Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mechanical Portion....CHECK

The CNC has a method of travel now! I finished up adding the power-train components I picked up a couple of days back. I'm pretty excited about that. The X and Y axis are pretty smooth. The Z axis is slightly rough to turn but this may be to the weight of the carriages and router plate. I'm afraid that the motors that I have wont be able to work that axis. We'll see when we get there. For now, we celebrate the victory at hand.
Now I'm going to make you quit being lazy and read from the other side of the screen.

A small list of items that will need to be acquired is growing as we move forward in the project. First is a table surface. A simple half sheet of MDF should do the trick there. Next is a router mount. I haven't decided on what I'm going to use for a cutter but its going to start out small. I have available to me something about twice as large as a Dremel but half as big as a typical router.  Its my dad's. This will most likely be the starting implement due to it's weight.

The next chapter of the project begins today. The electronics section of the project will be executed mostly in my lab (AKA a small room of my house I clutter up with my junk) . I've dug out the hardware that I was preparing for the previous iterations of the CNC. It was like digging for fossils. I had to blow the saw dust and metal shavings off of it with compressed air. As I've mentioned previously the brains of the setup is a Boarduino with an Atmega328. That's now running the latest version of GRBL. Version 0.6. Fortunately flashing GRBL to the Arduino was much easier this time. Used to be you had to compile it from scratch and then run a string of commands to get it to flash onto the processor. Now you just load a hex file using the Hex Uploader found here. It seems that if I was booted into UBUNTU at the time I was doing this that it might still be as hard as it used to with the AVRDude commands and what not. If your forced to do that and get hung up I have instructions on my old blog at  Things may have changed a bit over the past couple of years but the idea should be the same.

Where am I now? So far I have repaired one of the broken Reprap drivers that ended up with a damaged connector early in the process during my last attempt at a CNC. I built four because I fully expected one to not work since it was the first time I had ever ventured into the world of surface mount soldering. It turns out not to be as hard as people make it out to be. All four turned out great and working. Back on topic. I have a working boarduino loaded with the latest version of GRBL, four working v2.3 RepRap stepper drivers, and a modified computer power supply unit to run it all. Things I need. I need to run back and grab one of my stepper motors to test each of the driver boards and get the wiring to a more permanent stage. Then I need to mount it all up, find a test Gcode file,  and hope that the motors are beefy enough to do the job. So that's the plan. Ive got 47 days to finish this up and at this point I am on schedule to meet the goal! Tomorrow its back to the daily grind of school and end of the semester Senior projects. 

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