its prefered easy-split direction!

You can hold the MU panel to the fixture with its existing mtg holes and nylon washers to prevent rack rash. The dixture's side screws let you fine tune the location to match your X or Y long axis. X preferred, which is gantry movement. Contrary to some popular and incorrect labeling.

Now nearly all the variables are eliminated or mimimized. Leaving only the actual variations in the panel thickness and paint finish layer to mess with you.

And you didn't need to flatten your whole table. Which won't last anyways.

In the future when you have an aluminum table -or an Al extruded or bed-frame angle iron supported HDPE type- you can use metal or HDPE for the fixture and coolant beceomes an option. For now MDF -but not particle board!- will be fine. A closed cell hardwood like Maple or Cherry would also be fine. I wouldn't use Oak or mahogany or walnut though.Hard pine late-earlywood variation kills you and soft pine is too soft. But that's a whole 'nother topic.
If MDF. Don't cut any farther into the MDF than absolutely necessary. Its density falls off exponentially with surface removal. They start with a 14" high matt of fiber and binder when making 3/4" panels. It's fun to tour an MDF plant if you can. The mats are cut on the fly using a saw that moves on fixed but angled-to-direction of mat movment saws. The angled cut ends up perfectly square!

Then they're squished in a three or more story tall giant heated 'trash compactor with a bunch of their cohorts.
The result of this 14" start to 3/4" finished thickness squeeze is that the MDF is most compacted near the surface. So don't cut its benefit away.
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by devinw1 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:33 am

KSS wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:11 pm
Yes.
When you think about what I said about how deep your .005 cutter is desgned to go, you can also see why havng an .010 cutter and using single stroke fonts is a thing with mechanical engraving. This reference talks about the depth difference but doesn't relate that with an .010 cutter and single stroke fonts your throughput is maximized.

There was a world before CNC engraving, and we can learn from it.

Picture the hundreds of women -and some men not off to war- sitting at their classic Gorton pantographs cranking out tens of thousands of engraved panels for fighters, bombers, tanks and all the other parts of the military machine in the 40's, 50s, 60s and even 70's.

They wouldn't use an .005 cutter to do an .010 stroke font. And we shouldn't either. At the very least, we should make effort to understand what the choice means in detail.
-------------------

Something else to consider as I keep pushing making or at least sharpening your own D-bits.

Anodizing is the creation of an aluminum oxide coating on the surface. Aluminum Oxide (AlOx) may sound familar if you've ever shopped for 'sand'paper. It's one of the harder materials on the Mohs scale where diamond is the original highest and hardest. Before modern creation of many intermediates like Carborundum AKA Silicon Carbide it was the nearest to diamond. Sapphire is largely Al Oxide.
Whenever you're mechanically engraving anodized panels, you're literally cutting through really fine 'sand'paper.

It's a thin layer .001" or less with type 2 cosmetic protective anodizing and you want to get THRU it quickly and not stay within it to cut! It is absolutely going to dull the cutting point with each insertion and eat into the sides of your cutter at its level as you cut. For this reason your toolpath should aim to minimise Z moves.

That's also why in the forties the war machine engraved, paint filled and THEN anodized. We have TCT and solid TC they didn''t but it's worth thinking about our approch compared to theirs sometimes. Expecially at a hobbyist level.
Great points, KSS. The anodize layer is thin, but VERY hard! If hard ano, it's pretty thick and still VERY hard. :tu:

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:58 pm

Okay so you just use two screws -or god forbid use the cutter-'attracting', moving-axis-smashing hold-downs- and t-slots.
What, these things???

Image

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by devinw1 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:57 pm

You might get a kick out of this video.. was just watching it earlier. This channel is pretty good overall too:


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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by synchromesh » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:13 pm

That was great, it was like watching an Adam Neely video if I knew as little about music theory as I do about machining... :)

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by cretaceousear » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:39 am

These are great - very impressive all round.
I prefer the single stroke narrow font 'NormWest', it just looks right, though a wee bit more letter spacing would improve it.
Me, I'm sick to death of bloody Helvetica! Can I recommend Futura for a nice crisp Germanic look?
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:24 pm

These are great - very impressive all round.
I prefer the single stroke narrow font 'NormWest', it just looks right, though a wee bit more letter spacing would improve it.
Me, I'm sick to death of bloody Helvetica! Can I recommend Futura for a nice crisp Germanic look?
Thanks, I agree with you about norm west, next time I set up some engraving tests I'll try futura, DIN 17 is also a classic German engraving font that I want to try as well.

A little update, after plowing into that hold down clamp (twice!!!) I decided I needed a little space and went back to the modular to zone out and collect myself. I picked up some HDPE today but I need some different end mills to make a nice spoilboard/hold down setup. I've been taking it slow, the last few nights, I set up the dust collection boot, and just spent time laying down different boards and moving the router around observing where the limits are and trying to think through a good spoilboard design.

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by jimfowler » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:15 pm

Whiteside makes a good spoilboard cutter. I use this one: https://www.whitesiderouterbits.com/pro ... d3a6&_ss=r

If you use HDPE you can use tape and superglue as a panel fixturing solution. https://www.mcmaster.com/1698N1/

Works really well, nothing for the cutter to crash into, will keep the panel flat (clamping thin Al can cause it to bow), will allow you to use the panel itself as your touch-off for all axes (unless it's already anodized - I anodize after milling), and is lube-resistant (to an extent I suppose...I've left panels mid-job for a day or two and come back to finish and they're still rigidly in place). Once you're done, gently pry the panel free with a putty/spackle knife. The panels I do are 1.6mm thick and this process has exactly zero effect on the shape of the panel.

