Polar Coaster drawing machine

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Barton Dring designed and built a Polar Coaster drawing machine to draw custom, round drink coasters:

I recently decided to update the Polar Coaster project. The primary reason was to update the controller to use Grbl_ESP32 firmware. I also thought I could make it smaller, lighter and remove a little cost.
The old controller was not custom made and just sort of tacked onto the back. This increased the size and didn’t look very good. It had a Bluetooth module, but you still had to stream the gcode. You could use an Android app, but that was still a little awkward.
The controller runs Grbl_ESP32. This was recently updated to include pen machine features. This allows precise control and calibration of the pen servo. You can control the speed, timing and endpoints of the servo travel.

Project info at Buildlog.Net blog.

Check out the video after the break.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_aS0PbP8HY

Grbl_ESP32 development board version 3.1

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A board to control your CNC machine with Grbl_ESP32 designed by Bart Dring, that is available on GitHub:

This is a Grbl_ESP32 CNC Development board. This is a quick and easy way to use and test CNC on the ESP32 controller.
Grbl is a great CNC firmware that has been around for nearly a decade. It was originally designed for the Arduino UNO and basic 3 axis CNC routers, but it has been ported to other CPUs and was the basis for many other CNC and 3D printer firmwares.
The firmware was written using the Arduino IDE to make it as user friendly as possible. If you have experience with Arduinos, this will not be much different.

Project info at Buildlog.Net Blog. It’s also up on Tindie.

Grbl_ESP32 CNC development board

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Bart Dring has designed a development board for using CNC on Grbl ESP32:

This is a Grbl_ESP32 CNC Development board. This is a quick and easy way to use and test CNC on the ESP32 controller.
Grbl is a great CNC firmware that has been around for nearly a decade. It was originally designed for the Arduino UNO and basic 3 axis CNC routers, but it has been ported to other CPUs and was the basis for many other CNC and 3D printer firmwares.

Project info at Buildlog.Net Blog. It’s also up on Tindie.

Zeroing CNC Mills With OpenCV

For [Jay] and [Ricardo]’s final project for [Dr. Bruce Land]’s ECE4760 course at Cornell, they tackled a problem that is the bane of all machinists. Their project finds the XY zero of a part in a CNC machine using computer vision, vastly reducing the time it take to set up a workpiece and giving us yet another reason to water down the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ by calling this the Internet of CNC Machines.

For the hardware, [Jay] and [Ricardo] used a PIC32 to interface with an Arducam module, a WiFi module, and an inductive sensor for measuring the distance to the workpiece. All of this was brought together on a PCB specifically designed to be single-sided (smart!), and tucked away in an enclosure that can be easily attached to the spindle of a CNC mill. This contraption looks down on a workpiece and uses OpenCV to find the center of a hole in a fixture. When the center is found, the mill is zeroed on its XY axis.

The software is a bit simpler than a device that has OpenCV processing running on a microcontroller. Detecting the center of the bore, for instance, happens on a laptop running a few Python scripts. The mill attachment communicates with the laptop over WiFi, and sends a few images of the downward-facing camera over to the laptop. From there, the laptop detects the center of the bore in the fixture plate and generates some G-code to send over to the mill.

While the device works remarkably well, and is able to center the mill fairly quickly and without a lot of user intervention, there were a few problems. The camera is not perfectly aligned with the axis of the spindle, making the math harder than it should be. Also, the enclosure isn’t rated for being an environment where coolant is sprayed everywhere. Those are small quibbles, and these problems could be fixed simply by designing and printing another enclosure. The device works, though, and really cuts down on the time it takes to zero out a mill.

You can check out the video description of the build below.


Filed under: cnc hacks

DIY Mini Printer is 95% Wood, Prints Tiny Cute Images

This little DIY 64×64 graphical printer by [Egor] is part pen plotter in design, somewhat dot matrix-ish in operation, and cleverly designed to use unmodified 9G servos. The project page is all in Russian (translation to English here) but has plenty of photos that make the operation and design clear. Although nearly the entire thing is made from laser-cut wood, [Egor] says that a laser cutter is optional equipment. The first version was entirely cut with hand tools.

screenshot-2016-12-06-10-49-13Small DIY CNC machines driven over a serial line commonly use Arduinos and CD-ROM drive guts (like this Foam Cutter or this Laser Paper Cutter) but this build uses its own custom rack-and-pinion system, and has some great little added details like the spring-loaded clip to hold paper onto the print pad.

The frame and parts (including all gears) are laser-cut from 4 mm plywood and the unit is driven by three small servos. A simple Java program processes images and an Arduino UNO handles the low-level control. A video of everything in action is embedded below.

Speaking of rack-and-pinion setups using cheap servos, that idea was taken to the next level by this design for a 3-D printed linear actuator that uses unmodified servos.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, cnc hacks

G-code controlled drawing plotter

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A how-to on making a 2 axis, G-code controlled drawing plotter from TheSuperSewcio, project instructables here:

Here I’ll show you how to make 2 axis, gcode controlled drawing plotter.
I’ve already made a delta 3D printer which is awesome, the only thing that wasn’t made by me was the Arduino program. This program was very long and complicated, so I’ve downloaded it from the Internet. I’ve started to think if I am able to also make it myself. But why should I start with something so hard, firstly let’s make something easier – Plotter!

Check out the video after the break.

