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Student Innovation - 3D printed desktop CNC

Student studying Maths, Physics and Product Design at A-Level.


August 11, 2020 09:17

@ChrisDavies, this is a fantastic project, you have a great future ahead of you.

0 Votes

August 10, 2020 12:17

@ChrisDavies great work on such a detailed write-up. Looking forward to you sharing the designs. I might be tempted to build my own!

August 6, 2020 17:08

Great project, well done and a great write up that I'm sure will inspire others.

August 10, 2020 12:23

@davecole Thank you very much for your kind words.

August 4, 2020 07:09

Great article. I would be interested in seeing a parts list and knowing where I can get access to the files for the 3D printed parts.

August 10, 2020 12:22

@rkgladney Thanks for your support. I need to complete some small design changes to a couple of parts and after that I am considering releasing designs and plans for the machine if there is enough interest.


August 3, 2020 12:27

@ChrisDavies - awesome project, I too am very impressed.

A couple of small suggestions, and a comment:

1. Add a diagonal brace across the back of the vertical frame - this will improve things particularly long term especially if you are milling real materials like aluminium.

2. Add some kind of protection to stop crud/swarf getting onto the traverse lead screw and rails. Typically used is some form of bellows, which can be folded up from flat-sheet.

3. Particularly with soft materials like epoxy glass PCBs the fine dust can be dangerous if inhaled and an irritant to the eyes and skin. Some kind of extraction and filter is needed to be safe, preferably with something at the spindle as well as a general one in the enclosure you are planning. This IS important.

I already have a Sable-2015 CNC Desktop Milling Machine, otherwise I would be building one of these myself. Note the Sable has a flaw in its design, the vertical frame is far too far forward which offsets the spindle and reduces the usable front to back working area.

Excellent project, top job :)

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August 10, 2020 12:22

@Sue Thank you for your support and suggestions, I have taken them in consideration, and I am thinking about ways to implement them into my design. When designing the machine, I was aware of the possibility that swarf would collect in the thread of the lead screw and potentially cause the stepper motor to skip steps. I had seen bellows on CNC machines to solve the problem, but I dismissed the available options as too large for the small amount of space I had to work with. However, your comment prompted further research and it seems they come in a range of lengths, widths and cross-sectional profiles. I think I have found a suitable sized bellow so thanks for that suggestion! I do plan to mill PCBs on my machine, and I will certainly use appropriate ventilation and safety equipment when doing so. I will also consider more bracing to ensure the rigidity and longevity of my design. The sable-2015 looks like a lovely little machine! Does it mill aluminium well? What is the max speed of the spindle?

July 30, 2020 09:08

Wow @ChrisDavies! This is a very impressive and thorough project for such a young engineer. In fact, I'm so impressed that I'm going to feature your project in our DesignSpark newsletter. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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August 10, 2020 12:22

@leonie Thank you very much, I really appreciate your support.

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