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:35 pm

If you use HDPE you can use tape and superglue as a panel fixturing solution. https://www.mcmaster.com/1698N1/

Works really well, nothing for the cutter to crash into, will keep the panel flat (clamping thin Al can cause it to bow), will allow you to use the panel itself as your touch-off for all axes (unless it's already anodized - I anodize after milling), and is lube-resistant (to an extent I suppose...I've left panels mid-job for a day or two and come back to finish and they're still rigidly in place). Once you're done, gently pry the panel free with a putty/spackle knife. The panels I do are 1.6mm thick and this process has exactly zero effect on the shape of the panel.
Thanks Jim, tape and glue seems like the right approach for me, I've been watching some videos that illustrate the technique well. On a really compact machine like mine theres just not a lot of room for clamping. What glue do you use?

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by Flounderguts » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:58 pm

Ooh...you beat me to it. I was going to mention the tape and cyanoacrylate/activator combination. I love how it works!

I use 2P10




but any activator/glue set will work.

I also use Powder Coating masking tape, as it can withstand elevated temperature. But it's probably not necessary for what you are doing...go for the Scotch Blue tape, it's thinner than most other masking tapes.
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by devinw1 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:13 pm

I use that method too. The activator stuff is insane too. Makes it cure in like 8 seconds.

Green "frog tape" from home Depot or blue tape is good. don't use regular brown masking tape if you can avoid it

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:31 am

Ooh...you beat me to it. I was going to mention the tape and cyanoacrylate/activator combination. I love how it works!

I use 2P10
Thanks, I've been looking at loctite 4851, that looks like a better deal.

One thing I'm stuck on; on my machine (and I assume many others of similar design) the farthest point of the Y axis is off the machine bed by an inch or so. So, in designing my spoilboard/jig I'm making it so that the HDPE extends beyond the machine bed. I've been working through the somewhat complex problem of figuring out the tooling and setting up a job to drill four mounting holes for T nuts through my mdf machine bed, then four matching recessed through holes in my spoilboard. I suppose it's not actually complicated, I should be able to grab all the hardware and even an acceptable endmill from home depot but I went there yesterday to look for supplies and the stores here are just so decimated you can't find anything. But, I digress.

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by cretaceousear » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:12 am

Ah - maybe Futura is not a good idea - things like the top of capital A come to a sharp point and without that it will look wrong.
I know the DIN fonts - very nice - popular in graphic design some years ago. Form follows function : single stroke for the win!
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by Flounderguts » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:42 am

nateflanigan wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:31 am
I should be able to grab all the hardware and even an acceptable endmill from home depot
If you find an acceptable endmill at Agent Orange you will know that you have slipped through a wormhole into an alternate reality!

I guess the dremel ones are pretty ubiquitous...
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by skee » Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:50 pm

I got a large panel from Soundtronics as part of their Midi Ultimate kit. This seems to be a sort of white plastic base with a thin veneer of black plastic on either face. According to Soundtronics, they use laser etching to cut the panel lettering and dials. Reading this, and seeing laser etching machines for less than EUR300, would this be an easier option than the aluminium, or would it be a waste of money to go down this route?

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by jimfowler » Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:55 pm

This is the glue I use. Avoid paper tape if you end up running coolant/lube mist.
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by nateflanigan » Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:38 pm

I got a large panel from Soundtronics as part of their Midi Ultimate kit. This seems to be a sort of white plastic base with a thin veneer of black plastic on either face. According to Soundtronics, they use laser etching to cut the panel lettering and dials. Reading this, and seeing laser etching machines for less than EUR300, would this be an easier option than the aluminium, or would it be a waste of money to go down this route?
I've been curious about that kind material too but apprehensive about the potential fumes, since the laser is burning the plastic. I assume what you're talking about is the same thing as name tag material. If I can find some cheap somewhere I'll give it a try.

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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by KSS » Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:51 pm

It laser etches and mills fine. But it's not stiff enough for reliable use as a synth panel.
You *DO* already have fume evacuation for your laser, right?!? Bueller? Bueller?
If not, fix that first. Not only for your health. Also for best operation and life of the laser.
------------
Drill a grid of holes on 2-1/2, 3 or 4" centers. Screw brass or die cast threaded inserts into these holes. 1/4-20 is a good match to medium sized machines, and 10-32 works well on smaller machines. Also matches what Sherline does, so you open yourself to compatibility with all they sell.

T-nuts are okay for MDF, but threaded inserts are better in nearly every way. For example, need an off-grid hole? Make it with the machine, add an insert. Next! No need to dis-assemble or use any special tooling.

If you think about what grid size makes most sense for your machine, and how best to offset the grid in relation to machine travels and limits, life gets *much* easier. Right now you don't have enough experience to make that kind of call. Or even to evaluate what others might suggest in this arena.

So embrace what youve got and treat yourself to the idea of an expendable initial table. Or two. Or three. it's only MDF, right? Stop trying to make 'perfect' choices. Stick holes where you want or need them and learn. Expect mistakes. Never buy only one cutter of a type at a time.
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Re: Making your own panels with a desktop CNC

Post by devinw1 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:13 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:42 am
nateflanigan wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:31 am
I should be able to grab all the hardware and even an acceptable endmill from home depot
If you find an acceptable endmill at Agent Orange you will know that you have slipped through a wormhole into an alternate reality!

I guess the dremel ones are pretty ubiquitous...
Heh, I was thinking the same thing. HD does a lot but they sure don't do machinin'!

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