 

Breathe Easy with a Laser Cutter Air Filter

A laser cutter is a great tool to have in the shop, but like other CNC machines it can make a lousy neighbor. Vaporizing your stock means you end up breathing stuff you might rather not. If you’re going to be around these fumes all day, you’ll want good fume extraction, and you might just consider a DIY fume and particulate filter to polish the exhausted air.

15203365_644939182347358_619032134291602214_nWhile there’s no build log per se, [ZbLab]’s Facebook page has a gallery of photos that show the design and build in enough detail to get the gist. The main element of the filter is 25 kg of activated charcoal to trap the volatile organic compounds in the laser exhaust. The charcoal is packed into an IKEA garbage can around a prefilter made from a canister-style automotive air cleaner – [ZbLab] uses a Filtron filter that crosses to the more commonly available Fram CA3281. Another air cleaner element (Fram CA3333) makes sure no loose charcoal dust is expelled from the filter. The frame is built of birch ply and the plumbing is simple PVC. With a 125mm inlet it looks like this filter can really breathe, and it would easily scale up or down in size according to your needs.

No laser cutter in your shop to justify this filter, you say? Why not build one? Or, if you do any soldering, this downdraft fume extractor is a good way to clear the air.


Filed under: cnc hacks, green hacks, laser hacks

Founding A Company In Shenzhen For Eight Days

Nadya Peek is one of the hackers that should require no introduction for the regular Hackaday reader. She is a postdoc at the Center for Bits and Atoms at the MIT Media Lab. She’s responsible for Popfab, a CNC machine that fits in a suitcase and one of the first implementations of a Core XY stage we’ve seen. Nadya has joined the ranks of Rudolf Diesel, Nikola Tesla, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and George W.G. Ferris by having a very tiny piece of the Novena laptop bear her name. She’s built cardboard CNC machines, and taken the idea of simple, easy to build printers, routers, and drawbots worldwide.  She just defended her thesis, the gist of which is, ‘How to rapidly prototype rapid prototyping machines.’ She’s also one of this year’s Hackaday Prize judges, for which we have the utmost appreciation.

This year, the organizers of the Fab 12 conference on digital fabrication in Shenzhen turned to Nadya and her team to bring their amazing experience to conference attendees. A workshop was in order, but Nadya didn’t have time to organize the logistics. The conference organizers made a deal: the Center for Bits and Atoms would teach a workshop, but getting all the materials and electronics was the responsibility of the organizers.

Upon arriving at the Shenzhen Sheridan, Nadya found the organizers didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The cardboard, motors, electronics, and glue were nowhere to be found. A “rider” doesn’t quite translate from English, it seems. This is Shenzhen, though, where you can buy all the cardboard, motors, electronics, and iPhone clones you could imagine. What was the solution to this problem? Founding a company in Shenzhen for eight days.

Half a tourist’s guide to Shenzhen and half a deconstruction of what goes into cardboard CNC, Nadya’s talk for the 2016 Hackaday SuperConference covers what happens when you have a week to build a company that will build machines that build machines.

Our Capabilities Are Your Possibilities

In Shenzhen, purchase orders and invoices are the domain of companies. To gather all the parts for this workshop conference, Nadya and the rest of the Bits and Atoms team founded a company, Gestalt Solutions Co. Ltd., with the motto, “Our Capabilities Are Your Possibilities”.

sheleprodWith the company name in order, the team headed down to the Huaqiangbei marketplace, where they quickly snapped up a bunch of soldering irons, a reflow oven, and about $400 worth of assembly equipment. Orders were placed for four-layer PCBs, and stainless solder paste stencils. 3D printers and laser cutters at the conference were requisitioned, and electronic components were acquired.

Despite multiple problems, the conference went off without a (visible) hitch. All this, of course, was due to being at the only place on the planet where you can buy components to build assemblies to build robots that can build robots in three days… and having the skills to pull it off.

We’re pretty keen on engineering war stories, and there were plenty of them at the Hackaday SuperConference, but Nadya’s talk goes above and beyond what we usually hear. It’s something that could only happen in Shenzhen, and we’re glad she could make it out and reminisce about the bots of days past.


Filed under: cons, Hackaday Columns, robots hacks

CNC Dummies for Routers

[This Old Tony] has a few videos that have made appearances on Hackaday. His latest one is CNC Dummies for Routers (see below). The subtitle, CNC Basics, is an honest one. If you’re already well versed in GCode and Mach 3, you probably won’t make it through the 14 minute video (although Tony is pretty entertaining even if you know what he’s talking about).

By his own admission, this is really CNC basics for hobby-grade CNC routers and mills. He starts off talking about his custom-built machine along with some common machines in the $500-$5000 range. He then gives a simple sketch of what GCode looks like.

The last part of the video talks about software for CAD and CAM. He talks about Fusion 360 and Mach 3, although the point to the video isn’t to provide a tutorial for any specific tools. You do get to watch over [Tony’s] shoulder as he creates pig-shaped cutting boards.

If you’ve done 3D printing, you won’t find much new here. If you have any experience with CNC, you’ll find nothing new here. But that isn’t really the point. This would be a great video for introducing students, new hackerspace members, or anyone who doesn’t know anything about CNC to the general workflow required.

If you watch close, you might pick up a few tips, especially if you are only used to 3D printing. For example, the pig cut out gets tabs to keep it from flying out before the cutting completes and he uses a sacrificial spoilboard to avoid cutting into the router’s work table.

[Tony] apparently stays busy since we’ve seen him build, among other things, vortex tubes. We also know he likes to play with fire.


Filed under: cnc hacks