With one more session of fiddling, the CNCCookbook Rostock MAX v2 was mechanically and electronically complete and it was time for the next stage: calibration followed by printing the first part. We got through the fiddling, calibration, and first part in one long afternoon–about 4 hours.
The calibration took the longest, and we encountered some problems. The main problem was with the “PID Autotune” process. The bed and hot end (extruder) have not only resistive heating but thermistors to measure the temperatures reached. Printing is a bit finicky about temps and wants them to be precise. The PID is sort of the equivalent of a servo for a mechanical CNC axis–it provides feedback that drives the temperature controls. The Rostock’s controller has an “autotune” process for getting the PID dialed in, but we couldn’t get it to work on the hot end. It would zoom the temp up too high and complain things had gotten too hot and then bail out. Eventually I found a reference suggesting I turn down the max PID value from 255 to 128. I did so and Autotune then worked. The claim was it would work properly once the PEEK fan was installed. This was…
Many believe that Apple’s incredible success is due to its Vertical Integration Strategy. The idea behind Vertical Integration is that by owning more of parts needed to create a complete solution its possible to make a much better solution. Apple makes the hardware, the operating system, and many of the critical productivity apps in its products. By contrast, Microsoft, Intel, PC Manufacturers, and Windows Software Makers all have to work together by loose (and sometimes factious) collaboration to produce an end result. The latter situation is where we find CNC today. It’s actually not a bad thing at all for industrial users. They’re power users who want to be able to mix and match a solution to fit their needs. Apple is not very strong in the equivalent PC Server market, despite having tried several times to gain penetration. Where Vertical Integration matters is where maximum ease of use is needed, not where maximum power is needed, and Desktop CNC is exactly where such a difference will matter.
We’ve seen an increasing number of machines appear on Kickstarter and elsewhere as the market struggles to crack open the Desktop CNC Market. There are some great solutions out there, with Tormach…
I was recently contacted by the West Coast Office of Datron Dynamics. It seems they were interested in getting G-Wizard Calculator into the hands of their customers. Their machines are, to use their word, Unconventional. For one thing, they all have very high speed spindles, which makes Feeds and Speeds problematic. Even if you’re an old hand running the usual VMC’s found in manufacturers, very few will have had experience above, say, 15000 rpm. This is the realm of High Speed Machining. Suffice it to say that G-Wizard worked great for their customer. They were able to get good results easily and with little to no training. Never being one to miss an opportunity, I stepped up and asked if I could come visit and see the Datron’s in action. Here I have a confession to make–I’ve been drooling over their videos of high speed machining for some time and was very excited to make the field trip and see them first hand.
Let’s get back to our Porsche analogy. If Porsche were to build machining centers, what would they be like? For starters, they’d be German Engineered, just like Datron. Natch. But I think they’d also adhere to Datron’s…
Start with Autodesk’s 123D Catch software that converts photos to 3D models. Add a CNC Router with high speed spindle that’s in a chamber chilled to -7 degrees C. Take a block of ice made from the finest pure spring water and slice a smaller blank from it. Place the ice onto the the CNC Router, cue the jazz music and make your ice cube:
When the cube is ready, put it in your finest crystal tumbler and add a splash of Suntory whiskey. Relax in your favorite chair and enjoy. They may not make the whiskey taste better, but they sure do look cool.
These ice cubes were made in many inspiring shapes. Here are just a few:
Maybe this is how the very wealthy enjoy their whiskey. It makes me think I’m going to need to add a special “Ice Cube Art” module to the Barbot when I finally get around to building it.…
Long time CNCCookbook readers will have come across my project-in-planning Astronomical Clock. It’s one of those projects I promise myself I will be devoted to when my life is a little less busy (does that time ever come?). Meanwhile, with a new 3D Printer on its way to CNCCookbook (just got the tracking notice yesterday, very excited!), I started wondering about making a clock with the 3D Printer. Who knows, maybe this would be a good way to prototype some of the gear trains for my Astro Clock? This also goes under the category of wanting to do something with CNC that my (nearly all) non-CNC friends would find interesting. I make a lot of tooling and parts for other projects (spares for some of my cars, for example), but it isn’t very often that I get to make something they really think is cool. The biggest hit to date had been a Turner’s Cube, but I digress.
This post is a survey of some 3D Printed Clockwork projects I found interesting.
Plotclock: An Open Source 3D Printed Clock that Writes the Time
This first one has little to do with clockwork and everything to do with clocks and just…
3D printing is great stuff, but the reaction of many is that it is either a toy or at best only suited to prototype work. Most 3D printing processes are too slow and too inaccurate to be used for full-scale manufacturing. Until now.
