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 Post subject: 3D Printing on CNC using Mach3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:38 pm
Posts: 13
Looks like some folks did some of the heavy lifting required for getting the makerbot MK5 extrusion head working on a CNC mill:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5233

I've been giving some thought to what it would take to adapt our current mill setup to be a more generalized 3-axis build/make platform, and I think this is a good example of what kind of possibilities a conversion like that might open up. The way I see it, our mills should provide more accurate and repeatable XYZ movement with a larger range (excepting Z axis probably) then a cupcake or equivalent. If we would take on a Mach3/EMC2 conversion of the mills (or perhaps just the ability to run in either the Anilam or Mach3/EMC controller configuration initially), we would gain the ability to potentially adapt the mills to be:

* 3D routers with a router head (a router is significantly higher RPM and lower cutting force than the mill spindle)
* FDM plastic extruders (using a makerbot extruder head)
* Low-power laser etchers
* CNC foam cutting
* Tangential knife cutter

And probably some other things that I am not thinking of (the low-power laser is pure speculation. I have no experience with laser cutting). As a side effect we would also gain:

* The ability to leave behind the proprietary Anilam conversational format we have so painstakingly debugged and move to a pure gcode solution.
* No longer a need to serial drip-feed larger programs
* Simpler automation of the spindle RPM
* A more modern mill interface using commodity PC hardware

Of course, this would all take a fair amount of work, careful tuning and some hardware investment (a PC, a PCI-based motor controller card and a PCI digital I/O for starters). However, it seems to me like that sort of investment might pay better dividends than, for instance, just getting a makerbot (not that that is under consideration AFAIK).

More food for thought for what a more programmable 3D CNC platform could provide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNZnUiDq ... re=related (Mach3 controlling a laser etcher)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfR3Y8aR ... re=related (Mach3-controlled CNC router)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOXY4O0U ... re=related (Interesting use of Mach3 probe capability for tool centering)

All that being said, there is definitely a benefit to our current mill interface that is tuned to the mill and basically "just works" once you know how to wrestle it. Also having a big red clown nose to mash when things go south is nice, but I presume we can implement a similarly safe setup.

I'm curious what people's thoughts are on the above.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: 3D Printing on CNC using Mach3
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:41 pm
Posts: 3
Personally coming at this from a experienceed cnc machinist, it would give you one more option for a cnc machine. Ive converted a knee mill to cnc using mach3. A industrial based machine would give you a higher qaulity part then from one of the 3d printers out there now.
I have been planning on starting on this addon for my mill and would love to see it evolve


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 Post subject: Re: 3D Printing on CNC using Mach3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:48 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:46 am
Posts: 1
Tear Apart Night:
We have a pile of dead laser printers and a pair of manual transmissions sitting in the space ready to get torn apart. We'd like to have some younger folks by to disassemble the printers and anyone interested to swing out for a day of transmission destruction. If interested let us know via e-mail.

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