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My build of my MPCNC with Needle Cutter

Michael763

Well-known member
#1
I was inspired by David "dkj4linux" Johnson to build my own MPCNC with his needle cutter. http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?24251-Cutting-foam-sheets-with-a-needle! I ordered the Mostly Printed CNC Parts Bundle and the Printed Parts - 23.5mm Bundle since I do not have a 3D printer, on the evening of Star Wars Day, May 4th, Wednesday. http://www.vicious1.com/product-category/bundles/ My bundles/kit was quickly shipped, I received it on Saturday May 7th. Awesome customer service!

On Saturday I only examined and laid out all the parts.

Photo May 07, 3 25 20 PM 1.jpg Photo May 07, 3 25 27 PM 1.jpg Photo May 07, 3 25 42 PM 1.jpg Photo May 07, 3 26 31 PM 1.jpg Photo May 07, 3 26 48 PM 1.jpg
 

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Michael763

Well-known member
#2
Today Monday the 9th I spent 2 hours 15 minutes assembling the four Roller F Assemblies. The hardest part was getting the two vertical roller bearings in place, they go in very tightly. The 4mm lock washers go into their recesses very tightly also. I kept reminding myself that the printed parts are plastic so do not over tighten the screws, bolts and nuts. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/roller-assembly/

Another, 45 minutes on building the four corner blocks. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/corner-blocks/

I also assembled the Z mount and screw assembly. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/z-mount/

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dkj4linux

Well-known member
#3
Today Monday the 9th I spent 2 hours 15 minutes assembling the four Roller F Assemblies. The hardest part was getting the two vertical roller bearings in place, they go in very tightly. The 4mm lock washers go into their recesses very tightly also. I kept reminding myself that the printed parts are plastic so do not over tighten the screws, bolts and nuts. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/roller-assembly/

Another, 45 minutes on building the four corner blocks. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/corner-blocks/

I also assembled the Z mount and screw assembly. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/z-mount/
...
Congratulations on a great start. I know you'll enjoy the build. -- David
 
#7
On your corner assemblies does the screw/nut the holds it to the lower corner block half interfere with conduit laying flat? I originally forgot to attach this piece when assembling the gantry system. When I went back to do it the screw and nut protrude past the bottom of the arc on the lower corner block piece.

Like you I bought all of the parts from vicious1.

EDIT:

DUH!!! Never mind, if you simply flip it and put the screw head on top it works great. You would never guess that I am an engineer (albeit an electrical one).

Hope you can get your conduit cut. I had mine moving a little bit today but need to fine tune the belts and get it attached to a work table.
 
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dkj4linux

Well-known member
#8
On your corner assemblies does the screw/nut the holds it to the lower corner block half interfere with conduit laying flat? I originally forgot to attach this piece when assembling the gantry system. When I went back to do it the screw and nut protrude past the bottom of the arc on the lower corner block piece.

Like you I bought all of the parts from vicious1.

EDIT:

DUH!!! Never mind, if you simply flip it and put the screw head on top it works great. You would never guess that I am an engineer (albeit an electrical one).

Hope you can get your conduit cut. I had mine moving a little bit today but need to fine tune the belts and get it attached to a work table.
Hey! Electrical engineers can learn, too. I was one once... :black_eyed:
 

dkj4linux

Well-known member
#9
I spent an hour and 10 minutes assembling the Middle Assembly. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/middle/
It all went together pretty straightforward, until I got to the Z nut lock assembly. I searched the forums and found this page that shows a nice diagram. http://www.vicious1.com/z-nut-lock/

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Hopefully tomorrow I will get a chance to cut the conduit. I am getting excited.
Michael, the easiest way I have found install the spring and regular nut to form the anti-backlash setup and assuming you already have the long coupling nut already inside and flush up against the top of the Z-nut lock housing...

Start the Z axis lead-screw into the coupling nut and run it through until there is a couple of inches of leadscrew extending below the housing. Then you can put on the spring and with one finger hold the regular nut up against the end of the leadscrew -- as you now run the leadscrew back up and into the housing. You'll feel the regular nut engage and enter the housing and keep going a bit until it sits about where it's supposed to... then start running the leadscrew back down, capturing the regular nut and spring in place in the Z-nut lock assembly.

