Jul 21 2016

CNC machine for making music

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Since long before recorded history began, people have made music. From something as simple as banging rocks together to an endeavor as complex as performing an opera, people have always had a fascination with music as a medium of storytelling and a form of entertainment and we likely always will. In modern times people who think of music generally think of instruments. Having access to a CNC machine allows anyone to make a musical instrument of their very own for all musical entertainment purposes. But music is not limited to traditional instruments alone. Anyone who has seen the theatre performance Stomp or similar shows knows that even everyday objects can be used to make music. While a CNC machine is not an everyday object they too can be used to make music, in a more literal sense than machining an instrument.

Making guitar with cnc machine

Making guitar with cnc machine

Most instruments are made from either metal or wood, which just so happen to be two of the most common materials used by hobbyists for their at-home CNC machining projects. One of the most popular instruments that hobbyists seem to go with is the guitar. There are dozens of different types of guitar designs that you can choose from. Many guides exist on the Internet for making a guitar with a CNC machine. While the general process is primarily the same for most guitars it will be the customization process that is the heart of this project. You may be able to find files and just make the guitar straight away from those but you also have customization options. This guitar can look however you want it to look like. Maybe there is a guitar you like but that you wish was a bit different, allowing you to use that guitar as a blueprint and tweak the design to fit your own tastes. Or maybe you want to be really creative and design something completely from scratch to fit your own mental image of the perfect guitar.




This same principle applies to most instruments, depending on their level of popularity. You are more likely to find help and support videos for more commonplace instruments, like a violin, than for rarer or larger items like a cello. Those of you who work with metal can also pursue this project by making saxophones, trumpets or other instruments constructed from metals. Regardless of what type of materials you are using you do not have to create an entire instrument either. If you already have a ready instrument you could make new individual parts to replace, repair or upgrade various components of those items.

CNC machine for making guitar

CNC machine for making guitar

Besides producing instruments to make music, CNC machines can be used to make music themselves. The key to this process is to figure out a combination of feed rate and distance along an axis that will allow the stepper motor to spin at a frequency that mimics a musical note. With a bit of tinkering you can produce chords to replicate songs or to even entirely new tunes of your own. A more in-depth explanation of this process, as well as several musical examples based on popular video game soundtracks, can be found at http://tim.cexx.org/?p=633. Another example (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAWF-qhh4pQ) shows a synchronous motor that has been set up to play the song “The Imperial March” from the film “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”. In the first example MIDI (mid2cnc) script is use to generate these musical results. While the sounds you generate may not be as spot on as an orchestra directed by John Williams it can be very fun to get an additional use out of your machine while getting to do something a bit different with it.


Jul 14 2016

DIY – Discovering a new hobby

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Sometimes it feels like our childhood ended quite soon. We were burdened with education and sent to college. After that, all we could think of was getting a job and being financially stable. Well, now you have achieved that, you have got the time to discover some new hobbies. The best option you have id ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) projects. Let’s know more about it.

DO it yourself (DIY)

DO it yourself

Benefits of DIY as a hobby
We should start with knowing why it is the best option. DIY has numerous benefits. Some of them are enlisted below.
1. While working on a DIY project, you are the boss. You can implement your ideas and your methods freely. This is a great privilege for those who are working at a place where they have to do exactly as told. By working on something of your own, you will be able to feel the liberty.
2. The projects will actually serve some purpose. While most of the hobbies, like movies or sports, are only for passing the free time, DIY will get some work done. Suppose you need some piece of furniture for your living room, rather than hiring someone to build it, you can do it yourself.
3. There have been a few cases where people have created something innovated through a DIY project and have made some money by selling it in the market. If you are able to create something new or modify an old thing to serve a better purpose, you might be able get some profit out of it.
4. It is a great way to bond with your loved ones. If you are able to get your kids or friends involved in your project, you will get to spend some quality time with them. And creating something new together always strengthens the bond between two people.
5. You can fulfill many childhood dreams by taking up DIY as a hobby. For instance, there are many people who have always wanted a video game cabinet. Not everybody can afford a new one. But the DIY kits for these machines are quite cheaper. If you build it yourself, it will not just be cheaper but also a lot more satisfactory.

