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  #391  
Old Mon 22 September 2014, 10:27
zumergido
Just call me: Fernando
 
BS AS
Argentina
you can use small holes. and a small cutting tool. like 3mm or so.
but in this video you can see it work.
if you going to make small pieces do more and smaller holes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOrkvPF0pro

i use something like this on thin sheets of wood. with a 1200w vacuum cleaner motor.
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  #392  
Old Thu 01 January 2015, 10:57
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Been a while since I have posted, so a quick update.

The tests with cutting any kind of sheet metal were a total failure. For thin sheets, I had problems with the material lifting up off the vacuum table, snagging and breaking the bit. I was also unable to cut even 1/8" sheet. In that case, there was so much chatter that I broke bits. So for now there will be no metal cutting with this machine.

However using the machine as a pen plotter and for cutting wood, I have no complaints. Being able to plot directly onto the aluminum is much faster than doing manual layout.

I finally got electrical in my bigger shop building and moved the mechmate to its new home last week. This gives me the space to finally start working on a proper dust collection system for the machine. Chasing the cutter head around with a shop vac gets rather tedious.

The plan for the vacuum is to buy a Harbor Freight dust collector as a base, add a Dust Deputy for chip separation and a Wynn filter on the exhaust.
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  #393  
Old Thu 01 January 2015, 15:57
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
dbinokc,

I have cut 0.05" bendable Aluminum on a regular basis on my machine using an 1/8" bit without hold down. I use an upcut spiral O Flute all the time at 50 IPM. So it can be done. I have also cut 0.125" regular Aluminum also.

You have to experiment and try different bits and speeds.
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  #394  
Old Thu 01 January 2015, 21:31
Tom Ayres
Just call me: Tom #117
 
Bassett (VA)
United States of America
DB don't get too frustrated cutting aluminum can be done whether 0.032 or 0.500 I've done them both with success using 1/8" o-flute 5/32 spiral and 1/4" o-flute. Chip load calculations should be between .003 and .005 and use lubricant. Once you get the chip load close start fine tuning up or down with the feed rates or spindle speed to find what works best for you. I found a faster feed rate and slightly slower spindle speed (heavier chip load) worked best with larger bits, but the target chip load is the same.

Feed Rate/ # of Flutes X Spindle RPM = Chip Load
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  #395  
Old Fri 02 January 2015, 14:52
Regnar
Just call me: Russell #69
 
Mobile, Alabama
United States of America
I also say dont give up. I have cut .032, .041, .020 with no problems also with a 1/8th O-flute. The aluminum I usually use comes with a protective covering on it that I spray adhesive down to a 3/4 MDF.
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  #396  
Old Fri 02 January 2015, 15:13
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
I would like to try cutting aluminum again, but after destroying some rather expensive bits I am not keen to try again until I have a good plan on how make sure no more bits get broken. Next I try though, I will test with some cheaper HSS!
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  #397  
Old Sat 03 January 2015, 01:59
Alan_c
Just call me: Alan (#11)
 
Grabouw (Western Cape)
South Africa
Send a message via Skype™ to Alan_c
Dont waste your time with HSS, it doesnt work with Ally, gums up far too easily, the best cutters for aluminium are the spiral O cutters, and even though some have said that a cutting fluid is not needed, I have found that it is essential. If you can rig up a mist cooling system (Noga sells a very good one) that will make the world of difference.
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  #398  
Old Fri 02 October 2015, 21:47
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Dust collectors and dies

Been a while since I have updated. I finally got a proper dust collection system on my mechmate. No more chasing the bit around with a vacuum. I used a harbor freight dust collector as the base and added a wynn filter.

My first project with the new dust collector added was to make a set of dies for making hat stiffeners for the spar web on my plane. It was nice to stand there and watch the machine work without having to manually vacuum up the wood dust. I also setup a remote webcam so I could keep any eye on progress of the cut from inside the house while doing other things.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hat_stiffener.jpg (98.5 KB, 596 views)
File Type: jpg dust_collector.jpg (83.3 KB, 596 views)
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  #399  
Old Sun 17 April 2016, 12:19
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Aluminum cutting and Mist Cooling

After a long time I decided to try cutting aluminum again. I bought a pack of 10 cheap 1/8" mills. After a bit of experimenting and 5 broken bits later I was about to get a feed and speed that threw some nice chips when cutting 1/8" aluminum. I sprayed the bit with wd40 as it went along.