I'm feeling a bit like a nervous parent... you, RAGII, Basscor, and jhitesma all have MPCNC builds going right now -- and I can't wait to see you guys get your machines going and start building and showing off your planes. Maybe this is the start of a "revolution" and everyone will be wanting CNC's and needle cutters after seeing what you guys can do with them! :D

-- David
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#10
I'm feeling a bit like a nervous parent... you, RAGII, Basscor, and jhitesma all have MPCNC builds going right now -- and I can't wait to see you guys get your machines going and start building and showing off your planes. Maybe this is the start of a "revolution" and everyone will be wanting CNC's and needle cutters after seeing what you guys can do with them! :D
Well, mine is up and going and I'm loving it. Just not cutting foam yet :D

I have had great success cutting plywood, engraving DTFB and pink foam, engraving and cutting cork...and have a print head almost ready to strap to it and a needle cutter almost ready ;)

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It's killing me that the needle cutter is so close. I just need to finish the guide...I'm going to try the wooden mount method but haven't had a chance to cut any wood. Last weekend I had to do a full replacement on the A/C system in our car (if I ever meet the engineer who decided to move the orifice tube to under the brake booster on the 99 pontiac GTP instead of in front of the booster as it was before 99....I may wind up with a criminal record) and...still don't have working A/C :( Whole system is basically new at this point, it holds vacuum, it holds pressure, the new compressor seems to work...but...it only took half the 134a it was supposed to and then stopped and I can't get it to take any more. So I've been trying to setup time with my friend who's an AC tech to figure out what's wrong. Plus this is the week all our local school boards hold their meetings so my wife is working evenings and I'm in single parent mode for the week :p

So, progress this week just isn't happening :(

But...my wife and daughter are going on a girl scouts trip this weekend and I'm in bachelor mode from noon on Friday until Sunday evening. So I'm hoping to make some great progress :D Really hoping to get my old office cleared out so I'll have room for the 4x4 table in there. Don't know if I'll get the machine upgraded to it's final size...but should at least get it out there, get the needle and print heads done and have time that I can make some noise and run this thing :D

Oh - and I have a bunch of new bits for my ailing dremel arriving tomorrow from drillman1. Some that Twitchity suggested for cutting CF and G10, plus a few O-flute's for cutting acrylic and polycarbonate so I can finish new plates for my UBMQ design :D

I suspect if I can have the office cleared out by the end of Saturday and have the needle cutter working that will give me the boost I need to tear the machine apart and rebuild it at it's final size. Unless I have too much fun just using it or spend too much time fighting with the AC on the car (though the friend who's an AC tech is probably going to love the CNC so I may have him geeking out with me all weekend.)

Oh, I've also been debating about how to power the needle cutter. For now I'm probably just going to strap a lipo on and go for it because the old PC supply I'm using just doesn't have the oomph (it's only rated for 4.5a 12v and the fan in it cranks up big time when the steppers power up.) I have a few more old computers I can strip for supplies so one of them may do better...but I'm still debating how I'm going to do this. I also still want to try using the servo output on the RAMPS to turn the cutter on/off and control the RPM...but that will come later as I fine tune things :D

Tomorrow night no more school board meetings so I'm not single parent anymore...maybe I'll finally be able to cut some wood for the bottom of this cutter....
 

dkj4linux

Well-known member
#11
Well, mine is up and going and I'm loving it. Just not cutting foam yet :D
...
It's killing me that the needle cutter is so close. I just need to finish the guide...I'm going to try the wooden mount method but haven't had a chance to cut any wood.
...
Oh, I've also been debating about how to power the needle cutter. For now I'm probably just going to strap a lipo on and go for it because the old PC supply I'm using just doesn't have the oomph (it's only rated for 4.5a 12v and the fan in it cranks up big time when the steppers power up.) I have a few more old computers I can strip for supplies so one of them may do better...but I'm still debating how I'm going to do this. I also still want to try using the servo output on the RAMPS to turn the cutter on/off and control the RPM...but that will come later as I fine tune things :D
I'm thrilled you're loving it, Jason... it's fought you a bit most of the way and it's really good you're already doing so many things with it. I'd highly recommend the wooden guide holder vs. plastic... I know you'll be happier with it. It's also far simpler to fab, more heat-resistant, and those terribly expensive DG mousetraps (4 x $1.75) work nicely here. The little piece of plywood is almost perfect... match-drill and cut off the excess with your little razor saw (no cutting if aligned length-wise and over-hangs don't bother you). Also, almost any 7.5 - 12 volt power "brick" will power the needle cutter... you only need a couple of amps max. Obviously, the Lipo will work fine for testing (it'll also be interesting to see the "flight" times a Lipo gives in this application) but I'm "saving" that for the hand-held/portable needle cutters that Moebeast and a couple of others have mentioned. -- David
 

