Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

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dmitri
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Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by dmitri » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:29 am

After you buy the motors n everything it comes out to about $1,400.

I'm thinking it would be good to provide for the module building workshops that we are hosting on haight st.

it would be great if ... no matter what format a person has. the CNC could rip panels all day for any format.

Well thats my question... could it rip panels all day ? is it tough enough ? how about 10 in a day ?

https://probotix.com/FireBall_v90_cnc_router_kit/

the other thing is ... everybody seems to have a half defunct CNC router...
I'm just hoping that by buying a new kit ... hoping that it will work lol.

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julian
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Post by julian » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:00 am

It all depends what sort of standard you are hoping to achieve.

If you look at the CGS unicorn in my avatar photo, its pretty small (i know you dont have pennies over there, but you can get an idea by the modue mounting hole alone)

Im not saying that would be impossible to achieve on a leadscrew driven machine, but i do not think it would be at all easy. I would not like to try.

But...

It depends what you are after. If you want front panels, im certain it would make front panels for you. But, in a lot of life, you do end up getting what you pay for.

As an indication, the Z-axis on my main machine (ie the smallest, cheapest axis) was 2nd hand when i accquired it. It had spent its former life in a clean room enviroment, aligning the heads on computer hard discs. Its list price? Just over $1k. Thats for the axis mechanics, not the motor, electronics, or anything like that.

But it does a nice job.

You would, im sure, have a lot of fun with the machine linked to, but, your comment -
I'm just hoping that by buying a new kit ... hoping that it will work
If you realy do want somthing that you can just plug in, and it prints you out top quality work, its not going to be that unit. You would need to start thinking in terms of 10x that, even used. (in my opinion)

If you think about it, there is a reason why FPD etc charges so much for their work. Its because the machiine they use probably cost more than the house you (or i) live in. My own machine took me about 18 months to build, and cost me more than my german hatchback. The machine itself is way slower and more hands on than i can possibly belive FPDs machine are.


Of course, take all that im saying with some doubt - i have vested interests - but, at the same time, if you go out and drop $600 on a machine, its not going to be of a commercial quality, so i have no interest in disuading you on that basis at all : )

Again, im sure you could have lots of fun with it, but you need to think hard about what you would be satisfied with in terms of its output.

If you are not going to be satisfied with anything less than commercial standard panels, then dont buy it. If, on the other hand, you just want usable lumps of metal to stick on the front of diy modules, then im sure, you would be able to get results from it. Even more so if you were happy to consider making the front panels from acrylic (which is more what those machines are intended for, i think)

Your milage may, of course, vary : )
.



_________

For stocked euro / buchla / midibox see - http://thebeast.co.uk/?post_type=product

For custom cnc engraved panels see - http://thebeast.co.uk/?page_id=21

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dmitri
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Post by dmitri » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:05 am

Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge sir. I can see that it didn't come to you for free !
d

Someone just pointed out to me that the end cheeks are MDF !!

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Post by j9k » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:05 am

The main problem with that machine is the unsupported rails. The x axis will twist to much if you try aluminum with it.


my machine is a similar design. I also consider it a wet noodle
http://www.k2cnc.com/shop/proddetail.as ... -09&cat=26

I should have bought this one instead.
http://www.k2cnc.com/shop/proddetail.as ... 5-G&cat=26

I only get 2 inches per minute cutting 1/8th aluminum using a single flute bit which limits me to using it for holes.

@julian
nice work on the panels!!!1
http://www.jninek.com/

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Post by marvkaye » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:16 am

I bought a Zenbot 1624 in the hopes of using it to machine & engrave panels. I have yet to complete its setup as I'm trying to master my Vectric software prior to doing any actual cutting. I don't know if it will be a "wet noodle", although knowing what I know now (vs what I knew when I committed to the purchase) I will be very surprised if it actually manages to be able to engrave 0.1" tall letters.

j9k, you mentioned that you only achieve 2IPM cutting 1/8" AL... what diameter cutter, RPM & depth of cut per pass, are you using?

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Post by j9k » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:20 am

the full 1/8 in a single pass. the tip of the bit I'm using won't let me do multiple passes.


