Once more, into the breach
Started working on a much larger version of the previous CNC Milling Machine project. That mill, in it's final state, had a working volume of approximately 6"x5"x6", which rather limits the types of things that it can make. It is also pretty slow, moving each axis at a maximum of 15 inches per minute (IPM). This further limited the sorts of things I could make, as more complicated stuff would frequently take a very, very long time (think days) to make. This bigger mill should change all that. I have chosen to build a variant of Joe's 4x4 Hybrid machine.
I have been ordering parts for about two weeks now, and stuff has begun to arrive. I have the motors and motor controllers, the 8020 aluminum, the lead screws, the anti-backlash nuts, the V-bearings, the router itself, the ... Wow. I don't even remember what all I have. Anyway, it's a lot of stuff. The big thing I am waiting on is The Kit. The Kit is a box full of all the custom parts required to make the machine, ordered directly from the eponymous Joe.
I started actual construction today, by building the table the whole thing will sit on. The machine will have a 4'x4' working area, so the plans call for an appropriate sized table. I chose to over-do things and built a 4'x8' table. I figure, I will need all the workspace I can get.
Here is all the lumber in the back of my truck, fresh back from Home Depot. I have here two sheets of wafer-board, nine 8' two-by-sixes, and one eight foot two-by-four. In addition, I picked up enough Superstrut (seen on top of the left tool box) to build the basic framework of the machine.
Here is the table top. It is at this point just a box with a piece of wafer-board screwed and glued to the top.
Next, the box was flipped, and a two-by-four brace was installed. This brace will eventually serve to support the table backing, and will be an integral part of the table's anti-racking structure.
The table legs were added next. The legs are made from two 32" sections, joined in an "L" shape.
Bracing was then added to the legs. These braces will keep the legs evenly spaced, as well as supporting a handy shelf. Additionally, the back of the bracing will be attached to the previously added two-by-four brace to stiffen the table.
A half-sheet (2'x8') of wafer-board is used as backing for the shelf. More importantly, it will also keep the table from racking along it's long axis.
The table, was then flipped upright, so the other half of the wafer-board sheet could be added as a shelf. This shelf, while handy, will help to further stiffen the overall structure.
Of course, as with any flat surface in a garage, the instant the table was finished, stuff was piled upon it. Here, the table has much of the machine's future parts on it, as well as various garage items on the lower shelf. In the background of this picture, you can see my little mill in the corner. It is a converted Harbor Freight micro-mill.
You may have noticed that the machine on Joe's website has metal legs. Well, getting that much metal here would be very, very expensive, if I could even come up with it. So I built my table out of wood. The table is framed entirely from two-by-sixes, so it should be plenty strong enough. I will put the Superstrut bed on top of the table, and build the machine from there.