I recently found out about an entirely new 3D Printing process invented by a Silicon Valley company called Atomic CNC. Atomic are being very secretive about what they’re doing until they have all their patent ducks in a row, but I was able to get a preview of the technology and a few details. Essentially, they have created a process that can 3D Print almost anything atom by atom (that pretty much guarantees any level of accuracy you might want) and at extremely high speeds. If their claims are true, and they seem almost too good to be true, their new process will revolutionize manufacturing. The founder, Gilbert Hughes, is a young Stanford physics student who dropped out to build his dream machine, the Atomic CNC 3D Printer. The company has a great deal of funding from some of Sand Hill Road’s (that’s where the VC’s hang out in Silicon Valley) most prestigious firms.
I met Gilbert…
Are you ready for this?
Foodini has launched a Kickstarter program to sell their 3D Printer for Food. The machine hails from Barcelona, Spain from a company called Natural Machines. The earliest “investors” on Kickstarter will be able to get a Foodini 3D Food Printer for $999. The Foodini retail price will be $1300.
The machine works by extruding food stuffs that are inserted in “food capsules” which are then placed in the machine. Here is a shot of the machine and an extruder capsule:
The Foodini 3D Food Printer: Very sleek design for your high tech kitchen…
Here’s the extruder capsule that it uses. Kind of like a really big syringe…
Why would you want extruded food? Well first of all, it’s just the coolest thing to show friends that you have a 3D Food Printer, but when that wears off you’ll still have the advantage of being able to make intricately designed food that would be too difficult or time consuming to do by hand. For example, these Christmas themed chocolate confections:
Foodini uses the example of handmade ravioli:
Take an example of ravioli. How often have you made homemade ravioli? Rolling out the dough to a thin…
The exciting thing about CNC is you can make almost anything you can imagine. For some, even more exciting is the prospect of owning their own business manufacturing products they have designed. In the Internet Age that’s a lot more possible than you might think given the leg up in marketing services like Kickstarter can provide. Kickstarter is a marketplace for not-yet-manufactured products. The idea is to provide seed money that can be used to launch a product by offering the initial units in the Kickstarter marketplace. Here’s a round up of 10 Cool Kickstarter Projects that are waiting for people to invest in their future as I write this. Any one of them would make an awesome CNC project. Think of it as inspiration for your own CNC Projects, or possibly as products you may not be able to live without that are worth investing in.
The Open Enigma Project
If you’re like me, you would be fascinated with an original German Enigma cryptography machine. I’ve seen them (rarely) in museums a time or two and wondered at their complexity. This Kickstarter project is all about duplicating the Enigma’s look and function using modern Arduino electronics.
A working albeit…
Gearotic is Art Fenerty’s specialized CADCAM program for gear design. Art is the man who wrote the original versions of Mach3, so he knows a thing or two about CNC. I have wanted a good video that will both teach you what Gearotic is capable of and also be related to a real project. Art’s video about designing and building a “Ticker” was a great example, so let me pass it along here:
What you’ll see is Art’s narrative and demonstration of how to use Gearotic to design what he calls “Tickers.” A Ticker is a sort of kinetic sculpture that uses escapements like you’d find in clocks to create some really interesting motions.
If you like clocks, gear design, or kinetic sculpture, Gearotic is a really neat piece of software to have on hand. Even better, you can purchase Gearotic from CNCCookbook. In fact, it’s even on sale for the next 2 weeks when you purchase it in conjunction with any other CNCCookbook software (the options are listed on that last purchase link) and use the President’s Day Sale “GEORGEWASHINGTON” coupon code at checkout. For example, Gearotic and a 1 year subscription to G-Wizard Calculator would be $126.65 with…
I hear you’re a machinist, you’ve got access to CNC machines, and you’re dying to do a cool project that your friends will love. Youo just need the right idea. How about this:
– Take an existing product.
– Discard, some all, or none of it.
– Create a new skin for it that radically changes the product to something MUCH better.
That’s a Reskinning Project. There’ll all over the web if you look carefully. Here’s some ideas to get you fired up to Reskin something:
PC and HiFi Case Mods
Reskinning PC’s and HiFi’s has been going on a long time and there are some very cool results out there. Heck, I’ve even fooled around with it myself. I remember my Dad reskinned his monaural HiFi system by mounting it in an antique Victrola cabinet.
