Monday, May 2, 2011

microCarve A4 CNC First Cut Complete!

I got a router mounted on my microCarve A4 CNC machine this weekend. The router I'm using is an inexpensive 1/4" router from Harbor Freight. It's mounted on a base plate I made out of 3/4" plywood with a pair of muffler clamps holding the body of the router:

Harbor Freight drillmaster trim router on microCarve A4 CNC


I've got two bands wrapped around the body of the router cut out of a bicycle inner tube. They help mate up the muffler clamps to the router body. I was expecting to drill and tap a hole into the router for a screw through the base plate, but with the rubber straps everything is very firm and tight.

Today I spent some time "cutting air" to make sure the tool would run properly before I put a bit in. I had to invert the Z and Y axes in the setup I was using as it turned out. Then I tested twice more, once again with no bit or wood, then again with a bit and wood in the machine, but the Z axis set high enough the bit of the router wouldn't quite reach the wood.

Everything looked good, so I made my first cut:

saundby.com logo cut using micrCarve A4 CNC router.

Closer look at first cut made with microCarve A4 CNC.

Close-up of saundby.com logo cut into wood using microCarve A4 CNC router.


The material is some plywood I recovered from an old failed project. As you can see, it wasn't mounted completely flat. The top piece is held by some screws that hold it from underneath.

The G-Code was a raster pattern generated by an image-to-gcode converter that comes with the EMC2 software I'm using. That's why the bottoms of the letters look kinda scrappy, if they'd been cut continuously rather than raster-cut, they'd probably look a lot better.

The bit I used is a 1/2" 90 degree bit, I don't have any really nice bits yet. Now that I've got the machine actually cutting things out, I can work on refinements.

The depth of cut is 1/8".

Now I'm looking forward to getting some better bits, getting my CAM software in order, and so on.

Edit:

Had one more go with what I've got on hand this afternoon. It's a little more ambitious. Here you go:

CNC router cut of saundby.com surrounded by a key pattern.

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