Michael763

Well-known member
#12
I'm thrilled you're loving it, Jason... it's fought you a bit most of the way and it's really good you're already doing so many things with it. I'd highly recommend the wooden guide holder vs. plastic... I know you'll be happier with it. It's also far simpler to fab, more heat-resistant, and those terribly expensive DG mousetraps (4 x $1.75) work nicely here. The little piece of plywood is almost perfect... match-drill and cut off the excess with your little razor saw (no cutting if aligned length-wise and over-hangs don't bother you). Also, almost any 7.5 - 12 volt power "brick" will power the needle cutter... you only need a couple of amps max. Obviously, the Lipo will work fine for testing (it'll also be interesting to see the "flight" times a Lipo gives in this application) but I'm "saving" that for the hand-held/portable needle cutters that Moebeast and a couple of others have mentioned. -- David
Like Jason, I have been wondering about an alternative to the Lipo power. I was reading post after post in the threads David provided to see if someone already detailed it out, why re-invent the wheel/needle cutter?

My pipe cutter will not cut the EMT conduit, if it was brass I would be cutting instead of typing. I am going to go to the hardware store in a bit and pick one up.

my needle/fish hook sharpener stones arrived today. It was cheaper to get from ebay than my local stores. My needle wire will be delivered Saturday. I have a piano tuner friend who said he will donate that for soda and a taco later. (My kind of deal.)

David - Would it make sense to set up my table to have a support at 41" so that when I cut MPF I can put a support there and when I cut DTF I can place the corner there?
 
#13
I was thinking I would use an old PC power supply to power both the Arduino board and the needle cutter. Our company was getting rid of a ton of old desktops and routers. I stayed late one night and pulled out the power supplies and cooling fans. I figure I can power the Arduino, the needle cutter, and a couple of cooling fans all off of the power supply. I even have some small relays that I could use to turn on/off the servo cutter if needed.

Just typing this makes me realize how much I have to do yet.
 

dkj4linux

Well-known member
#14
Like Jason, I have been wondering about an alternative to the Lipo power. I was reading post after post in the threads David provided to see if someone already detailed it out, why re-invent the wheel/needle cutter?

My pipe cutter will not cut the EMT conduit, if it was brass I would be cutting instead of typing. I am going to go to the hardware store in a bit and pick one up.

my needle/fish hook sharpener stones arrived today. It was cheaper to get from ebay than my local stores. My needle wire will be delivered Saturday. I have a piano tuner friend who said he will donate that for soda and a taco later. (My kind of deal.)

David - Would it make sense to set up my table to have a support at 41" so that when I cut MPF I can put a support there and when I cut DTF I can place the corner there?
Michael,

The needle cutter draws only a couple of amps max so almost any power supply supplying 2- and 3-cell voltages will work; i.e. 7.4-12 volts. It will be interesting however to see how long a "flight" time a Lipo will give running at the much lower currents that this application requires. It'll probably need at least 20-30 minutes to cut a full sheet of parts from DTFB...

Pipe cutters for the conduit are not real cheap. I broke down and bought a $50 Lenox cutter at Lowes that had replacement wheels for stainless steel. Thankfully, it's worked well... I've cut the conduit for four MPCNC's and am still using the first wheel.

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Sharpening the needle is a simple matter of cutting it to length and then VERY LIGHTLY twirling it between your fingers while holding it against the side of the fine stone (running) on your grinder. This gives the most symmetric conical point (like a pencil point) and allows it to cut equally well in any direction. Fish hook sharpeners can be used but it's a bit harder to get a symmetric point... you may hear it "labor" more when cutting in one direction relative to others.

I've used solid 0.025" MIG-welding wire for needles as well. It works pretty well though I suspect can't be "pushed" as hard as a music-wire needle. A neat trick to straighten a short section of almost any wire... put one end in a vise and form a sturdy loop in the other. Chuck a coat-hanger hook up in your drill, put the wire loop on the hook, then stretch and hold the wire taut while running the drill to twist it up... you've gone far enough when it breaks, usually at the loop or vise. When done, you'll have a length of perfectly straight, considerably stiffer (work-hardened), wire than what you started with. I've used it for needles, push-rods, etc.

Not sure about your table and supports underneath. You'll want to place a sacrificial sheet of styrofoam or other underneath the sheet being cut... I use a couple of 3/4" thick styrofoam insulation panels from Lowes and they last a really long time. And, being thick-ish, you can use straight pins to help hold your sheet in place while you cut it.

Good luck.

-- David
 
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#15
When looking for table top materials I went to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore. They did not have any countertops large enough at that time, but did have some great prices on Melamine particle board and MDF ($8 - $12 for a 4x8 sheet) The other thing I found was 1-1/2" foam Insulation. 50 cents for approximately 2'x3' section. Sizes varied. Looked like a perfect base for cutting foam.