Finding the right DIY project
There are numerous websites that sell these projects. You can browse through them and take a look at all the options. You can even talk to your friends. You might find someone who has been doing this for a while. They will be able to recommend some projects to you. Also, you can join forums or blogs that focus only on DIY. You will learn about some popular projects. You can even use a search engine to find out about the most popular projects. Once you have found a few good options, you will need to select one from them. To take this decision, you can take the following things into account. It will help you take the right decision.

1. Required skills: Every project requires different skills. The basic ones need you to be comfortable with screwdrivers and drilling machines while you need to have good knowledge of computers and electronics for the advanced projects. So, you should select the project, according to your skill set. Otherwise, you will be stuck in between without any clue about what to do next. It is better to start something you can complete.

2. Affordability: There will be a bunch of different things that you will have to buy to start a project. The most important things are the tools and the material. Once you get these things, you can start. But there are several other things that you will need along the way. You should plan according to that. Suppose you have 100 bucks, start the project that takes 75 bucks according to your initial estimates.

3. Time needed: If you start counting all the things that you started with great enthusiasm but soon left it due to a busy schedule, the list might get quite long. So, select a project that is not too long. Otherwise, you will soon get bored and leave it. At least the initial projects should be short. Once you have gained complete interest in DIY, you can take on bigger projects too.


Jun 16 2016

3D printer fabrication with CNC machine

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3D printer fabrication with CNC machine

There are a decent number of hobbyists out there who build their own machines from parts instead of buying a whole one. Some folks enjoy buying individual parts from the store or suppliers to build the machine from scratch while others just want to buy a DIY kit and assemble that; your options regarding these choice might be limited depending on what type of machine you are working with and what kinds of options are available for that type of machine. S hobbyists who already have a CNC machine, 3D printer or something similar may want to try other machines out but find that buying or building a whole new machine is outside of their budget. If you are creative enough you can build just about anything using your machines so why not 3D print a CNC machine, or use a CNC machine to make a 3D printer?

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Jun 9 2016

Acrylic Glass Routing (Plexiglas)

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Acrylic Glass Routing (Plexiglas)

Routing acrylic materials (Plexiglas, Lucite, Acrylite, Perspex, etc.) is one of the most popular methods used in the fabrication of this type of material. A high quality standard kept for the material regardless of how it will be used is routing the product with a fine finished edge, eliminating the need for finishing the item after it has been routed. There are a number of key factors you will need to take into consideration to keep your finish high-quality, two of the most important factors being tooling and programming.

CNC acrylic

CNC acrylic

There is a lot that could be said about tooling if we were to get into specifics but there are some more basic guidelines you can follow for acrylic routing. When you are choosing which tool to use the first criteria that affects your choice should be diameter. On a lot of jobs clients commonly have requests that will require you to use tools that are 1/8” to 1/4″ in size. Using larger tools, from sizes of 3/8” to about 1/2″, will result in consistent surface finish results that are superior to smaller tools. The increased stability and flute depth of tools with larger diameters cause the increase in quality. Any tool that is larger than 1/2″ will only improve your results slightly and as you use larger and larger tools the size increase will eventually do more harm than good. Using anything bigger than 1/2” is unnecessary. Additionally, your cut depths should not exceed 2”. Once you have selected your diameter the next thing to choose is cutter configuration. Generally speaking, the smaller the diameter of your cutter the more likely it is that a spiral configuration will leave a good finish. When you use larger tools (3/8” and up) a straight flute works better. If you are using a tool that is 1/4″ or smaller a single edge spiral O-flute will give the best finish. At larger sizes low helix multi-fluted tools work better (the exact type of tool you will need depends on if the acrylic is cast or extruded and on any fillers that may have been used in the material’s manufacturing). These are the sizes where you will want to use double edge straight tools. O-flutes and V-flutes can both work well when using tools of these sizes. In addition to these conventional tools there are also some specialty tools on the market for this kind of work so it does not hurt to do a little research and see what is available.
When you are programming it is key to select the correct cutting methods and cutting parameters. Every different combination of material and cutter will have its own “sweet spot” that you want to hit for ideal machining. Your feeds and speeds are going to be the most sensitive parameter while you are programming. Acrylics (and other plastics) have a very small chip load range that you need to find in order to maintain a sufficient finish. Each cutter is going to have its own optimum chip load for every different type of material. You need to look up the feeds and speeds that you will need or, if that is not possible, experiment until you find the right configuration. Once feeds and speeds are settled you will select your cutting method. Conventional and climb cutting are both good but tools with larger diameters work better with conventional cutting. With smaller diameters the cutting method you need will depend on the material; you will have to do some trial-and-error work to figure out what works best. If you are new to working with the type of acrylic you are using some trial-and-error experimentation will be necessary to figure out a lot of parameters like finish passes, depths of cut and entry points. There is a lot to learn about this type of work but with time and practice you will get the hang of it and be machining like a pro in no time.


