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Old 03-24-2014, 07:48 AM
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Roundrocktom Roundrocktom is offline
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Default I really need a Haas...

But meanwhile my 4' x 4' CNC router does work on aluminum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYhh...ature=youtu.be

Air nozzle to clear chips, lots of WD40 to keep the cutter clean.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:10 AM
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Lu47Dan Lu47Dan is offline
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Interesting.
Need to build a fixture plate to hold the part being machined.
You would need the same with a Haas.
Dan.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:22 AM
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You mean my stack of MDF boards aren't a good fixture plate? I've even got some fancy bessy clamps, and 'kant twist' clamp on there.

That was a one time item, if I make more than one item, I'll use some thick 1" aluminum scrap plate with locating dowels and bolts to hold everything down.
After a while it does look like a block of Swiss cheese.

When I cut sheet metal (2024 - 0.050" thick) I just "poke holes" into the aluminum, toss in some screws to hold it down to the MDF, and go to town.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:11 AM
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Tom, you should really take a trip over to Zbot...or at least over to TechShop and check out the Tormach machines. Zbot manufactures the ATC units for the machines and is our regional "dealer" in Texas for the machines. TechShop will try and sell you a membership but you can tune the guys out and just look at what you want to see the machines. They're not a Haas, but neither is their price tag. Their capabilities are right up there though, and for a home/small shop I'm pretty well convinced they're the way to go.

They're beer budget/caviar taste machines. I'm still in the generic kool aid pool though, lol.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:48 AM
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Dubby -- Zbot here in Austin had an open house last week. Yep, I showed up as I was curious about the Tormach grinder.

The CNC machine does look interesting, and fits into what I need. I like the idea of the ATC (Automatic Tool Changer) on it. Slippery slope is for a fully outfitted machine... $15K, Then a used Haas for $20K starts to look reasonable.

I tend to use "slow feeds" on the milling machine and lathe.... nice part is they can be running, and I just keep moving in the shop. So a Mill with an ATC fits into my "let the machine do the work".

Oh... on that cute little surface grinder. It is pretty much a Grizzly machine, but they have added steppers to X & Y feed. Z down feed is still manual operation. $4000 machine, but take the $1800 Grizzly 612 surface grinder and add steppers/controller for $300 to have the same thing.

Last edited by Roundrocktom; 03-24-2014 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:27 PM
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dubby dubby is offline
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Good, glad ya got in there to see them. They didn't have the grinder project going when we were down there last year so I missed that whole deal. They were working on parts for Tormach's still undisclosed CNC lathe, which I was very interested in until they put too small of a spindle on it for me.

It's all a matter of rigging parts to work, and our experience with Haas wasn't a whole lot different--even with a new machine. I'm glad it wasn't my machine or my money. The controls were nice, and will always be familiar to anyone that uses them. Certainly a bonus. They're solid machines and nothing wrong with them. But for the kind of money they ask, I expected so much more and was let down. Longevity, a Haas will outlive a Tormach I'm sure, but I don't think I want to work enough to find either of their end points

Moving back on topic... I'd wondered about running a router table with aluminum like that and couldn't see why it wouldn't at least work a little. Appears to do a pretty good job. How big of a table does that have on it?
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:21 PM
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Roundrocktom Roundrocktom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubby View Post
Moving back on topic... I'd wondered about running a router table with aluminum like that and couldn't see why it wouldn't at least work a little. Appears to do a pretty good job. How big of a table does that have on it?
Next time you're this way, give a holler. My office is about 1 mile from Z
bot. The Tormach CNC slant bed lathe was up and running.... of course for demo day it was making some little plastic things. I asked it they could run some 4140 on it...

My machine is a 4' x 4' bed. Z allows 8". The MDF stack is a bit of a trick, since the "Z" isn't at the bottom end, it is more rigid. Little things like that mean holding tolerances. Open on both ends, so you could "tile" a full door and just work on the top half, slide through, and work on the bottom half.

As you can see it is aluminum extrusion and angle iron.

Rack and Pinion gearing. I bought parts from CNCROUTERPARTS:
http://www.cncrouterparts.com/

http://www.cncrouterparts.com/standa...a-23-p-50.html

With the 1/4" milling machine bit, notice I keep air going to blow out the chips. WD40 to prevent any build up of aluminum on the cutting edge.

The Melin cutters are "micrograin solid carbide" -- Amazing how much I was abusing that poor little cutter (Towards the end, the "V" tip has cut though the bottom of the aluminum, so the WD40 is getting sucked into the MDF, hence that noise). Had I been running HSS bit... I would have dropped speed and feed to less than 1/2 those numbers.

It really needs flood coolant, or a "vortex air chiller" to blow out the chips and chill the cooler. Problem is those chillers need a ton of CFM (25+) to keep up with the continuous stream, but do work. Flood coolant is cheaper, but messy unless full enclosure.

One thing that is great... those Bosch Routers. Lowes has them, just take home and check bearings and run out. Collets aren't that good (0.003 is fine for wood, horrible in my case). Precise bits (??) sells the custom collet and collar, and I'm at 0.000 4" TIR. Once I checked the rotuer out, time for surgery (feedback for rpm control). Yes, closed loop control for the speed adjust.

It really isn't a bad machine. I do need to make a 3D print head for making plastics. At least that is a lot less stress on it!
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:59 PM
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Will do, that may be sooner than later--we hope. LadyD is undergoing a job interview process with the Girl Scouts that's going to throw our lives outta whack for a couple years if successful. Right now she's waiting on a call back to see when/where the face-to-face interviews will be held. The choices are in Bwood or Austin, sometime in the next 2-3 weeks. I may have a few hours to kill from the way things sound.

I have seen a couple of the wood router setups and really do like them. I hope that wherever life takes us, my next shop is set up where I can keep my metal separate from the wood and have it all usable at the same time. I miss it some days more than others. One of the biggest challenges I ever had with wood was doing precision work. Things could get catty-wompous quick and I'd just let it go out of laziness. I look back on so many of my projects and think how much better they'd have turned out had I taken the little extra time to align my blades better from the get-go. Having good gauges instead of framing squares makes a big difference, lol.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:48 PM
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Few more photo's.

Normally I leave "tabs" on the piece that are 0.050" thick. Catch was the end mill had a 90 degree point, so cuts 0.167" into the backer. Uh oh... I heard it and stopped the machine.

It left a little 45 bevel on the bottom. Still you can get an idea of machine repeatability looking at the "water marks" -- not bad at all

Last, die filer being put into use. It belonged to my neighbor, who had a large shop full of old foundry equipment when his parents ran a foundry in Fort Worth. Special place for the Milwaukee Chaplet die filer. Still need to find more files (reverse cut from a normal file)
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:34 PM
coleasterling coleasterling is offline
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I'm just using this as a reminder/filler for when I have more time to comment tonight.

edit: it'll have to be tomorrow night

Last edited by coleasterling; 03-26-2014 at 11:59 PM.
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