CNC Router rescue

Over my xmas return to visit family I have been given a CNC router to fix up and get running. My brother started to build a DIY cnc router several years ago for the purpose of routing model aircraft parts out of ply and balsa, then children came along and he hasn’t made any progress for a long time due to that and he has no cnc experience and no local hackspace to get advice. He has handed the router over to me to get working and eventually return once the children are a bit older so he has more spare time.

As you can see from the pictures it seems to mostly be there, apart from the tooling. Hopefully next hack session I can have a play and get some movement out of it.

Cool 'We can fix it!" I am guessing from the pics it’s parallel port based?

Lovely :smile:
Slapping a Pi with LinuxCNC on top would be more than enough to get awesome results out of it.

What are the stripey cables wired into the board (same side as parallel port) for? Are they limit switches?

Also getting that 4th axis working would be pretty fun!

Yep parallel port indeed. Hopefully we can fix it :slight_smile:

Yeah lots of limit switches on the stripey cables.

So with linuxcnc on I pi I assume you connect directly to the Pi GPIOs ?

Looks easy enough, we could probably get it going very quickly using MachCNC if that PC we used for Duncan is still in the warehouse?

I am that brother. Got as far as been able to jog the stepper motors but there appeared to be a problem with the limit switches. Never got to the stage of running g code or to mount a dremel with a router bit to cut balsa and ply.

@Macaba Yes the PC is still in the warehouse, also machCNC is what is used in instructions for it and what @thesurveyor has running on his workshop pc, so using machCNC would be ideal!

I’m not too familiar with machCNC - perhaps machCNC = Mach3? Don’t want to get my wires crossed. But if that’s what it’s already been using then definitely a good shout :smile:

LinuxCNC in the hobby world (being free) is the go-to software for parallel port controlled boards, mainly because it’s the best for them. I haven’t used it much, as my machine at home uses a GRBL board (which is lovely).

@gingebot I seem to recall seeing someone who set up the GPIO pins as a parallel port that was then made visible to OS. Would be a pretty cool hack in itself to get that working!

As for the limit switches having issues, I’d place money on there being too much noise on the lines causing false trips. On my machine (a Shapeoko) I’ve gone to fairly extensive lengths to mitigate this problem, which is well documented on the Shapeoko forums. By default they run at 5v, and usually shielded cable is a must, as the steppers can induce noise and cause false trips. People have also suggested putting a small filter cap in which has worked well too.
I went down a slightly more convoluted route which has worked well so far, using 12v on the limit switch lines instead and optocouplers to do the switching.

machCNC = mach3 the 3 is the version number which is the current version.

Seem to recall I have a reel of shielded 2 core kicking around somewhere, should be good for limit switches.

Saw this thing getting some TLC yesterday, its now moving and quite smoothly.

There’s few bits that need attention like the flexible limit switches, and the lack of a way to mount the rotary tool to the frame.

Can’t wait to see it start routing.

I think the question to ask, with regards to the flexible gantry, is; how many routes can a CNC router route before a CNC router stops routing?

With the current gantry? One.

Gingebot has the dremel mount that needs to be fixed to the z axis.

Unfortunately 3 different dremels didn’t fit the mount, so I’m in the process of designing and printing one which will fit.

I have given it a bit of a clean up and things are running much smoother, the endstops are wired up and doing what is expected (I can now tell mach3 to home and the router homes itself). The gantry has some structural stability issues ~ I hoping to solve this problem this week.

Also needs an emergency stop, then we’re good go hopefully.

Sounds good, can you make sure the mount I gave you and a new mount have the same fixing holes as I am sure the mount I supplied fits the dremel I have

Plate of printed parts ready to fit tonight to hopefully strengthen up the gantry.

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Has everyone that is working on this project been warned about the dead spider guarding the data lines? It’s all that’s stopping the magic smoke from escaping. DO NOT REMOVE.

Parts fitted and the Y axis is much more rigid and stable now, the downside is 18mm of travel has been lost, but worth it for the increased stability. The dremel mount has been fitted and small small test cut made, it works!!

The rear plate of the gantry needs glueing and some screws fitted to strengthen it, then onto cable management and it’s almost ready for calibration and some real routing. One on thing noted is the Z axis (sliding perspex panel) has some undesirable play in it which will need some attention to increase accuracy.

Pictures of the guardian electronics spider to follow :smile: