Following our habit of making things simple, affordable and good enough, but nevertheless hi-tech and reliable, we are working with PlanetCNC to preparing their MiniCNC machine for open hardware release.
We have now assembled the machine and made it operational and plan to use it primarily for milling of precision aluminium parts and circuit boards. Two weeks ago we assembled mechanics and electronics. This week, final additions were applied, the spindle was installed and first few patterns were engraved into the sheets of wood.
General advantages of using Mini CNC:
- able to DIY,
- purchase as a final product or part-by-part,
- Small, accessible “desktop” design,
- Robust mechanics,
- modular electronic components availability,
- low cost,
- low cost good performing desktop sized machine
- reasonably simple assembly
- small, accessible desktop design
- robust mechanics
- modular electronic components availability
Linear mechanical components are thick, robust and carefully assembled, allowing high precision.
Once the mechanics were all put together and electronic components all connected up as appropriate we continued with the software setup which is walked through in a user friendly way under the FAQ section on the web page. For now, the electronic components weren’t nicely packed in a box but they will be once everything is completely finished.
In order to be able to manufacture thicker or more rigid materials such as aluminium, the spindle needs a cooling system. We are currently working on installing the water cooling system to the spindle which will be done during next week. Last, we attached the wooden sheet on the CNC table simply by using four M8 screws and bolts of standard size. We tried the functionality by engraving IRNAS logo pattern in the wood.
We will be working on optimizing the parameters (spindle speed, axis velocities etc.) in the next weeks. Due to its practicality, robustness and high precision, we have an idea to modify this CNC into a paste extrusion 3D printer, replacing the detachable spindle head with a paste – extrusion system.