There was mention a few posts back about using a mist coolant system. How much of a mess is that going to make? I really do not want to coat everything the shop with oil.
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  #400  
Old Tue 19 April 2016, 15:24
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
it doesn't make that big of a mess when you use a fine tip to deliver the spray and a water borne coolant.
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  #401  
Old Tue 19 April 2016, 16:12
Regnar
Just call me: Russell #69
 
Mobile, Alabama
United States of America
You should be able to find some plans for an DIY version of what is called a fog buster. I think what was the magic was pressurizing the coolant before injecting it into a airstream.
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  #402  
Old Tue 19 April 2016, 16:21
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Actually I did see that and have already ordered one. I did think about building one of the plan based ones, but I really did not want to get side tracked on another project.
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  #403  
Old Sat 23 April 2016, 12:53
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Fogbuster testing

I got the fogbuster in and it is working well so far. I have used it to cut a couple of 1/8 aluminum parts. I set the air pressure to about 10psi and and adjust the coolant flow to get just a light film on the surface. That is enough to keep the bit lubricated and blow the chips away. I have used the same cheap bit twice and after each run I have inspected the bit. Minimal wear and no signs of chip welding. A remote air switch is included that makes it convenient to turn off the air flow after a run.

I think the only complaint I would have about the unit is that for the price I paid they could have included more than 5 feet of hose. I will have to get some more hose if I want to do anything that would be more than a few feet in size.

I found a pressure foot on AliExpress I have ordered. Hopefully that will arrive in a few weeks. Once I get it I will attempt to do thin sheet cutting again. I have a few more thin sheet aluminum parts to cut as well as several plastic parts.
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  #404  
Old Sun 24 April 2016, 20:07
Regnar
Just call me: Russell #69
 
Mobile, Alabama
United States of America
For keeping thin sheets down on the bed I like to use shelf liner paper and spray adhesive. Apply the shelf liner to both your sheet of aluminum and table. Spray on some adhesive and basically glue the 2 pieces of shelf liner together. I have cut sheets all they way down to .020 thickness with this method.
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  #405  
Old Wed 04 May 2016, 21:32
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Cutting Sheetmetal

Finally I can report success cutting sheetmetal. Both aluminum and steel
The first pic is the setup on the machine. On the left is the fogbuster. To the right is a pressure foot I purchased off of AliExpress and just got in today.

The second pic is an IV cart repurposed to hold the coolant for the fogbuster and make it easier to use in other locations.

The third pic is some metal parts cut. The part made is a rear spar attach batch bracket. It is used to connect the rear spar to the fuselage. The real part cut from 1/8" aluminum in on the left. The middle one is a test done in .032 aluminum. The right was cut from 20 gauge steel.

There is still some tuning to do. There seems to be a bit of bit deflection going on. Also the steel part has a bit of nasty burr on it. Still the fact that I was able to cut all three of these without destroying a bit is major accomplishment for me.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1462414534621.jpg (14.5 KB, 344 views)
File Type: jpg 1462414628188.jpg (19.9 KB, 345 views)
File Type: jpg 1462414517560.jpg (12.4 KB, 345 views)
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  #406  
Old Thu 05 May 2016, 03:52
Alan_c
Just call me: Alan (#11)
 
Grabouw (Western Cape)
South Africa
Send a message via Skype™ to Alan_c
Very nice, tell us more about that attachment on the bottom of the spindle, I assume its a type of hold down/ pressure foot?
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  #407  
Old Thu 05 May 2016, 07:27
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
I purchased the pressure foot here. There are other spindle sizes available if you search on the site.

What makes this foot a little different from ones I have seen before is the use of a ball bearing pad on the bottom. The unit arrived with one defect. A tab was bent causing it to drag. I had to disassemble the bearing assembly to bend the tab back straight.

The springs in the hold down arms are very very stiff. I can compress it about 1/4 inch before my z-axis jumps on the rack. For the .032 and .040 metal thickness I tested against it worked just fine and moved smoothly. I may pull the springs and cut a few links or replace them.

I am a little concerned about chips getting inside the bearing assembly and requiring cleaning.

