CTC CNC Step 2 (Ordered Parts)
December 17, 2011
Yup, I'm gunna do it. I am building a CNC.
Oh, where do I start? --Seriously, where do I start?
Ok, so of course, I have found a lot of Chinese stuff, mainly this board. Of course, too good to be true --4 motors, drivers, controller all for 220 bucks. A few forums later and of course, I read stories of blue smoke when just testing the board with a meter and a hard time trying to get a replacement from the manufacturer. Then again, that price is wicked tempting and it looks like it will talk nice to mach3. I suppose I would need a USB/parallel cable as well.
If I skip that option, I am in the vast Ebay sea of drivers, individual steppers, packages of steppers, etc. Not to mention, I can also design and solder my own driver boards of course. --Going to be a lot of learning/shopping/forum reading on this one.
The hardware does not look like much of a problem, I of course, can weld and have all of the metal fabrication stuff I need so I am covered there. In terms of glides etc, I am looking at $500-$600 sets (Ebay) including: supported linear bearings (not just the rails but the heavier ones with the full-length T-shaped support below it), the ballscrews and ends and the couplers. $600 gets you a set that will allow a machine around 3' by 3' by 1' on the Z axis. Not too shabby in terms of size. I already have designs and ideas in my head for the frame, etc --this one should not be hard (in terms of my skills) and I am not worried about this at all. --For the record, I am thinking I want to do a sliding table for the Y axis, and a fixed gantry with the X and Z attached.
Now comes the hard part....
Assuming I will not go with one of those "all in one" boards, and assuming I can figure out the drivers, this leaves me with the controller board. My goal here is to build a CNC that can not only mill (I will be using a Porter Cable 690 router) but I also want it to print as well (i.e. reprap). Now, most CNC's sorta have "CNC Brains" in them and RepRaps have an Arduino in them. And that's about as far as I have gotten. I am simply not going to go to all this trouble to build this machine unless it can do both. Period. The question is (and what I am pouring through forums to find) is, can a reprap mill or can a CNC print?
At this point, I open the floor to any and all folks that have done anything similar to this. Like I said, I am at the "forum reading" stage and have a TON to learn. I will take anything you guys have.