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My Path to a CNC Cutter

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#3
This is my current plan!

A short while ago I purchased a Tronxy X1 3D printer. Now I am contemplating a newer model with increased capacity and so what do I do with the old one? Currently I plan to scavenge it for parts and use those parts to build a CNC cutter.

As for the 3D printer upgrade, I am unsure at this time if I should buy yet another Tronxy X1 and upgrade the HECK out of it, (I would have a spare extruder etc if I did), or should I just abandon the original and go for a better model from the get go?

As the Tronxy is constructed from V Rail I am considering reworking the V Rails to provide my version of a micro rider, (I might even need to buy a piece or 2 but time will tell). Hopefully I will end up with a device that with be adjustable so that it can be setup for large FB sheets or to suit whatever bed size is available. To store the unit I aim to make the design capable of being hung on a wall when not in use. (I do not have a real workshop at this time),

The Tronxy uses a controller board which is arduino compatible and so the utilities to redo the firmware are free. The Tronxy comes with support for both USB and offline operation, (8GB SD Card), as well as a display and local control panel. The entire unit operates from a single 12V Power supply. Whilst the operating speed of the cutter will not be very fast at least it will be a working unit which I can upgrade in the future if I require it. (Nothing is as slow as hand cutting the individual pieces for a FB plane). The operating software for the entire process from PDF to GCode files will also be done with "Open source" or free software.

Sadly I am struggling currently to design in 3D on a computer. This will delay progress markedly so please be patient. Anyone wishing to assist in that area is truly welcome! A further point of delay will be my requirement to purchase a few items including a second 3D printer which may slow the project a tad.

First thin to decide is what colour filament to use to make the cutter pieces? DECISIONS!

Have fun!

There will be a large amount of 3D printing required, some of the items are already designed and available on Thingiverse so those parts will be pointed to only via link!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#4
Today I confirmed that the 3D printer config file can be adjusted with the supplied software.

The original bed dimensions are 150mm x 150mm x 150mm. I altered the print bed in the Y axis to 200mm. Next I attempted to do a 180mm print but it stopped at the 150mm limit. Then I extended the Y axis bed dimension to 200mm in the config file,saved it, and retried the test print of 180mm length. It printed properly, (Accurately), at first attempt!

It appears that the bed area is only defined by the mechanics and the software is only as a protection mechanism to prevent printer damage.

With that info and the recent learning on how to do basic 3D design from idea to print this project is entering the early days of mechanical design.

Back to having fun again!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#6
A good intro to 3D design is TinkerCAD, very easy to help get the brain around working in the third dimension.
I was struggling with FreeCAD badly and then, in desperation, I decided to try the manual, (it is a man thing). Anyway, after a single example exercise the penny dropped and suddenly I understood how to get the vast majority of shapes I will ever need. From here I can learn as I go!

If anyone that wishes to improve any designs I post they are more than welcome! By the way I will only be posting any 3D designs in STL format so you can slice them to suit your own printer.

NOTE TO SELF: I need a heated bed!

Have fun!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#7
NOTE TO SELF: I need a heated bed!
I had great luck making a heated bed (rather than buying one) using nichrome wire, kapton tape, a thermister, and an aluminum build plate - mostly things I had lying around or were very cheap to get. Other metals for the build plate that are better heat conductors would have worked better, but aluminum still worked out ok. Very simple to construct - I can find the instructions I used if you're interested.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#8
I had great luck making a heated bed (rather than buying one) using nichrome wire, kapton tape, a thermister, and an aluminum build plate - mostly things I had lying around or were very cheap to get. Other metals for the build plate that are better heat conductors would have worked better, but aluminum still worked out ok. Very simple to construct - I can find the instructions I used if you're interested.
Please do! I am seriously looking for just such a thing!

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#10
The project is not stalled but rather I have been spending the time getting to know the "How to's" of 3D printer repair, as well as doing a few mods to the printer.

Got the nichrome wire and Kapton tape for the heated bed and so just need the appropriate thermister and a decent power supply.

Since I started turning up at the local field with 3D printed items I have been getting a string of orders and so I am hesitant to dismantle my printer at this time. Some of the orders have and do require special designs, :rolleyes:. In addition I am contemplating extending the bed to 150 x 300 to suit some of the larger jobs but then a heated bed would be a mandatory requirement.

Spare parts printer will be ordered soon but the local currency is diving like Trump's popularity, (only faster!). Also I have needed to buy more filament as I have burned through almost all of my original rolls of filament.

A Question for the Gurus of 3D printing! What do you use to glue the various pieces together when required?

Must get back to flying again soon, 3D printing and part design is a huge time sink!

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#11
Some news! Today whilst trying to get the backlog of 3D printing done I changed the filament colour as I have done many times before but this time the heating element in the extruder failed completely! Still getting plenty of voltage but zero heating! I will try to source parts locally but this might bring forward the planned printer purchase.

Somewhat typical sadly! I just get it working well and the orders start pouring in, the whole (Expletive deleted), thing goes pear shaped!

Anyway, later!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#12
I finally managed to afford a replacement 3D printer, (courtesy of the Chinese singles day sale). The printer I purchased is a Tronxy 802 MA for under $250 aud delivered!

Largish print bed with auto-leveling and a heated bed. What an exercise it has been. The printer arrived yesterday morning and it was a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle with a rats nest of wires and the guide was basic to say the least.

After a marathon build of around 15 hours of actual work, (i redid the wiring a number of times until I was satisfied that it was safe and stable), it is ready to do the mechanical calibration and its first print.

Subject to the new printer actually working, (there is always some doubt), the old printer will be scavenged for parts to start my CNC build. The CNC cutter project has taken its first step to existence!

Have fun!