The biggest mistake I made when I first got the machine was trying to run it at full speed(80 Inches per minute). Now I run it at 20 to 30. Running it slow is better than getting crap parts.
http://www.jninek.com/

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Post by marvkaye » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:33 am

j9k wrote:the full 1/8 in a single pass. the tip of the bit I'm using won't let me do multiple passes.


The biggest mistake I made when I first got the machine was trying to run it at full speed(80 Inches per minute). Now I run it at 20 to 30. Running it slow is better than getting crap parts.
I'm kind of a self-taught machinist, learned early on the hard way about trading speed for quality. :bang: :bang: :bang: Anyway, I really need to get that thing fired up... maybe I'll just bite the bullet and give it a shot this weekend. (My anxious level always goes up whenever I get involved in discussions like this one. )

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dmitri
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Post by dmitri » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:38 am

The panels i currently drill and etch by hand are only .032" thick....
They are strong enough for me and won't crack like plexi...

Why do you guys go so thick? just cause it won't bend / is for sure solid ?

May be i should re-phraze that question^^^. you ever try .032" ? How did it work?
d

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Post by j9k » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:28 pm

This is what I've been cutting out lately. I'm sure i could do thinner.
Image
http://www.jninek.com/

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Post by dmitri » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:44 pm

@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH SO FRIKIN BAD ASS !!!! ^^^^^^^^^^^
:yay: :yay: :yay:

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Post by CJ Miller » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:06 am

What kind of mechanisms do you experienced CNC cats suggest? Can you recommend a crash-course in the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches?

Knowing what I want the results to be is the easy part.

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by MuadMusic » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:59 pm

ok, the last response here was 8 years ago. Has anyone tried to do panels with say Sainsmart 3018 PROVer Mini Cnc ??? it's less than $400 on Amazon. It looks like it might do the trick for basic 1) hole drilling 2) etching through 3mm aBnodized aluminum enough to get to the reflective aluminum. 3) make custom PCBs as well. Surely someone is doing this ... (anyone ... anyone ... Bueller?)

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by Flounderguts » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:18 pm

MuadMusic wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:59 pm
ok, the last response here was 8 years ago. Has anyone tried to do panels with say Sainsmart 3018 PROVer Mini Cnc ??? it's less than $400 on Amazon. It looks like it might do the trick for basic 1) hole drilling 2) etching through 3mm aBnodized aluminum enough to get to the reflective aluminum. 3) make custom PCBs as well. Surely someone is doing this ... (anyone ... anyone ... Bueller?)
The PROVer has a 775 type spindle. I wouldn't attempt 3 mm aluminum with that...horrible chatter will result. Aluminum panel is sort of gummy, as metal goes.

The consensus is that beefing up a cheap machine ends up costing more than just buying a better machine to begin with. The smaller Shapeoko does an alright job on 3mm, as long as you watch your feeds and speeds. Even better, an enclosure with cooling irrigation for the bit. Unfortunately, this is where it gets pricey again.

Having said that, you *don't* need a HAAS toolroom mill or a Tormach or stuff like that. I picked up my latest router at a public auction for $500, and there were two others (disassembled) that went as a pair for $355.

The thing with cutting aluminum is that it is gummy (as I said) and still rigid enough to break a tool easily. You can probably do a decent job with the SainSmart...if you use a stubby endmill, take super light passes, and stand there lubing and blowing away chips for the whole job...which could mean an hour or two or three, depending on what you are cutting.
For PCB, you can use a downcut flute on the tool end, pushing the dust and chips down, and the specific heat capacity of FRP is low, so it doesn't heat up like alu. The PROVer would probably be great for PCB work, especially with a compressed air nozzle and a dust extractor.

And you could probably set it up for drilling holes using twist drills and a G83 peck drill cycle. Using an engraving bit for scratching through anodizing would probably be ok, if you're up for some hand cleanup afterwards.
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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by devinw1 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:49 am

I just tried playing with a 3018ProVer and sent it back. It's basically a toy, no offense. It has SO much flex in the gantry. The (Acme :( ) leadscrew blocks are PLASTIC. The whole Z assembly is also plastic. It's not a realistic option for machining aluminum. It's also really tiny. I did one panel and it took forever, and skipped steps (i think) and ended up way out of dimensional spec.