Jun 2 2016

Aluminium Cutting and tips for cnc routers

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Aluminium Cutting and tips for cnc routers

Some hobbyists may ask if a CNC router can cut aluminum(Aluminium Cutting) since you most often see other users cutting wood or plastic. You can use your CNC router to cut aluminum if you know how to do it right. Aluminum (and other metals) are different to cut compared to wood or plastic. They have a smaller “sweet spot” for optimal cutting. If you leave the sweet spot your cutter will start breaking and wearing out faster and the surface finish will not be very good. Another thing to keep in mind is the “stickiness” factor (this applies to some other metals too). Aluminum wants to stick to your tool. It will do this to the point where it welds itself to your tool(tools). When sticky bits of aluminum have clung to your cutting edges your tool is not going to have much more life in it. Even though it is challenging you can cut aluminum on almost any CNC router. This article will give you a few tips to make sure you stay on track doing that job safe and proper.
While a CNC router can cut aluminum it is not the best tool for big parts, like vehicle parts. To cut successfully you need to do the job slowly. Just let your machine do its job and do not be in a rush. Cutting aluminum is not easy and will probably push your CNC router to its limits(Aluminium Cutting). Use a Feeds and Speeds calculator to optimize your settings so that you are not dodging the tip of your cutter that broke off and is flying across the room. Ideally you want to use a calculator that takes minimum RPM, CNC router cutter types, deflection, rubbing warning and chipping thinning into consideration. Your first problem will be recommended RPMs being too low. A CNC router cannot always go as slow as you want to go for cutting aluminum but there are ways to bump you’re the recommended RPM and fix this problem.

CNC router cutting aluminum ((Aluminium Cutting)

(Aluminium Cutting CNC router

The first tactic is to user cutters that are good at high speeds. The measurement to look for is Surface Speed which is high is carbide cutters. Cutters like HSS and Cobalt will be too slow so look for carbide TiAIN coated cutters. They cost a bit more but the improved results of your project will be worth it. Say you were using an HSS Endmill and the recommended RPM is 5877. Your CNC router’s spindle may have a minimum speed of 20,000 RPM (this is a very common minimum speed for routers). A TiAIN Carbide Endmill may have a recommended RPM of 16,897, putting it much closer to your machine’s minimum RPM. For aluminum try to get as close to 20,000 RPM as you can and you should be fine.
Another way to increase RPM is using small diameter cutters. The largest cutter you want to use should be ¼” but go smaller than that if you can. You will most rigid cutters to stop tool deflection from being a problem (this is where having tool deflection on your calculator becomes important). The smaller your cutter is the closer you can get it to 20,000 RPM. Be extra careful about clearing away chips. Recutting chips is an easy way to break a cutter. Be paranoid about this and do not just assume that your dust collection system is good enough without testing it for this first. It will be harder to get chips out as you cut deeper. Make more passes to cut down as far as you need to and you will open up shallower depths for better access. Lubricate your tools that that the chips will not stick to your cutting edges. The best way to do this is with a mister if you can set one up.
Now you need to think about avoiding tool rub. Going too slow with your federate can cause this to happen. Using your calculator should let you dodge this but be careful because the high speeds of your CNC router can result in tool rub happening easily. It can even start to happen while you are unaware that it is going on. If you cannot feed fast enough use fewer flutes. You should use a maximum of three flutes at once regardless. Using few flutes is good and is the reason 1 flute cutters are sold. There is a lot to remember when cutting aluminum but once you know what you are doing you should be able to use your CNC router for aluminum projects safely and accurately.