While I did have to pull my dust foot off the spindle, there was no problem attaching the pressure foot. After zeroing my z-axis, I loosened the foot, dropped it to the surface of the material and retightened. It is possible to swap out bits without pulling the foot, but it is a tight fit for the wrenches. Pulling the foot is very easy though so it is just as easy to do that.

Last edited by dbinokc; Thu 05 May 2016 at 07:33..
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  #408  
Old Thu 05 May 2016, 08:23
darren salyer
Just call me: Darren #101
 
Wentzville mo
United States of America
Great info DB. Thanks!!
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  #409  
Old Sat 14 May 2016, 22:05
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Plotter Pen

Since I am now able to cut aluminum sheet, I also want to be able to accurately draw site lines on sheet metal when I am doing bending. I never have been able to find a pen holder already out there that I really liked and I have tried a few. My ideal pen needs to be inline with the spindle and have minimal play at the tip.

I finally decided to make my own. It is a tube in tube design. What makes this different than others I have seen is a taper on the inner tube that matches the taper of the mini sharpie. This creates a tapered interference fit that makes the pen self locking and keeps it centered with the spindle.

I have the inline requirement. I am waiting for a reamer to come in so I can get a little tighter fit between the tubes. I did not have the correct size drillbit or reamer so I am currently seeing about 2mm free play at the tip. I want to get that down to at least .5mm.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1463276207509.jpg (11.5 KB, 262 views)
File Type: jpg 1463276291528.jpg (15.2 KB, 261 views)

Last edited by dbinokc; Sat 14 May 2016 at 22:19..
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  #410  
Old Sun 15 May 2016, 04:24
Tom Ayres
Just call me: Tom #117
 
Bassett (VA)
United States of America
Great idea, let us know how it finishes out
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  #411  
Old Wed 12 October 2016, 10:11
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Plotter Pen, Material Stand and Welding Jig

First thing, I had forgotten about the plotter pen post I had made. The pen has been working well and with minimal slop. I consider it accurate enough to do combined operations with both cutting and marking up with the pen.

The problem is that the design relies on a particular barrel style of Sharpie that they no longer supply! No problem for me because I had bought a big lot of them off of ebay a few years back. However without a supply, any thoughts of making more to sell are at a dead end.

On a different subject. I have wanted a material stand that has the acme screw adjustment that I see on pipe stands. However I could not find any around for more general material holding. So I fabricated one of my own.

Part of the design includes welding up a tripod. However with three legs I needed some way to hold everything up together. I really could not find any welding jigs that I really liked for holding things up, so I constructed my. Picture below. I also made a short youtube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXcFoEXwUQo describing the stand and jig.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg jig.jpg (18.8 KB, 164 views)
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  #412  
Old Sat 25 February 2017, 14:03
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
Optics Lens Holders

While the airplane is an ongoing project, I have been wanting to experiment with optics for a while. The biggest problem is holding the lenses, which having a mechmate makes easy to solve. I have already been doing some experimenting, but todays run was to make 16 new holders for a collection of lenses purchased from surplushshed.com

The first pic is while cutting. The second pic below is finished examples of a beamsplitter holder, iris and lens. The final pic is a small optical breadboard configured for a Michaelson interfereometer.

The aluminum posts and stands were done manually on my lathe and mill.

I did not drill the holes for the breadboard on the mechmate, but if I decide to build a larger breadboard I will use the machine to drill the holes. Doing 144 holes was a bit tedious.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cutting.jpg (160.9 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg samples.jpg (68.2 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg breadboard.jpg (92.4 KB, 83 views)
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  #413  
Old Sat 25 February 2017, 19:44
timberlinemd
Just call me: Steve #66
 
Arizona
United States of America
I assume this is for laser?
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  #414  
Old Sat 25 February 2017, 20:46
dbinokc
Just call me: DB #118
 
Oklahoma
United States of America
The only laser at this point is a 5mw laser. The interest for now is just general experimentation and learning. So in addition to the interferometer I will do some microscope experiments, schieleren, autcollimator, etc. Perhaps what I learn from all this may make doing some kind of high power laser project possible.
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  #415  
Old Sat 25 February 2017, 22:34
Tom Ayres
Just call me: Tom #117
 
Bassett (VA)
United States of America
That's way beyond my little co2 laser project! I'd like to see some more as you go along.
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