Posts Tagged CNC
The old Atom running LinuxCNC for the Sherline finally stopped booting, so I popped the Optiplex 760 off the stack and did a live-USB trial run. The latency / jitter worked out around 25 µs, slightly worse than before, but still Good Enough, and the StepConf utility coerced the motors into working OK.
What didn’t work was the old Eagle-to-HAL code defining the Logitch Gamepad as a Joggy Thing to allow smooth joystick jog control. Well, stuff changes over the course of eight years, but, in this case, the fix turned out to be a one-liner: the
probe_parport module isn’t needed nowadays.
With that out of the way, it runs fine:
The INI and HAL files defining the Sherline configuration as a GitHub Gist:
Unlike the keypads on my streaming radio players, this one requires no configuration at all, because bCNC regards it as just another keyboard input. The catch: you must select any screen element other than a text entry field to have bCNC recognize the keystrokes as “not text”.
You would get the same results from the numeric keys on the right side of a full-size / 104-key plank. I’m using a small “tenkeyless” keyboard, which means I can put the keypad wherever it’s easiest to reach while tweaking the MPCNC.
The ÷10 and ×10 keys along the top row alter the step size by factors of ten, which is pretty much what you need: jog to within a big step of the target, drop to the next lower decade, jog a few more times, maybe drop another decade, jog once, and you’re as close as you need to be with an MPCNC. The -1 and +1 keys aren’t as useful, at least to me: changing from 5 mm to 4 mm or 6 mm doesn’t make much difference.
GRBL and bCNC don’t do smooth jogging and the discrete steps aren’t as nifty as the Joggy Thing with LinuxCNC, but it gets the job done.
Drilling a pair of holes into a length of ground steel shaft turned it into a holder for a Sakura Micron pen:
The aluminum ring epoxied to the top keeps it from falling completely through the linear bearing.
The hole sizes are the nearest inch drills matching the pen’s hard metric sizes:
While I was at the lathe, I turned another layer of epoxy on the printed holder down to a consistent 11.95+ OD. It fits the bearing nearly as well as the steel shaft, although it’s not quite as smooth.
The steel version weighs about 20 g with the pen, so it applies about the same downforce on the pen nib as the HP 7475A plotter. The force varies from about 19 g as the Z axis moves upward to 23 g as it move downward, so the stiction amounts to less than 10% of the weight:
However, the more I ponder this setup, the less I like it.
When the Z-axis moves downward and the nib hits the paper, it must decelerate the weight of the pen + holder + ballast within a fraction of a millimeter, without crushing the nib. If the pen moves downward at 3000 mm/min = 50 mm/s, stopping in 0.3 mm requires an acceleration of 4.2 m/s² and a 20 g = 2/3 oz mass will apply 0.08 N = 0.3 oz to the nib. Seems survivable, but smashing the tip a few hundred times while drawing the legends can’t possibly be good for it.
Also, the tool length probe switch trips at 60 (-ish) g, which means the pen can’t activate the switch. Adding a manual latch seems absurd, but you can get used to anything if you do it enough.
Adding a lock screw to the camera mount stabilized the camera-to-spindle offset enough to make calibration meaningful. Mark the spot directly under the camera:
Then mark the spot directly under the spindle, perhaps by poking a small cutter into the tape, measure the XY distances between the two center points, and use bCNC’s camera registration process to set the camera offset.
With those numbers in place, switching to the tool view (the green button with the end mill to the right in the ribbon bar) puts the camera at the spindle location:
The view from outside shows the relation between those two pieces of tape:
Now I can align the camera view to a fixture position and be (reasonably) sure the spindle will automagically align to the same XY coordinate when I switch to the “tool” view. Seems to work well in preliminary tests, anyhow.
Inside, it uses the same pushbutton and pogo pin as the pen holder design, with a similar brass tube around the pogo pin.
There’s a conspicuous lack of good wire management; we all know where those wires will snap. In practice, you’d secure it to the DW660 power cord, way up on top, to eliminate most of the flexing. Still, it wants better strain relief than its gets from those heatstink tubes.
The solid model looks like a weaving shuttle:
It’s sitting upside-down in a 5 mm brim for more platform adhesion.
The next one will have a 1/8 inch stud to fit the DW660’s other collet and shorten the top by 3/8 inch, because I want the rod inserted three diameters for stability. The bottom can’t get much shorter, because the pogo pin determines the switch-to-tip distance. Maybe a simple membrane switch will work well enough?
You can see the depression in the glass sheet pretty clearly in a bCNC Autolevel scan on 30 mm centers (clicky for more dots):
The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:
They’re supporting the snippets produced by trimming the clamp extrusions to fit across the bench under the MPCNC; I figure they ought to come in handy for something.
Both extrusions carry a warning sticker giving the bar’s serial number:
I could be persuaded the number applies to a given production batch, although I’d be unsurprised to learn it’s a batch of labels, not clamps.
They don’t look much different than the previous versions:
The main change was to raise the bars by another 2 mm to give one of the clamp shoes more clearance. As you might expect, the top and bottom halves of the clamp castings aren’t quite symmetric.
The plastic mounts come in mirror-image sets due to that off-center bolt hole.
Yes, the threaded casting is slightly angled from the screw clamping force.
All in all, the mounts look pretty good, in a bright-orange sort of way.
Rather than attach a spoil board directly to the bench top under the MPCNC, one can grab it in bar clamps anchored to the bench, which requires suitable mounts. Because bar clamps are all the same, one must be flipped over to point the other way, soooo the mounts come in mirror-image sets.
Holding the clamp on the left side of the table:
For the right-side clamp:
The chunky clamp prints on its end, with its bottom surface facing away from you, to let the block in the middle print without support. In that orientation, the bar slides in from the top.
The fancy rounded corners happened while I iterated on getting the dimensions right.
Actually printing and installing the things turned out to be separate challenges.
The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:
The original doodles, with initial dimensions & some bad ideas: