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Router suggestions for a homebuilt CNC machine?

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Forum topic by Dan Lyke posted 01-05-2010 10:18 PM 2402 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan Lyke

1485 posts in 2813 days


01-05-2010 10:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jig cnc router

I’ve got a bucket of bearings on order to build myself a CNC machine. I have motors and controllers left over from previous projects, I figure something on the order of 3’ or 4’ by 1.5’ or 2’ with a simple worm-drive system should be a good point to learn from. I’m thinking linear bearings made from 608ZZs on angle iron running on steel pipes, held together with ApplePly.

Here’s the question: What router should I use? This isn’t a place for the big heavy Porter Cable 7518 that I use in my table. I’ll be better off with something smaller and lighter. The carriage will move pretty slowly (and I can program it to move it slower yet if need be), I’ll probably only be using things like smaller straight and sign-making bits. What I probably want is one of the beefier trim style routers.

My wife asks “Doesn’t Festool make something that’d work?”, but the MFK 700 doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy to mount to a carriage, given that the body isn’t straight, and I’m not sure the rest of the features are important enough to me to justify the price. I’ve got the OF 1010, but the design of that too doesn’t lend itself to mounting easily.

I think I want something with a cylindrical body. Overall power isn’t a big concern, as I said head motion can be slow. I’d like at ¼” and 8mm collets, ½” would be a total bonus but definitely isn’t a dealbreaker. Variable speed is probably a good thing, but bearing quality, if I’m going to be stepping less than a thousandth of an inch at a whack I don’t want lots of runout, and durability probably trump almost everything.

Any suggestions?

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke


11 replies so far

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2778 days


#1 posted 01-05-2010 10:23 PM

I have no good answer for you. I would however be very interested in seeing you blog about the construction.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1485 posts in 2813 days


#2 posted 01-05-2010 10:57 PM

There’ll definitely be build pictures as I go along. I need to see if I can find a few more 5v 2A stepper motors, then I can get the motors and controllers hooked up (probably tomorrow evening). Hopefully the bearings will get here today or tomorrow and I can go buy the hardware (may have to order some longer lengths of threaded rod).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View cstrang's profile

cstrang

1772 posts in 1856 days


#3 posted 01-05-2010 11:06 PM

I am planning on building a cnc myself later this year, I think I am going to use either a 1-3/4 HP or a 2 HP, bosch seems to be popular on alot of DIY cnc’s, not exactly sure why only that it is a good brand. I would talk to Gerry http://lumberjocks.com/Ger21 he is a fellow Lj that has helped me out along the way so far and I am sure I will be fireing a few more questions his way before my cnc is finished. Good luck with it!

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11732 posts in 1794 days


#4 posted 01-05-2010 11:36 PM

I built a duplicator and used a Dewalt DW 610 router with 1/2” collet. I used that one because it has a smoothe body and the switch could be flipped on and left on. It was not a trigger switch. It works great and has enough power for anything I do.
I made the head with a 4 bar linkage and the carriage rides on 1”dia. hardened and ground steel bars with recirculating bearings. I bought that stuff for scrap value from a fixture shop.
I think you’ll like that dewalt router!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

671 posts in 1819 days


#5 posted 01-06-2010 02:10 AM

I use a PC 892 in mine. Last weekend, I had it running about 12 hours straight both Saturday and Sunday. Been using it for 3 months now, and it’s been holding up fine.

Don’t underestimate the importance of speed. Most new builders do. Slow cutting leads to very short tool life, and with some woods, it’s hard to keep from getting burn marks if you can’t cut fast enough. Not to mention how painful it can be waiting for your parts to get done.

If you want something smaller, look at a Bosch Colt. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s variable speed. I rarely run mine faster than 12,000 rpm, unless I’m using 1/8” or smaller bits. I just did a carving with a 1/16” bit, and only used 16,000 rpm.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1485 posts in 2813 days


#6 posted 01-06-2010 06:04 PM

Huh, Gerry, I figured that slower speed allowed more time for the bit to cool, thus leading to less burns.

I’m already seeing that I probably will want to build a controller that uses regular motors rather than steppers, which would up the speed tremendously (and add to the cost), this’ll be room for experiment.

Dropped a bunch of money yesterday on galvanized pipe for the rails, angle aluminum for the carriages, and bolts and nuts. Going to do a little thinking to see if I have enough in the sheet of 5×5 Baltic Birch I have stashed, or if I need to make a run up to Windsor for a sheet of 4×8 ApplePly.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View tokarowski's profile

tokarowski

7 posts in 1783 days


#7 posted 01-06-2010 07:07 PM

Check out Bosch Colt. Easy to mount, Variable speed, not expensive. Limeted to 1/4 collet though.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

251 posts in 1771 days


#8 posted 01-06-2010 07:27 PM

I use a bosch colt in my cnc router and really like it. I mounted the base to a 3” x 3” aluminum “L” bracket.

The standard collet size is 1/4”. You can get a really nice 1/8” collet from precisebits.com although it costs nearly as much as the router. Many small router bits are only avaliable with 1/8” shanks.

Cost is around $100 for the router plus $60 for a 1/8” collet.

-- Steve

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

671 posts in 1819 days


#9 posted 01-06-2010 08:16 PM

I also use a Precisebits collet in my Porter Cable for 1/8” bits. It’s an outstanding collet, and comes in other sizes as well.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1485 posts in 2813 days


#10 posted 01-10-2010 04:42 AM

Just as an update, the CNC router table is on hold… A friend sold me a milling machine that I’ll have running for less than it’d take to build the table. I’ll be putting the steppers I have on that shortly…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

251 posts in 1771 days


#11 posted 01-10-2010 09:56 PM

I hope it is OK to mention other non-competing forums here. There is a forum at cnczone.com that can provide tons of info about building your own CNC router.

-- Steve

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