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Vertical CNC for drawing.

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by O G, May 30, 2019.

  1. O G

    O G Well-Known
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    Hello everyone,

    So I'm a hobbyist clothing maker trying to find a way to go from measurements to pattern quicker than pen and paper. I tried a few different strategies but I think getting a CNC will just be the simplest now, I have a strong software engineering background so generating GCODE wouldn't be an issue, I'm just a little confused on the hardware part.

    I'm looking at this subvendor btw

    Since I don't have a ton of room I wanted to put the CNC almost vertically and just stick a piece of paper in the working area. So first question: what kind of motors are strong enough to pull the machine back up? Am I overthinking this and NEMA 17's are strong enough or should I look into something a little stronger?


    From what I understand the motors need to be controlled by some circuit board (duh). I could either make one of these but since I don't really want to spend my evenings figure that out I understand I could buy a boxes like these that would do it for me. This machine outputs the signals necessary to controls the stepper motors but what do these kind of box usually take in? GCODE directly? I'd love to setup a raspi so I can send all my drawing through wifi and not worry about bringing a big bulky computer next to it all the time.

    Lastly I was wondering if anyone know what kind of head would work to draw on paper. Obviously mechanical pencils are out of the question. But has anyone found that a standard ballpoint pen works fine?

    Thank you very much everyone for reading my rambling thoughts.
     
  2. sharmstr

    sharmstr Master
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    Sounds like a cool project, but the router forum isn't the best place to be. I did find this build where you might be able to draw (pun intended) some inspiration from: Two color Drawmachine
     
  3. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    What you seek should be fairly simple. I'd suggest an ACRO for the main framework and something along the lines of an egg-bot pen mount and z-axis actuator. For hanging the assembly you may want to replace the acrylic corner pieces with something a bit more substantial as the acrylic may not handle the cross loading well.
     
    sharmstr likes this.
  4. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    cam.openbuilds.com can generate the Gcode for you from a DXF file.
    Since you are not trying to yank a 700 watt spindle up those should work fine. If you start with and ACRO frame and add Z axis (either stepper or servo) the gantry will remain light.
    The Blackbox is exactly what you need and it will directly drive 4 stepper motors. So make your Z axis a stepper (it can be even smaller than a nema17 as it is just moving a pen) and you have n all in one package.
    The Blackbox (and similar boxes like the Xpro) run firmware called GRBL. GRBL is a Gcode interpreter that translates the Gcode command words into the pulses needed by the motor drivers.

    Yes, you can put an RPi on the machine and feed Gcode to it through the network. I prefer to send the files and then open them in the GUI myself but cam.openbuilds.com can send the gcode directly to OpenbuildsCONTROL. Usually this is within the same machine but if we know the IP address we can go through the network. We just need @Peter Van Der Walt to tell us how to set the destination IP address (-:
    The upcoming release of SketchUcam. a Gcode generating plugin for Sketchup, can also send code directly to OpenBuildsCONTROL.

    Lastly I was wondering if anyone know what kind of head would work to draw on paper. Obviously mechanical pencils are out of the question. But has anyone found that a standard ballpoint pen works fine?

    Thank you very much everyone for reading my rambling thoughts.[/QUOTE]

    A ball point with a large ball that rolls easily should do it fine. or a felt tip marker mounted at an angle so it drags easily (like a drag knife, google it).

    Of course, there is always the laser option (-:pew pew pew
    maybe some sort of spring mount for the pen is all that is needed.

    btw those faded jeans you buy in the shop that all have the same fade pattern.... lasers!
     
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  5. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    1. On the PI setup OpenBuildsCONTROL OpenBuilds/OpenBuilds-CONTROL
    2. Unfortunately the "automatic" transfer of GCODE from CAM to CONTROL won't work to the PI, but its still really easy
    2.1 From CAM on your main computer, click the SAVE GCODE button to download gcode to your machine
    2.2 Open a browser to http://ip-of-the-pi:3000/upload and upload the GCODE
    2.3 Access OpenBuildsCONTROL on the PI either using a screen attached to the PI, or via browser at http://ip-of-the-pi:3000
     
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  6. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    BlackBox can run Servo based Z axis as well, if you flash the Servo variant of Grbl using the Flashing tool in OpenBuildsCONTROL.
    M3 S0 = servo all the way left, M3 S255 = servo all the way to the right. Servo, coupled to a sliding pen holder of some sorts, via a rubber band or spring, will do nicely
     
  7. O G

    O G Well-Known
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    Hi again,

    I'm building a list of pieces I need and I'm a little confused as to what I would put as the head on an ACRO system. It feels like I could put a linear actuator like this one that I could use to move a spring loaded pen holder up and down . But I'd like to confirm with you guys that this is indeed what people usually do. I know if I use a laser I don't need to move in the Z direction (away-towards the working plane) but I'm also trying to future proof my build a little in the even that I want to put a router instead.

    Any pointers are appreciated. Thank you.
     
    #7 O G, Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  8. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Those are way too big. I would suggest OpenBuilds ACRO Z Axis or Z-Axis for Laser Diode

    ACRO systems are not substantial enough for use with a router. You might get away with adding a Dremel to a smaller ACRO system but nothing any larger than that.
     
  9. O G

    O G Well-Known
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    Ok yeah that makes sense

    Thank you!
     
  10. O G

    O G Well-Known
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    Wait what does happen when you put a head that's too big/heavy?

    The frame shakes? The motors aren't strong enough? You lose precision?

    I don't intend to use an ACRO frame for a big router but I'm curious how I know that I'm asking too for too much.
     
  11. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    There's two different issues here. The actuator you listed is far too tall and with the weight of the stepper on top the inertial loading it creates when the gantry changes direction will crack the acrylic gantry plates in no time. It might be workable if you cut the length down to around to 120mm but the key word there is "might". Ultimately it still adds a fair amount of weight that the ACRO is not designed for. You need to understand that diode laser systems are designed to be very light, agile systems designed to move fast and reverse direction quickly. CNC router systems on the other hand are quite the opposite. They are brute force systems designed to power a cutting head through material. And trying to make a system that does both ultimately leads to a system that doesn't do one or the other or potentially either all that well. The ACRO with its Nema 17 motors and GT2 belts is by no means a brute force system. It is designed to be light and fast, nothing more.
     
  12. O G

    O G Well-Known
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    Ah kk, yeah that makes sense. I'm probably not going to put any router, it's primary purpose is for using a pen to draw fashion patterns. But it's really cool to understand the limit of the hardware.

    thanks ^^
     
  13. GrayUK

    GrayUK Openbuilds Team Elder
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    All of the above, but primarily you get twist on the X axis as you ask the router to cut into the material.
     

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