Check out these reskinning projects:
Minimalist PC design, straightforward to do via CNC. See how it was made without CNC…
Art Deco style PC case…
Retro Philco TV PC is amazing, and ambitious. So far it’s just a 3D rendering…
Woo Audio headphone amp combines clean design with retro tubes. Must be nice to see those tubes light up the room at night. I’m…
Sand such as is used for casting is a good medium for 3D printing. The green sand already used for casting is a combination of ingredients that help it to hold the shape of the pattern placed in the sand. The pattern is a reproduction of the part to be cast so that the sand forms a negative image of it.
In 3D printing the mold is built up layer by layer in typical 3D printing style. Binder chemicals are used to lock down the sand in the proper shape. Casting hollow parts requires cores, which can also be 3D printed at the same time. Best of all, the sand without the binding chemicals supports all these parts as they’re being made, not unlike the laser sintering process. The molds and cores come out of the sand just as they’ll be used at the foundry.
Here’s a video of the whole process using an ExOne machine to make a bunch of molds in sand:
You’ll note the work area for the 3D printer is quite large–like a gantry router. This allows either creation of large molds or packing a bunch of smaller work together. Filling the entire work volume of…
One of our users posted a note in our User Club today that made me feel good. Here’s what he had to say:
I just got my yearly review at work, 4.28 % raise! Hey Bob, 6 months ago I knew nothing about milling. I couldn`t even spell VFM. I spent 14 hours training on what buttons to push before our mill operator went on vacation. I searched the internet for info. on milling and came across your web site. Every night after work, I read the vast amount of information you have posted on milling. I purchased both GWE and GWC. 6 months later I`m writing programs, I was informed I have increased production over 100% on my mill and cut tool cost by 1/3. In the spring I`m going to school to get my certification on the company dime!!! Love the products but most of all THANK YOU for the knowledge.
Thanks so much to “MrChaps06″ for posting your experience with our software and website–you really captured the essence of why I love doing CNCCookbook and our G-Wizard software. What a great shot in the arm to get this morning!
This country of ours is starting to get…
I wanted to give another update on my Tormach CNC Lathe this week. I’ve been one of the Beta Testers. Good news is that Tormach has announced the Beta Test is winding down and they’re hoping to make first sales in Q1 2014–right around the corner, in other words. I know from my perspective the Beta Testing has gone extremely well with only minor teething troubles, all of which were corrected. In addition, the Beta Team gave Tormach a number of constructive suggestions for how to improve the already very nice machines and most all of these were accepted.
I want to talk just briefly about the Tooling for the lathe. As the Tormach article I’ve linked to mentions, you will need to make some critical tooling decisions up front–particularly with respect to the Turret. I should say that all of the Beta Testers, including myself, bought the turret. All of the others immediately started using their Turrets almost exclusively and report they work great. I have not installed mine yet, having opted to try each of the options (QCTP, Gang Tooling, and Turret) individually. This lathe is unique in that it has so many options. The turret is really…
I saw this one over on Garage Journal, which is a very cool web site if you like garage and home shop organizational articles. Here is Von Dutch’s tool box:
I love it just for the hand lettering (if you didn’t know, Von Dutch was an amazing pin striper of hot rods, among many other things) and the great yellow color. I love rolling tool boxes and seem to buy another one each year. You can never have enough drawers and if you wait for the sales, they are way cheaper than the commercial style Lista-type cabinets. I buy the nicer ones with the ball bearing slides. I keep meaning to put big giant easy to read labels on every drawer but haven’t done so yet.
Check out the Garage Journal. Endless threads about garage-related stuff.…
Just read an interesting story on 3Ders.org: Dell has just ordered 5000 3D printers from Polish-maker Zortrax.
Zortrax went through a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of the printer, and they’ve now launched their product and are apparently geared up for very large orders such as this one from Dell.
It’s a slick looking machine with capable specs at a very decent price ($1895):
Zortrax M200 Plug and Play 3D Printer
Build volume: 205x205x190mm
Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
Layer resolution settings: 100, 150, 200, 300 microns
Filament: 1.75mm ABS, PC-ABS and Nylon
SD card holder
Three different printing speed modes
The sample 3D prints from their web site look very high resolution:
All this just begs the question: What’s a company like Dell going to do with 5000 of these cool 3D printers?
The interview had this to say:
“Frankly speaking, we were surprised that any company, even a company like Dell, wants to place such an order! But after a while we realized how many printers we use in our own office… For a designer who prints a large number of prototypes it is much more useful to use 10 smaller printers on one…