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: logo cut using micrCarve A4 CNC router.

Closer look at first cut made with microCarve A4 CNC.

Close-up of 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.


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 surrounded by a key pattern.

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