Not sure if there are any of those by in your areas, but definitely worth checking out.
 

Michael763

Well-known member
#16
I spent an hour and 5 minutes of interrupted time cutting the conduit for the CNC. http://www.vicious1.com/assembly/conduit-rails-tubes-pipes/

Photo May 12, 8 10 07 PM 1.jpg

Tomorrow I am going over to a friends garage to build the table/workbench.

"Sharpening the needle is a simple matter of cutting it to length and then VERY LIGHTLY twirling it between your fingers while holding it against the side of the fine stone (running) on your grinder. This gives the most symmetric conical point (like a pencil point) and allows it to cut equally well in any direction. Fish hook sharpeners can be used but it's a bit harder to get a symmetric point... you may hear it "labor" more when cutting in one direction relative to others." - David

I got the fish hook sharpener so that the V shape would make it easier to get a symmetrical point on the needle.
 
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jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#17
I spent an hour and 5 minutes of interrupted time cutting the conduit for the CNC.
Think that was quicker than I did mine :D I "cheated" when I made the set of smaller rails. Borrowed my friends chop saw with an abrasive cut-off wheel in it. Did a full set in less time than it took me to do one cut with the pipe cutter :applause: Left what looked like more flash inside the cut, but it was thinner and easier to remove than the lip left by the pipe cutter. Bit expensive if you're just making one...but if anyone starts making them for all their friends - well worth the investment ;)

Also worth the investment...good tooling! Wow! Got my order from drillman1 today. 10 .075mm diamond cut carbide router bits for $10...Twitchity suggested the .050 bits like these for cutting carbon fiber - but these were cheaper and I can live with a big bigger kerf on my cuts. Haven't actually tried them yet though as what I needed most were the two single flute plastic cutting endmills: http://www.ebay.com/itm/151618511611?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT and a 1/16" version. I've only tried the 1/8" so far...but oh wow does it work great!

The partial cut at the top was an attempt with a diamond engraving bit from Dremel, the piece actually cut out below it was cut with the single flute end mill:
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The single flute not only gave a much cleaner cut it was easier on the dremel and didn't make a nasty smell. The engraving bit basically just melted it's way through, the single flute made actual chips and cut it's way though properly.

The result was pretty nice:
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Most of the mess there is because I left the protective plastic on while cutting. Once I peeled that off:

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That's what I'm talking about! Sweet! The engraving isn't great...but I just tossed that in as an afterthought to see how it would do. The endmills aren't really designed for engraving as their tip is too blunt, actual engraving bits are pointed. But I didn't want to risk trying a toolchange yet so I just went for it.

The resulting piece fit PERFECT. I'll be posting some more details about this piece and where it's used in my UBMQ thread shortly: http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?26694-A-new-take-on-my-UBMQ
 

Michael763

Well-known member
#18
David - Thank you for more good information.

RAGII - Thank you for the suggestions. My local Restore is only about a mile away from my apartment.

Jason - Nice progress.

I have been trying to create G-code from a SketchUp file. Not having great luck so far. I need to re-read the other forums and try to discover where I am goofing it up.

My friend and I spent 3 hours 45 minutes creating the base for my MPCNC. It is definitely stronger and bigger then required, but it will not fall apart after a few years of usage either. :cool: The aroma of fresh cut lumber lingers in the air. Ahhhhhh :D

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The next two days I will be pretty busy, I am not sure that much progress will be made. :)
 
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dkj4linux

Well-known member
#19
David - Thank you for more good information.

RAGII - Thank you for the suggestions. My local Restore is only about a mile away from my apartment.

Jason - Nice progress.

I have been trying to create G-code from a SketchUp file. Not having great luck so far. I need to re-read the other forums and try to discover where I am goofing it up.

My friend and I spent 3 hours 45 minutes creating the base for my MPCNC. It is definitely stronger and bigger then required, but it will not fall apart after a few years of usage either. :cool: The aroma of fresh cut lumber lingers in the air. Ahhhhhh :D

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The next two days I will be pretty busy, I am not sure that much progress will be made. :)
Michael, you're welcome and that base looks great! And about the Sketchup/gcode issues... what is the actual problem you are having? I've used it for years -- I've just started using Estlcam recently -- to edit/arrange plane parts and generate gcode so have some experience with it. It's been a while since I last used it last but I assume you're using SketchUCAM to do the cut path generation. There is also now a Marlin-compatible switch in the Phlatboyz tools options so you can generate code for your MPCNC. Let us know some specifics and I'm pretty sure we can get some usable gcode out of it. -- David
 
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