The problem with any CNC router really is that they are designed for soft materials and usually don't have much rigidity. THat being said, I have seen people managing with some of the better routers (Shapeoko, WorkBee), but I look at those and they are using polycarbonate wheels that run on aluminum as the linear rails, which really doesn't impress me.

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by infinitemachinery » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:53 pm

I have a Shapeoko 3 arriving on Monday :-)

I'm confident it will work fine for aluminum panels. It's a matter of choosing the right cutter and speeds. There's lots of folks out there machining much larger aluminum parts with the Shapeoko.

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by emmaker » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:41 pm

This was 25 years ago so I don't know how this still holds up and maybe there might of been operator issues too. But it's something to think about now days with PCBs being relatively cheap.

We needed some prototype boards done ASAP and had a fellow do them using a CNC router. Boards looked good and worked fine but I asked him how the CNC machine worked for doing the boards since that was something I was looking into. His response was if he knew what he knew now he wouldn't of gotten the machine. Fiberglass was really hard on the router bits and when he figured in the cost of the bits it was cheaper to use a fab house.

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by MuadMusic » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:48 pm

wow! lots of sage advice. I guess I would do better use local fab houses for the boards (or spend extra on the shipping).

I do hear the caveats from several of you, but it seems that CNC is exactly what is being used for this task at houses that make the panels. My takeaway is "multiply your budget by 2 or 3 or 5".

Any further warnings? Is anyone drilling aluminum front panels successfully with any cnc machine that's available (new) for under $1000? $1500? $2000?

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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by Flounderguts » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:58 pm

MuadMusic wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:48 pm
wow! lots of sage advice. I guess I would do better use local fab houses for the boards (or spend extra on the shipping).

I do hear the caveats from several of you, but it seems that CNC is exactly what is being used for this task at houses that make the panels. My takeaway is "multiply your budget by 2 or 3 or 5".

Any further warnings? Is anyone drilling aluminum front panels successfully with any cnc machine that's available (new) for under $1000? $1500? $2000?
The hard part is figuring out what your *scope* is.

If you are just going to drill panels for yourself, then a good drillpress, a punch, great measuring, and a set of really good bits for the material you are drilling (so many people use bits made for steel on aluminum) are all you need. With some patience and a jig, you can even do nice slots. You can do wonders with a cheapish desktop milling machine and a set of nice metal rifflers.

If you are planning to make short runs of panels, hire someone...unless you really love tinkering and want to CNC other stuff as well.

But if you are really going to take the plunge, you actually need to spend money. And more money. And more, until :omg:

Figure on $4k to get started. And the vast majority of people who get started end up with a nice machine parked next to the hot rod project until it's obsolete. I made a delivery to a house the other day that had a 2 year old Tormach with 3.2 hours on it.

There are lots of problems that you don't see coming...learning curve, tool cost, chip evacuation, cleanup, coolant, jigs, material handling, coating...maybe even silkscreening.

It can be done, though...but like eurorack, it's only cheapish if you do it yourself. Finding an older machine and upgrading it is the best way, usually.

Probably the best turnkey option right now (where you could eliminate many of the tooling costs, noise, cleanup, and cut down on the space needed) would be the Wazer home waterjet cutter. But it's eight thousand dollars.

But no breaking bits, no toolchanges, no aluminum shavings in the carpet, no vacuum collectors, no dust...

Another path is to look into whether you have a local MakerSpace that might have the tooling you require. The one that is local to me charges $50 a month for 24/7 access, and they have a nice CNC mill as well as a Shapeoko and a GlowForge...in addition to hand tools. You also get some training, mentoring, and often reduced rates on raw materials.
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Re: Anybody using a Fireball CNC router to make panels/ pcb ?

Post by KSS » Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:39 am

MuadMusic wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:48 pm
I do hear the caveats from several of you, but it seems that CNC is exactly what is being used for this task at houses that make the panels. My takeaway is "multiply your budget by 2 or 3 or 5".
Not exactly. This is what they use. Typical four head Excellon Drill. The larger photo clearly shows the six inch thick solid black granite base 'plate'.
These are PCB drills.
For aluminum panels, similarly sized mills would be used by a place like Front Panel Express. A cheapy in that category might be a Haas mini at $20K plus.
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